I've had my nursing license since late June but I've been an employed nurse for only about 6 weeks.
It's been exciting:
Learning so much in such a short time
Meeting lots of new people that I work with
Starting my first IV
Placing my first NG tube
But last week was hard. I started night shift, which I like but is always difficult at first. The initial sleep deprivation causes me to not regulate my temperature as well, feel really cold, stops my digestive system (ewww, sorry), and I'm more emotional.
Most of the patients I see are fairly healthy, have a procedure, get some meds, and go on with their lives. Last week was different. 3 of my patients, all under 35, had cancer. Big, scary, spreading cancer. Add to that patients who wake up to find that the accident wasn't only painful, they had to have major surgeries, and their family died. Plus there were language barriers. I speak French, they didn't. Lots of other staff speak Spanish, still they didn't. So I can only use small sentences, hope they understand the call light and how to call me, hope they know the words for water and pain pill when I ask if they need anything, hope a smile translates well.
It was frustrating. It was disheartening. It was part of life as a nurse. Learning to shut off part (but not all) of your emotions so that you can help them rather than just curl up in the corner and cry, so that you can move on to the next patient, so that you can sleep when you get home, so that you can go back the next day.