I graduated from my NP program one year ago - seems much longer than that as I go through my daily routine now. I think back to how I felt then - thrilled to be out of school, nervous about taking the certification exam, and anxious to begin a new phase of my nursing career.
There have been ups and downs - working through the certification process was frustrating, but seeing the message on the computer screen that I had passed the certification exam was exhilarating! I will never forget checking out of the testing center choking back tears of joy - the proctor was looking at me like I had lost my mind.
I will also never forget seeing my first patient. Even though I had worked really hard to get to this place in my career, seeing my name as "provider" on the encounter sheet gave me butterflies in my stomach for a few minutes.
Now, a year later, my desk is covered with stacks of patient charts with lab and radiology results to review and go almost in a blur all day - seeing patients, doing dictations, calling reports to patients, answering questions, mentoring staff, and overseeing the day to day running of the clinic activities.
I'll admit, I still get nervous from time to time when I am faced with a patient that is much more complicated than expected and have moments of self doubt (for example, "am I missing anything?" "maybe I should recheck her eyes", "are those liver enzymes really that high?"), but I have never regretted my decision to become an NP. I learn new things every day and feel eager to approach each day. Of course, a day off to celebrate my one year anniversary would be nice too......