This post isn’t just for aspie nurses, as it will help anyone facing fears and pursuing nursing. The thing about nursing mentor hero worship is that as a new nurse, is healthy, productive and normal, but you have to recognize it for what it is, and use it to become better. It goes without saying some of your nursing instructors will feel larger than life, and be your first heros and role models. I know 2 in particular that were mine, and I am honored to call them both friends now. What I am talking about is a bit different though. I am talking about who will keep you going, and mentors in your first few years as a new nurse.
My first case of nursing hero worship was an author named Tilda Shalof. I read her books about becoming a nurse, and they made me want it bad enough to keep going in the face of everything life threw at me, and all the emotions of my first year as a new nurse. I still read her books when I need a boost. If you haven’t read her, pick up her books.
My second case of hero worship was a preceptor/mentor who helped me to become an effective nurse, after a very bad experience that almost made me quit. She was an experienced nurse, brash, sweary, quick, sharp,and intense off stage, professional and kind on stage. She was everything I wanted to be, and I was pretty much convinced she walked on water. I look back now and think she must have had to use all her willpower to get through teaching me, as I was perpetually scared of failure, slow where she was fast, and asking her daily if I was making enough progress. She built me up, made me think through every skill, every case we had, and stepped in if I was overwhelmed, gradually drawing back as I could do more and more on my own. She taught me to stand up for myself, my patients, and to not let bullies get the upper hand.
Now, almost 2 years later, she still makes me want to be a better nurse without doing anything, just being there. Since then I now look at those nurses around me who seemed so far ahead of me on my path as models of where I should be at different points in my experience level. Some goals I have set and reached, others I have not. Another influential person for me was my director. She taught me not to fear admitting mistakes, and to admit them if they happen, as talking it through may result in a change in protocol that prevents someone else making the same mistake. She also embodied all the leadership skills I needed to make me a better nurse.
Another realization is that we are all heroes and role models for each other at different times in our nursing careers. I realized this near the end of my second year as a student. I was in surgical scrubs having just watched a surgery up close. I was still wearing the cap and mask. 2 students looked at me not recognizing a fellow student, with the same hero worship I had looked at experienced nurses with visible on their faces. It made me realize we each view the person ahead of us on the experience curve as having it all together, and being wise, and that’s ok. It keeps us all reaching, growing, and learning.
Just realize when you are with someone with less experience than you, this may happen, be kind, and know you may change this person’s life the way someone changed yours. Embody those qualities of who you want to be, and you help others to grow as well as yourself. Sometimes you can, sometimes it’s all swearing and bizarre humor off stage instead. Both are part of this profession. There are experiences that bless, and those that break, and we all cope with both the best we can.