Hard Lessons Learned

As of yesterday I finished a 7 day stretch of classes and working (not on the same day).  Normally, I learn a lot when working in the NICU, and most of the things I learn are learned in a somewhat pleasant manner.  But the other day… not so much.

For starters, the patient assignment was a bit much, but I was determined to do as much as I could on my own, because I wanted to prove that I could “pull my own weight.”  But when there are issues with the babies’ families, unexpected medical twists and turns, and one new nurse with an exhausted brain (me), it can quickly become overwhelming.  Three babies, all with families visiting for the day.  I love it when families come to be with their little ones, but sometimes things don’t go as well as everyone hoped.  One set of parents needed several reminders to keep their baby’s room quiet and not to stimulate him too much.  Another mom got very upset with all of us because she was under the impression that her baby was being discharged, when in reality that wasn’t going to happen for a while yet.  Not sure what happened with the miscommunication there, but it made for a not-fun afternoon.  And then the mom of the third baby was absolutely amazing, so no issues there (but I always tend to forget the bright spots and focus on the storm clouds instead).

After another meltdown in a somewhat-private corner, and I told my preceptor that I would rather just forget everything that happened that day, because I was so upset with my performance.  The day had started off really well, but as the day progressed I began to get in over my head a bit, which lead to more hard lessons learned.  Side note: when I reference “mistakes” or “hard lessons,” I just want it understood that no one was harmed in any way from these mistakes.

My greatest fear has always been that I wouldn’t be able to keep up as a NICU nurse.  I live in constant fear of falling behind, and the greatest over-arching fear of all of us residents is that we will make a mistake that will harm a baby.  Because of these fears, I push myself constantly.  I get frustrated and discouraged when I don’t meet the ideal I have set up for myself in my mind.  But I am slowly learning to accept where I am in the learning process.  I will get knocked down more times than I can count, but I need to always get back up and learn from whatever situation knocked me down in the first place.

I am so grateful to be where I am.  But I do wish that the lessons would be a bit more pleasant sometimes…

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