Quote from Catch22Personified
I asked the ER director if I could observe/help out a day yesterday and I followed one of the more experienced RNs. I was completely overwhelmed. I'm trying to do an initial assessment, do blood work, and get an EKG; then as soon as I get out I find out there are three more patients already in beds waiting to be triaged! The hospital is trying some new experimental method of triaging people when the actual ER isn't full and take people in the waiting room immediately bypassing the triage RN. I'm sorta assertive but the ER is full of extremely strong personalities than my little old self. I feel like I know nothing again.
Sounds like that nurse didn't do a good job of starting you out and building you up. Some nurses seem to think it's cool to watch someone flounder, or that you have to sink before you swim. I'm not a fan of that process, but yes, ER nursing is different enough that you will feel totally overwhelmed, and be totally overwhelmed at times. Part of ER nursing is figuring out how to manage your time in a totally interrupt driven environment where nothing is scheduled, everything is a stat now order. That can only come with experience, but it does come, and that nurse that was watching you sink, was overwhelmed when she started too!
As for the strong personalities, those come with time and growth. When my wife started in the ER, she was timid as could be, now she is one of those strong personalities that makes herself known. When a doc orders something she disagrees with, if she has to she will go toe to toe with 'em, no problem. They may yell, or pout (I love it when docs pout), but they will listen to her and finally come around and deal with it. That part of you will grow in the ER.
The good thing about feeling like you know nothing, is it gives you a chance to re-learn it. Some things will be different, others will be the same. Some you have forgotten because you didn't have to use them, others, are totally new. It will not be a situation where you walk in and your up to speed that day, it will take some time. If the ER is willing to train you and get you up to speed, it can be a great place to work, fun and different every day. A bit scary on occasion, but still very rewarding.