So here I am at this Level 1 Trauma Center...and yes...it's overwhelming. I wonder if I am supposed to think as critically as other nurses do? I feel dumb at times....I can tell you all about how to take care of CP's, abd blunt trauma, car wrecks, trauma victims...but if someone comes in breathing fast, but has no apparent respiratory problems...how can I tell straight off w/out labs that this patient could possibly be acidotic? I seriously wonder how I can put everything into prospective...I can't dx things right off and I feel that is what I am supposed to be doing. I don't know if I am thinking as critical as I should.
How long is it taking you all to get the hang of everything, not feel overwhelmed, and to put everything n2 prospective? I just feel like crying because I feel like I don't know enough! I don't want to end up killing someone...HELP!
Oct 13, '06
I can honestly say, without a doubt, that you need to step back, take a deep breath, and realize that most everyone goes through the same self doubts and worries as you are now.
Right now you are at the novice stage in your professional nursing career. How does your hospital or health care institution assist new nurses? Do you have a mentor? Do you shadow more experienced nurses? Do you have a preceptor?
I would think, as you gain more experience working in your trauma center, that you will begin to feel more at ease. Keep up to date on the various journals that are available to you.
I must say, I am a critical care nurse and I feel so uneasy when put into the ED milieu. I need my patient's to have at least one IV in situ and a tentative Dx. (smile) I have heard other ED nurses tell me that they are uncomfortable in an ICU.
And sometimes I still feel overwhelmed, especially if my patient is crumping and I don't know why.
What I am trying to say is I think most every RN has gone through what you are experiencing now. I realize this statement doesn't help you with the feelings you currently have, but maybe if you could talk to someone at your workplace, in your unit. They might be able to help you see that your feelings are legitimate and over time (hopefully) you will feel less and less overwhelmed and more and more like a seasoned, nurse-expert.
I wish I could be of more help to you....
Oct 13, '06
I worked in a level one trauma center (ER) for 10 years. Took me about a year to feel fairly comfortable and two years to know that I could handle anything that came through the door.
Relax! Do you feel you got enough orientation? Do you have a mentor?
Oct 13, '06
I agree with the others, it takes time and experience to become a critical thinker with instinct.
Even if you make an educated guess, you still wouldn't want to treat a patient for acidosis without truly knowing the ABGs.
Good luck and hang in there. Keep your eyes open, keep asking questions, stick with the winners, watch a mentor and how she/he operates and soon someone will be looking to you saying "I feel so dumb and you have it together, how can I be like you!".
Oct 13, '06
I do have a preceptor, she is a great teacher. I am still in my orientation, which has been 4 months thus far and I have 3 weeks to go. I am just so scared! Some nurses have told me it takes them a while to feel comfortable...I just hate that I can't get it right off the bat you know. I am scared I am going to hurt someone or something...I don't know I'm just so stressed. I do need to step back, take a deep breath, and look at this situation... I appreciate you guys.
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