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July 06, 2022

New Nurse: Rachel's Story - Week 4

IU Health Methodist Hospital

New Nurse: Rachel's Story - Week 4

In her second week on the floor, Rachel Ketelaar tackles the “learning mountain” facing every new nurse.


  • It will take a while to get used to the rhythm of 3-day workweeks. People tell me I won’t know what to do with my free time. But my mother warned me of this. She worked 3-day workweeks as a nurse and she told me that you won’t feel like you have a lot of free time because you have to cram life into your days off.
  • Wednesday is my first day back to work this week and I spent it in class. It was a full day of critical care instruction, about cardiac medications, how to read EKGs, and the physiology behind certain medical conditions. Although it was a very long day of sitting and listening to PowerPoints, the class overall was very helpful because I am going to be in contact with these medications and conditions frequently on A2N.


  • This was a more difficult day. I carried around my binder from the critical care course to refer to, but I felt like I was still learning so many new tasks and skills and needing Ty's assistance with a lot of them. I just want to see improvement in my work, but every time I was remotely close to mastering a skill, I was introduced to a new skill that I would need to know. In these past 2 weeks on the unit, I have been exposed to a lot of things that I will be consistently doing and I have only just started doing some of these tasks independently. By the end of today, I felt like the learning curve was more like a learning mountain.
Cardiovascular Orientation Binder, Rachel Ketelaar RN
My handy orientation binder. It’s full of useful information so I carry it around with me.


  • Well, today was a breath of fresh air. A lot of the tasks I was getting frustrated over on Thursday, I was catching on to today. The IV pumps I’ve been struggling to master started making sense to me. The flow of my day was smoother and I could tell I was becoming more efficient. I helped Ty discharge 2 of our patients as well.
  • I have started making a homemade worksheet to help organize my day. I don’t have a “nurse’s brain” yet that remembers everything. I love being able to cross off medication or vital sign reminders as the hours pass through my day. And at the end of the day, it's nice to look down at my sheet and see all that I have accomplished.
  • Ty invited me to go out with her and a few other people from the hospital tonight. We went to a place downtown called The Tap. I'm excited to get to know the people at Methodist better outside of the hospital setting.
  • I'm starting to see that a week as a new nurse can be a roller-coaster. I go from feeling very confident in my nursing abilities to feeling like I didn't retain anything from nursing school and then back again. From feeling overwhelmed with the learning curve to feeling like I'm making good progress. Today, I left the unit feeling like I have made progress and that makes it exciting to go back next week and keep moving up the learning mountain.

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

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