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I'm A New Nurse Series: "Nursing School Didn't Prepare Me For This!"

Recently I had an opportunity to sit down with our RN blogger Marianna Broz, RN and discuss her experiences both as a new nurse, and as an Internet sensation!  

HR It’s been a little more than six months since you joined All Children’s Hospital’s RN Residency Program. What are your impressions so far?

Marianna - It's definitely been a fun challenge. The way the critical care residency works, we're never in one place for too long. Though we're technically hired to an ICU, we stay on a Med/Surg floor learning how to be a nurse for about 9 months. And just as soon as you get the hang of day shift on your Med/Surg floor, you flip to nights. And just as soon as you start to accept your new life as a vampire, you get flipped back to days to start your "looping."
Looping is where I'm at now, and the way it works is every week I spend at least one shift with another specialty of the hospital. We don't necessarily take an assignment; usually it's shadowing and learning how that part of All Children's functions. We get to check out Radiology, Physical Therapy, Outpatient Neurology Clinic, Post-Anesthesia Recovery, OR, and pretty much every unit in between.
Once we hit all the specialties, the looping becomes more geared towards our home ICU unit. We start spending 1-2 days a week there until it's time to transition down completely, and then the orientation process begins all over again. The goal is for us to be off orientation in the ICU one year after being hired.
So to answer your initial question, my impression has been challenging, exhausting at times, but incredibly rewarding as I get to know the hospital inside and out.
HR – How is life on a nursing unit different from your experiences going through your Bachelor’s program at the University of Florida?

Marianna - To summarize: Entirely different. UF is a fantastic school and many of my coworkers will let you know how much I love wearing my orange and blue scrubs. But in nursing, it really is all on-the-job training. No one warns you in school that you're not just the nurse; you're also the therapist, secretary, mechanic, phone operator, waitress, and overall gatekeeper of the patient.
I think the biggest difference between school and the hospital setting is that in school, you learn expected outcomes; how things are supposed to work in an ideal world. In the hospital setting, you learn how to not panic when you realize that rarely do things ever go according to plan. So I guess adding "Expert Trouble Shooter" to the job description would be the best way to warn future nurses what lies ahead.  

HR – You are a brave person and agreed to start blogging about your experiences. How is that going?

Marianna - It's funny to me, because it's so out of my comfort zone. I've never really been a writer, but anyone who knows me will admit I am an avid story teller. Which is what's funny about writing a blog...the people who read it may or may not even know me, yet they know my stories.

But it actually has been pretty fun and a nice way to capture some of the stuff I'm going through now that I otherwise may not have remembered once I'm old and completely senile.

HR - What are some of the new things you are experiencing as part of your training? And will we be reading about them in future blog posts from you?

Marianna - As we're starting to prepare for transition, all the Critical Care Residents now have class every other week. These classes specifically focus on what you'll find while working in an ICU and so far have been pretty awesome, for lack of a better word. The week before class, we have online modules assigned for us to complete; each session focusing on a different body system.

In class we have lecture for a bit, then a hands-on portion in our Simulation Center, and finally tying it all together by going up to ICUs to see these complex patients up close. And then, true to form, a lunch date afterwards where we all debrief on everything we did.
As far as the future blog posts go, I don't doubt I'll have more stories. Because I'm still so new, every day there's at least one moment where I have to take a step back and ask myself "Is this really happening?" But hopefully that feeling won't go away anytime soon, because honestly that's what makes me able to get up in the morning and come back for more.

Check back each month to hear the latest from Marianna as she continues to share real life stories of what it's like to launch a professional Nursing career here at All Children's Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine.

- Jay

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