The rapid and undetected spread of COVID-19 presents healthcare and nursing professionals with huge challenges. Nurses work on the front line, charged to provide direct care to sick individuals and to control and prevent the spread of the infectious diseases. For nursing students and graduates, the effect is unmistakably evident in canceled classes, canceled graduations and the switch to online courses.
In our recent webinar, Nursing Grads Beyond the Pandemic, coach, entrepreneur, and Registered Nurse Tonika Bruce, also known as The Network Nurse, sat down with Dr. Nicole Cole, DNP, APRN-BC and Laarni San Juan, MPH, PHN, RN to discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting new graduates and medical practitioners. They also share their tips for survival and success, as well as coping strategies amid the current situation.
Transition from Nursing School to the Field
During the webinar, Dr. Cole and San Juan talked through their journeys from being newly graduates to entering their respective nursing specialties.
Dr. Cole described her transition journey as “coming with confidence and really trying to give patients with best care possible with limited experience.” She also emphasized on the importance of mentorship, and encouraged new graduates to be open to criticism. “Listen and understand that you’re never done educating yourself. Always try to look at the next best idea and always keep yourself current and relevant,” she added.
“Preceptorship, mentorship, education, openness, and communication is a great recipe for success.”
San Juan then hammered home the necessity to follow your passion and guts when it comes to choosing your specialty after nursing school. “After nursing school, there’s a part of me that wanted more. I wanted to learn the theory of health, the theory of nursing, and why some people have better public health. That’s why I pursued a masters in public nursing and looked back.”
As a public health nurse, you get to practice not just clinical skills, but also exercise your interest in community, social justice, and inequality lands. There’s an all around opportunities in public health and sub-specialties such as communicable disease, maternal child health, CPS, jail nursing, etc.
Tips for Survival, Success, and Coping Strategies
In times of uncertainty, when information and medical practices constantly change, patient care is being challenged, and a work-life balance seems impossible, Dr. Cole advised new graduates and fellow nurses to develop resilience.
“Resilience is setting your intentions. Is this a difficult time? Yes. Are we gonna make it through? Absolutely. How are we gonna make it through? We’re gonna make it together… Let’s be positive as we can. The world is bringing enough negatives. There Will be an end point, and we will have an opportunity to sit and figure out what we learn and how we move forward so we can improve care.”
Dr. Cole then urged nurses to not just do clinical expertise but also practice good communication. “Be there psychologically for the patients, as a resource, as an advocate, as almost a family member. It’s important, moving forward, to stick together and to give each other understanding and time.”
As a nurse leader and entrepreneur, San Juan supported the idea by hanging on to people that actually are positive.
“Resilience is a skill and built. We’ve got to fail so many times to finally recognize resilience in ourselves.”
To wrap up, Bruce stressed the need to practice self-care and self-reflection among new nursing graduates and healthcare practitioners. “Nurses are the worst patients. We don’t care for ourselves but we have the selfless ability to take on everything for everyone else,” she fondly said.
“I encourage everyone to find that level of self care… doing the things that you love, capitalizing on the time you have, and reflecting on the reasons on why you became a nurse in the first place.”
These are just some of the highlights covered during our recent webinar. For more information on the topics covered, check out the entire discussion by watching the full webinar.
If you want to learn more then you’re in luck as we will discuss more practical tips for graduate nurses in our upcoming free webinar, Hand Picked Tips: Things You Only Learn in the Field, on October 17, 2020 at 11 am. Feel free to send us your questions and we will try to answer them in our next live chat!