Socialization To Nursing

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Socialization To Nursing Essay.

This paper explores the process of how nurses are socialized into their profession and how my own personal socialization process has shaped my nursing career. Using Benner’s Model of socialization, I plan to explore my own personal journey from Novice to Expert reflecting the changes in my career that were supported by his five stages or levels of proficiency. Each level produced its own challenges within each new role or level that was obtained. My own feelings about the socialization process have been exemplified and as my journey into professional nursing begins, I plan to increase my awareness of factors that may have influenced my nursing practice as a Novice and focus on the skills, knowledge, and values of the profession as an Expert.Socialization To Nursing Essay.


Personal Socialization

After reviewing the definition of socialization, and reading through our Nursing 2312 course materials, I found myself reflecting on my Nursing career and how my Professional Socialization into the field of Nursing was shaped. According to the, Socialization is the: Process by which individuals acquire the knowledge, language, social skills, and value to conform to the norms and roles required for integration into a group or community. It is a combination of both self-imposed (because the individual wants to conform) and externally-imposed rules, and the expectations of others. In an organizational setting, socialization refers to the process through which a new employee “learns the ropes,” by becoming sensitive to the formal and informal power structure and the explicit and implicit rules of behavior (, 2010). I remember as a child, the deep desire to be a nurse. I have always felt that I have a “big heart” coupled with the desire to care for others.

I have grown up in church where there were many of my parent’s friends who were in the medical field, and I also had family members who were nurses on my mother’s side of the family. In reviewing a book of my childhood memories called My School Years, there were recordings of my teachers for the year, my likes and dislikes, new friends, school pictures, and my report cards for the year. My mom allowed me to fill in the sections of “what I want to be when I grow up”. A nurse, or something in the medical profession, came up in those recordings more often than anything else. I also grew up with a cousin, whom I was very close to, who was born with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus. He required many surgeries as a young child, was paralyzed from the waist down, and had a shunt to reduce the swelling on his brain. His parents took care of him, never put him in a home or required any other assistance such as a home health agency or an aide.

He stayed with his grandmother until he was allowed to attend school in a special education classroom. The older I got, the more I wanted to learn more about how to help take care of him. I babysat him and his younger brother many weekends for his parents to be able to go out on occasion. When I would be out of school early due to exams or something of that sort, I would often go to his school to “volunteer” with his class. The passion I felt for helping others grew as I grew and once in high school, I signed up for Health Occupations to help further my education in the health field. Once I graduated high school and started college, I took a course to become a Certified Nursing Assistant so that I could work while I was going to school. I felt that this would help broaden my choices in Nursing and give me a little more experience. Now, this is a requirement before actually being accepted to many of the Nursing programs. I went to classes during the day and worked as a CNA in the Emergency Department in the evenings and on weekends. At the hospital where I was employed, they also honored CNA II’s which gave a little more advantage and experience by giving more responsibilities in starting catheters, “spiking” Intravenous fluids and “bleeding” the lines.

This added to my experience during nursing school and, I felt, gave me an advantage to develop the skills needed in the Associate’s Degree of Nursing program. I graduated from nursing school at Rockingham Community College in May of 1998. I had applied to the Operating Room and the manager felt that I could be of help to them working in the Endoscopy suite until I took and passed my Nursing Boards. I took my Nursing Boards in July and began my career as a Nurse in August of 1998 in the Operating Room. According to Berens (2000), nearly half of all hospitals have reduced orientation programs of newly-graduated nurses, and once hired, new nurses receive an average of 30 days of training in contrast with the three months of training provided by hospitals as little as five years ago. Some recent changes have been made to the process, such as time in hands-on skills labs, computer-based testing, and longer orientations.

However, as a new nurse with five years of CNA experience, I still felt a reality shock. I was given an opportunity of a lifetime, but felt, as in Benner’s model in accordance with Creasia and Friberg (2011), I was “unable to use discretionary judgment” (p.60). My preceptor had surgery just before I began to work there, so we were unable to do a lot in the actual O.R. setting and they had hired several Certified Scrub Technologists, so I fell behind in learning many of the skills that it would take to grasp, apply, and enable success in a specialty area. As in Bradby’s (1990) nursing journal article, she refers to the process of socialization using the status passage theory. She discusses the effects that age, previous work experience, and self-esteem have on a new nurse. Looking back, I did learn much more than I thought I had at the time. If I could go back, I would change the fact that I started out in a specialty area and would work as a medical-surgical nurse for at least a year.

I feel that this would have better prepared me to have gone from a Novice to an Advanced Beginner as Benner’s model indicates in the time frame he states (Creasia and Friberg, p.60, 2011). Although my nursing education had provided me the knowledge I needed to feel confident in my capabilities to care for a patient, I was lagging in the areas I needed to do my job proficiently. . After one and a half years of O.R. Nursing, I left my job feeling defeated. I was then hired as a nurse to work in the Day Hospital and Endoscopy areas at Morehead Hospital. I was very confident in the Endoscopy Suite due to the fact that I had worked there while I was awaiting the results from my Nursing Boards; I also had to rotate through Endoscopy and take call for Endoscopy while I worked in the Operating Room. I worked hard to achieve the levels from Novice to Advanced Beginner and put them to use as a competent nurse (Creasia and Friberg, p.60, 2011).

I learned to prioritize and anticipate the demands of my job as they were set before me. I worked in Day Hospital and Endoscopy for seven years. At this time, according to Benner’s model, I had reached the expert level of my career; despite my not achieving the Novice level of my experience during my first job (Creasia and Friberg, p.60, 2011). I was able to manage multiple tasks, while remaining attuned to the situation at hand. I had been a nurse for nine years, but found myself burned out due to the fact that I was taking call as regularly scheduled, taking extra call for coworkers, as well as volunteering to work on the weekends that we would have “scheduled” Endoscopy procedures – on Saturdays once a month. I was on call almost every day of the week and usually three out of four weekends. I needed a change. I began to expand my peripheral vision as Benner’s model states in his Expert Stage, and began looking for something more (Creasia and Friberg, p.60, 2011). I soon learned that the hospital was opening a Wound Center so I applied for the position.

I felt that the knowledge and experience I had from previously working in the O.R. along with performing dressing changes in Day Hospital for patients, gave me an advantage. I was hired as a Case Manager and started working to help get the Wound Center on its feet in 2005. I went to training in Ohio for one week to learn the Principles of Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine. According to Creasia and Friberg (2011), socialization is continuous and takes place with each new practice setting or role. As I continued in my nursing career, I found myself, growing with each new task, each patient, and each new role that I obtained. I felt confident as a nurse who had great experience and had worked hard to orchestrate my role as Case Manager in the outpatient Wound Center setting. In 2010, I was promoted to Clinical Nurse Manger, in which the job description preferred, but did not require, a Bachelor’s Degree.

I knew that I had always wanted to “someday” acquire my BSN but had felt through the years, that if I didn’t get it, it was no big deal. Once I had been promoted to this position, I started to think differently about where I wanted to go in my career as a nurse. As I begin my journey into professional nursing, I am looking forward to building on my strengths as patient advocate and caregiver (with a big heart). I look forward to learning the skills I will need to gain confidence as a leader and professional in the nursing field. I feel that I would like to pursue a career in a management position of a surgical services unit since this is where most of my background lies. I’ve also thought about looking into a more Professional Case Management role. I do a lot now for our patients in many different aspects of the case management role and feel that I may be better suited as a Case Manager.

I actually applied for a case management position, but was not eligible because it was in a Long Term Care facility and Long Term Care experience was required (unknowingly to me when I applied), which I do not have. I love people, I love to help people, and serving others allows me to be compassionate and humbled. I plan to succeed as a BSN graduate from Winston Salem State University and go on to pursue my interests. Once my BSN is obtained, there are endless possibilities. With my love for people and my love for the profession, the sky is the limit. Perseverance got me through Nursing, has guided me through my career, and will be leading me through the BSN program to graduation.


Berens, M.J. (2000, September 11). Training often takes a back seat. Retrieved from

Bradby, M. (1990). Status passage into nursing: Another view of the process of socialization into

nursing. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 15 (10), 1220-1225.

Creasia, J.L., & Friberg, Elizabeth. (2011). Conceptual foundations: The bridge to professional nursing practice. 5th Edition. St. Louis, MO: Mosby (2010)