There are a few things that I truly take pride in outside of being a mom & wife, and precepting is my pride and joy in the Nursing profession. I was able to log over 750 hrs in the last year precepting new graduates and new employees. My love to teaching others stems from a specifically awful experience when I was in Nursing School, and again as a new graduate.
I was in the middle of my 3rd semester and after almost a year and a half on the same unit, we had learned which Nurses would teach us and which to avoid like the plague. I had gathered my information about my patients the night before, and the next morning when I saw which floor nurse was assigned to my patients my heart sank. Not HER! Anyone but her! I was worried but quickly decided that I would be the BEST Nursing Student she had ever seen and things would be different. While at the Nurses Station another RN had noticed who I was assigned to and wanted me to relay a message. I jumped at the opportunity and went on a search for her.
Seeing her about 20' down the hall, I smiled and said, "Oh, did you" but was quickly cut off as she declared, "I just got here and I haven't even gotten report yet so I don't have time for our questions."
I stood flabbergasted with my mouth still open as she walked past me towards the Nurses Station.
I wanted to cry.
Quickly, I found my fellow students and told them what happened. I was given words of encouragement and we all went back to our assigned patients. Later that morning, one of my friends came to tell me the nurse who I was assigned to had apologized to her. This Nurse couldn't even recognize who she had yelled at!
We heard many times that "Nurses eat their young," and this incident fueled my fire. I never wanted someone else to feel the way I did.
I continued to hold fast to my optimism and was excited to start my career in Pediatrics! My orientation on the floor consisted of an insane amount of reading and learning the flow of the department. Eventually I would be on night shift but initially was trained on day shift. Every time I encountered the Nurse I would be working with, I was either ignored or glared at. After two weeks it finally took a toll and I ended up sitting in my car, crying and wondering what I had done wrong. I always smiled, had a welcoming posture, and a positive attitude. I had been warned that many new RNs had been "run off" in Peds, and finally I decided I wasn't going anywhere. This is where I wanted to be and I had earned a right to try.
As my first shift on nights drew closer, I started giving myself little pep talks by restating that I was going to excel and was NOT going to be run off!
My first official night shift had me so worried that I was trying not to puke. We received report and as soon as the day shift RN left the unit, this Nurse lit into me.
She said, "New grads have no place being in pediatrics because you have NO experience and you are putting the whole unit at risk by being here!"
I smiled and said, "I understand that I have no experience, which is why I'm so excited to be here, and I hope to learn everything I can to become the best Nurse I can."
She had no retort but continued to have a less than favorable attitude towards me for quite awhile. Later, she even gave me the nickname "hateful heifer," which I'm still not sure if it was a joke or her true perception of me.
After almost 2 years we were moving, and I had the pleasure of orienting a nurse (who had worked there previously) to new changes and procedures. At the end, she told me how great I was at orienting and thanked me for welcoming her. That was the best compliment I had ever received and it gave me the confidence I needed while venturing into my next job in a Pediatric Emergency Department.
After 18 months at my new job, I was able to start precepting and it brought me so much joy. There is no better feeling then seeing others take the knowledge you have given them and watch them grow. I had the privilege of precepting many of the new staff in our unit, and especially the "baby nurses" (new graduates). I cherish all the hugs and thank yous, and credit it all to the staff that trained and welcomed me!
I truly hope "a change gone come" in the Nursing profession. Instead of "eating" our young, we will watch proudly as our baby birds soar and excel in a career that we hold so dear.