New nurse feeling overwhelmed!

  1. 2
    I graduated with my A.S.N. in December of '11. By the time I got my ATT and took my boards, it was late February. I started my first nursing job in long-term care on a skilled unit in March. I've always loved the geriatric population; I felt as though it was my calling. Until the reality of being a nurse in LTC set in. I worked the 2-10 pm shift, and even though there were 2 nurses on day shift, I was the only one on evenings. I would have anywhere from 35-40 residents under my care. For a new nurse - or any nurse - I felt as though it was unsafe and too much to ask. I expressed this concern to my boss. She brushed it off and said, "This is how long-term care is. Get used to it." So after doing my best for 2 months, I moved to a hospital setting; cardiac telemetry to be specific. I thought, "Oh, I'll have 4 or 5 patients instead of 40; this won't be too bad." I was wrong. I had 4 weeks of orientation - the first week was in a classroom - then they turned me loose. I have had 6 patients every single night, with the exception of one night; I had 5 patients. Oh, and we don't have any CNAs on the night shift (7p-7a), so the RN is responsible for total patient care. I'm constantly feeling overwhelmed, like I can't possibly get everything done. One of my professors said that new nurses go through an initial shock period. I laughed at her and thought, "I've been working in healthcare for years! I'll be fine!" Well, I was wrong. I'm definitely going through that initial shock phase. It's always been my dream to be a nurse, but I'm questioning my career choice. I love caring for others, but I feel like I have very little time to do any actual caring. What, with juggling physician's orders, analyzing EKG rhythms and charting, charting and more charting! I feel like I chart for 3-4 hours a night! I've only been at this job since May, but I'm feeling like it's not the right fit for me. What if I never find the right fit? I can't keep job hopping every few months. It shows a lack of reliability. Please tell me I'm not the only one feeling this way! Please tell me it gets better!
    RNcares156 and Joe V like this.
  2. 9 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    Relax. Breathe. You'll be fine!
  4. 0
    It DOES get better- takes 6-12 months as a new grad to even start feeling comfortable at your job. You can do it!
  5. 3
    You are NOT the only one who feels this way. I have been a new grad for 7 months now and I see a huge difference in my confidence already. It slowly gets better. Not a day goes by that I don't feel stupid. Even though we feel inadequate, just know that for every time you feel this way you are learning something new. I too have moments where I think maybe I made the wrong career choice. But it's the patients that remind me of why I chose this field. I had a bad week at work almost to the point of crying, but there were patients who smiled when they saw me, gave me hugs and it really made my whole week better! Focus on these little things that make being a nurse so special. All the other stuff you will learn and will fall into place. Try to get your 1 year in and then try a different area of nursing. Once you find your niche I think you will love it And when you feel like crap vent on this website LOL It helps to know that you are not alone in this crazy new grad world
    MeshiablessedRN, cmbg, and RNcares156 like this.
  6. 1
    AHHH! I am a new nurse and also took a job(3-11) shift in a nursing home/rehab. I have been orienting for 6 days and am feeling totally overwhelmed!! So far other nurses have been on with me and orienting me but I am slowly working to be on my own. I have about 40-50 residents on my unit. I guess my issue is not the job, I have grown already love the residents, its the nurses. Particularly the younger nurses. The nurses are long time nurses are awesome to me, let me do tons of stuff, and are always reminding me that I am new and this will take time! The newer nurses are crazy, They give me an attitude when I ask questions and get mad when I take too long to pass meds. I feel like it is important for me to be double checking meds and take my time..I dont need to loose my license I worked so hard for. Is anyone else experiencing this?
    RNcares156 likes this.
  7. 1
    It can take 6 months to up to a year for a new grad to become "comfortable" with what they are doing. There is a huge learning curve and there are a lot of things you learn while on the job, especially those "gray areas" of nursing. Nursing school merely gives you a foundation.

    Telemetry can be stressful. I work in progressive care (ICU stepdown, telemetry) and some nights it's literally hit the floor and run! I love my speciality, though. I have learned A LOT since I started working 15 months ago. My confidence has also grown tremendously compared to when I first started. It WILL get better with time, just hang in there!
    RNcares156 likes this.
  8. 0
    I am just finishing up a 2 month residency and will be on my own in a week! I could not be more freaked out and I actually feel more stressed now than when I started! I decided to begin my career on a med/special surgery unit because I thought the experience would be really beneficial, but now I'm just miserable. I love Women's Health/L&D and I regret taking this Med/Surg path. I've heard I should give it 12-months but cannot imagine spending a year on this unit. I just feel like I'm trapped now! I'm so disillusioned with nursing, I'm sick of constantly being stressed and on high alert, and really tired of worrying non-stop about protecting my license and the threat of being written up.

    Honestly I was ready to quit last week when I got off my last shift (I had worked or had residency class for 7 straight days in a row), but reality kicked in and I do not want to job hop or go without an income. Besides, with only 2-months of "experience" under my belt I'm not willing to risk not being able to find another job. In addition to the stress from work I'm a single mom and I miss my son. I thought with nursing I would see him more, but so far the opposite is true and it breaks my heart.

    I'm not sure what the answer to my stress & disillusionment is except to just keep trudging through this. Everyone says it gets better, but why does it have to be so awful to begin with? I'm looking forward to a time when I can possibly enjoy a shift...
    Last edit by JillyBJilly on Sep 26, '12
  9. 0
    Quote from JillyBJilly
    I am just finishing up a 2 month residency and will be on my own in a week! I could not be more freaked out and I actually feel more stressed now than when I started! I decided to begin my career on a med/special surgery unit because I thought the experience would be really beneficial, but now I'm just miserable. I love Women's Health/L&D and I regret taking this Med/Surg path. I've heard I should give it 12-months but cannot imagine spending a year on this unit. I just feel like I'm trapped now! I'm so disillusioned with nursing, I'm sick of constantly being stressed and on high alert, and really tired of worrying non-stop about protecting my license and the threat of being written up.

    Honestly I was ready to quit last week when I got off my last shift (I had worked or had residency class for 7 straight days in a row), but reality kicked in and I do not want to job hop or go without an income. Besides, with only 2-months of "experience" under my belt I'm not willing to risk not being able to find another job. In addition to the stress from work I'm a single mom and I miss my son. I thought with nursing I would see him more, but so far the opposite is true and it breaks my heart.

    I'm not sure what the answer to my stress & disillusionment is except to just keep trudging through this. Everyone says it gets better, but why does it have to be so awful to begin with? I'm looking forward to a time when I can possibly enjoy a shift...
    Thank you for sharing your experience! Nursing is definitely much more stressful than I ever imagined. I'm starting to get a little more comfortable, but I still feel like I ask TOO many questions! One of the charge nurses said that I was doing great, but I feel like others are disappointed by me. I don't know what to think! I'm coming up on my 6 month mark, so hopefully things will start to feel more natural soon.
  10. 0
    I have been a nurse for 15 years and my best job is working in the infusion clinic. I hated the hospital and will never go back there. Today it's worse because of all the new regs that get into your personal life. I recently turned down a job when I found out that flu shots are mandatory as well as yearly cholesterol checks and other personal things. I never had to work for a company that monitored my diet and persona. business. No thank you. Obamacare is not about care, it is about control and I want no part of it.
  11. 0
    I'm glad to not be the only one. I just turned 40 and this is my second career. I wanted to be a nurse to help people feel better, instead I feel like I need a nurse after a 3 night run. It MUST to get better. I have been on Telemetry for 6 months on night shift, 12H shifts, and feel like we are understaffed. 6 patients a night for a NEW Grad is too much! Frequently, I feel that I screwed up leaving my first job (19 years invested) to be a nurse. There is not enough time to spend with the patients, and I spend half the night "putting out fires". It doesn't help that several co-workers are leaving for or looking for other jobs.


Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and Create Job Alerts, Manage Your Resume, and Apply for Jobs.

A Big Thank You To Our Sponsors
Top