Swimming out of the deep end.

For a second, I had gone blank, not knowing what to write about for the #SmallActionsBigChanges movement. I did not feel like I was in the right frame of mind to write about something positive.

Why? Well, I had my first supernumerary week at my first NQN role at the beginning of this week. Then, only on my third day, I got added to the numbers and was given my own patients. Now bear in mind that the environment was completely new to me and the documentation system was also different to the one that I was used to.

The whole day felt like I was swimming my way out of the deep end, but soon as I reached the top, something pushed me right back into the deep end again.

Adrenaline kept me going, and before I knew it, it was the end of the shift and had to start rushing to finish my notes for my patients. At this point, I was feeling completely overwhelmed, and due to the shortage of staff, I knew the senior members had done the best they could in terms of support. I have to confess that by 8 pm I was in tears, tears from feeling as though I didn’t perform to my best ability, tears from feeling as though I didn’t know the rules for my new trust, and tears from feeling as though I didn’t feel as though I was able to advocate for patients as I used to in familiar grounds.

As I sat down feeling shitty a couple of fairly new nurses sat with me and helped me get through the last obstacle of understanding the new documentation system. They shared similar stories with me, sat and listened to my frustrations, and they showed compassion and empathy. They stayed behind, and we walked home together, laughing and chatting. Those small actions of these few nurses have made a huge impact to what is the very beginning of my career.

So, how do we pass the baton? How do we share our stories to make others feel better about themselves? Our #SmallActionsBigChanges blogs so far have all resonated and inspired me.

If ever you find yourself in the position that I have written about above, I advise you to grab someone you find approachable and just be honest and let them know you feel overwhelmed and defeated. There is no shame in it.

Ask for help in order to practice safely. If you have not had adequate training in something, ask, ask and ask again. It may make you feel like you are an inconvenience to others, but you have to protect your patients, yourself and your PIN.

Lily Wolday http://www.twitter.com/MissWolday

Staff Nurse

Published by RCN Newly Qualified Nurses

The voice of newly qualified nurses within the Royal College of Nursing. Providing support from six months pre-registration throughout preceptorship.

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