At the beginning of my residency, I felt on top of the world. It was as though I was seeing everything for the first time. EVERYTHING was exciting. Then things took a sudden shift. Reality set in quickly that I, K Chandler Rosemont RN, will have to care for patients under MY license, without a preceptor there to guide me. There is a different level of stress related to this. Something I never felt as a nursing student. THIS is the time when I shape the type of nurse I will be for the rest of my life…and I want to be an incredible nurse!
Given the aforementioned, it should not be a surprise that I began feeling anxious in my shifts. I started second guessing tasks that I had once found “easy.” Stupid mistakes were made or nearly made. A task as easy as grabbing a med from a patient’s cassette made my heart race. What was this feeling? Why did it pop up out of nowhere? How can I move forward?
After what I would consider an anxious shift, I went home and reflected on what I would do differently. Instead of freaking out about this negative feeling, I decided to accept it. I am going through this “growing pain” for a reason. For the first time, I am a real nurse. As scary as this is, it is also exciting!
Heading into my next shift after this acceptance, I blasted my favorite rally songs: “Come On Eileen” and “Mr. Blue Sky.” I was ready to rock my next shift as best as I could, knowing mistakes will be made as I am still learning!
Once I accepted that these feelings were normal and beneficial to my nursing development, I found my anxiety decreasing and nursing care improving.
Some may go through this feeling in nursing school, others years into their career. Either way, I want you to know it is normal! Find a way to use these unsettled feelings to improve your nursing practice. Learn from your experiences and reflect on how you could be better. Resisting them may make your anxiety worsen!
In the end, it’s okay to not feel okay.