Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Becoming a Nurse

I am very close to finishing my first semester of my Practical Nursing program. So much theory, so many skills, and so much knowledge can be taught, but some qualities and attitudes cannot be learned in a classroom... they must be already there, or at least they must be incubating, ready to emerge. I am confident in the classroom learning theory, or taking a multiple choice test, or writing a paper, but when it comes to hands-on work, applying what I have learned to what I do, when it comes to displaying the caring that I know is within me, I lack self-assurance and I falter. I have never had to apply my education to practical hands-on work to this degree before. In my previous jobs, as a receptionist, an order desk clerk, and as a long-time nursery worker, when I faced challenges, I didn't feel like the same capable person as I am in academic pursuits. My nursery job wasn't particularly challenging, so I didn't have a lot of instances of self-doubt, but my first office job certainly wasn't confidence-building. How can I learn to be confident, self-assured, capable, and caring, as I continue my transformation into a nursing professional?

4 comments:

Karen / Clint said...

Thanks for sharing, Suzanne. I've never been in your white nurse's shoes before, but my sisterly advice is: pray, pray, pray, try, try, try, and practice, practice, practice. You'll get there, and you probably won't be able to say when you did, but little by little you'll make it if you don't give up.

Suzanne said...

Thanks Karen. I have been getting a lot of the kind of advice lately!
But it is very wise. My evaluation by my teacher was very positive so I think the more I practice the more proficient I will become and the more confidence I will project. At least I have a friend from my first clinical group that agreed we would stick together. She is very competent and also caring. I am looking forward to working with her.

Anonymous said...

read a great book lately called "shop class as soul craft." In it the author argued, among many other things, that our modern work culture has eroded the nature of true self confidence. These days, he suggested, we focus on building up self-esteem, giving praise, that kind of thing. Traditionally, however, confidence grew naturally out of actual accomplishments. The builder, for example, could be confident because the house he built was still standing. He didn't need anyone to say nice things to him or try to build up his self esteem. All he needed to do was point out the building still successfully standing, and that was all the grounds for confidence that he needed.

I don't agree with him completely, but I do part way; he makes part of a good point, and I think it might work for you.

In other words, to answer your question: how can you build confidence as a nurse? Just be a good nurse. Do a good job of it, and let your accomplishments speak on your behalf. Then you won't need to build confidence; you'll just have it.

r

Suzanne said...

Thanks r, I have come to reply on you offering some wise advice. That book makes a good point, and I would agree that focusing on being a good nurse and doing my best, I will naturally gain confidence. Sometimes I need confidence though to even be willing to try a new skill. In those instances I guess I can look back at all the skills I have already mastered and tell myself that trying my best is enough and I am not expected to be perfect right away.