Novice nurse in need of reassurance from other new nurses

  1. Hi I am a new grad nurse who has just started a job in August. The staff are all nice and supportive, however even after going to school for 4 years, I still feel like I know nothing sometimes! there is so much to learn and I guess being hard on myself doesnt help, but am I alone? are there other new nurses out there who feel the same way when they started out? I feel like when I ask questions, which is important, I feel as if the staff feel I should already know the answer...even after only 3 months of experience...
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   Grace2007
    All I can tell you is hang in there! I too am new - just 4 months. My first few shifts off oreintation were so stressful! It took all I could do to go back each day. I would get home and review my 'brain' sheets and then remember something I didn't do....or did do....or couldn't remember if I did right. I would call the station and ask for the nurse who took over for me.

    They were all very patient with me. Now I'm feeling more organized but still very unsure of myself. I still double check my orders at the end of the shift, recheck my MAR and do one last visit to each room to assure myself that bed alarms are on etc. Just yesterday...I could not stop worrying about whether I had left my one patient's infusion pump set correctly. As the evening wore on I had myself convinced that I had set the NS for 10cc/hr and the Cardizem for 75cc/hr instead of the other way around!

    I am a second career nurse...pushing 50. Had to laugh to myself the other day when a patient said.."I can tell you have been doing this a long time. You do everything like it's second nature to you." Well, at least my patients don't know how new I am.
  4. by   OncNewbie
    I know exactly how you feel. In fact, when I didn't know something they thought I should know, they would go tell my boss. Then all senior nurses came to the conclusion that nurses schools are just different then they used to be. Anyhow, hang in there. It gets better. I've been a new nurse for 6 months & trust me it gets better. How else are you going to learn unless you ask questions. The older nurses are just going to have to suck it up and answer your questions, like they should. I think sometimes older nurses forget what it's like to be a new nurse.
  5. by   nghtfltguy
    you will be just fine...

    it sucks being new @ any job....
    nursing especially....
    you will get over it...... we all do...
    i have faith in ya~
    just give it time.. it will work out..
    then you will be the pro... and help out the new nurses...
    that will put a smile on your face.
    you will be like.. *oh yeah, been there done that*
    trust me.....it will work itself out...
    you will be in charge before ya know it~

  6. by   Virgo_RN
    Quote from novicenurse2007
    I feel like when I ask questions, which is important, I feel as if the staff feel I should already know the answer...even after only 3 months of experience...
    How do you ask questions? Are you asking "How do I _______?" or "What should I do?" questions, or do you summarize the situation, then state what you think you should do, giving your rationale, then ask for an opinion? Sometimes people are happier to help answer questions if it seems like you're making a reasonable effort to figure out the answer for yourself, rather than just asking a question without having thought it through. Also, when people are busy, being interrupted with questions, to which the answer might seem obvious to a more experienced person, can disturb the flow of the person trying to get their work done, and they might react as if annoyed. Don't take it so personally!

    As an afterthought, does your facility have a policy and procedures manual? Do you check the policies and procedures to find the answer for yourself before going to someone else for help?
    Last edit by Virgo_RN on Dec 5, '07
  7. by   ProudBoyfriend
    I am blessed to know the nurse in question. It is right that everybody new to a job makes mistakes and needs reassurance, particularly when they are inexperienced and sensitive. I know I've felt like that alot recently but I also know that things are easier now than they were in the beginning, and everything worthwhile in life takes effort. Whilst being sensitive makes what you are going through that much harder know that it is the quality that I love most about you and it is the quality that makes you a good nurse. You really care about your patients and everybody knows you're doing a good job. We're all really proud of you. Guess who x
  8. by   David's Harp
    Quote from novicenurse2007
    Hi I am a new grad nurse who has just started a job in August. The staff are all nice and supportive, however even after going to school for 4 years, I still feel like I know nothing sometimes! there is so much to learn and I guess being hard on myself doesnt help, but am I alone? are there other new nurses out there who feel the same way when they started out? I feel like when I ask questions, which is important, I feel as if the staff feel I should already know the answer...even after only 3 months of experience...
    You know, I am 100% with you. I also started in August, also on an (overall) very supportive floor, but I have had some shifts like today and yesterday that have made me want to hang up the cleets and try paying my loans back a different way.

    I feel not only as though I'm asking dumb questions about some things, but that some of what I can't seem to get are insanely difficult and I can't fathom _ever_ getting a handle on them. Some of these nights after work I kick into self-criticism mode and it's all downhill from there. I'm told by everyone that i'm not expected to be as competent as the more seasoned nurses are, which makes sense, but I can't help but feel that my patients need me to be that competent. And at times I feel like fellow staff are leaning on me as though I'm that competent and getting disappointed when I can't deliver.

    When a manager or clinical specialist stops me and asks how I'm doing, and I say "Not good", their response is "how can I help?" or "what do you need done?", and most of the time I either have something stupid that needs doing, something needs to be assessed (only I can do that for my pt's), or otherwise I just can't think of anything in particular and am just feeling swamped in a generalized way and have no intelligent response.

    I'm sorry there's not much reassurance in what I wrote, but for now comiseration will have to do! I hear it does get better, honestly, and this is from reliable, peer-reviewed sources, so maybe we just need to stay in the game and not let ourselves get psyched out. That's the best I've got right now.

    All the best,

    Kevin
  9. by   suanna
    The fact that you sometimes feel like you know nothing is a good sign. It's the new grads that think they know everything that worry me. It takes 6mos to a year to get minimally comfortable with the profession and that is if you stay in one place. If you find you aren't getting more and more comfortable as the weeks go along you may need to consider a different position but you seem right on target for as far as I can tell.
  10. by   nursemike
    I heard that magical 6 month mark mentioned a lot when I was starting out, but much to my surprise, it really was kinda magical! I still don't know why, except I suspect there's some sort of critical mass of getting more familiar with the routine stuff, so you can spend more time thinking about the stuff that actually requires thinking. Or maybe it's that you've asked the same stupid questions enough times to finally remember the answers, or maybe it's just magic. Anyway, it seems to be fairly universal that at around six months you shift from hopelessly incompetent to not-so-hopeless. Then everyone starts telling you that it takes about a year to start feeling competent--and that seems about right, too. Of course, that's about the time they tell you it takes about five years to start being comfortable, but since they were right about the other, it gives you something to look forward to.

    The problem, I think, is that it's a bit like when they tell you how nursing school just flies by. It does--but it sure doesn't feel like it's flying by while you're doing it, other than assignment deadlines sneaking up on you from out of nowhere. It's only after school that you think, "Wow! Am I done already?"
    Same with the transition from school to practice. It doesn't feel like you're making any progress at all, and then suddenly big chunks of the puzzle start falling into place, and you begin to think you could actually be a real nurse, someday. But you rarely get to feel the growth as it's happening.

    I was talking to a couple of my mentors one morning, not long ago, and they made the comment that they sometimes come to me with questions. What's truly bizarre and unbelievable is, sometimes I know the answer!!! How the bleep did that happen? And once in awhile, some poor, benighted newbie is so pathetically lost that they ask me for help with a procedure! Out of about seven attempts, I've started five NGs, but the fifth was showing someone else how to do it--and explaining what I was doing. I've even done some coaching with IV starts--do you have any idea how bad I am with IV's? (Well, yeah, I guess I do hit most of them, these days, but I still dread them, and I still have to go to the experts for some. It's very kind of the experts to pretend like they have a hard time getting the ones I ask for help with. Me, I'm still talking to my angiocath as I advance it...)

    Of course, in the meantime, anyone who finds it helpful should feel free to use the little mantra I developed, and still repeat on a regular basis:
    If they wanted a good nurse, they should've hired one.

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