Emma MacLennan shares her experience and insight since graduating from the BN program in 2018:
Where are you now?
After completing my senior practicum at the NICU at Health Sciences Centre, I am currently still there working my dream job!
How easy was it to find a job after graduation?
I was very fortunate to be able to accept a position during my senior practicum. I started applying for jobs as they came up during practicum. I started in a full time term position and have since then been able to secure a full time permanent position.
How did you manage the responsibility of going from student to nurse?
I think I had a pretty smooth transition from student nurse to nurse. Of course it was a little bit intimidating your first shift on your own but you come to realize very quickly that there are many nurses around to support you. I believe it’s still important to ask questions and take advantage of any learning opportunities. Your learning doesn’t stop after you transition from the student role; for me it really had just begun and I learn new things almost every shift!
How did you build your confidence as a new nurse?
As I became more familiar with the unit and the babies on the unit I became more comfortable with the care I was providing and the conditions I was seeing which allowed me to become more confident in my assessments and advocating for my patients. I also found building relationships with other nurses, RTs, OTs, doctors and other members of the health care team helped gain other perspectives which helped me build my knowledge base and look at things from different perspectives. Having a good understanding of why you are doing something and the rationales for it really helps you feel more confident in the care you are providing!
Thinking back, what were the most important lessons from school that you took into the workforce?
I think for me the most important skills were organization, communication and a willingness to learn. Obviously your fundamental knowledge is important but in my experience I was given so much education upon starting on my unit that I didn’t feel I was stressed out or worried about not remembering things I learnt at school. I also don’t think I would have learned as much as I have without having a willingness to learn; you really get out what you put in. I have fully taken advantage of seeking learning opportunities on my unit and seeking out information and communicating with those around me what I feel comfortable with and what I would like more experience with.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were a student?
It’s ok not to know everything! In fact no one expects you to know everything. It’s important to be able to recognize what you don’t know or aren’t comfortable with and seek out help from those around you.
What piece of advice would you give to current students?
Don’t forget to take time for yourself and do the things you enjoy! Nursing is one part of your life; don’t neglect other aspects of your life that are important to you.
Thank you Emma for sharing your experience and words of wisdom!