The first thing I want to say to you, nursing student, is I'm proud of you and you should be proud of yourself. Nursing is not easy. It is not for the faint of heart. It makes me laugh, it makes me cry, but mostly it makes me appreciate the little things in life: my health, my limbs, my ability to speak, etcetera. So be proud of yourself for taking the hard road.
Whether you're just starting out or you're getting ready for NCLEX, you're probably feeling a little overwhelmed right now. At any given point during my time in nursing school, I was feeling overwhelmed about something and I learned, throughout my journey, that is completely normal. It's completely normal to question even wanting to BE a nurse anymore (believe me, I did that many times). It's completely normal to come home feeling exhausted and thinking you can't take one more day of this. But you know what? You can.
The important things to remember are:
Grace. Give yourself lots and lots of grace. You're going to make mistakes. You're going to blow that vien, mix up medications, not know the right answer sometimes. Grace is important - you need to forgive yourself, and learn from these mistakes - that is what will make you a better nurse.
Rest. Take time for yourself, your spouse, your friends. Take an hour to call an old girlfriend or go for a walk. Clear your head and come back to it later. Stay refreshed. Stay hydrated and stay nourished. You can't expect to keep other people healthy if you aren't healthy yourself.
Patience. You aren't going to learn nursing in a day. You aren't even going to learn it in a year. Or ten years. Be patient, the knowledge will come. And keep coming and keep coming. The day it stops coming and you stop learning, is the day you need to stop being a nurse.
Love & compassion. To me, this is what separates a good nurse from a great one. The one's who really invest themselves in their patient's well being and the ones who truly love what they do and have compassion for everyone. Don't ever stop loving people.
So, little nursling, I hope this letter to you has helped you in some way. I hope you remember why you started nursing school. I hope you remember to trust your instincts and question everything. Whether it's your first semester or your last, don't give up. Keep on keepin' on.
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