Natural Born Killer

  1. I have been a new nurse for just over a month on a surgical floor at night. I've had patients rave about me, I've had patients complain about me and so far I've had one compliment from a doctor. The last couple of weeks have started to become really difficult for me. Everytime I go to work I end up crying by the end of my shift and also I end up staying an extra 2-3 hours to finish up charting. My nurse manager called me in her office to review my night from a couple days ago and I was just devastated at myself. I felt like I was a horrible nurse looking back on everything that happened. I had two patients that needed 2 units of blood, 2 post ops, 1 patient that needed a dressing change at midnight, and 1 ER admit. That doesn't sound too awful of an assignment, especially for night shift. But there were complications that happened with a few of my patients, which made it difficult for me to manage my time. To make a long story short the nurse manager is suggesting I switch to days.

    The reason I titled this thread "Natural Born Killer" is because I feel like I don't know what the heck am doing. I am getting so frustrated and because I work on the night shift I don't get very much support. I've often said out loud at work how much I want to quit and that all the stress I'm going through is not worth it. I have been reading through other threads and I know I'm not the only natural born killer out there.

    I am starting to look into hospitals that offer a better orientation. I don't want to give up yet, but I can't just sit here and be depressed and miserable.
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   Hoozdo
    If you only have been a nurse one month, how long was your orientation? No, you are not a natural born killer, LOL. You just might possibly need more orientation. Most nurses are not natural born nurses! It takes more than one month to get your confidence built up.

    Maybe going to days would be good. Most new grads would love to go to days! If your manager acts like you should be a seasoned nurse after only one month, start to look elsewhere.
  4. by   deeDawntee
    The very first thing you have to do is give yourself a huge break. Surgical floors at night are notoriously difficult. You have all the pain management issues, giving blood, nausea management, turning etc. All of that is very time consuming and require lots of charting. After being at it only 30 days, you can't be expected to have a routine established or efficient ways of doing things developed that more experience would provide you.

    You have been receiving some good feedback! That is very good. It concerns me that your orientation and the support around you has not been sufficient to provide you with what you need to succeed. You should not have to leave your shift to get more orientation, you need to be supported on your own shift to make it work. I don't know what to tell you, but I think what you are planning is probably a good idea. Looking into other facilities may be the way to go. Otherwise, are there specific things that we on Allnurses could help you with?
  5. by   koalafiedRN
    Quote from Hoozdo
    If you only have been a nurse one month, how long was your orientation? No, you are not a natural born killer, LOL. You just might possibly need more orientation. Most nurses are not natural born nurses! It takes more than one month to get your confidence built up.

    Maybe going to days would be good. Most new grads would love to go to days! If your manager acts like you should be a seasoned nurse after only one month, start to look elsewhere.
    I had a five week orientation on days and 2 week orientation on nights. In fact, I had to ask for that 2 week orientation because after the five weeks they just "threw" me onto nights and I was drowning then (and apparently still drowning).
  6. by   deeDawntee
    Quote from jennicolete
    I had a five week orientation on days and 2 week orientation on nights. In fact, I had to ask for that 2 week orientation because after the five weeks they just "threw" me onto nights and I was drowning then (and apparently still drowning).
    Do you feel like you are still drowning? Do you feel like you want to work the day shift? Would that be a permanent change for you? What is your general sense of the manager's intention? Does she seem genuinely concerned for your success? Only you can answer these questions. I suspect that she sees what an asset that you are and wants to support your success.

    It doesn't sound like you are drowning. Just still figuring out how to manage all of it in an efficient way. Please DO NOT call yourself a Natural Born Killer, that is entirely false and too brutal. It sounds like you are a Natural Born Healer. The way we talk about ourselves and the labels we put on ourselves are profoundly a lot more powerful than we know. Did something happen where you think you might have "killed" someone? Please, I beg you, to only call yourself what you are and want to be. Sometimes labels have a way of becoming self-fulfilling.
  7. by   traumaRUs
    If you've only been a nurse one month and you're out on your own - that is the problem. This isn't a problem with you though. I would take your own advice and do look at a hospital with more extensive orientation. Good luck.
  8. by   cmo421
    The manager should be asking her/himself,"what could we have done better to help this new nurse?". They have failed you. It is part of management responsibility to provide adequate training, a support system and continuous evaluation to facilitate an new hires experience. I would ask for a meeting and review orientation policy. If they can not accomadate you and your needs, look elsewhere. This is a good example as to why we loose our young.
    Good luck!
  9. by   longjourneydream
    sounds like a nightmare.

    no support? what do they expect???

    you need a good preceptor/mentor.

    new grads need much positive reinforcment.

    one month is not even touching the iceberg.

    i had 12 weeks in the er, and they still never let me work entirely independently.

    support is the key to sucess.

    do not blame yourself.

    you are not a natural born killer.

    your facility is setting you up for failure that you do not deserve.

    rethink your place of employment. it is not worth your mental health or your career.



    Quote from cmo421
    the manager should be asking her/himself,"what could we have done better to help this new nurse?". they have failed you. it is part of management responsibility to provide adequate training, a support system and continuous evaluation to facilitate an new hires experience. i would ask for a meeting and review orientation policy. if they can not accomadate you and your needs, look elsewhere. this is a good example as to why we loose our young.
    good luck!
  10. by   Lynda Lampert, RN
    Just wanted to chime in and say that I am a new nurse, too, and that sounds like a tough shift to me! I work nights, too, but my manager won't let me work all nights. She's afraid I'll get lost in the shuffle and there is a lack of resources on nights. So, I work two evenings a week. That sort of keeps me on my toes. I also had 11 weeks of clinical orientation, and 75% of that was on days were time management is key. Something seems a little off here, to me. Maybe they need people on the floor, to get you on your own assignment to cover the unit. However, that should not come at the expense of your sanity. I've been told here and elsewhere that if we are drowning we have to ASK for HELP. It's tough, but it's part of being a nurse. I suppose the first step in advocating for our patients is advocating for ourselves first and knowing when we are unsafe. You are unsafe and you need to advocate to your manager for your patients and yourself.

    Sorry to be so bold, but it sort of came on me like that.

    Iona
  11. by   elthia
    Quote from jennicolete
    I had two patients that needed 2 units of blood, 2 post ops, 1 patient that needed a dressing change at midnight, and 1 ER admit. That doesn't sound too awful of an assignment, especially for night shift. But there were complications that happened with a few of my patients, which made it difficult for me to manage my time. To make a long story short the nurse manager is suggesting I switch to days.
    That sounds like a very heavy assignment for a new grad. First off, on my floor, we try not to have the same nurse giving blood products to two different patients at the same time, it's a safety issue, or we would have a different RN hang blood on one of the pt's for you. My nurse manager would have a fit if a nurse was hanging blood on 2 pt's at the same time. Blood transfusions are time consuming, post ops are time consuming, so are ER admits. And a dressing change to boot. Where the heck was your charge nurse to help you, especially when you're patients were having complications?? Time management takes practice, and dumping on the new grad is just going to burn her out and make her quit instead of building her up.

    Your assignment sounds like what we would give one of the more experienced/efficient nurses on a night when staffing/census was really bad on my floor.
    Last edit by elthia on Sep 21, '07
  12. by   leslie :-D
    aw jenni, you definitely shouldn't have to struggle like this.
    despite what many think, working nocs is often the dumping ground from day and eve shifts.
    to clarify, many perceive nocs as slow, so add'l duties are delegated to this shift.
    compound that w/higher nurse/pt ratios and fewer aides, it can be a recipe for disaster, especially for a new grad.

    with that said, i do think your nm is looking out for your best interests.
    yes, working days will be hectic, but it will provide you with a lot more support and resources.
    it will also teach you the invaluable organization and time mgmt skills, always needed by busy nurses.

    you are going to shine, i just know it.
    let us know you you're doing, yes?
    wishing you only the best.

    leslie
  13. by   suanna
    If you get enough people to complain about you you get offered dayshift? Don't let that get out or we may have a lot of new nurses with a new approach to patient care. What I'm missing here is do you feel the complaints are valid? Is there something in your job or your life that you could change to improve whatever the problem is? Many nurses change jobs a few tmes before they find the right fit. Are you happy with your position,hours, peer support? Hang in there a bit longer; the first 6mos as a new grad are the hardest but it can take a year of two to find your stride. Best of luck and don't let the turkeys get you down! There is a place where you can be the nurse you want to be- You just have to find it.
  14. by   koalafiedRN
    It has been 3 years. I am on the same floor, day shift and I am doing a million times better. Now that I have more experience and confidence I feel much better about being a nurse. I just wanted to tell every new nurse out there who is struggling to not give up. Hang in there. I did and I am very happy. Yes it was terrible, but it does get better especially when you have a good attitude.

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