Working Through Transition

Just an FYI, this is one of my most vulnerable transitions. Not even everyone knows about this because I am partially so ashamed of it. So feel free to click on that little “X” in the right upper-hand corner.

Let me tell you a little about my story. I am an overachiever. I’m decent at school. I catch on to things somewhat quickly. Don’t worry, I brag on myself now to boost my self-esteem in order to get the rest of the story out.

In high school, I decided to become a nurse. My family is basically all healthcare related. The ones who do not work in healthcare ended up doing some kind of work with health in mind. I went through college getting decent grades (working my butt off for them, don’t you worry) and being praised by my peers and professors for how great of a nurse I was going to be.

I always wanted to be an OB/labor & delivery nurse. For those of you who don’t know, that’s usually an incredibly difficult career to start in. Most nurses start out on a general med-surg floor (pneumonia, COPD, type floor) and end up going to L&D. I was lucky enough to do a preceptorship in the hospital I wanted to work in ON THE L&D FLOOR! Sweet!

I was going to use this preceptorship as a trial. Granted it was only a month and a half, but that was enough to show if I liked it enough to work there, right? I loved my preceptorship and my preceptor. She and I hit it off. She taught me the ins and outs of her job and we even worked on the floor some. I knew then that’s where I wanted to be. I put my foot in the door and had a few opportunities with the manager to express why I wanted to be there. The preceptorship ended, and I moved on to finish nursing school.

Before graduation came, I was offered a job on that floor at that hospital. Dream come true.  Seriously, that was my dream. I accepted the job and cruised my way through the rest of classes.

Graduation came. NCLEX came. I passed! I started the week after in orientation.

General hospital orientation was over and I was anxious to start working on the floor. I met my preceptor, and the first few weeks went well. I watched her do some things and did a few things myself. I had 16 weeks total to learn what I needed to know.

As time went on, I got more and more anxious. I couldn’t do some of the tasks I was supposed to and I felt super overwhelmed. I would go home crying every night worried that I wouldn’t catch on. Literally, I would wake up for my shift, start crying, pull it together in my car before the hospital, and cry once I pulled out of the parking lot that night. My days off were spent worrying about the days I worked. I talked to some of my coworkers (who were the bomb, if I may add) and they told me it was normal.

NORMAL? THIS FEELING IS NORMAL?

Apparently, it’s true. I googled how I felt (mistake #1) and all sorts of sites came up on how awful the first year of nursing is. Here is one of the quotes: “Everyone is miserable during the first year of nursing. You’re worried about what would happen if you made a mistake. Not IF you made a mistake, but when you make one because you just know that you can’t do this and you’re going to kill someone. You go home worried about whether you did enough, sometimes you stay awake all night worrying about it. Or you fall asleep only to wake in a panic, sure you’ve forgotten the one crucial detail that could have prevented someone’s demise” (http://allnurses.com/first-year-after/new-grad-hate-938894.html).

You’d think that would help me, right? Wrong. It made it worse. I felt like I had ruined my life by choosing a career that I hated. What drove me more nuts was the fact I had classmates that everyone was concerned with about being a nurse doing great! When they say comparison is the thief of joy, they’re right. Whoever they are!

Long story short, I ended up resigning. The hospital I worked for did take many steps to try to help me, and I am grateful for that. I ending up applying for every job I could think of, even non-nursing jobs. I actually ended up getting an interview at a doctor’s office through one of my hospital coworkers, and I am working there now. I love the people and the atmosphere.  Through a lot of transition, I found my way.

Throughout this entire process, I ended up leaning on a professor from my college. She told me at the beginning, “I warned you about this new grad shock, remember?” The problem is, I don’t at all. This transition is one of the hardest (and like I said earlier, humiliating) I have been through at all.

During this time, I shared with my non-nursing friend who was going through the same type of transition in her life. She ended up sending me a note with the following verse in it: “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1,2). That verse is still up in my bathroom where I see it every morning. Keep your eyes on Jesus. When I take them off of Him, I become overwhelmed and transition shock hits me.

I would LOVE to see people share about their transitions like this. No one is expected to, but I hope my vulnerability doesn’t go to waste. Have you ever felt so helpless before? What helped you? Like I said in my about me section, this blog is to help those of us who are learning to get through transitions and help each other through them. Please feel free to comment and share. No one here will judge (and if they do, I’ll delete them! Ha!).

Mostly, remember to keep your eyes on Jesus. He will help you work through it. No transition can overcome Him.

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One thought on “Working Through Transition

  1. Gina Ball says:

    Rachel, how bold of you to share your story with the world and encourage others! And I do think these feelings are very normal. Fear of judgment keep us from sharing them.
    Thankfully, nursing is such a wide and diverse profession! Stick with what makes you feel confident. Wait for the Lord to provide your next opportunity. I know He will!
    Don’t doubt your intelligence, ability, or the strength you have through your Savior. This is one time when its OK to brag on yourself a little bit, kind of like the athlete who pumps himself up before a big challenge. The Enemy likes to plant feelings of inferiority in our hearts and minds to keep us in a constant state of feeling defeated and worthless.
    Keep your priorities in line…God, family, church, then work. Unfortunately, nursing has a way of overtaking all areas of our lives if we’re not careful. Insist on maintaining those boundaries. Don’t allow work to plague your mind when you’re not there…take those thoughts captive and enjoy those precious moments with your loved ones. Avoiding second and third shifts can help with this.
    Keep record of those successes and victories at work. Write down the compliments you receive from patients and co-workers. Treasure the times when you impact the lives of others for good. Reward yourself for a job well done! Nurses need to pamper themselves more than just about anyone I can think of (maybe teachers and missionaries also!). And this gives you something tangible to look forward to when you’re struggling.
    Give up on perfectionism. My husband always tells me this is the way God designed our world…a new beginning every morning. I’m so very thankful for that! The sting of our mistakes does fade when we let go of them…and we WILL make mistakes. People think doctors and nurses are supposed to be flawless, but that’s not reality.
    Let go of your guilt. Refuse to carry it. You will use that education in countless ways! Just wait on Him.
    As one who truly has walked in your shoes (I think in MANY ways), remember this: God ALWAYS got me through every difficult shift and impossible patient. I always survived. The sun always came up the next day. The more you persevere, the better you will become. Just like basketball and volleyball: (Nursing) practice makes perfect (well, not quite, but you know what I mean!).
    Prayers your way!

    Like

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