Novice to expert? More like “I’m not freaking out before work anymore!”


Here’s your nursing knowledge for the day. Patricia Benner, a nursing theorist, created a theory that discussed the paradigm of a person moving from novice to expert in their experience.

I’ll not bore you with the details, but the gist is you start out with enough knowledge to be dangerous, but zero experience to back it up. You’re also scared out of your mind every time you have to go to work because “I’m responsible for others’ safety and OMG I’m supposed to know what I’m doing”. After a period of years in your profession some of that irrational fear fades because skills catch up with knowledge and experience comes. Before you know it, you’ve been a nurse for 20+ years and you’re an expert that people look to as a resource.

I’m no longer a novice. Yea, I get nervous, but I’ve learned in my almost two years of traveling that my previous years of experience have come together to show I’m capable/knowledgable/a good nurse.

Per Benner, I fall somewhere in the middle of the scale. Not so new I’m dangerous, but not so far removed from the start that I don’t see ways I can improve.

I realized today I’m comfortable, er… Not the best word. I’m not sure I can explain it other than to say I’ve lost that panicked feeling that always follows me around. It was one that whispered the question “Can you really do it?”

A certain doubt lingers, but it’s less present. Maybe it’s because I know no one is perfect, but giving my all matters in the long run. Maybe it’s because I remind myself that I’m open to correction and help. Maybe it’s because I’ve stopped trying to cling to the perfectionist attitude I hold myself to.

I’m a good nurse and if I remain open maybe I’ll become an expert nurse who stands as a resource to others.

Frankly, I’ll just be happy to make it though a shift having finished a whole cup of tea and getting to pee when I need to.

To becoming pros!

Travel on, road warrior


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