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DiversityNursing Blog

Inspiring: Nursing Student Finds Sweet Anonymous Note of Encouragement in Textbook

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Wed, Nov 20, 2013 @ 12:36 PM


Courtesy Reddit

Nursing is often ranked among America’s most stressful careers, thanks to the job’s notorious long hours, physical exhaustion, and emotional toll. So when a nursing student in South Burlington, Vermont, found a veteran nurse’s touching, anonymous note of encouragement—along with a $10 Starbucks gift card—tucked inside a licensing exam study guide at Barnes and Noble, she felt moved to share it online.

“I’m assuming that if you’re thumbing through an NCLEX book that you’re probably nearing the end of nursing school,” the note, which was posted to social news site Reddit and has gone viral, begins. “I want to start by saying that you should be so proud of yourself! You’ve worked so hard to get here, and I promise you, it’s so worth it. I’ve been a nurse for 12 years and can’t imagine doing anything else.”

Courtesy Reddit

The handwritten letter included some thoughtful advice about how to deal with the stresses of a nursing career. “I want to let you know that the first year or two out of school is the hardest. But don’t give up and remember why you decided to become a nurse in the first place,” the note reads. “Be patient, and don’t beat yourself up. Don’t take things personally and when you’ve had a difficult situation, try to leave work at work.”

The note continues: “Two more very important things to remember are 1, be proud to be a nurse, and 2, believe in yourself. Also trust your instincts—they’re usually right!”

Courtesy Reddit

The letter ended with a pre-exam pep talk—along with the Starbucks gift card. “So grab some coffee and study for the NCLEX. I’m certain you’ll do fine,” the note says. “You’re going to be a great nurse! Remember, be proud and believe in yourself! You can do it!”

The note is signed: “XOXOXO, another nurse.”

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Amazingly, although the moving gesture was anonymous, the letter-writer and the student who found it connected online. “My wife put that letter in the book. South Burlington VT, right?” Reddit user TreeBore posted.

“YES!!! South Burlington VT!!! That’s awesome,” the original poster replied. “It was an amazing find, tell your wife thank you and that it really has inspired a lot of people, including my girlfriend. She takes her test tomorrow!”

“We both wish your girlfriend all the luck in the world!” TreeBore responded. “She will do fantastic.”

Several other nurses chimed online to say how spot-on the letter was. “As a registered nurse, who is working a night shift as I type this, this letter is exactly correct,” one commenter said. “Prioritization and believing in yourself are key when becoming a new nurse. Don’t let intimidation affect you. You will be amazed how much you will grow from your first day on the job compared to a year later.”

Another commenter agreed: “I would never have gotten where I am now if it weren’t for adherence to the things she listed in the note.”

Source: Parade

Topics: nursing student, encouragement, anonymous, NCLEX, note

A Seasoned Nurse

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Mon, Sep 23, 2013 @ 10:00 AM

By Joyce Riddle, RN-CPN, BSN

Nurse with elder male resized 600

One day, as I was relaxing during some quiet time, it dawned on me that I was a seasoned nurse with the ability to influence some of my younger or less-experienced co-workers. I have worked as an RN for the same organization for 23 years, and I had something to offer them.

Too often, older nurses are seen as being a bit crotchety, negative or uncaring to some of the younger nurses or newbies. That has to change; why make people feel uncomfortable?

Years ago, as a new nurse, I went through an orientation to the unit. Once competent with some skills, I became the team leader for my patients. If I had questions, I knew I could ask my charge nurse, but I never had a mentor or felt there was one particular nurse to whom I could always turn. I knew I wanted to become that go-to person for my younger counterparts. I enjoyed teaching and helping new employees master skills and tasks.

I am a spiritual person with Christian beliefs. This is part of what makes me who I am. On my commute to work, I get motivated for the day by listening to Christian music. I understand others may not share similar beliefs, but I think everyone needs to find what fulfills them and practice it daily before work, whether it is exercising, reading or just spending time alone.

Make it a point to bring your best to work each day. After all, that is what we are getting paid to do. Once at work, acknowledge everyone with a smile, eye contact or a simple "hello." I've seen how acts of inclusion or kindness filter down to others. On occasion, unfamiliar colleagues may come by my unit and I smile at them, furthering the process of encouragement to others. Kindness can be contagious.

My mantra or focus is to encourage young nurses so they will establish themselves at our facility and become great, seasoned nurses. I have watched some start out as new graduate nurses and then continue their education and grow professionally. I have seen many nurses come and go, but others stay and continue with their education. I support my co-workers who decide to go this route.

For the longest time, I talked myself out of obtaining my certification in pediatric nursing. Once I chose to pursue it, I immediately wondered why I waited so long. Now I routinely ask my co-workers, "When are you going to do it?" Supporting them and encouraging their growth adds more satisfaction to my daily work. It will be gratifying when all my immediate co-workers obtain and maintain their CPNs.

We all have different strengths we can bring to work. Some nurses have a soft touch. Others have a friendly smile or a knack for speaking kind words. All of these can be examples of conduct for the young nurse. 

Remember, just like young children who watch and mimic their parents, the newbies are watching our responses toward one another and our patients. Positive expressions are necessary for their growth.

Before speaking or doing something, I ask myself, "Is this going to encourage or discourage?" I want to know I am encouraging someone to be a better nurse. I will not gossip or make any unkind comments toward my co-workers for the newbie to hear. The younger nurses will not overhear derogatory comments from this veteran.

Every day, I tell myself with pride, "I am a seasoned nurse." I will embrace that I am a little older and more experienced, and will welcome opportunities to use that experience. I hope my seasoned co-workers will join me to make our jobs productive by helping our younger nurses. We all have something to contribute to foster hope and encouragement. 


Topics: encouragement, experience, RN, veteran, compassion

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