Nursing School Over…Real World Nursing 1 Year Later?!


I had all these glorious plans to write in this blog all through nursing school to help me through. Well… this blog did help me decompress and share my story, but as soon as nursing school got crazier, I left this blog in the dust. I went back to read all my old posts and I was inspired to continue this blog, post nursing school. Obviously I survived my nursing school experience. Now surviving the career of nursing is a whole other beast. I thought nursing school was hard? Can I go back to school now!?  Here is my attempt to condense the last year into one blog to play catch up!

I decided it would be a good idea to find a new grad job that offered the most experience. From that thought,  I found myself becoming a medical float nurse for 3 units. In theory it sounded like a good idea, but in practice it was rough. They forgot to tell us in nursing school that the learning curve for the real world is STEEP! Real nursing does not follow the books and no amount of clinical could prepare me for being the primary nurse for 4-7 patients.  I persevered through this job for about 9 months. In this 9 months I cried a lot, did not go pee, hardly ever got a break, and worked my butt off. I had moved in with my fiancé, Chris, a few months before and could feel the impact it had between the two of us. I came home everyday complaining, crying, sad, head pounding, and losing myself and who I was. I was miserable.  Over time, things got slightly better as I gained experience. The new problem was I began to have favoritism to one unit. I liked the staff, the patients, and the oncology speciality. Everyday I came into the office to see where I was going, I would be filled with stress about where I would be floated next. On the other units I would usually end up being a detox nurse and that was not something I was passionate about. To top it all off, after a year, I would have to float sometimes 2-3x a day. As a new grad, nursing was stressful enough on one unit and I felt I was not able to master my role by being stretched so thin between all three. units  I attempted to secure a job in the unit I had a passion for, but was unable to get a position and could not go another day as a float nurse. Management encouraged me to stick with the process and after a year things would get better, but the skepticism pushed me away. Therefore, I began my search for a different unit.

Chris and I decided to move to another suburb. I stumbled upon a different hospital system only 15 minutes from home. The position was for a general/ orthopedic surgical nurse.  I went to interview and fell in love with the hospital and the unit seemed like a good place to continue to grow and gain experience. Boy was I right. I have  seen more lines, tubes, drains, incisions, and procedures than I ever imagined or experienced on my medical units.  In hindsight, the previous hospital was right about things getting easier after one year… but I was struggling and naive of the process. As soon as I got onto this unit, it was as if I was a new grad all over again. I felt the same struggles as before and felt the STEEP learning curve. I questioned nursing everyday. I researched and looked for ways to get out of this field. Luckily I have a husband who supports me with everything I do. He allowed me to look around at other jobs and even the opportunity to quit. But each time he offered this option, I felt something holding me back. I had some other experiences outside of nursing and realized this unit may not be my forever unit, but nursing and medicine, and health run through my veins. This is the place I was meant to be. That is why I am still here!

I did go part-time to get through working night shift. Night shift does not agree with my body well! After going part time, I feel I am better able to manage the emotions and challenges that nursing brings and I can give it my all!  Meanwhile, I am also studying to be a personal trainer, my other passion, exercise! Speaking of which…. I am suppose to be studying right now. As I enter this new realization and continue to go through the challenges of nursing, I stumbled upon a gem of a book, Oh Sh*t, I Almost Killed You! A LITTLE BOOK OF BIG THINGS NURSING SCHOOL FORGOT TO TEACH YOU , By Sonja M Schwartzbach, BSN, RN, CCRN. I wish this book was available when I first started my nursing career, but I am grateful it is here now. I still feel I am a new grad.  So far, there is some great insight in this book and Sonja shows nurses that we are not alone in the way we feel. As I mentioned before, nursing school cannot teach you what real nursing will be like, but this book definitely gives some amazing insight into the real world of nursing. Can’t wait to read more!

So here I am. Surgical care RN at night and  NASM personal training student during the day. Trying to figure out how I can blend my passions into one and make the most of my career and life!


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