This morning I was reading my past reflections and I am so grateful I have them to look back on.
Where to begin with year 3?
WHAT A YEAR.
I’ll just start there.
The world has been in turmoil since my 3rd year of nursing began. The pandemic has thrown us all through a loop. It has forced us all to reflect on our values and how we want exist in the world.
Not going to lie, there have certainly been moments of 2020 that made me lose my faith in humanity and question whether there is good in this world.
Nursing is honestly such a grounding factor in my life. When the rest of the world seemed angry and lost, I got to continue to experience the amazing moments that my pediatric oncology patients demonstrate every day. Even on days when I was feeling defeated, these kids and their families continued to show resilience and a fight that we should all be inspired by. Somehow my complaints about my life always seem less relevant when I have to witness people living the toughest times of their lives everyday at work.
All year people have been asking me: “How’s work with COVID?” and honestly besides wearing a mask and eye protection for a 12 hour shift and ever changing hospital policies, my job didn’t really change much due to the pandemic. Kids did not stop getting diagnosed with cancer – and some of those beautiful souls even passed away during the pandemic. Late in 2020 it seemed like we had had so many new patients that year and I learned that our hospital had the most new pediatric cancer diagnoses we have seen in a long time.
Hats off to my nursing colleagues and my partner Brad who stepped up to the plate and onto the front lines to care directly for COVID-19 patients. I have had moments of guilt that I didn’t take this risk myself, but I had to realize that my job is just as valuable because sadly cancer is not going away any time soon.
In terms of my personal growth in my career this year, my main theme has been teaching. Reading my year one reflection I wrote “I never want to forget what it feels to be a new nurse” and this year I really decided to step up and live this feeling. I took a casual position with the university to teach simulation labs to nursing students and acted as a preceptor to a 4th year nursing student.
Teaching was really what I needed this year. It restored my passion for nursing when I was starting to feel burnt out. I feel so inspired by my students. Their willingness to learn new things and have new experiences made me remember where I was just a few years ago.
I plan to continue to pursue teaching over the years coming up by doing a masters and possibly taking on a more permanent teaching position. I love to help new nurses feel comfortable and passionate about the career path they’ve chosen. To me, there is NO room for the “nurses eat their young” mentality in nursing. It is nothing but counterproductive to our profession and it needs to stop. I’ve only experienced it a few times in my career and I never want to treat any nurse that way.
Despite the challenges of year 3, I have felt a sense of stability. I finally feel like I’ve found my place in nursing. I work with some pretty amazing people and I feel comfortable in the job I’ve chosen. I’ve decided that comfort is huge for me. I don’t like the feeling of the unknown or inexperience in nursing. I see this need from students to pursue critical care and that it is viewed as the higher step, but honestly at this point in my career I find my area plenty stressful and don’t feel the need to add that extra burden on my plate. Kudos to my ICU and emerg colleagues though, you are all incredible at what you do!
I haven’t written on my blog in a long time and honestly I am still not sure what direction I want to take it. I just realize that these nursing reflections are too valuable not to keep for my future self and to share with others. So cheers to my third year in nursing, bring on year four – can’t believe I am already this far in!