Dear first year me,
Congratulations, you did it. You survived all those late nights of writing last minute essays and studying for exams while still trying to maintain a social life and work a part-time job (in between working for free on placements). And now you are a nurse - no training wheels, no one looking over your shoulder. It’s like, one minute it was all eyes on you, waiting for you to make a mistake, and now, you are the same person but no one is watching. You must be terrified.
The good news is, you will no longer get the shakes and clumsily drop the antibiotic vial while you are drawing it up because no one will be watching your every move. You will finally get your dexterity back!
There are a few things I would like to share with you, my first-year self:
- You are enough, even when you are questioning what you know and who you are, you are enough.
- It is ok to have the following thoughts: Can I do this? Have I made a mistake? Am I smart enough? Self-reflection is a powerful thing and the very fact you are asking those questions means you are on track.
- Do not aim for perfection, just aim to continually improve and do your best. The truth is, there is no such thing as a perfect nurse or a perfect anyone. You do not need to know all of the answers, you just need to know where to find them, who to ask and how to admit what you do not know (this is a strength, not a weakness).
- Being a nurse is going to challenge you mentally, physically, and emotionally. Be prepared for this and surround yourself with a tribe of people who understand - you are about to develop some intense friendships with your colleagues, the people who understand what you do everyday.
- Have some fun! You are about to spend more time at work than you do with your loved ones at home. Make it count. Laugh with your patients, turn a bed bath into a day spa and recruit your colleagues to do the same - this will do wonders for the energy within yourself and for those around you.
Enjoy the journey Sista, you are about to experience an incredible adventure.
Love, future me