New nurse feels stupid every minute at work

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    I am a new nurse started my first job a few months ago. English is my third language and I learn by asking questions. Some people think I am safe this way because I want to make sure I do things right and I don't want to harm a patient. I have been off my orientation and functioned on my own for a couple of weeks now. I feel I have learned a lot and make some improvement. However, sometime I am still late for medications and need some help to do the routine checking patients' chart for that day based on how demanding my patients are. I know I need to improve on my time management and prioritizing skills. Recently, I had one encounter with doctor and he was upset telling my manager that I shouldn't be working as a nurse. He is famous for his temper and intimidation on my floor.
    I have always known that it would be hard for the first year to be a new nurse. However, I feel discouraged and start to question myself if nursing is for me. Most of my patients like me because they are my priority and I always make sure I have done everything I could with my current ability to help them. In the most current meeting, the authority told me that I was not confident enough to do my job and that this job wasn't fit me and that because I was late for charting and overwhelmed. I've been trying very hard to do a good job and I love this profession dearly but am now scared that I will be fired for my inexperience and a bit slow to chart. My manager expects me to complete everything at change of shift. I know for the last couple days I was late to do report and chart and bit overwhelmed. I need them to support me but not discourage me to be a nurse. I am scared to think that I am not fit with this profession and I know I can since I can feel my patients' pain. Please advise me what to do. I know if they fire me, it'll be hard for me to get another job since I don't have experience. Is there anyone out there ever get fired for asking questions and being slow or fired? Can you still have a chance to get another job if you don't have experiences? I have a family to raise and they don't allow me work right now but to wait for the "test". They say I need to do everything on time and not overwhelmed with the least of 5 patients since they will expect me to care for more than that number. But I have been on my own for only about the most is 3 weeks. I am scared to death and so discouraged. Please help!
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  3. 2 Comments so far...

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    hha01 -- You are definitely not alone. Many people have gone through what you are going through, and have ended up in better jobs and successful nursing careers. (Remember "Nurses eat their young"? It's true!) You are in a place where you are not getting the support you need to succeed. Rather than waiting to be fired, maybe you could be proactive and ask for a review of specific areas you need to improve in -- a written evaluation that you can use to measure and document your progress as a new nurse. Ask for extra help. If they are not willing to do that, it really is a bad fit for you. A good fit will be when you find a place that really nurtures and supports new nurses to succeed.

    Having recently been through this and now in the job search again, I know it's not easy. But don't give up your faith in yourself, just because someone else doesn't see all you have to offer. Down the line, someone will. Truly. It's not that big of a deal, even though it may seem like it at the moment. Everybody feels overwhelmed in their first year. Feels stupid, inept, and in some cases anxious, depressed, and hopeless. As others have said, it's normal. If they want to fire you, oh well... sometimes **** happens and there's nothing to be done for it.

    I respect your determination and your desire to succeed. Having learned two languages in addition to your native one, you have demonstrated intelligence, persistence, determination, and diligence. Having made it through nursing school, you have shown even more. Don't sell yourself short. Remember Eleanor Roosevelt's words: "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Keep trying to do your best work every day and you won't need to be concerned about the opinions of others. (I'm saying this as much for myself as I am for you.) Know that you can and will succeed! Go for it!

    Don't worry about finding your next job. When the time comes to do that, get the best advice you can on where to look and what to say. Most people recommend downplaying the reason for leaving so that you do not leave ANY negative impressions, neither about yourself nor about your former employer. It's tricky, so you will need experienced, wise helpers to advise you on exactly what to say in a job interview. Your state unemployment office has employment counselors who can help you decide what to say about leaving a job after a short time (whether fired or just not happy there...). Other nurses and threads on this site also have had good suggestions. This is important. You will need a script and will need to practice it, so you're not tempted to deviate from it under stress! You have to project confidence in your ability to do the job so they believe it! (You must first believe it yourself. That's your next assignment!)

    Keep posting your progress here. I'll be interested in how you're doing!
    Last edit by Flatlander on Sep 29, '12 : Reason: Grammar :( again and spelling
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    Hi Flatlander
    Thank you so much for your advice and encouragement. They said I asked too much questions that hindered/delayed my tasks (this is not entirely true since I always hesitate and find the right opportunities ask questions whenever I doubted myself) . Also, I've found out about the "older nurses eat their young" for something as simple as that I couldn't find the syringe for R insulin injection (my very first time after nursing school that I needed to used this med, usu. Insulin pens were used) and asked which was the right one after picked up the wrong syringe out of rush, then I was accused of me being incompetent. I didn't even draw the drug or anything bc I doubted it was the one. Besides, I need to have a 2nd nurse to verify it anyway if I did. Just asking a question without and before any of my actions were inappropriate or stupid and incompetent. I forget things from nursing school bc it was long time ago and this was my very first time administered it when I couldn't find the appropriate orange syringe for Insulin. I am very discouraged but mostly fearful of what to do and knowing nurses are there to watch and get me instead of support and show me the right way.
    I'll keep you posted on my progress and again, thanks so much for your input. I really need some encouragement to get through this tough time.


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