Reality shock is described as a condition in which a person enters a profession, but finds him or herself unprepared. It is not unique to nursing, though it can certainly happen in the nursing field. There are four phases of reality shock, including the honeymoon phase, rejection phase, recovery phase, and resolution.
The honeymoon phase is short-lived. Soon, you being to see the differences between what you learned in school and what is really going on. You wonder which set of values you are supposed to uphold—the ones you learn in school, or the ones that every other nurse on your unit is using.
These feelings eventually lead you into the second phase, shock. Your self-esteem might begin to falter as you become hypercritical, but don't fall into the trap. The key to moving out of this phase is the right attitude. Convince yourself that you have what it takes, and bear in mind that things will get easier.
Source: Adapted from Stressed Out About Your First Year of Nursing. Check out our latest nursing resources here.