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My Transition from Nursing Student to The Professional Nurse

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Career Planning

Two years ago, the thought of reaching this pivotal point in nursing school seemed so far-fetched as I tried to navigate the map that would ultimately lead to the path of success. As the curtains close on this chapter, I must say obtaining my Bachelor of Science in Nursing has been one of the most difficult yet the most gratifying thing I’ve ever done. When I reflect on the vast opportunities that lie ahead, the future I envisioned for myself is slowly taking shape, as I evolve from a mere nursing student into the professional nurse’s role. The aim of this paper is to highlight the transition from nursing student to the professional nurse role in the state of Florida, the stringent criteria for licensure in Florida, and my career plan for the next two years.

Transition into the Professional Nurse Role

Upon completion of nursing school, I will be seeking employment opportunities in the state of Florida. However, before I can obtain a job as a nurse there are certain criteria set forth by the Florida Board of Nursing that must be met. According to the Florida Board of Nursing to acquire a license the nursing student must graduate from a Florida approved or accredited nursing education program, graduate from a nursing education program that is approved or recognized by the jurisdiction in which it is based and has been issued an NCLEX code by the National Council of State Board of Nursing (NCSBN) or graduate from a military nursing education program that has been issued an NCLEX code by the NCSBN (Florida Board of Nursing , 2018). While researching jobs for new graduate nurses, Jackson Memorial Hospital, Holy Cross Hospital and Baptist Hospital offers a wide variety of opportunities from Medical-Surgical to Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for new nurses upon completion of their residency program. One of the motivators for seeking employment at Jackson Memorial and Baptist Hospital is that they are trauma hospitals, so this will allow me to build on my critical thinking skills and master my prioritization and time management skills. The main distractor from working in these trauma facilities, especially in the ICU, is that the workload can become overwhelming as patients are total care. The fact that Holy Cross is a teaching hospital is one of my main motivators for having an interest in them, as I know that the environment will always be open to continuation of education. The distractor of working in this facility is that the nurse to patient ratio is high and this may eventually create nurse burnout, poor performance, and a high risk for medication errors. To apply for a job through any of these StaRN programs there are certain criteria the new graduate must meet to be considered for the program such as, having a valid Florida nurse’s license before applying online directly to the facility website.

Holistic Life Balance

Being a mother of two, a full-time student, and working full time, I have been faced with the task of striking a balance between each individualized role. Finding a balance can be quite difficult at times, and as I transition from student nurse into the professional nurse’s role the balance in my life will shift. The nursing profession can be highly stressful as the environment is often chaotic and unpredictable so to maintain a balance in both my professional and personal life I will have to implement self-care strategies that promote physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing such as meditation. A recent study done by the American Nurses Association showed that nurses who meditate before proving client care have more clear and organized thoughts, demonstrated higher energy levels, and have a more positive outlook (American Nursing Association , 2018). To help achieve and sustain the balance, I have been practicing the art of meditation in my personal life which, has yielded fruitful results. Implementing this technique in both my professional and personal life along with managing my time effectively will aid in a more stable transition. Moreover, as I grow in my nursing profession the art of maintaining a balance will shift within the next five years. However, to maintain a balance I will have to develop new strategies and techniques that will keep me grounded, such as keeping my personal and professional life two separate entities, managing my time effectively, asking for help if needed, and questioning tasks I am unsure of.

Stressors and Challenges

Nursing is one of those professions that are recognized for having a highly stressful working environment, oftentimes due to conflicts between nurses and nurse managers, inadequate pay, poor patient to nurse ratio, and an increase in workload (Sharma, et al., 2014). New graduate nurses also face a lot of challenges when shifting into the workforce. Some of the many stressors that new graduate nurses face is: an increasing number of patients with complex conditions and multiple comorbidities, lack of access to experienced mentors and coaches, generational diversity in the workplace, and performance anxiety and bullying (Hofler, 2016). With these challenges and stressors in mind, I believe the best way to manipulate these challenges is to make patient care and safety the central point of everything. To aid in managing the stressors and challenges in the first year as a working nurse, I would apply for nursing positions through the Specialty Training Apprenticeship for Registered Nurses (StaRN) program. By looking for jobs facilitated by this program, I will receive continued training and mentorship, to improve my skills and gain confidence to become a prudent nurse and provide care in accordance to the facility protocols. As I evolve into the nursing profession, solutions to challenges and stressors will be easier to identify and overcome if I create a positive work environment, prioritize, and get tasks done in a timely manner, discuss problems and possible solutions with managers, collaborate with other team members, and resolve any confusion that needs to be addressed.

Lifelong Learning

Nursing is always evolving, and continuity in education is fundamental in providing competent patient care. As a graduate nurse hungry for experience and up to date information, my career goal for the first year is to expand on my knowledge by attending continuing education classes and seminars, taking in services on how to use and operate new equipment, and obtain my certification as a wound care and ostomy nurse. Within the next five years my goal is obtaining my master’s degree in nursing and opening my own adult day care center.

Professional Contributions

Being an active member of the National Student Nurses Association (NSNA), during my first year as a nurse I could utilize information from the NSNA Population and Global Health Committee to provide information to the underserved in my community about ways to improve health, protect themselves against diseases, and prepare for disasters. Within the next five years, I would be a certified wound care nurse and a member of the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society (WOCN); with these additional skills set I can volunteer in a public health clinic that caters to the homeless and diabetic community. Living in a community where health care disparities is across the continuum of care, some incentives that would benefit the community would be educating them on disease prevention, safe sex, early screening, immunizations, and child safety. Other incentives would include providing resources to families who are seeking respite care or facing homelessness and other health related issues. Serving the disenfranchised community will give the opportunity to interact with people from all walks of life; not only will it make me a more proficient nurse, but it will also broaden my cultural awareness.

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