Am I doing the right thing? New nurse getting butt kicked

  1. 8
    I am a new male RN, BSN. I graduated in August of '12 and started at my job on a neurology/med-surg unit. I never really wanted to do med-surg, but many nurses told me that it is a great place to start because you can hone your time management skills, prioritization, and whatnot. Where do I ultimately want to end up? I have no clue. I don't know what the end game is.

    Anyway, as many new nurses have stated on this forum, I am truly miserable. I work nights because the pace is generally slower than days (our floor is extremely busy), and I care for between four to five patients (less than other med-surg floors in other hospitals in our city, but often higher acuity than what they see, I'm told).

    I just feel constantly behind. It takes me forever to chart, to see all of my patients, and give a comprehensive report to day shift. I feel sick on the drive to work, and suffer 'GI distress' once there. At work I feel constantly on edge and snap at co-workers (definitely not a good thing). I just feel like I should be better at this job than I am. I feel like I should be more confident and comfortable. I know I should be grateful to even have this job, but I truly resent it. Am I expecting to much at this point? Is year one of nursing truly just this gauntlet of misery? (Sorry for getting emo there!)

    I opted for med-surg post graduation. Was this a wise choice? Are there other areas in which a newer grad could also do well in? What are they? I have never left a job in less than one year of service, but this one has gotten me thinking that perhaps I should.

    Ultimately, even if no one responds to this post, I'm happy that this forum exists so I can at least vent.

    Thanks!
    sharpeimom, Orange Tree, roughmatch, and 5 others like this.
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  3. 58 Comments so far...

  4. 2
    I work in LTC overnight. I graduated May 2012 started August.

    I had those same problems (even GI distress). I've been on my own since October and I'll tell you that for me, sometimes I'm there charting or helping with patient care two hours after I was supposed to get off. And that is just LTC which is usually slower than med surg.

    You will probably get quicker with your basic skills like med pass and aide-type duties which will eventually allow you to have more time for your charting and such.

    I think med surg is good to start out with. You learn basic skills that will always be valuable! But in a few months if you still hate it consider other options.
    Sweeti738 and Orange Tree like this.
  5. 3
    I am also a new nurse, I understand the anxiety. There are a few things that have helped me.

    First, I have found a system that works for me. I use post it notes to keep organized...if interested I will give details.
    Second, I am not hard on myself. I realize that I am new to nursing and imperfect. Give yourself a break, learn from your mistakes.

    Last, I have great coworkers, some better than others. If I am unsure then I ask...sometimes several people.

    Give it some time.
    gigglestarsRN, Orange Tree, and lindarn like this.
  6. 4
    Sorry that this is happening to you. One year and you can start looking around to see if there's anything else you may be interested in--look for internal job openings. In the meanwhile, start thinking about anything you need to brush up on clinically, and take steps to do so. There are lots of report cheat sheets that can be used to streamline reporting, you could try that. Ask any questions you want to at report--then,scan orders noting if there's any meds due on your shift and any labs etc for the early morning, go see your patients, come back and chart, filling out the report cheat sheet while you are doing this. SBAR is not my biggest love in life, however, keep it pertainent. Always think head to toe. Why they were admitted, pertaint PMH, allergies, then the head to toe assessment. You may be interrupted by call bells for your patients. That is OK, you can come back and chart. Keep your charting on point. As a nurse who liked to elaborate, there's no reason to. You don't sound emo at all--just slightly overwhelmed, which is completely normal, and hopefully, you can now move to a unit that you have wanted to try now that you have a good clinical base. Good luck and let us know how it goes
  7. 7
    I am finishing my first year this month. Right around month eight I started to feel like I had my feet under me more. All this difficulty you are experiencing is going to result in a lot of knowledge. The learning curve is pretty steep at first. If you don't use a brain sheet, find one you like and make it a habit. Our ratios have been higher than normal due to so many falling ill this year. Busting my brain sheet back out has saved me many shifts recently.

    It gets better. Hang in there.
    Jules2152, CountyRat, poppycat, and 4 others like this.
  8. 11
    Old nurse here.

    Take it easy on yourself. I recently heard a new nurse at my hospital say she thought when she got out of school she knew everything. She now knows after a short time that she has had a lot to learn and still does.

    At most you have 4 months experience. That is like first year of nursing school. How competent did you feel then? At present you are just recently off orientation. Time and experience will take care of some of these problems. I don't know if there is an easier field to start out than med-surg. I would think that any critical care,er,etc would be a lot harder because you would have a lot sicker patient where they could circle the drain faster. The learning curve there would be steeper.

    Four or 5 patients is NOT a very heavy load. Ours is currently down to 6 from 8. Believe me. Eight was a bear even for experienced nurses.

    As for making it through the shift better, I find I need to get to work EARLY to get information on my patients from the computer even before sign in time for work begins. That gives me a running start. I know pertinent labs, meds I have to give etc. I've read on here that some places don't allow this anymore and I realize this is unpaid time but sometime you just have to do what you have to do. It wasn't always like this but now I find it is.

    You have to realize that nursing is a continuous learning experience. Medical informaton is growing at an exponential rate. I have more to learn now than I ever did before. You will too. Passing the board simply means you are minimally competent to practice nursing though it has been your goal since the beginning of nursing school. Notice the word minimally. By the time you have a couple of years under your belt and decide to move on from med-surg you will feel better about your skills.

    Welcome to the profession.
    SENSUALBLISSINFL, SRNA4U, CountyRat, and 8 others like this.
  9. 10
    Quote from j_tay1981
    I am a new male RN, BSN. I graduated in August of '12 and started at my job on a neurology/med-surg unit. I never really wanted to do med-surg, but many nurses told me that it is a great place to start because you can hone your time management skills, prioritization, and whatnot. Where do I ultimately want to end up? I have no clue. I don't know what the end game is.

    Anyway, as many new nurses have stated on this forum, I am truly miserable. I work nights because the pace is generally slower than days (our floor is extremely busy), and I care for between four to five patients (less than other med-surg floors in other hospitals in our city, but often higher acuity than what they see, I'm told).

    I just feel constantly behind. It takes me forever to chart, to see all of my patients, and give a comprehensive report to day shift. I feel sick on the drive to work, and suffer 'GI distress' once there. At work I feel constantly on edge and snap at co-workers (definitely not a good thing). I just feel like I should be better at this job than I am. I feel like I should be more confident and comfortable. I know I should be grateful to even have this job, but I truly resent it. Am I expecting to much at this point? Is year one of nursing truly just this gauntlet of misery? (Sorry for getting emo there!)

    I opted for med-surg post graduation. Was this a wise choice? Are there other areas in which a newer grad could also do well in? What are they? I have never left a job in less than one year of service, but this one has gotten me thinking that perhaps I should.

    Ultimately, even if no one responds to this post, I'm happy that this forum exists so I can at least vent.

    Thanks!
    You are perfectly normal. You are expecting WAY TO MUCH!!!! from yourself. It takes AT LEAST a year before you feel like you aren't chasing your own tail. I think it's harder for new grads today because I do not feel schools prepare you for the real world AT ALL!!! It is a huge shock to your system to realize that other than basic safety requirements...school didn't give you a whole lot...Welcome to nursing! ((HUGS))

    DO NOT GIVE UP! what you need are good brain sheets......here are a few made for/by AN members for AN.

    you need a good brain sheet.......here are a few. DO NOT GIVE UP!! It WILL get better!!!!

    Adapt them however you need

    mtpmedsurg.doc
    1 patient float.doc‎
    5 pt. shift.doc‎
    finalgraduateshiftreport.doc‎
    horshiftsheet.doc‎
    report sheet.doc‎
    day sheet 2 doc.doc

    critical thinking flow sheet for nursing students
    student clinical report sheet for one patient

    Jules2152, poppycat, jadelpn, and 7 others like this.
  10. 0
    The key to life is persistance and motivation.
  11. 4
    I think the first thing you should work on is not snapping at your coworkers. Right now you need them more than ever being so new. When you get frustrated give yourself at least 1 minute before responding to think about what you are about to say and how it will make the person feel.

    Next, brain sheets are a life-saver. I tried 3 different ones before I found one that kept me on track. It also helps to write down what you have to do each hour and cross it off as you go.

    Also, I chart my assessment as soon as I get out of the room and leave the rest for later (i.e. nursing diagnoses, fall risk, education, etc) later on when I find the time that way you do not forget to chart and important assessment finding.
    poppycat, pink345, nrsang97, and 1 other like this.
  12. 10
    Thanks all for the comments! Esme12, I'm going to check out those brain sheets you posted here (I never heard that term until now, but I'm pretty sure I get how accurate it is!). M/B-RN, you are absolutely right; my co-workers are amazingly supportive and helpful. The last thing I want to do is offend them or close that door. So much of my problem, honestly, is ego. I feel like since I did really well in school I should be rocking things on the floor. But as Esme12 said, school is a far cry from real world nursing.

    I know our floor has a really low patient to nurse ratio, and even though I'm overwhelmed, I'm thankful for that. I was getting to work an hour before my shift started to try and research my patients (even off the clock), but shift assignments are not often finalized and available until 15-20 minutes before start of shift.
    Right now nursing feels like a race to get everything done immediately. It almost feels like everything is considered a priority!

    I have hung around after my shift to finish charting, but we've had such a huge clasp down on overtime that this is severely frowned upon. But if I have to, I have to.

    Oh, and dee78, I would be interested to see how you use post it notes during your shift. As many tools as I can put in my tool box and all that!

    Thanks for the great responses, all!
    not.done.yet, Esme12, jadelpn, and 7 others like this.


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