I Finally Get It

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

You know what a brain-click is, right? It’s not a scientific term. Rather, it’s when a philosophy or practice makes so much sense personally that it becomes ingrained into how I function. It’s like I suddenly get it.

Take my nursing experience thus far: sometimes things “click” when I am caring for a patient and I realize the way I “nurse” will never be the same. I’m changed–usually for the better.

Look, I’m still a pretty new nurse and by my own admission have a ways to go to feel seasoned. In fact, I just celebrated my 3 year anniversary. But I do have enough experience under my belt to realize how much I’ve changed. I credit the Clicks.

So happy anniversary to me! Here are my top new-nurse Clicks:

Click #1: Eyeball and earball: this nurse checks, rechecks and yes, checks again. In addition to the “5 Rights,” I am repeatedly reconciling everything in, around, and on my patient. To the untrained eye, I probably look severely OCD. Yet before I walk out of the room, I eyeball and earball (as a more experienced nurse once called it). In other words, I look at everything happening in the room and listen to my patient one last time before exiting the room. I ask myself, “What is wrong with this picture?” It never fails me and I credit being a safe nurse to this click.

Click #2: Teamwork is great but it isn’t always easy. I’ve had to work hard at this–learning to work within a team on a unit comprised of all kinds of different personalities. It takes effort, time and patience to contribute to a team, yet the payoff can be amazing.

Click #3: Yes is a good thing. I taught myself all about boundaries in year one, then learned something else: It is okay to say yes! To extra shifts (think extra money!), hanging out with co-workers from time to time, and even being on the occasional council or project. These things actually benefit me. So while I still utilize “No,” I sprinkle my nursing with the affirmitive.

Click #4: I must make a care plan for myself. No one else is going to take care of me. That whole thing about exercising, de-stressing, sleeping and eating right? I’m responsible for it. I’m the first to admit I find it more challenging as a nurse to get and stay healthy. Yet I need well-being not just for my job: I have a life outside the hospital that needs me as well!

Click #5: This nurse takes a real break occasionally. After a recent one week vacation (and I didn’t go anywhere terribly exciting) I feel better able to cope with job stress and life stress–and less like ripping people’s head’s off. I know people take pride in never using their PTO hours, but really, are nurses machines? I think we need to make time AWAY from the hospital to rest.

Click #6: Part time is sublime. Really. In my 1st year, a co-worker said, “Dropping a shift a week is life changing.” I now believe her. Recently I went part time on the floor and I am a new woman. Because I work nights, three or more shifts a week had me completely turned around and I was in rough shape on my days off. My personal life took a beating. Then I went part time, found another way to make $ during daylight hours, and voila, I feel human again!

Click #7: And lastly, I can always get out. More determined than ever, I have vowed that nursing is a choice. Every time I get down on my job, my coworkers, or my patients, I step back and remind myself that I chose this profession. That puts a stop on my running screaming from the unit on crazy nights. I’m not stuck being a nurse. There is always a way out. Right now I still love it and choose to work it!

How about you? Share your 'clicks' in the comments section below.

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.


  1. Great ‘clicks’.
    wrt #6: My previous scheduled was 80hrs each 2 weeks; 8hr evening shifts (2p-10p). I ALWAYS ended up with 105hrs or more each 2 weeks and I literally never saw my family during my stretches of work. The money was great, but it was unsustainable. I was a new nurse and burning out quickly. I changed to 60hrs each 2 weeks; 12hr day shifts (7a-7p). I still end up with about 70hrs each 2 weeks but it has changed my whole outlook. I love my job (much more) and I see my family every day when I work now. I can easily imagine doing this until I retire.


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