It's strange to be able to look back and see how far I've come over the past four years. I was sitting over at my friends' house the other day, and I got to thinking about this because of the little fact that she was my internship preceptor way back in the dark days of nursing school.
Yeah, remember her? We went from school preceptor/student, to RN orientation preceptor/student, to coworkers, to acquaintances to friends to great friends. I was in her wedding last year, went camping with her family this past month, and occasionally we'll put back a bottle of wine and crash on the couch. It's quite amusing to look back and remember how intimidated I was by her when I started, merely because she was a real live nurse and I had no clue what I was doing.
All this musing on friendship made me reflect on how far I've come in other aspects: I'm a prn charge nurse who kind of does an okay job and doesn't let the department burn down. I have new nurses coming to me to ask questions about stuff. Most of the time I know the answer, and if I don't know it I know where to find it. The trauma surgeons know my name and think I'm semi-competent. At least, they haven't yelled at me in a few months. I got a shout-out in the department meeting for noticing a patient who just wasn't right and ended up saving a life (and I'm not even being sarcastic!). When staff started finding out I was leaving for travel nursing, quite a few of them were legitimately sad I wouldn't be there any more.
I've come a long long way since those first days. But lest you think I have gotten cocky, trust and believe: I still feel like I don't know anything. Every single day I come across something I don't know. Usually it's multiple somethings I don't know. I have patients who terrify me - usually pediatrics. There are dozens of drugs that I have never even heard of, let alone given in a stressful situation. Patients still assume I'm a new nurse (because I look like I'm fifteen on occasion), or better yet assume I'm the nursing student - it's extra fun when I answer a callbell, the patient is pissed, and they demand to see the charge nurse...and I just smile and introduce myself.
In all...I might know what I'm doing a good portion of the time, but I still don't think I'm a very good nurse. But I hold out hope that one day I'll get there. One day.