September 6, 2009

LONG week...and the "First Year" begins.

Every night after orientation, I'd do the home bit, stay awake only as long as I had to, then pass out because I had to get up at 5:55 the next morning.   Most days had working lunches, few breaks, didn't follow the schedule...and often ran behind schedule, so there were a couple of days that ran late as well.  So the last thing I could bring myself to do was sit at a computer and type...sorry about that.

Lots of videos and slide presentations:  customer service, OSHA, therapeutic boundaries, blood-borne pathogens, CPR,  fall prevention, documentation, deescalation techniques, crisis management, safety, breaking holds and physical maneuvers...and lots of tests to accompany each educational session.   I've signed my name on sign-in sheets and test papers so many times my hand hurts thinking about it.   There was a lot on restraints and seclusion...and understandably so, given the nature of the business.  And there was a lot about drugs, and again, understandably so.  I realized on the last day how little I really know about medications used in psychiatric nursing.

Then there was also a ton of administrative stuff too: P&P, scheduling (that was a fun day as at first we thought we'd be competing against each other for shifts...not the case, thankfully), benefits (for those who got them), rules, regulations...every night, I carried home a small tree's worth of paperwork for my records.

By the last day of orientation, we were all punch-drunk from being in the same classroom for 40+ hours that it was hard to focus on anything.  Thank God I am getting paid for it--I don't think I'm that desperate for work (or masochistic enough) that I'd have done that week for free.  I meant to review drugs and the P&Ps this weekend, but I was so wiped from the week that I slept 11 hours  each night for the last two nights.   

My first day is a few hours, in fact.  For the next month, I'm on another orientation so I'm not expected to do everything by myself from the get-go.  This month is all about learning on the job.  Then after this month I'm still on orientation for another 5 months but they'll expect me to work just as any other nurse would.

It was on the last day of orientation--and again this morning--that the enormity of what I'm doing hit me, that I wasn't in, school anymore.  I am no longer a student with a safety net.  I no longer have my ignorance or instructors to fall back on.  The excuse "I'm just a student" or "I didn't know, I don't work here" will no longer fly.   I am going to be working as a licensed registered nurse.  I'm going to have serious responsibility.  I'm going to have a lot to learn and a good portion of it I will have to teach myself.  I'm going to have to be very independent.  I am going to have to know what the P&P are as I do "work here" now.  My license in on the line from here on out, and the one and only person that is responsible for protecting it is me.

It kind of makes me want to throw my hands and say "maybe I should wait a while longer before I start."

But I know that the first year of nursing will be a learning curve--it is going to be rough no matter what area of nursing I went into...but I'm not going to get through it until I actually start it, you know?  After all, all of the nurses there went through the first year--it's not as though they emerged from the womb like Athena, with DSM-IV-TR in hand and ready to hit the floor like a seasoned pro.

I guess I'm a little nervous about beginning so soon.  I had no choice--I have to get a certain number of hours in during the first month so I had to put in for a lot of shifts.  So wish me luck tonight, as I will need it.

In other news, I'm still trying to get the endocrinologist appointment set up.  My little one starts school on Tuesday...the poor guy will be plunked there at 0600 as I have to work that day shift.  I hope he'll be all right...I took him there on Thursday to show him around and meet his teacher.  He seemed pretty excited about it, but I'm also not sure it's sunk into his mind yet that he's not going to his usual provider but to school.

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