Yesterday I started my first-ever job in nursing. Yay! This week and the next few will consist of orientation, classroom time, etc. I'm doing what's called a Critical Care Nursing Residency at a major teaching hospital and level one trauma center in Dallas. The program is 4 months long, during which you are schooled in the ways of critical care nursing through both classes and clinical time.
There are three or four phases of the program, each of which must be passed before you are allowed to move on to the next. Your preceptors are rating your performance at the bedside and you also must pass written tests. It's essentially like getting paid to learn how to be an awesome critical care nurse. I'm not going to lie, the ICU and ER nurses at this hospital are complete badasses. After successful completion of the program you are hired on as a permanent member of the unit and off on your own. The unit I will be working in is the surgical/trauma ICU.
Even though it's going to be another few weeks before I get down and dirty providing actual patient care, today marked a significant milestone for me: I received my ID badge today, making me an official member of the nursing staff. Below my name it says, "Nurse Resident: Trauma Services." Trauma Services?? How cool does that sound??!!! It's enough to make me break open one of my half-bottles of Veuve to celebrate.
Next milestone: A day or two after October 17th, which is when I will find out whether or not I passed the state boards, taking me from graduate nurse to registered nurse!