An Open Letter to My First Year as a Nurse



To my first year as a nurse,

A year ago today, we started our journey, you and I. I remember how my eyes blurred when they reached the computer screen that revealed I was officially a Registered Nurse. 365 days ago, this voyage began. Each day since has been a little different from the one before it. But the same in that I am still constantly learning. Each day brings new opportunities for me to learn and grow, as well as it’s own unique challenges. While I hope my second year as a nurse has more grace and less tears, I am positive that I’ll continue to learn something new everyday with it, too.

To this first year, you have showed me things about love that I thought I knew already. But then I watched them illustrated right before my eyes and fully understood. You allowed me to be a part of families happy endings as their loved ones were healing. But you also put me in positions where my face would be associated with anger, fear, and sadness. You have let me peek into family dynamics and see first hand, just how frightening and fascinating this human experience is.

During this past year, you allowed my stethoscope to hear the heart beat of fresh starts and new beginnings. But it also heard the silence of a hollow chest when life left its earthly host. I have held the hand that was fearful and I have had shifts where I left with my hands held up in frustration. I’ve listened to the breath sounds of the sick while trying to catch my own breath from being so busy. I have remembered how many times a patient has been to the bathroom while easily forgetting to go to the restroom myself. I have lived in a whirlwind of a to do list, attempting to ensure I also see the big picture of each and every patient. I have stepped in and out of hospital rooms to introduce myself to hundreds of strangers. They have become a part of my story as much as I am now a part of theirs. I have heard stories that have moved me to tears and told my patients stories of my own in hopes of making them smile. If I learned anything this year, it’s that laughter truly is the best medicine.

This year has brought me joy and frustration, happiness and sadness, tears and laughter. It has been a journey, a roller coaster, and sometimes an internal struggle. And as I enter year two of this career, calling, and adventure, I still wonder, God, why did You pick me for this job? Surely someone else can do a better job than me! And while the Good Lord still hasn’t given me His answer, and I’m confident that there are so many people that are doing a better job than me, I also have no doubt that for whatever reason, He has placed me in this field with a mission and purpose. Until I figure that out, I’ll continue to do my best, attempt to be the best eyes and ears for the patients in my path, and show them that someone cares.

So to year one, thank you for your experience. For the lives I’ve been able to affect, thank you. You were not easy on me, and made me cry more than I anticipated 365 days ago. But you showed me that the title I carry is earned, not given.

And to year two, I hope you’ll be a good teacher, as well. I hope you give me more situations where I can show love and compassion. I hope you’ll give me a little more confidence, but never enough confidence to make me dangerous. I hope you’ll let me be a part of more happy endings than sad ones. And I really hope we can show one another grace in the next 365 days.

Thanks for the memories, year one. It’s been one for the books.


“How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭16:16‬ ‭

Love,

To the Kind of Nurse I Want To Be:

shiplap

To the kind of nurse I want to be:

I see you. I see you clogging through the halls in your danskos.  Your hair perfectly styled at the beginning of the shift has since been pulled into a messy bun. I see your pocketful of pens and highlighters. I see you analyzing labs and planning interventions. I see you predicting outcomes and calling doctors. I see how you interact with patients and make them laugh and smile. I see you.

And in you, I see the kind of nurse I want to be. I see my own pair of scuffed white nursing clogs, my own ponytail, my own pockets filled with my own favorite pens. I see you and I dream of having the instincts you have to analyze labs and predict outcomes. I pray that one day my hands won’t shake when I dial the number of a physician in the middle of the night. I hope that my patients respond as well to me as they do you. I see you, and I want to be you.

I see you, and I hope you see me too. I hope you see that this world is so new to me, so startling and surprising but somehow also magical. I hope you see that my eyes are wide in anticipation to learn and grow. I hope you see me trying my hardest and doing my very best. I hope you see that I’m still learning, but that I never want to stop learning. I hope you see that I care. I hope you see me.

I hope you see me, and I hope when you see me, you see yourself. I hope you see your own brand new scrubs and new danskos. I hope you see the first time you ever truly understood the meaning behind lab values. I hope you see yourself the first time you didn’t have to google the name of a generic drug to remember it’s trade name. I hope you see me and see your own first victory dance after a series of successful IVs.

So to the kind of nurse I want to be, when you see me, I hope you’ll smile and encourage me. Teach me something that will make me better. Don’t expect me to know it all, but do have high expectations of me. Let me take the lead every now and then. Let me show you how much I know. When you correct me, do it with kindness. When I make a mistake, show me the correct way to do it for next time. Share with me everything this profession has given to you, I’ll hang on to every detail. Don’t leave out a thing, I’m listening.

I see you, and I hope you see me, too. You’re the kind of nurse I want to be. Don’t forget that.

 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

Love,

cassie