Kelsey shares her experience and insight since graduating from the BN program in 2018:
Where are you now?
I currently work at the Health Sciences Centre, the same hospital where I completed my senior practicum. At the moment I am on a trauma/complex spinal surgery unit, but I also work in acute medicine.
How easy was it to find a job after graduation?
I received two job offers before I even completed my senior practicum! I accepted a position in acute medicine where I was doing my final practicum, since I was already familiar with the unit. Even if there is not a position right away when you finish practicum, a lot of managers will hire new grads into casual positions until a position opens. This is a great way to gain experience, earn money and study for the NCLEX.
How did you manage the responsibility of going from student to nurse?
I used the same principles I learned from student nursing and applied them to my new practice as a nurse: ask questions, work hard, be on time and take accountability for your actions. I also relied heavily on my nursing co-workers to help with the transition; many experienced nurses are more than willing to help mentor new grads if you ask for their help and show interest to learn.
How did you build your confidence as a new nurse?
I tried to take every opportunity that scared me. If there was an especially complex patient that required a lot of nursing skills I was unfamiliar with, I would ask the charge nurse to place that patient in my assignment. The only way to build experience on the job is by doing the job. Volunteer for these types of experiences, ask for guidance when unsure and confidence will follow!
Thinking back, what were the most important lessons from school that you took into the workforce?
This is the most important lesson I learned in school: when you don’t know the answer to something, always ask! It is impossible to know everything there is to know about nursing when you graduate – not even close! The only way to learn is by asking for help from your team and doing the job. The help is always there if you ask!
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were a student?
Nursing school is hard but it is all worth it when it’s over! The RRC nursing program is incredibly difficult but it prepares you well for transitioning to practice.
What piece of advice would you give to current students?
Work hard, always seek out help when you need it and you will make it through! Nursing is an incredibly diverse field with so many areas to choose from. If you are starting to feel burnt out or that you are not able to resonate with a particular area, move to a different specialty! You don’t know until you try and there is a specialty area out there for everyone.
Thank you Kelsey for sharing your experience and words of wisdom!