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Anna Schrodt, APRN, FNP-C

Anna Schrodt, APRN, FNP-C, has been a nurse in Dallas, TX for more than a decade. She began her career on a busy labor and delivery unit in South Dallas in 2008, staying there for 10 years. Now she works in a family practice setting focusing on community health.

Anna shares advice for new nurses, why it’s OK to make mistakes and how nursing helped her learn compassion.

Advice To New Nurses

I would encourage you to look at each day as an opportunity. Perhaps your first job isn’t where you imagined or your preceptor is tougher on you that you were prepared for. Don’t dwell on it. Take the moments offered to you and reap what you can from each experience. Realize there is so much more to learn from nursing than simply nursing skills or the action of medications. You will learn the invaluable skill of how to communicate with people from other nationalities, ethnicities, backgrounds and belief systems.

On Her First Job

I recall the excitement of being offered the internship at a particular facility. I knew it would be tough and challenging, but with the spirit of a novice nurse ready to help the world, I couldn’t wait to get started. I can say with absolute confidence the first year of being a registered nurse was the hardest year of my life. Starting off as night shift, it took my body time to get used to the grueling 12 (or more like 14 after charting) hour shifts. The mental demand was high, each shift filled with learning medications, bedside care techniques and even how to have certain conversations with doctors and patients in a professional and compassionate way.

Why Making Mistakes Is OK

You learn by making mistakes – and there are plenty of them. I remember loading a syringe of 30 mL of IV pain medication into a pump delivery system and managing to squirt a third of the medication on the counter while my preceptor just shook her head in awe of my clumsiness. Each mistake, while stressful, taught me an invaluable lesson. But the rewarding moments were more plentiful than the scary ones, although maybe not as well recalled. You don’t clearly remember the first time you started an IV without help or offered wise counsel and explained a treatment or illness to a patient with confidence. These things just happen.

Lessons Learned

You will learn how to offer compassion – even when you don’t want to. This is a true skill, being able to see the benefit of and the professionalism of offering compassion and empathy even if is undeserved. This skill will serve you well as a nurse for years to come. You will learn to be a part of something bigger than yourself. Nursing is all about multidisciplinary teamwork. I can’t recall a time I ever felt more a part of a team than after that first year of nursing. I realized that no patient is cared for or healed by one individual. And being able to work with team members offers the not only the gift of good patient outcomes and well-rounded care, but also the gift of friendship.

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