The Adequacy in Inadequacy

As of August 10th I have been a working, bachelor's prepared RN for six months. As the intended audience of this post is generally my fellow new nurses and those who will come behind me, I take no offense to those of you who skip this entry. However, I will say that despite most of it being medical, there is, as always, a deeper message. Also, for friends and family who ask questions like "how is it going?" and "are you liking it?", here is some insight into the depths of nursing.

February 2014 I walked into my place of employment with my degree and license in hand. There were mixed emotions. They mostly consisted of nervousness, impatience and inadequacy. I wanted so badly to be THAT nurse. THAT nurse who could spit pathophysiology so clearly, patients understood it as easily as a children's book. THAT nurse who could juggle six patients and still find the time to help her coworkers. THAT nurse who listened to her patients, to not only medically related conversation, but their personal stories that would touch her heart. THAT nurse who could fully understand the correlation between the human body and the human spirit. THAT nurse whose patients were simply gracious for her work at the end of her shift.
Instead, I was THIS nurse. THIS nurse who was apprehensive to come to work EVERYDAY. THIS nurse who had to look up every lab's reference range. THIS nurse who was terrified of calling a physician. THIS nurse that had to reference medication information before passing meds to a patient because the memorization just wasn't there. THIS nurse who asked so many questions she was positive all of the seasoned nurses hated her. THIS nurse who could not keep the literal shit off of her scrubs or keep the metaphorical shit from piling up as the day trudged on. THIS nurse who couldn't always look at the entire picture of care management. THIS nurse who shook so bad when starting an IV she ended up blowing more veins than not. THIS nurse who so often questioned her abilities and aptitude for the career she had fought so hard for. THIS inadequate nurse who wanted so badly to be THAT adequate nurse.

Some of the raw, unedited thoughts that were with me for a majority of my first few months as an RN, I will keep mainly to myself because nursing is not only a career, it is a very personal journey of self discovery. Some days are great. Some days I leave work feeling as if I changed lives. That is what we should always be striving for, unfortunately the reality is much less profound. Some days are hard, really hard. I'm talking 12 hour shifts that assault you emotionally, intellectually and physically, bringing you to your breaking point. Days that I have stood in a patients room and silently asked myself why in the hell did an insufficient woman like myself choose one of the only careers where other human lives are in my hands daily?

Six months in, I will say that THIS nurse is THAT nurse. Because THIS nurse and THAT nurse were never very different to begin with. I fully understand that the strikingly exquisite part of science and medicine is that no one can ever completely, without a doubt "get it". It gets easier to differentiate lung and heart sounds, you learn with time and experience the best ways to manage care, and the overall understanding increases tenfold, but there is always learning to be had. The beauty in nursing, or any field, is that you are ALWAYS lacking. It is when you believe that you are fully adequate that you become inadequate. To constantly crave knowledge, to lust for it,  is the most beneficial desire a human can ever have. 



  1. Liz, I love this. It feels like you've taken my first 3 weeks in the classroom and put them into words.

  2. Thank you for your kind words, Emily.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

25: Farewell to the "young" in "young adult"

Be The Helpers

Donor 5##