good student, bad nurse...

  1. I did very well in nursing school and passed the NCLEX in 75 questions. I enjoyed precepting and looked forward to starting my career. Now I'm 3 months into orientation on a surgery floor and just not doing well, either in my job or my life. It's not just my own insecurity--my preceptor and nurse manager agree that I just don't seem to get it. I especially struggle with time management. I may have taken on too much right out of school... I'm on 12-hour nights on a high-acuity floor, and am new to the city. I am becoming seriously depressed, ashamed and freaked out about my best-laid plans going so rapidly awry that I'm having a hard time functioning. At this point I am asking myself, "What in the hell was I thinking, that I could be a nurse?" What if I lose my first job? My self-confidence is zilch by now and the idea of applying for another job is terrifying and humiliating. Any thoughts, advice, comisserations?
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  2. 28 Comments

  3. by   SFCardiacRN
    Hang in there. The learning curve is steep for new grads. Try to find an experienced RN at work for encouragement. Use this site to vent. Someday you'll look back on this experience as you precept a new grad.
  4. by   lesrn2005
    I'm new also....do you think it's a case of nerves? Are you letting your stress get to you? For me, it's the stress of continuous orders-trying to get everything done. I work on organizational skills ea. day-yes, I think I improve with ea. day. I keep lists of meds, which doc I need to call, problems w/patients, etc....The only area I struggle with is iv insertion-sometimes I get it, sometimes I don't.
  5. by   Daytonite
    Are you being told very specifically what it is that you are "not getting" and being given advice as to how to improve? Are you able to follow up their suggestions or are you floundering with how to correct what you are failing to do? What are some of the specific things they are telling you? Do you need help organizing your time? Do you need more time becoming competent with procedures? Anything you care to share?
  6. by   Tweety
    Your manager and preceptor are letting you down if all they have to say is "you're just not getting it". You need to come up with a plan that utilizes your strengths and works on your weaknesses.

    On a daily basis I asked myself the same question "What was I thinking......???". You're post could have been me or a million of new grads at that point.

    Good luck. It will come together one day.
  7. by   UM Review RN
    Sophia, I sent you a Private Message.

    Don't despair. You can always come here and get some good advice in how to improve your practice.
  8. by   JentheRN05
    Straight out of school I went into OB. My lifelong dream! I was thrilled and excited. WHen the time came for my 3 month eval. I was freaked out and overwhelmed. I too was 'just not getting it!" I was frustrated with myself. Frustrated with the lack of orientation (I had NO orientation) and lack of experience. THrown to the wolves on my 3rd delivery (that I had even seen) I started feeling sick. It progressively got worse. Ended up developing ulcers due to stress and the constant pain relievers I was taking (for my back problems). Well the day before I was supposed to be having my evaluation. I pulled all of my strength, grew some balls and posed the question to this forum. I told them of how I was feeling, what was going on, and posed the question. "what should I do? Should I quit? I just felt terrible physically and mentally because of the just 'not getting it'.
    So - at the advice of the people on this forum, and under the advice of my doctor even, I called my nursing manager up and attempted to give my two weeks notice. She said, nah your in orientation, you don't need to give 2 weeks notice. She was very understanding about it. Quite nice for the same person who told me "I'm just going to put you straight on the floor, I don't think you need orientation"
    Don't get me wrong, I did get some orientation in OB. By the end of my orientation I was quite comfortable with PP and Nursery. I hadn't taken care of any REALLY sick babies, but those always got shipped anyway (small hospital).
    So - I quit that job, it was very financially hard for us. But my health and sanity was on the line.
    It took me a full month to find another job. But I look back and I do NOT regret the decision I made. I just wasn't ready for that specialized of nursing.
    Now I work nights on a busy ortho/neuro unit. I am very comfortable in my job, and in fact I love it.
    I know where my heart lies, and someday I will go back to OB. But I had to be comfortable with simply being a nurse WAAAAAAYYYY before trying to be a nurse and a SPECIALIZED nurse at the same time.
    Dig down deep, think long and hard if this is affecting you enough that it is worth a change, and follow your gut.
    I am glad I did. In no way am I saying that you should quit, what I am saying is that you should consider that maybe you need to learn to be a nurse before you specialize. You can always specialize later. Get comfortable with your routine, with your knowledge then try something else.
    Personally I'm going to further my education before I try to switch back to OB. That will give me a stronger base to work on.
    If you ever need to talk, feel free to PM me. I know what your feeling, I've been there. Don't let yourself get physically ill on top of the mental strain before you do something about it.
    Thinking of you,
    Jen
  9. by   greatshakes
    Hi
    I just resigned too and yes it is disappointing. I found the threads in help me help a new nurse excellent. We have to remember that we are human, we are new and we all want to do a good job. I am sure you're not a bad nurse, you're just new to everything and let's hope it gets better for all of us. Hang in there love
  10. by   lisa41rn
    Don't give up!! I'm five months into nursing and it's been very hard but getting better. While I really relied on this site for support, I found one person who helped me a lot, but I sought support from her for a more serious situation and she never responded. I was really hurt by it, but that's life I guess. I was being accused of something they found I was not involved in. Thank God for that. The point is, you really do need someone for support, be it at work or on this site. People shouldn't make comments that you're not getting it and leave it at that. Maybe they are the ones failing!! Don't let them get away with that. My manager pointed out something that was wrong yesterday. I was so depressed all day!! BUT, my manager does it in a very fair way. She's always good about it, not trying to shatter your confidence. I'm lucky to have that, but am very hard on myself, thus the reason for being so depressed about it. Thankfully it wasn't a huge problem, and we all make mistakes so I've learned from it. I don't even think she was going to mention it to me. I happen to see her with a chart and asked her if something was wrong. Anyway, you're still going through a rough time. I'm sure you've been told the first year is the hardest. It will get better. Remember the confidence you had while getting through school and passing the NCLEX. There's a reason you did well and that's because you're smart!! Know you're not alone!! Keep smilin'!!
  11. by   CRNAorBust
    Ok i have no idea what happened to my last post but i'm going to try it again.......

    I too am a former nursing student who was good in school work and not getting it totally in the real world.

    I signed up in June for 1 yr training program for a critical care nursing program. I went to the ICU/ progressive care unit in sept and am now being told I"m not getting it and its close to the time they expect me to be taking my own patients (January). I'm up to three patients and I'm forgetting occassional meds, missing entry of vital signs and giving and getting report is still not quite right.

    I have thought about skipping the ICU (tho i had dreams of moving ahead to nurse anesthetist.....damn)........but regardless as upset as I feel i feel things are not progressing and they are not giving me enough time to fix anything........

    So what to do now is a concern. I have no idea what else I would want to do. orthopedics sounded interesting, but so does administration at this point. I have no idea where i should go in order to bone up so that maybe one day I might return to an ICU setting (tho at 52 i don't know how much time i have left in which to do this).

    So any helpful tips etc would be greatly appreciated.......

    Thanks in advance,

    Bryan
  12. by   greatshakes
    Bryan,
    when you did your nursing pracs when at Uni? , where did you feel the most comfortable? For me it is Medical and ours went for 6 weeks (30 x 8 hour shifts) and by then I was having a bay of four patients and doing everything for them. still had to be supervised for meds and IVs etc. I also liked surgical because I liked the dressings, pre and post surgical and if I had had my medical staff in surg wing would have been really happy. Go for any area where you think you've done well and if it happens that you were happy there, good. otherwise go for something that appeals above all else and you'll be more determined to do well and love your work. I just resigned after four weeks and it was nowhere near my dream. With any luck I'll get a postgrad there and will love it. On:innerconf ce you get established and can handle the pace then you can opt for other areas. Good luck
  13. by   bluestar
    You're only three months out as an RN. You're still on orientation. Relax, give yourself a break. It takes time to develop time-management skills. This is a tough business, even for the veterans.
  14. by   caroladybelle
    I am a traveler and I frequently have those feelings. And I graduated in 1993.

    I think that many of the best nurses have doubts about their abilities. It is just that the better ones see their shortcomings. They always see that they could have done better, ignoring "the good enough".

    Some nurses are happy with the "good enough".

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