message de soutien
Transition from student to new graduate in the time of COVID.
Nursing in the time of COVID has been and continues to be the most physically and mentally challenging experience of my life. It has been a rollercoaster ride of emotions where I have felt joy and happiness, only to be hit with fear and uncertainty. I found myself at times regretting my decision to become a nurse and subsequently feeling guilty for these thoughts.
As a new-graduate nurse I was hired to my dream medical floor. One that I had past employment experience on as a student and had begun to develop connections to my soon- to-be co-workers. However due to COVID the hospital units were re-configured and staff were redeployed. The unit that I was hired to ceased to exist in the first 2 of 3 months of my new- graduate hours. For my first 11 shifts I worked as supernumerary on a newly amalgamated surgical and clinical teaching unit. The patient population consisted of heavy trauma patients and total care medical mysteries. It was 11 physically demanding shifts filled with new skills, new policies, new ways of doing and some not so welcoming and tired staff members. I remember coming home from my first shift on this new floor and ugly crying myself to sleep. I felt overwhelmed and out of my element. I felt constant anxiety and doubted my skills and abilities often. I spent most of my personal time between sets reliving the shifts. Like many I spent this time in my own personal bubble away from family and friends. I had no release and no healthy way to cope with the shock of transition. I felt very alone at this time.
Fortunately, for my next 13 shifts I was reunited with the redeployed staff members on the unit I was hired to. However, this meant I was working on our very busy and fast paced COVID unit. At this point I remember feeling overwhelmed with yet another change in patient population, acuity, skills, policies, unit layout and ways of doing. At this time in my new graduate hours I struggled with a new fear; bringing COVID home to my partner and his family. I felt guilty for bringing home my fears to my partner and for essentially being the reason that he stayed away from his parents and grandparents.
During the final shifts of my new graduate hours I was moved one last time, thankfully to the re- opened unit that I was originally hired to. I remember feeling some of the fear and anxiety I was carrying with me leave and found some relief and comfort in the routine and familiarity of the unit I knew and enjoyed as a student. As my supernumerary hours came to an end and I began working for the first time truly on my own as a registered nurse I began to thankfully gain confidence in my practice. I remember having mornings when I would wake up with a knot in my stomach in anticipation for the day to come, however, as I forced myself to pick up shifts the unease slowly faded.
Now at 7 months as a new graduate nurse I look forward to picking up work. There are days that are tough physically and emotionally, where I doubt myself, question my decisions and feel incompetent. But then again, there are days that I feel great about the quality of care I provided and my ability to think critically and communicate effectively with patients and co-workers. I have yet to find a way to truly cope with COVID in both my professional and personal life. I do however feel that I have become more resilient and have an appreciation for the knowledge I have gained in this time if not for the changes and challenges brought on by COVID. I do hope that as COVID persists that I will be able to adapt and find ways to cope. It is my hope that I will be able to rediscover the passion I had for nursing as a student in the near future as a new graduate nurse and have a very rewarding and fulfilling career in the many years to come in this profession.