How to cope as a Newly Qualified Nurse..

If you are reading this blog post looking for answers to the titles question, then I apologise but it is not something you’ll find perusing this post.

This is why I used “” and not “?

I’m still figuring it out.

I am currently 2 months and 10 days into my first post. The level of responsibility expected from me is increasing alongside my adrenaline levels. It’s bloody hard. I’m terrified 60%-90% of the time (depending on my diary) and I am still triple checking everything. The most frustrating thing about this time in my career is that I love what I do, I am your nurse.

One thing they never warn you during university is exactly how hard it’ll be. My university warned us that it would be really hard, just not how hard.

I have found so far that my emotions are on a constant roller coaster. One minute I feel like Florence Nightingale, the next I feel lost. Preceptorship sessions help a lot, the other three nurses are newly qualified too. Probably also terrified. But the biggest challenge for me right now is honing my emotions in and being able to understand why I feel the way I do.

It really is not all doom and gloom. I’ve had some wonderful nursing breakthroughs in my short 2 months as a Community Nurse. Firstly, I managed to extend care out to a patient who was on our caseload long term. This involved specialist nurses, social support and ensuring his GP was more aware of his nursing needs. He also gained trust in me, he often voiced how he felt I supported him wholly and genuinely. That more than anything made me realise I’ve chosen the right career.

Another nursing high for me was recognising Sepsis in a patient at home. I was terrified but my nursing intuition took over and I knew my patient needed hospitalisation, right now. I know recognising Sepsis is something all nurses should be able to do, I’m not disputing that. The big accomplishment for me was that I fought for him. I recognised the signs and fought for him to receive the right treatment, fast.

If nursing was easy, there wouldn’t be a shortage in the UK and beyond. If it was easy you wouldn’t have to complete a university degree and 2300 practice hours (for free). If it was easy, nobody would need nursing care.

I’m definitely still figuring it out, and I probably will be figuring it out for years to come. I’m slowly building some resilience and whilst sometimes it’s one step forward and two steps back, slowly my one step forward is becoming a run, or a leap.

As a nursing workforce we need to look after our Student Nurses and Newly Qualified Nurses. They are our future ANP’s and Specialist Nurses. Some of them will be a Band 5 Staff Nurse for their entire career as that is what they enjoy, and they may very well notice something small that saves your life.

Give us a minute, or 10 to breathe.

Reflect. Roar. Don’t stand in the shadow.

Talk. Tell people your concerns.

Stand strong. That gut feeling, that niggle your instinct is screaming about? Tell someone. Act. It’s probably 100% correct.

I’m not sure whether this post will resonate with any nurses, or for anyone from any career background. But sometimes it feels good just to type out the tangle of words and feelings that your brain no longer wants to babysit.

I’ll report back once I’ve untangled a little more.

Emma. Registered Nurse. Community. London.


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