I've been reading all your post in this section & can't believe how different it is starting out nursing in the US to the UK. I'm also glad that reading all your posts has managed to calm me down a bit & realise that how I feel at the moment is normal. This is my first week of being a Staff nurse (RN), here in the UK until we are registered with the NMC (who control our registeration) we work under the supervision of a RN, in the hospital I'm based at we are given 2 week of being supernumery, more if we haven't got our registration & then we are expected to be to take a team of patients anything up to 12. We have a perceptor for about 6 weeks, & some paperwork to comeplete for our perceptorship but that's it.
First day was lovely compared to the rest of the week we just had our induction, paperwork to sign & name badgesn etc... & went to visit the wards we would be working on.
Day 2, is my first shift on a ward (I'm working on an acute surgical ward that specialises in colorectal surgery & breast surgery), I'm given 8 patients to look after with another girl that has just started so we half the workload between us & have 4 patients each, they are all the sort of patients & numbers of patients I've looked after during my supported practice (which is the last placement before become a RN). I coped really well & felt I got enough support.
Day 3 is the first 13 hour shift I do, I'm given the same patients as yesterday but this time I get all 8 as they are low dependent I'm on top of my workload & feel well supported.
Day 4 is the last day of the week for me & another 13 hour shift. This time they are short staffed as one of the RN's doesn't turn up for work!!! So I'm given different patient to look after all of which are more dependent & there are 8 of them. Several are post major surgery, on epidurals, hourly catheters, I'm also trying to do the doctors rounds so I know what's going on. I've also got a sudent who is 6 months behind me keep asking me questions which is lovely but I'm really stressed out & could do without it & I dont' know how to politely tell her to leave me allow. I had deal with several relatives that were aguementative. I made my first mistake by taking out a catheter before an epidural (I didn't know they were meant to come out after the epidural). I didn't feel too bad all day as I was so busy but at the end of the day I really had felt out of my depth.
Even thought this day was awful I feel it was also a really good day as it made me see where my weaknesses are & in which areas & with what I need help with.
The odd things is that now I've written this I really feel as if I could handle that kind of day & patients now, I've got several ideas to help me to be able to cope & manage my work better. At the time I really didn't think that I could be a nurse & cope with the job, I spent most of Friday night in tears even woke up at 4am & started crying again. I'm glad everyone has posted on here how they are coping or not cause it has made me see that most people feel the same when they first start out.