Six Month Nursing Evaluation & Reflection- Good News!

HEY GUYS! Wow, a ton has happened since my last post, and I am stoked to update you all! I am going to whip out another post soon about my friend from college who visited, but I want to do a quick six month nursing reflection realz quick for my own archives.

**If you want to read my last nursing update, hit up dis link **

So, as you know, I had my meeting on Monday for my six month evaluation and end of the probation period since beginning this nursing gig in March. Most people said if we haven’t had any prior “conversations” we were probably in the clear, but being me, every little thing I’ve done wrong since beginning this job just danced around in my mind. When I went into the office, the response I received from my managers, patients, and coworkers shocked me- it was so uplifting, encouraging, and positive. She quickly said she was excited to promote me to a clinical nurse II (Eeeek!). Like I said- I was shocked. Shocked.

This was tremendously different than the voice that I’ve been feeding myself this whole time. If she had asked, I could have given her a list a mile long of everything I have done wrong, everything I need to improve on, everything I’m too slow at accomplishing, everything I don’t fully understand, and every failure I’ve had since beginning.

I have a bad, bad habit of beating myself up over everything. Can I get an amen from my fellow perfectionists out there?

For instance, I could have several truly beautiful and meaningful interactions with my patients, but that one patient I feel I fail is the one I dwell on. I could do twenty things right, but that one little mistake is what keeps me up at night. That’s called negativity, ladies and gentleman. And wowza, after realizing how much I wallowed in that negativity, this truth hit me bold in the face: I am a hypocrite. Allow me to explain. Just the other day I was sitting with one of my patients that was having some negative self talk. I sat down next to this elderly man, and presented him the positive side of every negative thing he had just said. Then I grabbed a water bottle at his bedside that was serendipitously half full and held it out in front of him. I looked at him, this man who I couldn’t get to crack a smile the whole day and said, “Now, is this half full or half empty?”. He looked at me, totally catching on to what I was doing, and reluctantly he broke a small smile. After a long few seconds of deciding whether he should appease his dorky nurse, he finally said, “Half full”.

Yup, there is always a half full. I was just missing it, and apparently I was not living what I was preaching.

This whole evaluation process helped me realize several things. First, the perspective I have had of myself as a nurse is quite different than how those around me perceive me, but more importantly- how my patients perceive me. The feedback from them means more to me than anything else, and the fact that it was all positive meant the world. I know I have failed them at times, and some days on the unit I am simply too busy to provide the emotional support I wish I could. However, seeing that it’s been all positive feedback means somehow I am still conveying I care, even when I feel that I’m failing. Second, I learned it’s actually okay necessary to be kind and forgive myself. Every mistake I have made up to this point has only made me a better nurse. The inability to let go of these “less than perfect” circumstances only creates turmoil in myself, it’s a destructive seed that benefits no one and manifests in hair loss and a chronically upset stomach. Ain’t nobody got time for that! Soo, I am choosing to forgive myself and offer myself grace. Third, although it’s super important to learn from the mistakes and look for constant improvement, it’s also okay to acknowledge when I do something well. I need to start realizing that I am competent, because this will translate into confidence, allowing my patients to have more confidence in me.

This has been hands down the hardest six months of my life, and I have spent far too much reflecting on my many, many failures. So now I will take time to reflect on the successes. (This is strictly for me to be able to reflect and document my growth as a nurse- not at all in a sense to come off braggadocious because, let’s be real, I could write five novels on how I screw up daily).

Thinking back to when I started on the neuro. unit six months ago, the growth and learning that has taken place really blows my mind (pun totally intended). I cannot take for granted this opportunity and experience, and I reflect with a thankful heart despite the countless tears, heartache, anxiety, and well, insanity.

Six months ago I could not interpret lab values or interpret what was important, but now I’m managing critical labs and hanging potassium like it ain’t no thing. Six months ago I couldn’t titrate a lumbar drain or an EVD, now I can work in the neuro close observation room managing a couple at once. Six months ago I couldn’t perform a thorough neuro exam or identify a patient stroking or developing ICP, now I feel confident calling stroke codes and requesting stat CT scans. Six months ago I wouldn’t have the first clue in knowing how to manage a patient’s blood pressure using only PRNs, but now I will bring a BP down from 170 to 130 in less than 30 minutes. Six months ago I couldn’t do discharge teaching or admissions, now I am doing multiple at once (slowly, but surely!). Six months ago I didn’t know what to report to a doctor, but now I know am making recommendations. Six months ago I had no clue how to turn a patient or reposition them, now I dare you to get a pressure ulcer on my watch. Six months ago I was terrified of IV pumps, now I titrate lidocaine and heparin drips. Six months ago I had no clue how to work with PT, OT, SLP, or case management, but now we coordinate care together daily. Six months ago I didn’t know how to collect spec. gravs or draw blood from central lines, now I’m managing DI and SIADH with every hour Is and Os and shooting that blood up in a tube to lab is oh so satisfying. Six months ago I would shake in my scrubs at the idea of changing a PICC dressing, now it’s one of my favorite nursing skills. Six months ago, I was too emotionally and physically exhausted most days to do anything outside of work, now I am making plans with friends again. Six months ago, I didn’t take the time to stop and pray with my patients, now I try to offer whenever I can. Six months ago, I didn’t put my full strength in Christ, but now I surrender every single day to Him, because without Him, I would not have made it through these six months. These victories are not my own, rather it’s the victory of all the family and friends who have supported and encouraged me. It’s my husband’s victory, who has been my rock this past six months when I’ve been crumbling. And ultimately, it’s the victory and glory of the One who has carried me each second of the day. (Oh, and I guess coffee deserves a shout out too).

Thank you all for your sweet words and prayers leading up to the evaluation. Also- I received the stamp of approval on my research project today, so that’s what I, and a couple others from my unit, will be tackling for the next six months. I am absolutely giddy about it, and one eager beaver to share it with ya’ll in March!

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xo ❤

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47 thoughts on “Six Month Nursing Evaluation & Reflection- Good News!

  1. Wow, I don’t even know where to start. You are incredible young woman with so much wisdom! Many congratulations! I cannot believe all that you’ve achieved in six months. I am very much the same as you with perfectionist tendencies in a lot of aspects of my life. Thank you for sharing your reflections. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my gosh, thank you so much, Kori! I respect you tremendously, so these words mean the absolute world! We are SUPER similar, and many of your posts have sparked such formative and awesome thoughts/conversations through this time. I don’t know if you know how much they have impacted me. Hope you are having a good and RESTFUL weekend! XO

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Mackenzie! I’m sooooo happy for you! I knew all along how fabulous you were though 😉I’m so glad you’ve shared it with all of us. Congrats on your research project approval and can’t wait to hear about it and your college friend visit soon. Still in my prayers xo!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhhhh!!!! Thanks so much, Kristin!!!!!! Your encouragement and prayers mean EVERYTHING to me! I can’t tell ya how thankful I am for your friendship. Can’t wait to get a few days off to catch up on what you are up to! XO

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations! You have come so far in such a short amount of time, and just think 5 years from now you will look back and see even how much further you will be. Enjoy this moment, continue to focus on the positive, continue to know you were put there for a reason and will make a difference in someone life. From one Nurse to another: I’m proud of you : Keep praying / Keep Faithing/ Keep learning and growing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mary! Oh my goodness, first- I just adore your blog. I haven’t commented but I’ve read many of your posts and admire you a ton. Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving such thoughtful words of encouragement ❤ These words mean absolutely more than I can say coming from an experienced nurse! Thank you for making my day and the awesome advice. I hope you have a beautiful weekend ahead! Thank you sooo much for taking the time to read and comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hearty congrats. I think your patients are the luckiest.
    I’ve seen one thing in life. Love is real. When you do something with love – it shows. You are a loving and caring person. That is the most important thing. On top of it you are highly skilled and knowledgeable too. (I’m sure). Kudos to you.
    Love and hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Shireen!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Your sweet comments and words have been so uplifting during this time. Thank you for the sweet affirmation and you are SO right that ultimately LOVE is what matters. Even if I fail in other ways, I hope I can share this care and love to my patients. Thank you again for your words of encouragement. I hope you have the best weekend ahead!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ah congrats on the good news and promotion! That’s so fantastic. Your patients are lucky to get such a sweet nurse like you. I love the honesty of this. When you start a new job it’s easy to dwell on everything you do wrong (since you are learning!) but a few months in you’re doing all of that and more on a daily basis.

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    1. Aww, thank you SOO much, Maureen ❤ You are so right- I think I forget that I am facing a massive learning curve every single day and making mistakes is unfortunately a huge part of that! Thanks tons for your encouragement and sweet words. Have such a great weekend, beauty!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Congrats doll!!! I knew all your struggles would pay off in an amazing way for you! And I’m just like you, I’m hard on myself when I make mistakes and I beat myself up when I get into my head and tell myself that I’m not a good mother. I get fixated on little things and it’s always nice when we get external feedback because it’s reassuring that you’re doing good and not to get so hung up on the little things.
    But anyway, I’m so happy that you’re doing great and that you essentially got promoted!! 😊😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you SO much, Rossy!!!!!! We are so very similar in that way- when I’m a mom one day I’m sure I’ll be the same too, and may need someone to chat with about that! Thank you for your sweet encouragement ALWAYS 💕💕

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      1. You’re very welcome! You’re such a hardworking woman and you deserve everything coming your way! I can’t wait to see your improvement in a few more months, I’m sure you’re gonna learn tons more! ❤
        Awh, no worries, I'm sure you're gonna be a fantastic mom! ❤ xx

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh my goodness gracious Mack this overview of your nursing career had me almost in tears!! I am so proud of you girlie, you are doing it, and doing it well!! I love that you set aside the negative images you had of yourself and proceeded to write out all the beautiful and wonderful things you’ve learned and contributed to your hospital. I’m certain your patients and colleagues appreciate you and your help to the fullest. Everyone knows the hardship of being a nurse (esp fellow nurses) and mistakes are going to happen (sad but true) but mistakes are a huge learning curve. Half the things we learn in life are through our mistakes; its just a “I wish I knew then what I know now” moment.. But how great is it that you DO know now. But I’m not one to really talk either; I’m such a hypocrite when it comes to critiquing myself too, I can be pretty darn hard on myself esp when I over analyze the mistakes I’ve made- it literally plays on repeat in my head until the next thing comes around. So don’t worry girl you are sane and normal. It’s so easy to pick out the positive things for other people but I honestly think it’s just how we’re trained to think sometimes, after all we are our biggest critics. But hey in the end at least you got the feedback you needed to justify all your hard work through the struggles and successes! Just know that YOU DID IT and YOU CAN DO IT!!!! 🙂 🙂 ❤ ❤ ❤ Love you girl!!!!

    xo, JJ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. JJ!!!!!!! Girl, I don’t even know where to begin. Thank you sooooooo much from the bottom of my heart for leaving such encouragement 💕 I’m actually at work right now and needed this at this moment. We are super similar in that way of being our own worst critics. Thanks for reminding me that it’s normal and that this learning curve and mistakes are normal too. Sometimes it’s just nice to know that “it’s ok to not be ok”. Ahhhh thank you so much again, love you to pieces ! I hope you have a super great weekend. I can’t wait to have a couple days off to catch up on your happenin’s!!!!! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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  8. Finally I have time to happily read your
    blog and wow!! Praise God!!! I feel I am so much like you, especially focusing only on what I do wrong but this has been a perfect blog for me to read and I am so happy and proud of you!!! You truly are right now the best nurse I can think of! I know we were going to see where we were after 6 months and I, yes, have tears of joy for you! Love you so much and can’t tell you how this Ohio Mom is beaming from the Buckeye State!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awwww thank you, Mom ❤️❤️❤️❤️ I can’t wait for us to discuss EVERYTHING in just a few days – I think September 19th is our date?! Can’t believe it’s here already! 😳 wow! Thank you, thank you, thank you for your love and encouragement through all the crazy. It has meant the world to me! Love you!!!!

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  9. Congratulations!! That is absolutely so fantastic! What a great perspective to look back on all the things you have learned in the past six months and how far you have come. I also am such a perfectionist that I always focus on my failures, even if I’ve done several other things right, so I can completely relate with that! It’s easy to get caught up in the negative, so I try to remind myself to find the silver lining and it tends to help a lot. Love your mindset in this post.
    Congrats again, girl!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey girl!!!! Oh my goodness – thank you tons!!!!! Thank you for sharing that you are the same way and how you always find a silver lining! That’s the way to do it, but sometimes I certainly need that reminder. Thanks for your encouragement 🙂 I hope you have the best week, Tialla!!! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Congratulations!!!! I knew it was going to be a positive review! But girl I know exactly what you mean I am the same when it comes to beating myself up even though i know I shouldn’t! I guess it’s just something we all have to work on! But!! AHHHH!!! I am seriously so excited and proud of you!!!! ❤

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  11. Wonderful to hear Mekenzie! Clinical Nurse II !! Not sure exactly what that means– but I’m sure you’ll rock it and all that’s ahead!! It comes through how much you care for your patients. Thanks to God for his help day by day. Love this post! hugs.

    Like

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