So, what's harder than the first day of clinical time on new job?
The second day.
The plan is that I'll get exposure to different procedures and then do them on my own later. This is a fairly standard approach and yet I've never been more aware of what I don't know. Part of the challenge is that each clinical site works a little differently, and since I am training as a float nurse, I am not necessarily training at the site that I will end up in. So any clinical grooves I get into here may not apply elsewhere. I was asked yesterday to get an A1C level on someone, I went to do it and realized that the equipment I learned on was totally different than what they had there and had to have someone show me how to do it all over again.
With some of the skills I need to know, like phlebotomy, I've actually learned a looooong time ago but am way out of practice. Then there are the things that are totally new and the 'first time' anxiety is profound. It's my own fault- my mind keeps jumping back to the skills I am already good at. Back at my job before nursing school, I was the coordinator of HIV counseling and family planning. I conducted rapid HIV counseling appointments- including doing the finger stick and counseling around the results. I've been so aware lately of my skill level when I left that job that I conveniently forgot what it was like when I started.
Man, I was a wreck. The training process for that was watch three appointments, be observed for three appointments and then go solo. I'm pretty sure that during the first two appointments where I was observed, I was a steady shade of red/purple the entire time. I was so self conscious about potentially screwing up that I stumbled over the counseling questions, making the already awkward topic even more so. After the appointment, my then supervisor said, " Hey, great job. Next time, remember to breathe."
Remember to breathe, Ariel.
And remember that the confidence in a new job comes from actually doing the skills over and over again and not sitting there worrying that they are going to ask you to do something outside of your comfort zone. Because, let's face it, it's all outside of the comfort zone. Hence the term 'new job'.
Bearing that in mind, I'll attempt a more direct approach with my anxiety around new skills (and old ones that need some serious review), and remember to breathe and allow myself the space to practice without hyperventilating:)