Nurse’s Week: The Next Generation

Elizabeth Rochin, MSN, RN, is the clinical manager of 7 East at Rex Hospital. Her “Nurse’s Week” blog posts bring you a series of reflections on being a nurse at Rex.

After long days or nights, and years into a career, we as nurses may forget what initially brought us into nursing. If you want to remember, simply ask a student. In fact, I had the opportunity to ask fourteen nursing students just today why they chose nursing as a career path.

Here is a sampling of what they said:

  • “I wanted to make a difference in someone’s life.”
  • “There is nothing more pure than helping someone in need.”
  • “I knew since I was three years old that I wanted to be a nurse. I think I inherited it, my mom and grandmother are nurses.”
  • “This is my second degree. I discovered in myself a very strong need to help others, and went back to school. This was the right decision.”
  • “I was originally in sales and marketing, and realized that I loved making connections and promoting relationships. This was the perfect way to do both.”
  • “The first time a patient said, ‘You’ll make a great nurse,’ I knew I made the right decision.”
  • “I can’t imagine doing anything else. This is the perfect way to give back.”
  • “To use my hands to help heal a patient, I can’t think of anything better.”

Most of us will remember thinking about one or more of the quotes above, and will bring us back to our own days as a student nurse, and renew the passion in our work.

This weekend, colleges and universities throughout the Triangle region will graduate the newest members of North Carolina nursing. We congratulate and welcome you to your new lives and careers. Nursing offers such diversity in career paths, and the opportunities for advanced practice, expert bedside care and leadership roles have never been greater. There has never been a more exciting time to be a nurse!

But it is also important that we understand and remember that at one time or another, we were all new. None of us came into nursing knowing everything. We all needed a hand to hold us steady, and a guide to offer direction and counsel in how to move from new graduate to team member who could safely and effectively care for patients.

Occasionally we forget what it felt like to be new. And we must be willing to remember. The greatest gifts we can bestow upon our newest team members are understanding, time and expertise. We must commit to assisting our new graduates grow and develop, and assist them to make the difference they wish to make.

I would like to thank all of our outstanding preceptors who strive to give our new graduates the best possible experience and learning opportunities. Preceptors are those nursing team members who work with a new nurse for 12-20 weeks, and sometimes longer, to ensure appropriate training for their new role. Preceptors are the “life blood” of our organization, and your effort and dedication to your teams does not go unnoticed.

Rex Healthcare has an outstanding tradition of developing our newest nurses. We thank you all for making Rex the hospital of choice for students across the region. YOU are the reason that Rex is Chosen for Excellence!

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