Avoid Leaving Projects for the Next Shift
Some days will flow smoothly and you'll sail through them. Others will be wildly chaotic and you'll feel like you're spinning out of control. Sometimes someone else will be the one having an impossible day. Sometimes everyone's day will be completely chaotic all at once. That is the life of a nurse.
Your job is to figure out how to get all those challenges under control, complete your assignment, seemingly putting out a million fires all at once. The biggest challenge some days will be in getting it all done and without killing yourself or someone else. Some days it will seem impossible to get all your work done. Life happens. There will always be unforeseen circumstances. However, you need to strive to complete your assignment and not leave something for the next person to do.
You may have to frequently remind yourself of the reasons you became a nurse. Perhaps even why you gave up your boring desk job as an accountant or nixed that plan to be a pilot in the seventh grade. One thing is for sure, life as a nurse is never boring. Each day brings a whole new set of challenges.
On occasion, going home at the end of your shift may not be possible. In some instances, you will be expected to stay and finish the job and other times it might be okay to leave it for the next shift to carry on. But in all instances, your supervisor needs to know. The more advance notice you can give her, the better she can deal with the situation. Sometimes it can be delegated to someone else and other times she can include it in the assignment for the next shift and the nurse need never know it was left over.
The supervisor will also have to approve your overtime or assign you to complete it without any extra pay. Don't beat yourself up over it. If you gave it everything you had, then that's all you can do. If you procrastinated and wasted time or spent time goofing off, then you have no one else to blame.
Reflect back on your day each day. The first thing you need to decide on is whose life is better because you were there today. Pat yourself on the back and make a mental note. You might even want to have a journal or a blog where you write about your accomplishments. (Be careful about privacy.) Patients may not have an opportunity to say thank you. Your rewards come from the knowledge that you made a difference. Your memories are your proof.
Next you need to think about what worked well and why. Then you need to think about what could have gone better and how you can improve outcomes. Learn from your own experiences. This will help to build your confidence.
Be realistic and honest with yourself. If you need additional time or help, discuss it with your supervisor. She's going to know it if you keep having days with incomplete assignments, so talk it over. Every nurse was new at some point. She may have some valuable suggestions and together you can work out solutions. Ask for feedback from your coworkers as well. At the least, you'll let them know you are acknowledging your shortcomings and trying to improve the situation.