The National Association of Neonatal Nurses (NANN) Conference starts tomorrow…
… and I’m so freaking happy to be going! Three days of instruction and learning and being with so many neonatal nurses and neonatologists! I could scream!
I am a nerd, this was always me in school:
And it’s only gotten worse as I’ve gotten older and had experience teaching myself. And I love conferences and workshops…
So I’ve spent the last couple of hours mapping out my schedule and looking at all my handouts and generally, just looking like this on my couch:
Yeah… it’s going to be a great three days.
I’m going to start volunteering at the local hospital this week in their NICU. I’m really excited, it’s what I’ve wanted to do since I was in middle school, and I’m a senior in college now. But I’m really nervous and scared. I’ll be (hopefully) going to graduate school next fall for nursing with a track in NNP. Do you have any words of wisdom or advice? And I’m afraid I’ll experience it firsthand and then for some reason I won’t want to go for my NNP and I’ll have no idea what I’ll want to do.
That’s great that you’re going to get to volunteer in the NICU and get a sneak peek of what that nursing specialty has to offer.
If you’re going to actually have the opportunity to do some nursing related tasks, click here for a post with some information that I typed out for another student.
As far as advice goes, I think for your situation I would tell you to just enjoy the ride. You’re either still in nursing school now or about to start it (sorry I couldn’t tell from your post) which means there are still a lot of experiences to be had. I truly hope that the NICU is everything you wish it to be, but it’s okay if it’s not. (Repeat after me: It’s okay if it’s not.)
The hard thing about nursing is that for so many of us it is a calling. It’s not just picking some major and going out there and getting any old job. It is a lifestyle. It has the potential to affect our lives just as much if not more than the patients who come under our charge.
So when you worry about not liking the specialty, it’s not the same as saying, “Hmm… I really don’t like working in retail. Maybe I’ll get an office job instead.” It’s saying, “Dear god, is this thing, this dream I have for my life a possibility? Is it going to be as beautiful and meaningful as I’ve worked it up in my mind to be?”
Maybe you’ll like it, maybe you won’t. But remember with any nursing job there are going to be days where we turn our eyes upward and shake our fists at the heavens and scream, “Why the hell am I doing this???” But most days, when we’re where we’re supposed to be, we are filled with the peace of knowing that what we do makes a difference for our patients and for ourselves.
You’ll find your niche either way. I promise! I know this first-hand. When I started the nurse residency program I was just sure that I wanted to work in pediatric hematology/oncology. And guess what? When I had my shift rotation through that department, I didn’t like it! It wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. But I fell in love with the NICU, (ironically enough, my first nursing love way back to the days of high school), and fortunately for me that’s where I landed.
Sure, I was surprised that I didn’t like heme/onc. I was already a member of the Oncology Nursing Society and I had volunteered in an adult oncology clinic before, so I felt I had a realistic expectation of what I would see. I had in my mind that I was going to work there.
But I didn’t know what I didn’t know! I didn’t know that I love being in a critical care environment. I didn’t know that I would love working with infants. I didn’t know that I would love the dynamic that is created between the families and the NICU team.
But getting out there and experiencing it with an open mind… keeping your eyes and ears and heart open… taking everything in… that’s what this experience can afford you. Many people don’t have this type of opportunity. So enjoy it for what it is. A glimpse into what your future may be. Learn what you can while you’re there. Talk to nurses and ask them what it is about their job that they love. What do they hate? What makes them come back shift after shift?
Stay in the moment, anon. Everything else can fall into place afterwards.
I really hope this helps. Write back and let me know how it’s going!