Nothing can prepare a new nurse for the “thud,” when transitioning from graduating student to Registered Nurse. You hear about it from others, but no amount of warnings, books, good grades, superb skills in all your clinicals, top notch care-plans, praise from teachers, excellent recommendations or stories can really expose you. It’s impossible to know how it will feel when it happens to you - your first code, the first time you lose a patient, the cries that echo down the hallway, the first time your patient falls, the immense terror that grips you when you make a mistake; the wonder when you figure things out for yourself, make a difference in a patient’s life, or the joy when a new mama holds her baby for the first time. It’s a mixed bag of emotions that truly never goes away. Nursing school can’t convey this fully, what we see is only the tip of the iceberg. You just sort of have to live through it, embrace the joys and heartaches - and pray that when you screw up, you don’t screw up completely.