Cassidy Bodnik shares her experience and insight since graduating from the BN program in 2020:
Where are you now?
I completed my senior practicum in the NICU at HSC and have been working there since!
How easy was it to find a job after graduation?
I began applying for jobs midway through my senior practicum and acquainted myself with the manager early on, making it clear that I was interested in a position on the unit. I was very fortunate to accept a full time permanent position before I was done my practicum. I would suggest to start working on a resume early on, senior practicum goes by quickly and you don’t want to miss out on your dream job because your resume isn’t updated!
How did you manage the responsibility of going from student to nurse?
Transitioning from student to nurse is tough. I graduated in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and it was a period full of many unknowns, fears and anxiety- all things new nurses already experience without a pandemic. As a new nurse, I recognize situations where I can be independent and situations where I need to reach out for help. I have found that acknowledging that I still have a lot to learn has been helpful in decreasing my anxiety, and has helped me to put less pressure on myself. There are lots of supports in place for new nurses and everyone is more than happy to help!
How did you build your confidence as a new nurse?
With each shift that I work independently, I learn new things and feel more confident in my competency as a nurse in the NICU. I’m always aware of my own knowledge and ask questions if there is ever a time where I am unsure about something. Utilizing all members of the healthcare team is beneficial as well, as everyone has different knowledge and perspectives that they can share. I work very closely with respiratory therapists, occupational therapists, dieticians and physicians who have all taught me many things. I also take the time to educate and familiarize myself with common diagnoses, assessments, and policies/procedures. Having an understanding of why you are doing something really helps you feel confident as a new nurse. The NICU is a highly specialized area and different from a lot that was taught in nursing school, I still have lots to learn.
Thinking back, what were the most important lessons from school that you took into the workforce?
The importance of communication! In first year, I wondered why we needed to have so many courses about communication, and now I understand. Many of my responsibilities as a nurse revolve around communication. Whether it’s educating families about their child who was born premature or if I am contacting a member of the health care team with critical information, communication is an integral part of my job.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were a student?
You don’t have to know it all. Studying for hours and memorizing all the little details on a slide seem important at the time, however you really don’t have to know it all, nobody expects you to. Knowledge and experience come with time, and the more you seek out new experiences and learning opportunities on your unit, the better off you’ll be.
What piece of advice would you give to current students?
Enjoy the process of nursing school. It seems like a long time, but before you know it, you’ll be submitting your senior practicum requests and not soon after that you’ll be studying for the NCLEX and asking yourself where the time has gone.
Make as many friends as you can! Nursing school friends understand what you’re going through more than anyone and truly become your best friends.
Remember to make time for self care. There is always an assignment to do, a paper to write or an exam to study for, but making time for yourself is important in staying grounded and in good spirits.
Thank you Cassidy for sharing your experience and words of wisdom!