INTRODUCTION: Erin Smital, Nursing Professional Development Educator & Nurse Residency Coordinator, RWHC
We offer a Nurse Residency Program that is designed for the new graduate nurse. It is structured around monthly learning sessions, with a focus on providing an interactive, reflective and enriched learning environment. The program is designed to enhance recruitment/retention of the new graduate nurse and support their transition into a competent practitioner. I am proud to announce that we recently completed year 18 of this program. I asked our participants to write an open letter to "The nurse struggling right now... ". These kind words of support and encouragement are meant for every nurse, in every position, in every stage of their career.
First of all, congratulations!
Getting through nursing school isn’t something to scoff at. Welcome to the world of nursing! It is a great but now there will be tough days; you are strong enough to get through them. Be an advocate for yourself. I know standing-up for yourself is super scary, but I promise you’ll thank me later. The sooner you start, the better you’ll get at it and the more respect your fellow coworkers will have for you. Know that you don’t have to be friends with everyone, but be civil, kind and helpful. Ask for the things you’re not getting. Know that you’re not alone in the feelings you’re feeling. This is a really emotional time (you’ll learn about it). Being overwhelmed and scared is normal; it gets better. Trust your gut. Being new, I know it’s hard sometimes to be persistent but your gut is right a lot of the time. Never be afraid to ask for another nurse’s opinion or help. They’ve all been where you are. Take feedback! I know it’s hard to hear what you’re doing wrong but this is how you grow! Nobody is perfect at everything. Don’t be afraid to point out that others aren’t doing something correctly. They may not know! For myself, I learn from the new grads. You have learned the most recent procedures. Lastly, give yourself grace and time. It takes time to get down everything that comes with being a nurse. Take care of yourself! Your mental health is so important!
—Love, A Fellow Nurse