Monday, July 9, 2012

Life as an Undergraduate Nursing Employee

Getting to work as a nurse even before finishing my degree is such a wonderful opportunity and experience. I was blessed to land three nursing jobs in the following fields: Geriatric psychiatry, adult stroke program, and long-term care (which I don't currently pick shifts for). I get to work as part of the interdisciplinary team and is able to participate fully in my patients' care. Although my scope of practice is limited, but it definitely exceeds the scope of practice I had as a nursing student (NS). Working as an Undergraduate Nursing Employee (UNE) has its pros and cons, but the pros exceeds the cons definitely.

PROS: I have gained a lot of experience with patient care in terms of medications, assessments, psychomotor skills, and most especially patient interaction. I am now comfortable in the clinical setting and am able to interact with colleagues more freely. I am able to offer suggestions and I am now not reluctant to ask help or delegate tasks to co-workers. Getting a big jump in my income is definitely a huge pro to me.

CONS: As I have said, having a limited scope of practice as compared to a full pledged Registered Nurse (RN) does have it's shortcomings. I always have to bother another nurse to finish some of my work as I do not have access to certain functions on the computer. But again, these cons are not a big deal breaker. Working as a nurse without a professional license could be discouraging at times especially when you're introducing yourself to a patient. I have always introduced myself as a nurse, but haven't identified that I am a UNE. In my defence, there are different kinds of nurses: an RN, a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), and a Registered Psychiatric Nurse (RPN). I guess the difference was that they had a license and I don't. I didn't want to make the patient worry and I didn't want them to think that I'm only a student, experimenting on them. I wanted them to know that I am a nurse hired by the hospital to give them safe, competent, and compassionate care. I never hid my ID badge from patients and if they asked if I was an RN, I always said that I am an undergraduate nurse.

This summer has been extremely busy for me. On top of working several hours, I have found my self dealing with an online course (Philosophy). I wanted to cut my load for the next school semester, but I kind of regret it now, as I don't have much time for myself to enjoy the summer.

I love being a nurse. I can definitely see myself in this profession until I retire, especially now that I get to work as a nurse.

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