Nervous new grad on orientation

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    I want to share my experience. I am a new grad that got hired at one of new jersey's top hospitals (very busy hospital). I am currently on my 7th week of orientation, first 3 weeks being in a classroom, so I've really had 4 weeks of clinical orientation. I graduated this past May and have my BSN. I feel like nursing school just teaches you the basics, they dont teach you all you have to know for the real world. I feel like i have learned a TON in the past 4 weeks being on the floor. I am still getting used to things, and it is VERY overwhelming at times. This floor is BUSY, if someone is getting d/c there is someone coming down the hall to be admitted. I am on my feet for 12.5 hours. I have a preceptor, but it seems to me like she is too busy to help me at times. I feel like an idiot half the time i am there, i know people say the first 6 months of a new job as a nurse is terrifying, they were not lying. I got called in for a meeting the other day with my manager and my educator (every orientee has a manager of the floor, preceptor, and an educator), they told me that I am not where I should be at this point of orientation.. as i heard this, i was devastated.. ashamed. I havent made any mistakes, I always ask my preceptor when I am not sure of something. When I confronted my preceptor about this she just told me that she didn't realize it was already my 7th week and she wasn't trying to rush through things with me but she has to now because of administration only allows 12 weeks of orientation. Is this my fault? They told me they are going to put me back on 8 hour shifts and keep me at only 4 patients because they found that this has helped other orientees in the same position as i am. I left the other day in tears, and cried for hours after i got home. I am known to be very hard on myself at times. I just feel so helpless, I am straight out of school, i feel like I need to be taught things but its just so hard when my preceptor is so busy. I feel like i am going to be let go when it comes to the 12th week point and its going to be hard to tell my family and my friends why they let me go. Im devastated and its all I think about. Has anyone been through this or felt the same as me during their orientation?
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  3. 9 Comments so far...

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    Hang in there! You've only had 4 real weeks so far and many more to go. It will get easier and the fact they are putting you on 8 hr shifts with only 4 patients shows they are trying to work with you. It's nice they are doing that! They will do whatever they can to help you make it because they don't want to lose their time/money they've put into you for three months so just do your best and keep showing progress! Our orientation is only 6 weeks and that includes a week of classroom orientation so be glad you get that long! Hopefully having only four patients will help you gain confidence and get more efficient. Don't be discouraged-be proactive. Be open to any and all advice, teaching, etc and be willing to do anything they ask. Nothing worse than a nurse saying they're afraid to call the dr! Even if you've never done it before-be willing-just ask them to explain it well and walk you through it. I think you're going to be fine-I really do! Look at all you've learned so far!!
    nurseGi likes this.
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    Oh, I have to offer you some ((( HUGS ))). I'm so sorry that you cried and felt devastated, and especially sad that you felt ashamed----Please, please try not to be so hard on yourself!!! Nursing is SO hard, and you're on a very busy floor. I pray that you will make it through this and will end up LOVING your job!!!

    I can relate to SOME of what you're going through, when I was a new NICU nurse many years ago, I felt the same way many times. I cried and took many things PERSONALLY as you are---I hope/pray that after you have more experience, you will NOT take things personally!!! More (((hugs)))
    nurseGi likes this.
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    Get your hands on the 'checklists' or other criteria that will be used to determine whether you have completed all the orientation 'stuff' you have to do. There should be some type of documents that guide this process. You have a right to see them. Sit down with your preceptor to determine (and document) what you have already done and what still needs to be accomplished. Then you can work together to develop a plan for getting everything done. Keep your own documentation, including making notes about when you accomplish a task - and have your preceptor sign off on it.

    You should have been provided with regularly scheduled feedback so that you always know where you stand. Obviously this has not been done. You need to make sure that is done for the rest of your orientation. The final outcome should never be a surprise.
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    It sounds like they're trying to work with you by moving you back to 8 hour shifts and a lower patient load. See this as an opportunity for you to pull yourself together and show them that you do know what you are doing. Perhaps with fewer patients and a shorter work day you will feel less flustered and will be able to absorb what your preceptor is teaching you. It sounds like your preceptor is stretched thin; what is your educator doing? Can she be available to help you or is she one of the "pumps and pearls" set?
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    I think most of us have been in your shoes. It is a scary time to be in orientation and your brain gets totally on overload. It seems like they are really trying to work with you and help you along. Try to keep in touch with your superior, the one you met with, at least weekly to see if you are doing better an staying on track. Keep your head up and do your best, that is all you can do. Ask for specific things you can do to show you are improving. There are so many little things we nurses do, sometimes it is very easy to get overwhelmed. We all have our own journey, some are more uphill than others, but that in NO WAY means you still won't get there. You will get there, you just have to keep on keeping on.

    Are you on days or nights? It might help to ask to start on nights for a little while. Night shift if also very busy, but there is less distraction from all the extra people who are there on days. Less visitors, no case managers or PT appointments, less Drs and people pulling you in different directions. It is hard to adjust to the shift, but might be worth a shot if you are getting pulled in too many directions during the day.
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    look at the checklists , if you have them and ask on what can you improve. in my experience sometimes there are personality conflicts or some unit culture you dont fit into and nothing will help. are there any other new grada on your unit? my floor hire alot of them and some are reAlly good after little orientation it makes the others look leas competent or ready even if the good one is an outlier.
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    Thank you everyone for your advice. I do have those checklists, and I am also going to have my preceptor leave comments on how I am doing each day so I will know where I stand because this came out of NOWHERE for me and it is why I was SO upset. I am going to try to be more pro-active and open to learning everything that comes my way. I hope and pray I make it through this.
    anotherone likes this.
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    Try to remember that they said that they've had success with putting a struggling new grad on the modified schedule you described. Ask if you can meet with your preceptor/educator at the end of the week to review how things are going; what went well, and what you need to work on. You still have 5 weeks to turn this around.
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    I am so sorry for your experience. First of all ... is your preceptor NOT with you all the time?? They should not have a separate assignment by any nursing standards that I currently know of.Also I agree with one of the responders you should have had continual feedback and at least weekly sit down with your preceptor(time away from patients no assignment) to discuss your progress /go over anything that is difficult to learn"on the fly".Also I think you should have 12 weeks on the floor experience.Does your unit also have its own educator? It is great to have them help keep you on target for what needs to be accomplished in that 4 weeks.I just hate it when preceptors don't communicate with their preceptees and they are blindsided...or not to be mean.. did you not pick up on ANY cues from your preceptor that things were not going well? I personally think having a shorter shift would be worse for time management.. I know that when I work 8 I feel like I have a lot to squeeze in when a normal 12 hour gives me more time to complete certain"tasks" that can be done after 3pm for example...Can you work on time management...is that an issue> I would think it would be with any new employee or new grad getting used to the system...Is there anything you could do to help with that..Permission to come in a bit earlier and get organized?? I am just trying to think of ways to help you.. hang in there... Do NOT let the fear of what if get you down. Even IF you do(and I am not saying you will) not survive that floor or place of employment I have seen many people that move on and have an extremely successful career after a rough patch starting out.... This experience will just make you stronger and perhaps a wonderful preceptor some day!!!Oh and lastly...most importantly...what kind of unit is this.. you should not have more than 4 patients here in the us...staffing guidelines people....that is a completely different topic but they should have started you with at least a REASONABLE assignment load.. please no flaming from anyone here but it is hard to learn if you have too many patients to care for. yes the reality is that 4 may not be the optimum. When you interviewed what did they say the ratio was? I am surprised a "top notch" hospital would have you caring for more that 4 patients(generally) at a time.


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