Author Archives: Susan Mende

A New Nurse's Naivety

Jun 11, 2013, 10:25 AM, Posted by Susan Mende

 A nurse updates information on a white board in a hospital patient's room.

After getting my nursing degree in 1980, I got my first nursing  job at Presbyterian Medical Center in San Francisco. At the time, many of the experienced nurses had been hospital trained and  lacked bachelors degrees. So where did they put me? In charge, of course! I worked the night shift. It was notoriously understaffed, and ripe for crises. I can remember the terror I felt when I realized that I did not have the experience or judgment to lead the team. I had this overwhelming feeling that I was way in over my head. I didn’t sleep for a month.

In a new book, True Stories of Becoming a Nurse, a series of essays about new nurses, one author recounts the transformation of the nursing workforce from “the old guard, the hospital-trained, diploma-prepared nurses” to nurses like me who had a bachelor’s in nursing (BSN). I had my degree, but I still had so much to learn.

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