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What are three important things I should know about registered nurse work like, working conditions, typical schedule, rewards, and challenges including those for people new to the job?

What are three important things I should know about this job like, working conditions, typical schedule, rewards, and challenges including those for people new to the job?

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John’s Answer

I want to be encouraging here, but also honest, so here goes....

Nursing is a field that can be variable with respect to schedules, experiences, working conditions, and challenges. After 25 years as a nurse in ER's, ICU's, and now working in the disability insurance world, I can tell you that I've almost never been bored. There are lots of times when we work short handed because staffing is a challenge. There are days when patients, families, or visitors can be verbally or even physically abusive. There will be times when you feel put upon by your employer because they will always want you to do more with less.

But...... There will be times when you are a part of life entering the world, or have the opportunity to support families as their loved ones exit this world. It can be profound and humbling and there may be days when you are light as a feather and feel like the world is full of possibilities. There will also be days when you will question humanity and your place within it. There is no end to what you can experience in the role and if you want to be a part of living and not just observing life, then nursing is a great way to go. Having friends in the field or a partner who does similar work can be very helpful as it will make communicating about your experiences and feelings much easier.

Always remember this - advocate for yourself. Your employer will not look out for you, so be sure you negotiate for salary and benefits, as well as the schedule you prefer. You may not get everything you want, but you should always ask.

Finally.... There's a great Jimmy Buffett song called, "He Went To Paris" and it recalls the life of an old man. One of the lines is about how the man describes his life to a younger person and it goes, "Some of it's magic, and some of it's tragic, but I had a good life all the way...". I'm not sure anything better captures the role of a nurse. Hopefully your journey will be filled with more of the good than the bad - it's why most of us are still here. Best of luck to you. Enjoy the ride.
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Lorraine’s Answer

Reyna, Hi Reyna,

Your question was answered well by John. The most significant challenge for me as a new nurse was adjusting to the new role. Fortunately, I found a new grad preceptor program that helped with the transition. As a new nurse, another challenge was taking a graveyard shift because it was the only available one. My schedule became more flexible as my experience increased. An RN's greatest reward is the satisfaction of helping patients and the opportunity to practice in a wide variety of areas/specialties. As a final point, I believe that the most important thing a new nurse should know is that as you gain more experience, you will feel more confident in your role, which will take some time to get used to. If you need any advice or assistance, please do not hesitate to ask your nursing manager and colleagues for help. Finally, you should pursue an area of nursing that you are passionate about!
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