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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63 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

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  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!

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    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

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  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!

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    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

      1. Aww, of course, Shireen! I am not always timely, but when I get the chance to sit down and read them they make my day. I always tell my husband there is no way for me to truly express my gratitude to this community here. The encouragement I’ve received from you and others has really made the difference this past year. ❤ I hope you have a beautiful rest of your weekend!!

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  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!

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  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!! 😊😊

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    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

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  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!!

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    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!

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    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!!! ❤️

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  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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    1. Thank you SO much, love!!! It means the world that you took the time to read and leave such sweet words ❤ I just saw that you have a new post up… EEEK! Can't wait to read. Have a beautiful day and week, dear.

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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.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, thank you, Rhonda!!!! So basically Clinical Nurse II is just more of an experience title than anything- signifying you are a not a baby nurse any longer! (It helps with giving a boost in others’ confidence in you so to speak 😉 ). At most hospitals it takes years or at least a year to get to II, so the fact that our program promotes at 6 months is HUGE in nursing land, lol. Thank you again, fo ryour sweet words and yes, truly all glory to God- this whole story is His, because I’m still not even sure how I get into this program in the first place. Haha. Sending huge hugs! Happy Sunday!! XO

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  12. Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!! (Did you just hear me scream!?!) I am so flipping excited for you! Congrats beauty! You seriously deserve it! AND Huge hugs!
    Lol. A big amen! But sweets we really are our own worst critics.
    I think I have mentioned her before but a friend and mentor Jennifer Pastiloff always talks about how you can have fifty people in a room and forty-nine of those love you, but you end up focusing on the fiftieth who for whatever reason hates you and you get so caught up in that one person instead of focusing on all of the good. It is something we all struggle with but seriously beauty I sincerely mean it when I say you are superwoman with all you are doing! You amaze me every single day and I am so proud of all you do.
    You are far from a hypocrite sweetheart you are HUMAN. Humans make mistakes. But what makes you SO AMAZING at your job is that you actually care when you make mistakes. You don’t just say oh well, and move on, you want to do better. That is what makes you so incredible and yes superwoman!
    It is hard to not let the mistakes hinder you and weigh you down, and that is when you need to find that tricky thing called balance (wait what is that?) and you will find it!
    Girl PLEASE brag away! You deserve it!!! I mean titrate lido-what???? The fact you can do all this amazing stuff is so cool!
    I am so proud of you and of everything you have accomplished. I know it may not always seems it, but you are rocking your journey and writing a story that is uniquely you, the one that God deemed you are worthy to pursue and you are SO worthy sweets! I can not wait to see where the next six months take you, but I know you will own it like the rock star nurse you are! So much love to you sweet sweet beauty Congrats again! ❤ ❤ ❤

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    1. OH MY GOSHHHH! This comment just made me smile so big. Your comments always do!!!! Side note.. I read this comment with the Game of Thrones theme song playing in the background. Quite serendipitous, aye!?

      Thank you SOOOO much for sharing in this with me. Your mentor is a wise, wise woman. It’s SO true, why is that that we hang onto every little criticism? I think becoming aware of this, is important so we can stop ourselves from doing it, and focus on the positive! Thank you, thank you THANK YOU for your sweet words. Gosh, I can’t explain how much they mean… the last two days were especially hard, like a new level of difficult, but these words gave me a new energy and zest to face the next day. So thankful for you ❤ And thank you again for your encouragement over this past year. (I hope you didn't take a shot every time I said thank you in this comment back 😉 ). Sending you BIG hugs and so much love. I hope this week has been better for you, and I know whatever you are facing you are doing so with the utmost grace and strength (even if it doesn't feel like it sometimes). YOU are superwoman. I admire you tons, Kate. XOXOXO

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      1. YOUR comment just made me smile so big thank you for your sweet words beauty I needed to hear them!
        Haha it is very serendipitous. I love that you are hooked! And girl what season are you on? I have a feeling you are giving my brother and SiL a run for their money with binge watching (they watched it in a month those crazy kids! 😀 )
        You are very welcome sweets anytime! I have actually been reminding myself of her words the last couple weeks. It is sooo true! It is so much easier to tear ourselves down, and even harder to build ourselves up. Sending you SO much love sweets! You will get through this! Have I mentioned you are superwoman? You WILL get through this. You are much stronger then you think 🙂 ❤ I am so glad anytime sweets I am here for you always! Oh darn I knew I was forgetting something while reading this ;p Hehe Seriously anytime love, I am here always! You are one of the sweetest and strongest people I know and when this is all said and done you are going to be the BEST nurse in your field. You already are! Not just because you are intelligent but because you have the biggest heart of anyone I know and you genuinely care! Thanks so much sweets. Now who needs to take a shot? hehe but seriously thank you! I needed to hear that. I am so flipping grateful for you! Oh sweets I admire you! You are amazing! SO SO SO MUCH love to you sweets! ❤ ❤ ❤

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      2. Ahhhh we are on season 7 with like three episodes left! I am gonna be in bad shape when they’re over. The last scene was when the dead dragon knocked down the wall. One of the most freaking epic scenes ever. You are the sweetest, Kate- and your words are so genuine that I believe them and they give me a new gusto to face that neuro floor 💕 I can’t wait to see what adventures you are up to! Love you so much! 😘

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      3. I might have been VERY VERY VERY bitter about season seven being shortened (Did I mention Iw as bitter?) BUT it was an amazing scene!
        Awe sweets huge hugs! I am so glad! You are going to do amazing! You already are doing amazing! I am so proud of you! Love you so much sweets! ❤ ❤ ❤

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      4. OK! When I messsaged you I thought we had like three episodes left… then we realized that was the LAST ONE. We didn’t even know… I had a legit like breakdown. I can’t.. even… deal. I need GOT in my life. WHAT WILL I DOOOOOOOOOO

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      5. Breathe with me sweets. BREATHE with ME! All is not lost, we can go to GOT Anonymous! There we get to cosplay GOT, discuss theories, and film our own episodes, because the producers are taking to long! All is NOT lost! ;p ❤
        Okay but seriously, WHY are we suppose to wait that long? Uhhhhh. ❤

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      6. Hahah- you’re the besttttt. Seriously what would I do without ya. And literally your idea of GOT anonymous sounds like actual heaven. Also, please tell me you are going to be Daenerys for halloween! Anytime we get down in the dumps it’s good to know we have each other to make it through. But honestly– I might have a kid by that point. I can’t have a kid sitting around with Games of Thrones on?! I can’t dealll.

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      7. Awe I feel the same way beauty! Love you mucho! Bwahaha right? I think it needs to be a thing! Yes I am going too! 🙂 I need to find a wig (or clip on extensions!) Seriously! You brighten my days sweets! You literally are the best! SO grateful for you! Ahhhhh A little Mac! I just got super excited! Haha that is when you run them around all day so they pass out early so you can watch…or bribe them…I mean it is GoT… NO ONE would judge! ;p ❤

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