What I Should Have Done as a New Nurse

 In Nurses Weekly

When I think back on my first year as a nurse, I always say two things to myself: “I wish I had written more” and “I wish someone had given me a more realistic how-to manual.” I try to remember patients from back then. What would I have shared, had I written about each one?

I will always wish for more writing—of any kind—from that first year. Even a scribble to jog my memory. This nursing birth of mine, like any birth, began my nursing life in a very specific way. I was challenged and tested, understood and got lost, and, tragically, I also failed some patients I will never forget.

But even if I had I written every story at the time, and learned from the process, I still would have wanted another, better guide. And so, I often wonder if having a more complete record of those times would allow me to write such a guide for others now? Not knowing what I didn’t know was my most crucial flaw then. Where would I have learned the things that one can only understand by experiencing them? No textbook can teach you the intimate secrets of finding your way in those early days.

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