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A Wonderful Day

November 23, 2011

It’s interesting how you can have a really emotionally exhausting and draining day which is then followed by an inspiring one. I find myself getting down on myself when things don’t go the right way, especially in nursing. I don’t understand why this happens. It’s upsetting to me that people, myself included usually have a hard time patting ourselves on the back for a job well done.

In case you haven’t read my previous entry, I’ll fill you in. My last entry talks about a particularly difficult day I experienced at work. I had a very discouraging, upsetting discussion with family members of a patient over the phone. Due to HIPAA, I’m limited to how much I can divulge, but it was a very upsetting situation that made me question my abilities as a nurse. On a more positive note, the next day following my difficult day, I had a wonderful day (hence the title), which you may read about below.

The other day I cared for 3 patients. At 10 weeks into my new graduate RN residency program I have already made many mistakes, and learned many invaluable lessons. Somehow, on that wonderful day my stars were alligned and I was able to put together everything I had learned: time management techniques, patient education, pain management techniques, and documenting everything “real time” into the computer.

I administered medications on time, completed thorough physical assessments and more! Still, I found myself thinking, “I must be forgetting something, I must be missing important tasks. I really surprised myself when I wasn’t running up and down the hallways looking like a chicken with my head cut off, or acting like a squirrel which one of my coworkers jokingly told me I look like when I’m stressed. Fortunately for my coworker I have tough skin and found this to be hilariously ironic, as anybody close to me knows that squirrels terrify me. Anyway, back to my point..I couldn’t see that I was doing a good job, my mind automatically wanted to point out things I was forgetting. It wasn’t until my shift was almost over that I realized “maybe I didn’t forget stuff, just maybe I am getting it!” This revelation came to me because while two of my patients complimented me on my hard work, my third patient handed me a thank you card from themself and their family.  Receiving positive reinforcement from my patients as opposed to the negative reinforcement from the tough day before forced me to focus on the positive and move forward from that difficult day I had, for real.

I should be able to recognize when I am doing well and pat myself on the back when necessary rather than wait until a patient does, because that isn’t their job and it may not and does not always happen. This is a learned skill and I know it will come in time as I gain more self-reliance and confidence with my nursing practice. If a patient does in fact compliment their nurse, it is simply an added bonus. If a patient doesn’t compliment their nurse it doesn’t mean the nurse wasn’t doing a good job.

There are good days and bad days in nursing. We can learn from the bad days, but as I mentioned previously, you must leave those days behind and focus on the good ones, otherwise you’ll doubt your skills and capabilities as a nurse. The wonderful day mentioned above was a great day and it will continue to stick with me as an example of my good work and I will try repeating that to myself, “my good work.”  That card from a patient hangs on my fridge and it is a huge reminder as to why I became a nurse.

Stay tuned for my next entry, Keeping the Sanity.

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