A Clinical Nurse Specialist in the Nursing Institute at Cleveland Clinic, Shannon Rives, MSN, APRN, ACNS-BC, CCRN, CMSRN, shares her advice with nurses, no matter where they are in their journey.
Advice to a Nurse
Many times in my career, those trying to navigate the uniqueness of nursing have requested my input. My response to the question in front of me is tailored to the distinct perspective of the individual, recognizing where he or she is in the journey. This is my advice (the short version).
To the person thinking about nursing, I say… make sure the nursing school you choose is equipped to teach you the art and science of nursing. Make sure you have a mentor that can explain what that means.
To the student nurse, I say… Your clinical experience should not be the only time you care for people. Never forget your foundational courses--you will always need them. Before you graduate, make sure you know the difference between what is standard and what is excellence.
To the new nurse, I say… be able to define what you do, if not to anyone else at least to yourself. Be open to being vulnerable, that’s the best time to learn. If you’re scared of something learn everything you can about it. Be able to articulate to those around you why you chose to do one thing over another. There is no failure in choosing another path; it may be the strongest move you ever make. This is your career, this is your ship and you are captain (there’s a theme here).
Finally, for those in my position with the privilege of being asked to share your advice with another, I say… use the least amount of words that make the biggest impact. Be honest and personal. Share truth with a kindness and tenderness in your voice. Tell a story, that’s how we connect. Tell a story about a time you wish you could have been better, that’s how we relate.