Advice please: New grad very scred - page 2

Hello all. I'm new to the board and in desperate need of advice from some experienced nurses. I'm a new grad, just graduated in May, and started my new position as an RN 2 weeks ago. My dilemma is I... Read More

  1. by   ljb
    I just graduated myself, and I have officially started work, but so far have only done the classroom stuff, no "on the floor" days yet. I am most definitely SCARED. My only comfort comes from the fact that I know this is normal...and that in fact, as many have said before me, to NOT be scared is the bad thing. If you're scared, it means you really care about what you're doing.

    I also can relate to you as far as how you feel about not thinking nursing was your "calling", as so many others seem to. That's hard, b/c it seems like it's the kind of job (difficult, stressful, etc) that would be much easier if you felt really passionate about it. But remember the reasons you did choose nursing....decent pay, lots of jobs out there, OPTIONS!!--so many of them, and many areas so distinctly different from one another. (at least these were my reaons)

    Maybe you can stick it out, for a minimum of the first six months. It's almost certain, you WILL improve, you will begin to feel more confident. Maybe you'll come to enjoy it more. Or is it possible that you have just chosen the wrong type of floor nursing? Maybe neuro (was that it?) just isn't for you. Maybe you'd be happier with something else.

    Also, what have your preceptor/manager said to you as far as how well you're doing? what feedback have they offered? Is it possible you're actually right on track, and you're just being hard on yourself? If you haven't already, talk to them, share your concerns, see what they have to say.

    I wish you the best of luck, and increasing confidence with each new day you work. And remember, nothings forever--you can always make a change if you need to.
  2. by   Traveler&hound
    Hang in there! Yes, it is too soon to tell if you are not cut out for
    hospital nursing. Starting your first nursing job is never easy.
    Orientation is a lot of work. Between class and clinical days, do you think you are getting a little sensory overload? Of course you are! You just graduated; have you taken boards yet? Got your results? If not, these are stresses that are hanging over
    you in addition to orientation. You are leaving the "safety" of
    school and are now in the real world where you are responsible for your actions, and as a nurse you are facing the stresses of
    being able to harm a patient. This is a time of big changes in your life and lots of sources of stress. Lots of new grads feel
    overwhelmed (I've precepted lots of them!) So please realize that everything you are feeling now is normal.

    What to do? Eat nutritious food, get enough sleep. Ask lots of
    questions--one of the benefits of being new is that other people
    know you are new and don't (or at least shouldn't) expect you to
    know everything. Take advantage of this and ask lots of questions. Talk to your preceptor about your concerns. Have fun, relax when you're off. Talk to lots of other new grads: they're going through the same thing you are and they
    understand you. Be fair to yourself; it's ok not to be perfect, not to know everthing. If you ask for help when you need it to keep
    your patients safe, that's the main thing. Knowledge, organization, and speed will come with experience.

    I've read, and seen in practice that 6 months is a turning point;
    a new nurse feels a *little* more comfortable, they're starting to
    get the hang of it. After a year, you won't know everything but
    you'll know you can be a nurse. Check with yourself in 6 months and in a year and you'll see it's true. You're gonna make it!

    I just registered to this board, and you have the honor of getting
    my first post!
  3. by   SoCloseChicky03
    After reading most of these posts, even though i didnt make the intial one, it made me feel better! Im a new grad, and tomrrow starts my 2nd week of orientation, and im still scared, feel like i know nothing, and pretty much just feel very very overwhelmed. I just wanted to tell thanks to Emily, cause its like she read my mind with that post, and for everyone responding with such positive words!
  4. by   LauraF, RN
    I remember when I first graduated. Actually I started my job before I took boards. I was scared to death. I felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders- or atleast the weight of that facility. I was a charge nurse as a graduate PN. But I always had an experienced nurse with me, somewhere. By the time I took my boards and waited the 6 weeks for the results I felt more confident. I think the confidence comes in time.

    And the place you are at may not be your thing. What did you enjoy in clinicals. I hated ortho but loved peds. I was a nurse in a pediatric office for 12 years and loved it. The only reason I'm not currently doing that is the drive. I live in a small community and the local LTC is only 0.8miles from my house.

    All in all I think you must have confidence in your abilities. You passed boards didn't you? Well then you must know quite a bit. Boards are hard, alot of people don't pass, but you did. Build your confidence, and read info on your specialty. I hope you are able to find your place. I don't always love my current job, but I definitely don't hate it!
  5. by   SmilingBluEyes
    All the above are great. I cannot add anything above and beyond. Just want to say you are CLEARLY NOT ALONE and you need to ALLOW YOURSELF TIME TO ACCLIMATE. YOU WILL get there WITH PERSISTENCE and PRACTICE. TOOK ME nearly TWO years to feel remotely comfortable in OB Nursing, which is what I do now. Do NOT sell yourself short. Find a good mentor and learn all you can from him/her. BE kind to yourself and hang in there. YOU WILL work it out and GET there WITH persistence and HARD work. I wish you the best ....
  6. by   caroladybelle
    It took me a couple of years.

    And barring the Unit/ER, few of us really get comfortable with codes. (Of course, they dislike chemo pts so it evens out).

    Your feelings are all too normal.
  7. by   Genista
    You need to give yourself time to grow. How can you expect to feel 100% self assured when you are new & nervous? Confidence and competence take time to develop. You will learn as you go. New grad RNs are not a finished product. Nurses are works in progress, just like any other human being. Don't be so hard on yourself. You know, I still get a little nervous sometimes just floating to another floor & working with folks I don't know (I've been an RN for 5 yrs).

    Someone once told me when I was a student, that the "real" learning happens once you become a new grad. It's true. I remember being a new grad, and so scared sometimes and so overwhelmed with all I had to do- that I literally walked in the med room and cried. Just know that these types of feelings are not uncommon when you are new. It usually gets easier with time. I used to always get butterflies in my stomach everyday before work for almost the entire first year of being an RN on med/surg.

    Having a little healthy fear is good, but don't let it eat you alive.
    ;-) I would give it at least 6 mos- 1 year before you begin to feel somewhat comfortable. I work with RNs who have been at it 35 years, and even they still have to ask questions, look up stuff, etc. You never stop learning.

    Celebrate each little victory- each IV start, each NG tube, each call to MD, bits of new knowledge, etc. Over time, you will remind yourself of all the many "little" things you can do, and it will begin to build your confidence! In the meanwhile, be kind to yourself. All the experienced "confident" nurses you work with were once in your shoes.

    GOOD LUCK! Please keep us posted on your success!



  8. by   Liddle Noodnik
    Originally posted by Emily1595
    No, the orientation is great. My basic problem is I'm so scared!
    My anxiety DOES keep me from loving my job, work on that and you will know how you actually feel.
  9. by   NICU_Nurse
    There is little I could say to add to these wonderfully compassionate posts, aside from the fact that people like those who have posted on this thread are the ones who make me proud to be a nurse and part of their community.

    Please give yourself time. Time to learn, to grow, to become more competent. Remember, in your worst moments, that even the scary doctors and the nurses who seem to know it all knew NOTHING when they got out of school. Nursing school, to me, is like hazing. You have to go through it to get into the real world, but it does little to prepare you for the realities or the responsibilities of actually working as a nurse. You're not expected to know everything, and honestly, any nurse worth her salt will already know to expect you know hardly anything at all. The difference between a good nurse and a bad one, IMO, is the ability to question yourself and others around you in any situation. Don't be afraid to ask questions about ANYTHING! Learn as much as you can on your own, but remember that you have valuable resources at work, whether they be your fellow co-workers or your preceptor or your mentor or people on these boards, who are full of knowledge and advice that can help you not only be comfortable but become more competent as well.

    There are other things that could be happening here, as well. It is possible that you don't like the unit you're working on (you could investigate other hospitals later?), the people you're working with (not every team is the same- the difference between our night shifters and day shifters is what kept me in nursing my first year!), the hospital you're at (they're all very different in policy, philosophy, and environment), or even the type of nursing you're doing (did you go into ER when you would have possibly preferred ortho or peds or med/surg?).

    It took me one full year to walk onto our unit and feel at ease. Every day before work I was filled with anxiety and nausea, fearing that tonight would be the night I got a patient I couldn't handle, or that someone would code on me, or that no one would answer my questions or be available to help me start an IV, or that I would mess up my calculations or forget a med or something important. I used to pray that I wouldn't be first admit, and that's the first YEAR! Don't even get me started on my preceptorship! The first three months I was working, I would cry all the way home, thinking, "Why didn't I become a kindergarten teacher like I should have???". One of my preceptors was horrible, and it took some time and distance to realize that it was HER I didn't care for, not the unit or nursing in general. I felt stupid and insecure and was longing to quit and doubting every career decision I'd ever made. Add that to the fact that every single person I talked to from school seemed to LOVE their jobs and felt very confident and didn't seem to be having the same problems I was having.

    However, I realized something very important. I'm not THAT unique. My experiences are not solely mine; EVERY new grad feels this, and those who don't are the ones I now worry about. There are people out there whose only mechanism of coping is to be cavalier about themselves, and though I'm sure there are actually some new grads who have flawless, breezy orientations and seem right at home immediately, those people are few and far between (and in actuality, I have never met a single one, not even those who at first seemed to be).

    This is all I can really say: After 18 very short months, I have a mountain of knowledge gained from research and experience, and it is A DROP IN THE BUCKET. But that's okay! After a year and a half of nursing, I am in the position to begin teaching basic knowledge to OTHER new grads, and I will gladly take by the hand someone like me who appears afraid or is holding back tears (and I've met more than one of these people in the last few months), whether it is a nursing student doing her capstone on our unit (who I found crying in a corner with her head shielded because she didn't know how to do a chart check and no one would show her) to a brand new grad in orientation who doesn't understand why a preemie has difficulty maintaining their temperature, and I can SHARE the knowledge, little as it is, that I have gained. I graduated 18...no...19 months ago now. I am and was just like you!

    Deep breaths. Center yourself. Admit that you are new and that is okay. You are learning. You are not stupid, you are not incapable, you are not expected to know everything.

    I used to wonder why some of the older nurses would give each other "the look" when we were orienting. I thought they were mean and unapproachable and unfriendly, and I thought they were making fun of us! It took a while, and a lot of friendly attempts on my part to befriend them, before I figured it out. They weren't laughing at US. They were laughing at THEMSELVES. Because they WERE us. And you are us, too.

    Hang in there. It gets better, I promise. There are always options for you, and if, in the end, you still want to go to work in a clinic, there are thousands of them out there waiting.

    ((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((BIG HUGS)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
  10. by   igloorn93
    There is nothing like a career in Nursing to make you more assertive and help you learn to stand up for yourself, and more importantly, give you the courage to stand up and be an advocate for your patient(s). You may read this and think "Oh I couldn't possibly stand up and say something/somebody is wrong." Just wait. You will. Afterwards you will sit and think "Wow, was that really me?" Goodluck to you. I think it is too soon to start looking for another job. How will you know if this was right or wrong for you if you don't give it a try. Take baby steps. No one is expecting you to be charge nurse on your first day on the unit. (If they are tell them NO WAY) You can do it.
  11. by   Katnip
    Is it the job of nursing that you hate or the fear of it?

    If it's anxiety, a lot of the posters here have wonderful advice. But if it's truly nursing you hate, and you feel you would dread doing this for the rest of your life, then maybe you should rethink careers.
  12. by   Angelica
    I just started my first job this month as a new grad, so I understand the fear. One little thing that gives me a big boost of confidence is my Dell PDA. I keep a drug guide, a lab guide and tabers on it. I keep it in my pocket and if I have a question about anything the answer is right at my fingertips. And I get what I need a lot faster than if I had to look it up in a book. I was in a pt's room yesterday and the family asked me an obscure question about a drug I was giving the pt. I was able to give them an answer in 10 seconds. The 3 programs I have are by www.skyscape.com and they link together. So if you are looking up epogen in the drug guide and want to know about lab values as it relates to epogen, just hit the link button and it takes you there. Same with Tabers. Of course, you can keep a lot of other stuff on it as well. All my contacts, schedules, calculator, to-do lists are on there. I've downloaded entire books onto it. I plan to download a spanish/english dictionary. That'll really come in handy. I also have a couple of games on it for those many times I am at work and have nothing to do .
    Anyway, as you can tell, I really like it. I still feel fear as a new grad, but me and my PDA are going to take it one day at a time.

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