Wednesday, February 21, 2007

welcome to nursing

The year is nearly two months old, but in some ways I feel as if my working year has just begun! The 2007 graduate nurses are out on the wards, and I have the task of smoothing the path of another cohort as they ease their way into the workforce. The graduates are all excited and jittery and earnest in their efforts to be a good nurse. I am smiling and encouraging them in an effort to provide good support.

They might be anxious and apprehensive, but I’m delighted to see them! Last year I let myself slump into a malaise – I don’t really know what I did for the last six months. Nothing?!

The extent of my slackness became evident when I was asked to provide a referee report for a graduate. When I sat down to gather my thoughts and write I could remember lots of pleasant chats, but recalling their practice?… I couldn’t! I know I observed them, answered their questions, provided supervision and direction on a number of occasions, but I can’t remember anything specific about their practice. When I consulted my notes – I found a few scribbles here and there in my diary. No formal evaluation, nothing!

If that was the only evidence of my slump it wouldn’t be too bad, but there’s more! The 2006 graduates are in the process of completing their practice portfolios. They’re racing around asking for signatures here and there, making last minute records and squashing 12 months of reflection into one week. I know they’re responsible for their own development – but didn’t I check their progress towards completion of the book and spur them on to professional growth? Nope.

And then there are the interviews where I sat with the graduates and preceptors to provide clinical feedback. Same as the referee report really – what can I feedback when I haven’t observed much of their practice? “You’re doing well. You have good skills. You’ve made progress over the last year.” Great. That’s really useful and meaningful feedback that will definitely help them develop greater competence. Not.

I don’t know what I did for the last six months – whatever it was, it didn’t amount to much. My body might have been at work everyday, but my mind was elsewhere.

What a relief that the 2007 graduates are here – this is my chance to make amends. With this new group I can start afresh, enthusiastically and energetically supporting them, observing them and recording everything I see and do! When it comes time to report on their progress I’ll be armed with all the information I need.

Welcome to nursing, graduates of 2007! Welcome back to nursing Muse!

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