How long does the "new nurse anxiety" usually last? - page 2

Hey all! I know there is a section on this forum about disabilities but I don't think this relates to clinical anxiety/depression. As a new nurse (2 months without preceptor) I basically have, to a degree, an anxiety attack... Read More

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    I think it took me about 6 months but it helped that I took a job at the same facility and specialty that I had participated in as a tech and similar.
    I think part of what helps with newbie anxiety (or at least it did for me) is having your first major crash or disaster. Once its over and done with and you have survived (and hopefully the patient too) you know that you can handle what gets thrown at you. IMO it's a classic case of the waiting and worrying being worse than the actual event.
    I went over a year before I had my first death, and then I had 2 on back to back nights (one expected end of life, the other a bad code). After that I walked away confident because I knew that I'd been there, done that and had proven myself up to the challenge.
    happyRN29, Hygiene Queen, and GrnTea like this.

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    I just posted this on another thread,but in case you missed it....

    "Some of you have heard me tell this story before. I was several years out of school and had been staff in this fabulous ICU for three, and I was actually pretty good at it. One day I was in the break room with Sarah, a nurse of more than a decade's experience in the unit, one who could take every kind of patient that rolled up the hall, who was never flustered, always expert, always willing to teach and explain. I asked her when I would stop feeling scared when I sat in report. She smiled and said that every day before report started she felt a pang of anxiety, but that it passed when she started working. She said that when that little stab of fear went away she would have to go somewhere else, because it's what keeps us awake and sharp. I never, ever forgot that (and here I am telling that story again, smumble-mumble years later), and I am happy to pass it along to you."

    It will get better. All of a sudden you will notice that you weren't the least bit nervous today. In another week or three you will realize you haven't been nervous all week. Then you'll get to the place where you forget all about being nervous unless you have a new and challenging patient condition to learn. Then, back to being chilled...Lather, rinse, repeat.
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    Thank you for the replies, everyone. I know this is a normal feeling but it's nice to hear it again. Sounds like I still some months of this to go before it settles. As someone mentioned, it's true that after every critical patient I have, I feel more confident but still scares the crap out of me haha.
    anotherone likes this.
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    I have had shifts where I felt anxious, but even as a new grad, I knew to do my best, go home and reflect, and then forget it. My last two clinical experiences were very intense, and they were full time, so most of my anxiety had been worked out by the end of it. However, I would agree with others that it takes 6 months to a year to start feeling competent, and at two years, things start to gel. I think new nurses are too hard on themselves. Many of you expect too much, too fast. Ask for support when you need it, review procedures and meds regularly, and know that the routine of your nursing care will improve with time. We all started much the same way.
    happyRN29 likes this.
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    I never had much anxiety, but then I am not an anxious person in general. My husband, however is, and he said it took him about a year to not have the anxiety. He also said it really went away once he started precepting other.
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    You mean it ends? I'm kidding...

    I have been off orientation a year next month and somewhere about 6 months ago it started to get a lot easier. I am a new grad in the ICU and I think it depends, at least somewhat, on what unit you start on. ICU and ER are both notoriously high stress areas.

    Sometimes I still get anxious but like someone else said, it calms down after I start the shift. Hope this helps.
    anotherone likes this.
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    I had a lot of anxiety, partly based on being a new grad and partly due to a horrific first job. My first job was about 6 months before I quit, I woujld sit in my car before my shift nauseous and could not sleep either. My second job was SO MUCH BETTER that the anxiety was never as bad as the first position, way less overall. It lasted 3 - 6 months, what I would call normal nurse nerves. My current job which is a totally different specialty, it was about 6 months as well. It does get better. With experience comes confidence in your ability.
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    Graduated BSN August of 2012, and have been without a preceptor for ~ two months. I still get anxious before work and the first few hours into the shift. I work nights on a busy med surg floor. I also tend to feel really stressed and tense when the shift begins. And I hate those feelings. It goes away as the shift wears on but it is tiring feeling that way so often. I was told by my manager six months to feel more comfortable, but other employees have said 1-2 years. I guess each person is different.
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    Thank you ASM90 for your post. I was here researching the same thing! I'm right there with you, new grad in the ED. I was recently asked to come off orientation early. I felt excited that I am doing well enough that they would consider me ready but then the anxiety set in and now I feel like I'm going to be all alone! The staff I work with are great but I just worry about when we are slammed crazy busy is the help still going to be there. Like all I guess I have my good days where I feel like I rocked the whole shift and then other days I feel like I was a scattered mess and want to vomit. I am just happy to see that it's normal to feel this way.
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    Quote from UseYourNoodle
    Thank you ASM90 for your post. I was here researching the same thing! I'm right there with you, new grad in the ED. I was recently asked to come off orientation early. I felt excited that I am doing well enough that they would consider me ready but then the anxiety set in and now I feel like I'm going to be all alone! The staff I work with are great but I just worry about when we are slammed crazy busy is the help still going to be there. Like all I guess I have my good days where I feel like I rocked the whole shift and then other days I feel like I was a scattered mess and want to vomit. I am just happy to see that it's normal to feel this way.

    You won't be all alone. Remember that.


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