Raising our Rookies: Katie Riordan, RN, shares how the New Grad program eased her transition
The Nursing Graduate Residency Program at AAMC has significantly helped with my transition from a nursing student to an actual, real-life nurse. I’m sure every nurse remembers the feeling of graduating from the safety nets of nursing school, then having the realization that they are now the one who is responsible for the well-being of another person. No more practice manikins with silly names, no more red Jello filled units of PRBCs, and no more “NCLEX Land,” where one has all the time in the world, along with unlimited resources.
Reality sets in, and you feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders. After spending a shadow day on the new unit, you think, “Wow, these nurses are amazing! How on earth did they know that? How am I ever going to learn all of this?” Forgotten is the fact that much was learned over the past few years.
The first few days of hospital orientation can be overwhelming; lots of new faces, navigating the underground tunnel for the first time, and let’s not forget trying to figuring out how to use that crazy phone system to clock in and out with all of the special codes and numbers to memorize.
Attending the first New Grad class brings a big sigh of relief as everyone realizes they’re not in this alone. Bonds are formed as this new journey begins, and fears of being a New Grad are shared, including struggles that are encountered on specific units. We discuss many topics and silently high-five one another as new skills are learned.
The New Grad program provides a supportive atmosphere, while connecting the rookie nurse with numerous resources available at AAMC. As more time is spent on the unit and less in the classroom, the education continues through preceptors and unit educators, all of who are essential parts of the New Grad program. You begin to fit in on your unit and start getting involved in committees, attending staff meetings, and maybe even bringing in a dish for a co-worker’s birthday potluck. Soon, twelve weeks are over and you (yes, YOU!) are working your own shifts! While support is never lacking, a sense of independence is felt for the first time. Finally, you realize, “I can do this” — even though there is still more to learn. But that’s why teamwork is a crucial element of being a nurse.
The New Graduate Residency Program helped me transition from a nursing student to a nurse. Through this program, I’ve become a part of something much bigger: the AAMC family. -Katie Riordan, RN (ED)