New nurse on the block (aka: STUPID) .....

  1. So Im a first year LPN, I just graduated in April and had my FIRST shift on my own yesterday evening. I had 12 orientation shifts for an acute care unit. I am feeling the most lost and confused I have ever felt in my life. I feel stupid, incompetent, oblivious, unaware, scared, and uncomfortable caring for my clients and working along side these smart and knowledgable nurses.

    Im unaware of so many thing Im supposed to check and know about... (ie: labs). I don't even know what I'm looking for, when Im supposed to look, and what it even means. I'm not good at critical thinking. I had a pt. receiving a potassium drip and it was burning his veins (as stated by pt.). I checked his arm for that red streak or signs of infiltration, none. Another nurse came in after I told her what had happened and she slowed down the drip and wrapped his arm in a warm blanket. I would have never thought to do that. All im worried about at this point is getting everything done that needs to be done, and im not even sure if im doing that I dont feel knowledgable enough to be working where I am.. And I'm unsure of whats expected of me as a new grad. The nurses there don't give me any special treatment, they just treat me as if I should know everything already and sometimes when I ask them a question, they look at me like I have 10 heads and say "shouldn't you know this already?" or atleast they look at me that way. I also feel that because my orientation is over that I shouldn't be asking so many questions. I just feel like I don't fit in, that everyone hates me there and thinks I'm dumb as hell.. I have that gut feeling and sometimes when I ask a question and put my head down to start writing the other nurses look at eachother and whisper about me.. I see it in my peripheral vision. I went in the bathroom and cried on my break, I didn't wanna come back on the floor and feel inadequate. I suffer from Generalzied Anxiety Disorder and this whole "nursing reality shock" had been ruining my life for the last month. My whole thought process is consumed with nursing and I'm worried I'll go into work one day and have somebody FREAK OUT cause of a big mistake I've made. I dunno how to deal with what I'm going through and I feel so lost. I feel like none of my other classmates are going through what I am. They all seem so happy and excited with there jobs and I can't picture them being a question queen like me. I feel stupid around them when they talk about there nursing jobs and how much they love it, when right now, i HATE IT. I would change professions right now and throw it all away to have my sanity back.

    I feel like I'm never going to "get it" and that theres 1000000000000000 things to learn, and I wont learn them in time, or remember all of it, to do my job like the other seasoned nurses. I don't remember a lot of what I've learned in school or atleast it seems that way.

    I've read lots of first year woes on here, but I can honestly say (not to be little ANYBODY) but I am having the worst experience right now that I've seen. I know people feel incompetent, but I feel really REALLY incompetent. My program consisted of papers which took about 50 percent of the course loads and then only a midterm and final or just a final and everything was in multiple choice. OF course when the right answer is in front of you its gonna pop right off the page but when I have to sit and think about it, it won't come to me. I feel like my school set me up for failure.

    I need some words of wisdom, some words of empathy, anything... because right now I'm ready to give up. And I'm a strong woman, and a hard worker always have been. But nothing like this..
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    About sarahg88

    Joined: Apr '11; Posts: 30; Likes: 8


  3. by   bumblebee2010

    I'm sorry you're feeling this way! I just got out of nursing school too (RN), but my theory is WRITE IT DOWN.. think about it...if people are whispering LET THEM WHISPER...EVERYONE is in your shoes once in their life right?

    It would be so much better to write it down...absorb it and remember it as opposed to forgetting again and again for the same thing...right? So don't be ashamed...your goal is to take care of those patients and if u have to write notes about what u learned..thats what u have to do...

    keep can do it..maybe go home and study some diseases that were seen that day!

    anyway even though im' new i hope this made u feel better.. take care and god bless
  4. by   NoviceRN10
    Do LPNs hang Potassium? If you have to do it again long-line it, that is hang it not as a piggy-back, but with another long line and connect it so it gets diluted by the primary solution hanging. Potassium usually burns, so it should be given slowly and diluted if possible. You can't know that unless someone tells you .

    You will learn something new every time you work, that's just how it goes! You have a lot of stuff that you've never encountered coming your way, so don't be afraid to ask other nurses if you don't know something. You can't know it all, it's not possible!
  5. by   SydneyJo1
    You have to ask questions if you don't know something, otherwise you would end up killing someone! There is no shame in that at all, and it sounds like you work with some nasty people. Maybe you can rephrase the way you are asking. For example, instead of coming right out with the question, you could explain the situation in question and say "So I'm thinking the answer would be to ________", and have them either confirm that you are on the right track or give you a suggestion. That way it shows you have thought it out, and that you are forming an idea of what you should do, which might win you a little more respect from them. And, really, if they continue to whisper about you or give you mean looks, maybe you can just say "I know I am probably annoying you, but I'm new to this. I really value your input, and I want to learn how to do this job really, really well, so please bear with me." They should feel like jerks for treating you this way!
  6. by   Spidey's mom
    Rookie - Just because you've finished orientation does not mean anyone should expect you to know everything. It takes awhile to feel comfortable - a year or more for most folks. You simply must have enough confidence to ask questions and some of the suggestions already given have been good.

    This question about potassium has come up on allnurses before and from new nurses. Thought I'd link a few of those threads:

    IV potassium

    Hanging IV Potassium
  7. by   surferbettycrocker
    sounds like anxiety is getting the best of you and you are asking very thoughtful questions on here.. maybe you need a more supportive unit...try and seek out at least one nurse on the floor who is nice and wont look at you like you 'should konw htat already' i promise there is at least one in every bunch.
    i think the crux of your matter sounds to me like how long do you continue to push a round peg (u with anxiety, maybe a perfectionist and smart hard worker) into a square hole (floor nursing).
    i know what its like to work with anxiety and i think nurses have alot of anxiety (well most i know do) but its like are you going against your grain to continue in nursing? having anxiety i think keeps you on your toes in this game but this 'game' can also drive your anxiety sky high as it does for me. so... be easy on yourself. take it one shift at a time.
    and think about your next step (sometimes that helps to know you are not imprisoned in hospital have choices)
  8. by   coconuts
    My opinion is let them talk. They can talk till their lips fall off or their head spins like the exorcist. You're still learning, don't be so hard on yourself. Just do what you gotta do, take notes if you have to, and learn from them. You shouldn't feel ashamed or embarassed to ask. Let me tell you what our coordinator said to us that I hope helps make you feel better. She said something along the lines of,"Nursing is a lifetime of leaning. You don't just stop learning because you graduated. I learn something new everyday and I still ask questions. So, if someone makes you feel dumb for asking a question, just ignore it and remember that they were all once in your shoes and just beginning. The important thing is you do your job well, take good care of your patients, and do the right thing and learn. Keep on learning so you can become better. Everybody makes mistakes, but what's important is that you learn from them and continue to grow." She's been and RN for almost 30 years now.

    Also, you've made this far. You've graduated, so you're not dumb. You're clearly capable. I hope that after all your hard work you don't let others get in the way of your goals. Don't just show them you can be a good nurse, but prove to yourself you are a good nurse!
  9. by   orthonurse55
    Please don't be so hard on yourself. I seriously doubt that you would have completed school and passed boards if you really were "stupid". Remember that all of us were new once and yet many forget that! They lose their patience or just give attitude to new nurses. But at one time they were new and nervous too. I think nursing school teaches us a lot, but not how to really be a nurse. You're going to learn that from your patients, from your coworkers, and from trial and error. Go easy on yourself. Learn from your (very minor) mistakes. And enjoy the rest of your nursing career!
  10. by   Ariel09
    I am a new LVN and feel very overwhelmed and "stupid" too I finished my first week on the job last week and just felt like I really didn't know anything! It's been about 5 years since you posted this so I just wanted to know how are you doing now?