New Nurses: Realistic Expectations and Setting Career Intentions in 2018

Jannel Gooden, a Pediatric Critical Care Nurse, Nurse Coach, and one of our incredible BAs is here to lend some advice to those of us looking to reignite our careers in 2018.

My First-Hand Experience

I remember six years ago walking onto my first unit as a nurse. I had this pep in my step! Actually, it was more like a skip. Yes, I’ll be honest, I actually skipped through the halls of the hospital as I read all the signs on the walls leading me to the unit 5F.

This would be the last day for a long time that I would be skipping. Every shift after that was more like a drag like some invisible entity was dragging me down the hall to my new “home” because I certainly wasn’t the one moving my legs towards that unit.

How It Starts

My first day, I was excited. A tiny part of me nervous, but very distracted by all the fun I was about to have. Instead, my first day got as real as it could. Not like clinicals, where your instructor sits you down and explains all that you will see and the type of patient you will focus on. No, this day was nothing like that. As soon as I hit the floor, I started listening in on a report I had no idea how to keep up with, and I quickly became overwhelmed.

Over the next few months, my emotions oscillated between “WTF” and “maybe you got this,” but as quickly as I thought maybe I had a grasp, it quickly changed to “WTF” again. I had to be so very intentional about my life and growth as a nurse before it got better.

How It Gets Better

There is a myth going around about being a new nurse that perpetuates this idea that you will eventually get over it. That despite it all, just keep going as you are because one day you will be great. There’s only partial truth to that. It’s true that one day you will be great, but not without fighting for it. How do I know that? Because statistics have shown that 33% of new graduate nurses are leaving their jobs by the second year. Nurse retention is a hot topic for all hospitals and units.

Let me be the one to tell you the truth, it doesn’t just go away. You don’t magically just feel better. It takes you actively working on yourself and your skills and changing your mindset so that you can manifest those goals for yourself as a new nurse.

You know that big orientation packet with that checklist of things you need to accomplish before orientation is up? In my opinion, it’s missing a few things… It’s missing the things that teach you how to be confident even when you make that inevitable mistake. It’s missing how to master your communication skills, which are vital to every aspect of your practice. This year, I encourage you to shift your mindset to positivity so you can rid yourself of anxiety before and after each shift and focus on finding your voice amongst other assertive healthcare professionals so you can stand out confidently.

Janel BA Ladder Lace TopShop her look – The Ladder Lace Pant and The Ladder Lace Top.

More Advice from Jannel

Jannel and Ashley of Novice is the New Nurse are hosting a Masterclass in New York Later this year. Follow them on Instagram for updates on when registration opens.

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