Donna Oige shares her experience and insight since graduating from the BN program in 2018:
Where are you now?
The NICU at St Boniface Hospital.
How easy was it to find a job after graduation?
It took me almost 3 months to get hired after graduation from time of application, to when I was interviewed, to when the job offer came. However, I was applying for specific areas and also during a very trying time in the health care field. Many changes were occurring and as a result hiring managers were very back logged and many others I knew also waited this long.
How did you manage the responsibility of going from student to nurse?
Asked lots of questions! I went from doing my practicum in a specialty area (Public Health) to being hired in another specialty area (The NICU). Many skills which transferred over however many new ones. Nursing school provides you with an important foundation of knowledge for entry level practice into the profession however there is so much more you learn based on the position you are in. My first few months as a nurse I still felt like a student again, as I was still asking questions and not quite confident yet in my role. I was also many months out of being in a hospital setting which came with a learning curve. I had my buddy shifts and a training course once I was hired and I continued to ask question after question until I eventually started feeling more and more like a real nurse.
How did you build your confidence as a new nurse?
Worked lots and gained lots of experience. I started in a full time position which I found to be very busy but it helped me to learn my job more quickly. I took deep breaths. I asked questions; lots of questions (how? what? why?). Admitted when I didn’t know or understand something. Tried to have thick skin. If someone gave me a criticism, took it constructively and learn from it. Read the policies. Observed the variations on how all of my coworkers do their jobs and utilized this to develop my own way of doing it. My confidence continues to build each day.
Thinking back, what were the most important lessons from school that you took into the workforce?
That the patient is a part of the health care team. Allow them to be a part of the discussion surrounding their health as they are the most important member of the team and why we do what we do.
Self reflection allows us the opportunity to grow. I disliked this in school however I’ve now come to realize when I reflect back on a situation it helps me to better myself as a nurse.
It’s true that the learning never stops.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were a student?
That it’s okay to not always know the answer. As a nurse I will continue to learn and the learning never stops.
What piece of advice would you give to current students?
– Ask questions to help you understand; to your instructors, classmates or even a mentor. Raise your hand in class, make sure you understand. When you’re new to the profession don’t be ashamed to admit you don’t know something.
– Support those around you who you can see might be struggling and help them to understand (be a mentor).
– Follow your passions; do your practicum in the area you are passionate about even if this means you may not get a job. The experiences I gained were invaluable. Also know that it’s ok if you don’t get a placement where you hoped. Remember that it’s doable to still become a nurse and apply to that area later and that’s okay.
– When you are halfway through your practicum you will be told you can start applying for jobs; do not wait to do this as the process takes a while. Apply right away.
– Take care of you! Time with friends/family, the gym, a walk or a warm bath or a glass of something bubbly. Do something for yourself once in a while as this time helps you refuel for what’s ahead.
– When you graduate; celebrate and pat yourself on the back as this nursing program was the hardest thing I have ever endured in my life. It’s a huge accomplishment and you should be proud of yourself!
Thank you Donna for sharing your experience and words of wisdom!