First times are always memorable. I remember the first time I gave an injection in nursing school. My patient was an insulin dependent diabetic, I was a novice nursing student. My nerves got the best of me and just as I was about to give the injection, I dropped the syringe and it rolled under the hospital bed. There I was in my white stockings, white uniform, nursing cap and blue apron scrambling under the bed to retrieve the syringe that wound up in the most unreachable place.
The first time I taught a class at Rutgers-Camden in the School Nurse Certificate Program, I remember feeling light-headed and had to remind myself to breathe as class was about to start. Courage is working through your fears, and I was certainly testing that theory. The good news is that class went well and little by little I was able to control my fear. I still get anxious anytime I speak in public, but I know that is also a sign that I care. Taking on public speaking opportunities is a challenge that I welcome, not without trepidation, but welcome nonetheless.
I remember the first time I realized that the difference between a speaker that I was listening to at a school nursing conference and me, sitting in the audience, was that they decided to face their fears and challenge themselves to be a speaker. That speaker inspired me to claim a seat at the podium in addition to sitting in the audience. And so, I look for challenges to face my fears, to practice being relentless, to seek out the next “first time.”
The first time I published this blog was another example of facing my fears to grow courage and ultimately confidence. There was no guarantee that the blog would be read or followed. But truthfully that was not the goal. My overarching aim in writing a blog, even if it was never to be read by anyone other my husband (my trusty editor), was to challenge myself to try something new.
By the way, my patient, the one with diabetes waiting for his insulin, did receive his medication. But first, I had to dispose of the syringe retrieved from under his bed and draw up another one. I returned to the bedside with my preceptor, who ultimately guided my trembling hands to complete the task. Firsts are always memorable!