The act of remembrance as defined by Merriam-Webster is “the state of bearing in mind, an act of recalling to mind, a memory of a person, thing, or event, something that serves to keep in or bring to mind, a greeting or gift recalling or expressing friendship or affection.” It is through these acts of remembrance that nurses can take time to reflect upon where they came from. This month’s blog will focus on Lilian Mugweni’s remembrance of her first day as a nurse on a busy unit at the Women’s Health Centre within HSC. Lilian graduated from the University of Manitoba with her BN in 1999 and completed her Master’s degree in Nursing in 2009.
When asked about her first day as a nurse, the first thing that came to Lilian’s mind was “I was so nervous. I think my biggest fear was being asked questions by the patients and not knowing the answers.” I hardly slept the night before. “I had just finished my senior practicum on the same unit so I knew the unit, the staff and some of the patients. I think this helped because when I started my shift my preceptor was there.” Lilian went on to share that although she was familiar with the unit, she did not feel confident in her own abilities to handle the more difficult nursing responsibilities. She stated that she felt overwhelmed and tired. Having her preceptor there for support was invaluable. The shift went well because of this. Finding that support person early on is so important. All the nursing and support staff were very supportive from that day onward on WRS5.
Another lesson Lilian would like to impart about her first day experience is that she wishes that she had taken some time off between practicum and starting her full-time nursing position. She stated, “I needed to work, I had bills to pay. It was exciting to start my career. I just wish that I had taken a week off to get some rest and take some time to reflect about what I learned during practicum.”
As nurses, we work so hard to make sure we are providing the best possible care. As new graduates, there is a sense of urgency to get things started. Even though one might be familiar with the unit where one is hired does not guarantee nerves of steel. Remember that it is normal to feel some kind of nervousness and that finding our way has its ups and downs. In the end, nurses are all striving for the same thing: safe competent care.
Post written by: Corrina Zacharkiw RN MN
Interview: Lilian Mugweni RN MN