Graduating from nursing school is one of the most exciting times in your life. You get to (finally) ditch those nursing school scrubs, don your official work badge, and head to work to care for patients on your own.
You’re excited and ready to tackle the world. And then, reality sets in. You may struggle with feeling lost as you transition from student to RN, deal with feelings of anxiety in your new role (Did you remember to waste that med properly? OMG did you forget to give 201A his pain meds?? Does the doctor you woke up at 3 AM hate you forever?!), and all-around stress as you navigate life at the bedside. And although you may be lucky enough to get a new nurse orientation at your facility, for many new nurses, a few weeks of shadowing is simply just not enough.
One fact is for certain: adjusting to life as a new nurse can be a challenge for many. And that’s where Jannel of @noviceisthenewnurse comes in. As the co-founder of Novice is the New Nurse, Jannel is on a mission to change the way that new nurses are supported–both personally and professionally and she’s got the tools to help make that happen. Jannel spoke with Nurse Alice on a recent episode of the Ask Nurse Alice podcast about her work with new nurses and how she is dedicating herself to building new nurse wellness and confidence. Later, she discusses the launch of her new self-help book title Lavender and Peppermint Tea.
Listen to Jannel on the Ask Nurse Alice podcast episode, “Finding Your Power as a New Nurse” – Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or anywhere you listen to podcasts. https://www.buzzsprout.com/1733808/8536758-finding-your-power-as-a-new-nurse-overcoming-stress-and-anxiety-during-the-first-years-of-nursing-with-janell-of-novice-is-the-new-nurse?client_source=small_player&iframe=true&referrer=https://www.buzzsprout.com/1733808/8536758-finding-your-power-as-a-new-nurse-overcoming-stress-and-anxiety-during-the-first-years-of-nursing-with-janell-of-novice-is-the-new-nurse.js?container_id=buzzsprout-player-8536758&player=small
Currently based in LA, Jannel told Nurse Alice that she has now been a bedside nurse for almost an entire decade, starting her career in her hometown of Bronx, NY. Although she began her career in Med/Surg she transitioned into pediatric critical care in a children’s hospital and she explained that it was that shift that initially shaped the part of her that wanted to mentor other new nurses.
“It was such a challenging time,” Jannel remembers. She notes that in addition to learning how to manage the new skill set required of her, no one taught her how to deal with the emotional baggage that came along with being a new nurse in a high-stress environment. She realized that the emotional toll began to affect how she was able to deliver bedside care and made the decision to change jobs.
Fortunately, when she shifted into her new position as a pediatric nurse, she was able to undergo a new nurse residency program at the children’s hospital, which she hoped would alleviate the stress she had started her career with. Unfortunately, the emotional challenges of nursing continued. Jannel recognized very physical signs of the stress she was enduring internally displaying themselves: everything from crying to feelings of anxiety to losing weight and interrupted sleep.
Taking the time to recognize her symptoms, along with what triggered them, helped Jannel identify her body’s stress response and implement changes to help herself.
Lavender and Peppermint Tea
By taking action through things like journaling, Jannel embarked on a journey of healing and in the process, she realized that she was developing strategies that could not only help her, but may be able to help others. “I was creating something that was repeatable, that I was able to give to other new nurses that I was working with that was helping them,” she notes. “That really sparked something in me.”
Jannel took many of the journal entries she had written during her journey and decided to turn them into a book. She also began sharing snippets of advice and encouragement on social media, eventually evolving her platform into one that specifically supports new nurses.
Nurse Alice and Jannel also talked about many aspects of the challenges that new nurses deal with, from communication to the continued prevalence of nurses “eating their young” to how personal development is so important for nurses, especially those at the beginning of their careers. “It’s a constant unfolding,” notes Jannel. “And it’s my job to bring those things to the front.”
She points out that many of the issues nurses struggle with professionally have roots in personal challenges, so it’s important to address both. For instance, communication issues may stem from childhood challenges. “You’re not going to thrive in a professional setting if you’re not doing the inner work,” she says. “Bringing new nurses inward so they can be more comfortable when they come outward.”
Tools for Change and Healing
While Jannel acknowledges that the journey towards healing and balancing our inner and outer lives as nurses is always an ongoing one, she has made it her mission to support new nurses getting started on that journey. And she has several tools to help them to do, including:
These live classes help jumpstart new nurses into recognizing and managing their anxiety at work, work towards their dream careers and communicate properly in the workplace.
A mentorship program for new nurses
Jannel’s program, Nursing Finesse, is an official mentorship program for new nurses who are looking for more individualized one-on-one. Her program comes complete with powerful insight and teaching, including weekly video modules. She opens up the program at different times throughout the year, so check back for open enrollment. (Psssttt: she says it will be soon, so keep your eyes peeled!)
A book specifically designed to support new nurses
Jannel’s interactive book, Lavender and Peppermint Tea: Gentle Affirmations for the New Nurse, largely inspired by her journaling during her own healing journey, is now available on Amazon. The book features affirmations, reflections, activities, and journal prompts to help guide new nurses into “finding their power.”
Jannel explained to Nurse Alice that the inspiration for the book comes from her favorite lavender and peppermint tea, a nod to her Jamaican heritage that represents the tea she turns to when she needs something calming and grounding and comforting. “I want this book to be that for new nurses,” she notes. “A safe space…it represents another layer in a nurse’s transformation.”
Free encouraging affirmation track for new nurses
Sign up for Jannel’s email list and get access to a free affirmation track on Jannel’s website, lavenderandpepperminttea.com. She suggests new nurses play it on their way to work or on the way home as part of their grounding rituals.
“An affirmation is just a declaration,” Jannel explains. “A declaration of what you want to see and happen in your world.”