Need Encouragment

  1. I am a new grad nurse and have been working in the ER for about 6 months. I was an ER Tech in this same ER before becoming a nurse. I look forward to coming to work every day, I love my job and still don't want to do anything else. Problem is, I still feel like an "outsider" with the "crew." And its a very tight crew. On those especially stressful nights, I feel pretty unsupported and alone. I've worked VERY hard to come up to speed quickly and be a competent, fully contributing member of the team...nurse manager has told me I've exceeded all possible expectations and he's never had a complaint about me from staff or patients. So why do I have so much trouble bonding? I know I have to stay pretty intensely focused to stay on top of things, as I can't depend on experience or ingrained habit to carry me through....perhaps that makes me seem distant? I don't know. I'm also alittle bit shy, but as a tech always had positive relationships with all the staff. Also continue to jump in where needed and help when my own assignment is stable. Any thoughts on this topic? Is it a "role transition" issue? By the way, I am a 40 year old "mid-life career change" nurse, so I'm hardly a kid with no "life experience." Really could use some emotional support as I continue to learn and grow.
    Thanks for listening.
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   RNFROG3
    Lilith,
    It could be anyone of those reasons, or all of them, or none of them. Is other staff available for you when their loads are stable? or are you on your own? If they help you too it may just be you are internalising the stress from starting all the new stuff. I noticied that even though I was a rapid learner and adjusted quickly on the outside... my insides were still catching up. In any case give it a little longer and if after a year you are still feeling the same maybe that isn't the right place for you . But make sure you get your year of experience in so you can fly more easily.
    Try to stay upbeat and cheerful and hopefully they will see you as the great person you are, if not their loss!
  4. by   ERNurse752
    Have you been on the same shift for the whole 6 months?
    It seems like it takes *at least* that long for people to get to know each other and to relax with each other enough to include newer people on the "inside."
    (Especially if they're really tight with each other in the first place.)

    I tend to be very focused sometimes too, and not talk to people, so I can understand where you're coming from. I had to make a conscious effort to have conversations with people!

    It sounds like you're doing all the right things, and it sounds like your manager has been hearing good things.

    As long as no one is actually being openly unaccepting of you, or hostile etc, I'd say just give it some more time, and try to "bond" with people whenever you have time.
  5. by   ladyjane
    i know it sounds silly, but taking something for the staff to eat may warm them up towards you, also asking questions about their families may open communication. just a few easy tips to try.
  6. by   eldernurse
    It takes at least a year. Settle down and don't try so hard. Pull your share of the load and it will come to you. (And food is always a winner!)
  7. by   CMERN
    Sounds as if you are focused on your job and patient loads. also probably internalizing...I did the same and still do ..I am friends with many staff of different "clicks" with in the staff, yet I do not stick to any click..at first this felt odd..but now I prefer it. My priorities lie so: patient first, concentration to be the best nurse I can, Being helpful and friendly with others...then last-if deeper friendships evolve fine...if not ..ITS OK TOO...remember each staff member has just as much or more stuff going on in their head as you do...cant always socialize in our E.R. ' situations"
  8. by   AngelGirl
    Hi, Lilith, I hear what you are saying and agree. The need for affirmation in nursing is a big one in the ER. ER tends to be a place beseiged with shell-shocking events. It's easy to retreat into what is comforting, seeing that we often find ourselves in need of emotional recharging. Once our needs are met, we can go out to meet the needs of others. People tend to rely on one another in the ER to meet those emotional needs. If they feel spread too thin, they might not feel as though they have anything left to give to the 'new kid,' which, I agree, is very sad, as well as very short-sighted.
    I worked as a registry nurse for years and learned to make a place for myself in many settings. The most recent place was a 3 month assignment in CA, in an ER, where I figured I'd at least try to get to know some folks. They had relationships that were well established and I did feel as though I was intruding, at first. Then I tried several things to help the staff. All were well received and I became a part of the team. First, I bought a book, an empty journal type, with a pretty cover. I called it "The Compliment Book." Patients would tell me good things about the staff and I would write it into the book. I made the rest of the staff aware of its presence there on the shelf with the med manuals. It took a while, but soon, it was being used by other employees. The Head Nurse for the day would write a note to the staff following a difficult shift, pointing out that all had done well and had pulled together as a team. Whenever an MD was complimented (which was quite often), I wrote it in. Nothing elaborate, just a note, such as, "Dr. ......... took such good care of me last time I was here. He is very kind and caring. John T, 2/01/02" This book remains on the shelf, even though I have moved on. I hear that it is still in use! Secondly, I love to bake bread. ER nurses (and docs) love to eat bread! I would make up a couple of loaves and bring them warm from the oven with butter. M-m-m-m-m. Bread does something to our primal innards. We can all relate to it. And the aroma! It just naturally breaks down barriers. Maybe it just smells like Grandma's house. Anyway, it was a big hit.

    Thirdly, PICTURES!! I brought my camera, got people to stand together and snapped close-ups of their smiling faces. A BIG hit! We're all HAMS at heart, anyway. This breaks down many walls. I made two books, one for them and one for the ER. The one for me, I placed pictures in a journal with an open page next to each photo. Then I handed the book to the person whose picture was there and asked for that one to write me a note. (I was leaving, so it was very appropriate). I had no idea how many very good friends I'd made in that three month period until I read their notes. I often reread that book and count it as one of my greatest TREASURES.
    Hope these suggestions help!!

    AngelGirl
  9. by   veetach
    hey Angelgirl, that idea about the book is a great one!
  10. by   jeannet83
    Hi, Lilith! Hang in there! It is not easy being a new grad even if you have the ER tech experience and are a more mature adult learner.

    I have to say that I really related to your post as I had one nursing position which happened to be in the ER where I was working permanent nights. Even though I had been a nurse for 18 years with critical care experience, it was totally impossible to crack into the "night shift crew". They had been there for ages (longer than 18 years!!) and weren't into welcoming new people with open arms. Plus I had worked at this particular facility for at least 7 years! Finally, after persistent attempts to feel comfortable with this team, I decided it wasn't working and switched to the 12n-12mn shift. Talk about a day and night difference, no pun intended!! At least 8 day shift people came up to me and said, "What, you couldn't stand the night shift crew?" (FYI-to those night shifters out there, I was permanent nights in my ICU era and has no reflection on my feeling towards night shift folk!). Anyway, I have since relocated to NY state and work with an all around great crew of ER people.

    So...give it at least a year total to see if things change. Use some of the excellent suggestions already posted. If it is shift-related, consider another shift, if you want. This may be some uncomfortbleness on everyone's part in getting use to your transition from ER tech to nurse. But hang in there and I hope it gets better for you!

    Jeanne

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