Thrive by IU Health

July 06, 2022

New Nurse: Rachel's Story - Week 1

IU Health Methodist Hospital

New Nurse: Rachel's Story - Week 1

What’s it like to start a career as a nurse at a bustling urban hospital? Find out as Rachel Ketelaar dons her red scrubs at IU Health Methodist Hospital and experiences the challenges and joys of her dream job nursing sick patients back to health.


  • It’s finally here – my general orientation with other new hires. I did a trial run to Methodist the day before to make sure I knew the route in my car. There are dozens of people at orientation and I am impressed by all the diverse jobs IU Health fills. One person I met was an art therapist. I feel so young! When I mentioned that this is my first healthcare job, people were so surprised!
  • At lunch, my nurse recruiter from HR came by to say hello. Nikki is fabulous. In that big room, it was nice to talk to somebody who knows me. She “matched” me with a cardiovascular unit at Methodist and I can hardly wait to start on the unit and get to know the nurses.


  • Orientation today included a scavenger hunt around Methodist, to learn where everything is. I’m from Chicago, so I’m used to big. But my new workplace is the largest hospital in Indiana, and it’s easy to get lost here! My scavenger hunt team had a hard time finding the blood bank and radiation center, and we never did find the pizza and deli in the basement. But we were excited to discover a massage place where staff can schedule a massage. And I was surprised when one of the lobbies we came across had palm trees.
  • Got my photo ID and don’t think it really looks like me, but my eyes are open and I’m smiling so that’s good enough with me. I decided to carry my things in a tote bag. I wanted to wear a backpack but I feel that’s kind of student-like and I want to transition out of that.


  • Lots of information in RN orientation but also lots of unknowns and questions. Benefits are still a question mark to me – I had no idea about things like retirement accounts and life insurance. But at least I know who to talk to when I have questions. I can hardly wait to get on my floor and wear my scrubs and be moving and not sitting around.

Rachel Ketelaar in her red scrubs at IU Health Methodist Hospital
This is me, in my new scrubs. A few resume facts for those of you who are actually reading this: I grew up outside Chicago, on a farm that my parents own. Summers were spent selling produce from our farm in downtown Chicago three days a week. I studied nursing at Calvin College in Michigan, like my mother did, and graduated in May. And this July I got married, just before starting my first job with IU Health. Lots happening in my life! (Photos by Mike Dickbernd, IU Health Photographer)


  • I finally feel like I am getting into a good morning routine, having enough time to make breakfast and driving to work without using my GPS, which is a victory for me :)
  • Today, more RN orientation, aka fundamentals. We went through training on the Cerner electronic medical records system. I learned how to assign patients to my care, chart their vitals and physical assessments, acknowledge orders from the providers, chart patient education, etc. Nursing is a high-tech job!
  • We also talked about how to succeed in nursing at IU Health. Our nurse educator discussed what it means to have a spirit of inquiry, how to foster good relationships and be professionally engaged, and how to never stop learning.
  • After lunch, we were in the simulation center, where you practice the basics of patient care. We started by learning how to take reports from another nurse, which you have to do at every shift change. Then we went to a mannequin and assessed the “patient” based off of a sub-par report we received. We found that the IV was unhooked, wounds were not properly dressed, the bed was not in a safe position, labs were not ordered -- lots of sketchy findings! We all discussed how we’d handle these findings. I found this exercise extremely helpful.


  • Today in nurse orientation we learned how to tailor care towards patients with special needs, such as alcohol withdrawal. Our instructor walked us through the assessment tool that we use for these patients and reviewed ways to control the environment for them, like keeping the lights dim and noise level low. Then we went to an empty unit in the hospital to practice safety skills, such as applying restraints, when that’s appropriate to do and how to use transferring devices with patients. These are things I wasn’t really taught in school.
  • Later, they broke us up into groups of 3 and we went to different units with a nurse educator to see if there were patients we could practice these new skills with - - walking with devices, applying restraints, assessing with an alcohol withdrawal tool, etc. The nurses on the units were very accommodating to us and showed us anything unique or exciting on the floor. I got to push medications through a GI tube with the help of my nurse educator. Very exciting!

Read more:

New Nurse: Rachel's Story - Week 1
New Nurse: Rachel's Story - Week 2
New Nurse: Rachel's Story - Week 3

New Nurse: Rachel's Story - Week 4
New Nurse: Rachel's Story - Week 5
New Nurse: Rachel's Story - Week 6
New Nurse: Rachel's Story - Week 7
New Nurse: Rachel's Story - Week 8
New Nurse: Rachel's Story - Week 9
New Nurse: Rachel's Story - Week 10
New Nurse: Rachel's Story - Week 11

Apply Yourself - Being a nurse at Indiana University Health means building a professional nursing career designed by you, with competitive benefits and a culture that embraces your unique strengths and supports your personal and professional goals. If you are seeking an organization where you can engage professionally, develop clinical expertise, embrace learning, foster new relationships and fuel your spirit of inquiry, apply today.