1. Every mistake is a lesson, and you will make a lot of mistakes. So don't be afraid to own up to them.
2. Some people die surrounded by family. Others die alone. It's important to love yourself because in the end, you're going to be the only one you have.
3. No one thinks this job is easy but it's still important to take care of yourself and okay to say "no." Seeing CHF, death, MRSA, C-Diff, cancer, etc all on a regular basis isn't pretty.
4. It doesn't matter how tired you are. When you get home from work, take a shower. Especially if you were in isolation rooms.
5. You will have hard days but if you can't be strong for yourself, then be strong for your patients.
6. Don't let anyone guilt trip you. If you don't want to work on your day off and don't have anything important going on, that's fine. Don't listen to anyone saying, "but you have patients to take care of" because you can not pour from an empty glass.
7. A nurse and a CNA could be like peanut butter and jelly. Or like fire and ice. Take your pick.
8. On a full moon, things will get crazy. It's a proven fact.
9. Do not ever say, "it sure is quiet here." You can think it but do not ever say it.
10. You never forget your first patient death or your first code.
11. Anything really can happen. One day I'm talking to a patient about San Francisco, our favorite seafood, and "cute sailor boys" on the pier and the next day I'm holding a blood soaked rag to her head because she had a terrible fall.
12. Never look freaked out.
13. No day is ever the same.
14. Clinicals are tightly controlled bubble complete with plenty of time to think, rethink, then make a plan. Working as a CNA, anything goes. You will have bitchy nurses, work drama, patients who are the definition of crazy, management knowingly exploiting employees and patients, and surprises everyday.
15. You can't argue with a crazy patient. You can document it though.
16. You're going to get in trouble a lot. In healthcare, patients are terrified and scared, they will take it out on the closest person who happens to be standing there. Sometimes they make up total lies.
17. Yes, there are patients that are given so much pain meds it's like they will get a borderline OD and then argue that they aren't doing anything.
18. Passion is nothing without ambition.
19. A good nurse you can always go to for guidance or advice.
20. Never give or take any excuses.