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New Nurse: Rachel's Story - Week 5

IU Health Methodist Hospital

New Nurse: Rachel's Story - Week 5

In Rachel Ketelaar's fifth week as a new nurse at IU Health Methodist Hospital, she finds herself taking it one day at a time and learning how to give herself grace and room for learning.


  • In some ways my days are becoming easier as I get to know the staff, the patient population, the unit and hospital layout, and hospital policies better. I feel more comfortable doing certain tasks on my own through repetition and asking LOTS of questions. After I apologized for asking questions, one nurse told me, "If a day goes by on this unit where you don't ask a single question, then you're doing something wrong.” On the other hand, my days are becoming harder too. I'm being handed more responsibility as I prepare to no longer have a preceptor with me in a few weeks. I'm expected to do more charting, take more initiative in making sure my patients' needs are met and tasks are done, and relay important information to other team members.


  • Today I’m questioning what I said yesterday. Right when I start feeling more confident in a specific task, I face a different scenario and have to take a few steps back and ask for assistance. It's like 2 steps forward, 1 step backward. I'm realizing that the ONLY way I’ll get more comfortable as a nurse and not have a panicky feeling like I am going to terribly mess something up is by continuing to learn, asking lots of questions, having a good attitude, and giving my 100% effort.
Becoming more comfortable with the many tasks a nurse must know. But in my fifth week, still lots of questions and lots to learn.


  • Today I experienced sheer panic! And I wasn’t even working on my floor. I went back to “school” for the day to take my second critical care class. We learned how to interpret abnormal EKGs (such as atrial fibrillation and heart blocks) and we also learned about the contents in the crash cart, used when a patient has no pulse and/or isn’t breathing. Then we did simulations to assess a patient who is progressively getting worse, identifying changes in condition, calling the physician or the rapid response team, and administering blood or medications. I was incredibly nervous even though it was just a mannequin. The simulation was the longest, most panicked 12 minutes of my life. Afterward, I was so relieved that I had hands-on experience in this stressful scenario, because I would rather make mistakes now than when an actual patient is crashing.
  • Overall right now, I'm just taking it one day at a time and learning how to give myself grace and room for learning. I tend to have high expectations for who I want to be as a nurse and I realize I can't be hard on myself for having trouble working equipment or not knowing answers to all the questions my patients have. Through this past month, I feel extremely supported by A2N's staff and I am excited to continue to work with them!
After five weeks I’m learning my way around this big hospital. It helps that they use street signs to identify the long hallways!

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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