Missoula, Montana

To a nurse named Nichole,

I cannot believe it has been more than 5 years have passed since my graduation. As if it were yesterday, I can still feel the weight of emotion overcoming me as I stepped onto the unit to train. I felt like an imposter, a fake. I questioned myself daily – could I really be a qualified nurse? The first 6 months were tough, challenging in ways I could not have imagined.

However, as each shift went by and each hour wound down, I began to question myself less and encourage myself more. A belief slowly set in, one that allowed me to hope – I can be a nurse, I have the skill sets to do this. Slowly, my hands steadied, my head focused and I transformed into the competent, capable woman I am today.

It took time, it took effort, it took energy. With your guidance and insights I no longer feel as though I am floundering, rather, flourishing. Though you likely did not realize it, I was a sponge, absorbing your natural talent to stay calm and focused in an otherwise (and far too often) crazy environment. I need to say thank you – for promoting a safe workplace, one that encourages and supports nursing “young,” for reminding us that nursing is a team effort, that there is no room for punitive talk or harsh judgement and for letting evidence based practice guide. Most of all, thank you for teaching me to always consider my patient’s baseline vital signs before I rush to call a med-team.

In these moments of chaos and uncertainty, let us support our roots, our foundations. Here’s to the ones who helped us grow and bloom.

Thank you Nichole Woods for all you taught me.