New nurse...not sure about nursing anymore

  1. I am a new nurse and have been working in an med surg floor for 3 months now, with 1 month being on my own. It has been extremely hard for me, learning so many new things and feeling so incompetent and stupid. My coworkers are helpful, but some of them can get short with me, and I have heard some of them say not so nice things about me. To be honest, this has discouraged me a lot. I know I am new, still learning, but I feel like I will never be a good nurse. I was a nurse's assistant before and I felt like I did excellent at that job, but I haven't transitioned well as a new nurse. What should I do if my situation does not improve? Does it get better, and what if it doesn't? I am thinking maybe nursing is not for me. I want to give up so badly right now. I have never felt so depressed and anxiety-filled in my life. I feel so lost. Please help/offer any insights/advice.
    Last edit by Hope, RN on Dec 27, '16
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    About Hope, RN

    Joined: Oct '16; Posts: 7; Likes: 1


  3. by   CCU BSN RN
    It took me 6 months on my own to not cry every day, and about 18 months before I STARTED to feel like I MIGHT know SOME things.

    If your MANAGER tells you that you're having a performance issue, you can think about it.

    That constant fear that you're going to eff up and kill someone, is what SAVES YOUR PATIENTS because you're always on alert, and you ask questions and get other's opinions. It's annoying to other nurses, but it's a necessary evil, and they can simmer down. They were new and incompetent once, too.

    Nursing school teaches you theory, it does not teach you how to be a nurse. You'll either be fine or you won't, but if I'd thrown in the towel it would've been a horrible decision. Give it more time, be easier on yourself, and never leave that 'holy heck what if I screw up and kill someone today' fear behind. It'll get smaller, but never let it go completely. It takes some amount of that to be a good RN.
  4. by   Daisy4RN
    Its always very hard at first because you don't have experience yet. Your coworkers are probably only short with you because they are busy. Try to split up the questions and needing help evenly, and ask your Charge RN for help also. They all understand how hard it is to be new. There is always a high level of anxiety when you are new, just make sure you do ask questions, use your resources etc. because its better to irritate a coworker than to go home and worry all night, or worse actually harm a patient. It does get easier with time so don't quit too soon. Eventually you can look for work elsewhere (out of the hospital) if you find you don't like it there. You have worked hard for your RN, hang in there, do the best you can, and realize that it will get better each day that you gain experience. Good luck to you!!
  5. by   Nursebface
    I completely understand how you feel. What you feel is completely normal, it is unfortunate not all your coworkers are as understanding. I've been on my own for about 2 and a half months. I still cry before going in and feel like I don't do things quite right. However, I've made great improvement since being on my own. I read posts like yours to remind myself that what I feel is normal and others go through this too. It DOES get better. Learning happens through repetition, through experience. Stick it out, you got this.
  6. by   Meriwhen
    It's completely normal to feel like this during your first year. You're out there finally practicing on your own license, without safety net of a CI/preceptor to help catch things. You've learned all the theory, fantasized what it would be like, and practiced in the ivory tower (read: NCLEX-prep) world of nursing, but you're finding that the read world of nursing is drastically different. And things don't always work out as well as they did in the textbook and nursing care plans. You're learning the ropes of both a career and a facility, while trying to establish yourself among an established group of coworkers. And while their opinion of you really shouldn't you, it does.

    This is reality shock. It hits almost all of us in our first year. Even if we know it's coming, it still hits. Sometimes it's a mild blow, sometimes it's overwhelming.

    But take heart. Things do get better with time and experience. Keep asking questions and learning. Also do some learning on your own so you don't always ask the same questions. Try not to take things personally when it comes to your coworkers--they're also adjusting to having a new person (you) on the team and they're going through their own teething pains. And if they're swamped as well, sometimes all they have time for is a quick and possibly terse-sounding explanation.

    When it comes to performance feedback, as CCU said earlier, focus on what your manager has to say. That doesn't mean discount what your coworkers tell you, but it's the manager who will tell you if you're really performing poorly.

    And learn to accept criticism of both types. If it's constructive, it's not meant to belittle you as a nurse or even as a person, but to let you know what you're doing wrong and/or how you can improve your performance. If it's not constructive...well, learn to say "thanks for letting me know", then weigh their feedback on your own to see if there is anything valid in there that you could learn from.

    Hang in there, it gets better.
  7. by   kp038
    I still feel like you after a year of nursing. Recently switched to a PCU floor thinking the smaller patient ratio would help but it hasn't. I'm constantly scared that I "dont know what I don't know." Not saying this to be discouraging, only that you're not alone. I used to think new nurses HAD to succeed in the hospital before branching out to something else, but I'm starting to accept that the hospital may just NOT be for me and that I'm just better off elsewhere. I HATE that I hate going to work
  8. by   TruvyNurse
    Absolutely not a reason to quit!! You're going to feel that way. I felt that way a long time my first year. Ignore any negative comments. Everyone has been new and everyone has been talked poorly about. You'll catch on, it just takes time. No one expects you to be perfect.
  9. by   bubbles410
    Thanks for this post, Meriwhen. It was really helpful to read your wisdom about how to take feedback and gauge your performance.
  10. by   RNPA93
    I feel the same way. I started in a hospital on the trauma floor. I worked there for 9 months.I became so overwhelmed that I quit and went to homehealth thinking it would be less stressful, wrong. As much as I dreaded going to work at the hospital every night, I really miss it now. I guess my point is, dont quit because you are stressed because you might really regret it. Its a lot of really good learning experiences and it does get better the longer you do it I think. It was neat going home knowing I learned something new everyday, even if I was crying on the drive home! Lol