I feel you, asjohnson02. I've been working as a nurse for 6 months, and still feel like my shifts are spent scrambling, trying not to miss anything, struggling to keep up. I see the experienced RNs around me chatting casually at the nurses' station, clearly caught up, and I'm racing to get everything done, read over labs, read over histories, make sure I'm not missing anything. And I wonder, am I ever going to get to where they are? Am I ever going to be so calm and nonchalant about this job?
It seems every shift includes finding out another
thing that I should have been tracking/watching for/doing that I missed through inexperience. I've cried on my way home quite a few times. I often feel like I'm letting my patients down by not managing my time better.
I'm told, frequently, by experienced, kind nurses (I'm very lucky, and work at an amazing hospital, with a very positive, supportive culture) that it takes at least a year to get a firm grip on the time management piece of the job. Many of them have said it takes as much as 2 years before you stop feeling like an incompetent boob every day. I'm certainly still struggling with that feeling.
But then, I look back at the first few weeks, and can see how far I've come. I can handle the max nurse: patient ratio in my area and keep everyone alive, get meds passed, get care done, even if I am having to delegate some of that care. I've learned an incredible amount, even if I have lost some of the theoretical and anatomical knowledge that was crammed into my head for the NCLEX. I read nursing journal articles about best practice, and understand them, and can implement them into my plans of care. I am developing that "instinct" that tells the nurse that something's just not quite right with this patient, that makes me look closer, possibly leading to calling a rapid response. (I caught the first signs of an infarct the other night, potentially saving a life, certainly saving neurological function). One day, I'm going to be a very good nurse. That day is NOT today. But I can see it on the distant horizon.
Yes, I still make mistakes, miss things, feel like a doofus. But I'm making progress
. SO ARE YOU.
Cardiac is an incredibly complex, intense area. You are learning so
much, even if it feels a bit like "one step forward, two steps back" for some shifts. You're getting better. And the fact that you posted this shows that you care, deeply, about gaining skill and competence, about making a real difference. You have the drive and the attitude, and you'll gain the skill. Take heart in that, grit your teeth, and keep doing what you're doing.
Everyone starts out feeling like a fool. Remember those experienced nurses who say, "it gets better" and "it takes time"? They say it for a reason. We'll get there, asjohnson02. We'll be amazing one day.