Being a new nurse sucks

  1. I am a new nurse on a VERY busy oncology/ stem cell transplant floor at a large teaching hospital.

    I graduated and February and am now on my 2nd week of orientation on days. I prefer night shift. I worked as a tech on A surg floor for a year and half while in school.

    i feel dumb and stupid. I don't know so many things and preceptor is great and very nice but she assumes that I know a lot of stuff. When in reality I have no idea what she's talking about. She gives me this crazy look like, omg I can't believe you don't know. For instance, what a 'male bed' is. I don't know that shared rooms are only the same sex. I wasn't trained in shared rooms and I had no idea. I'm not used to residents and interns. I'm not used to epic. I don't know anything about chemo other than personal expierence from helping my grandma and dad, who both died over this summer so that has been hard in itself.

    my hands shake when drawing up meds and I'm not used to all these protocols and IV infusions...I'm not used to central lines and ports and constant MET calls for sepsis. Constant orders for fluid replacements and not to mention I must be chemo certified in 6 mo. I can't even get basic IV infusions and tpn lipids etc down right.

    they only teach you so much in nursing school. I did an ADN a program, so I'm not sure if that's to blame or what...

    i iust just feel so incompetent. I hate it. And his is not what I thought it would be like. I feel like I'm completely lost and disoriented. I'm wondering if maybe I should apply to something slower paced like rehabs, or outpatient settings. I can tell my preceptor thinks I am slow and inexpierenced

    I am 2 weeks in and I am miserable. I'm not sure if I should give it some more time or if I should start looking for other jobs.
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  2. Visit bluehealer profile page

    About bluehealer, RN

    Joined: Jul '17; Posts: 8
    from US

    8 Comments

  3. by   Sour Lemon
    Having a job sucks, in general. What feedback has your preceptor actually given you? Don't put thoughts into her head. I guarantee you there are occasions where she's felt "dumb and stupid", too.
    Two weeks is not long. It took me longer than that to be able to make it to my unit without taking a wrong turn. I took lots of unintentional, nice tours of the hospital.
  4. by   NurseCard
    SO much of what we learn in nursing is on-the-job experience. That's something
    else they don't want to tell you in nursing school. Have faith in yourself, have
    confidence, keep listening and keep your eyes open and keep learning. Like
    Sour Lemon said, you are only two weeks in, that's not long at all.

    And yes, being a new nurse does suck. It really does. It will
    get better. We promise.
  5. by   LovingLife123
    Understand you learned nothing in nursing school except how to pass NCLEX. Nothing. You are two weeks in to being an actual nurse. Nobody expects you to know anything.

    Calm down, breathe, and attack each new day that you are going to learn a bunch of new things. A bunch. Be positive. Be excited to learn, not scared. The first year is the hardest and you are a mere two weeks in.
  6. by   JKL33
    Quote from bluehealer
    i feel dumb and stupid. I don't know so many things and preceptor is great and very nice but she assumes that I know a lot of stuff. When in reality I have no idea what she's talking about. She gives me this crazy look like, omg I can't believe you don't know. For instance, what a 'male bed' is. I don't know that shared rooms are only the same sex. I wasn't trained in shared rooms and I had no idea. I'm not used to residents and interns. I'm not used to epic. I don't know anything about chemo other than personal expierence from helping my grandma and dad, who both died over this summer so that has been hard in itself.

    .....

    they only teach you so much in nursing school. I did an ADN a program, so I'm not sure if that's to blame or what...

    i iust just feel so incompetent. I hate it. And his is not what I thought it would be like. I feel like I'm completely lost and disoriented. I'm wondering if maybe I should apply to something slower paced like rehabs, or outpatient settings. I can tell my preceptor thinks I am slow and inexpierenced

    ......
    First, condolences on the loss of your dad and grandma. You are likely grieving and processing how life is different without them here. Depending on individual relationships (closeness, etc) this can throw us a tailspin subconsciously. Aside from thoughts that feel more like "grief", there can be general uncertainty/meaning-of-life thoughts and feelings. I hope you are able to allow yourself to grieve in your own way. Recognize that for some, this is kind of a period of vulnerability as far as rethinking the meaning of anything and everything, reprocessing, re-fitting your life views, etc.

    In addition to that you are also in a time of life that includes a completely different transition - from student to practicing nurse. This is rarely a completely smooth transition. Many, many newer nurses have at least a passing thought of second-guessing their career choice and don't feel prepared for the role of RN. And then there are still many who start to feel stressed/depressed/worried and have more than a passing thought about whether they're cut out for this before things finally ease up and start to feel more natural.

    If I could only give one piece of advice regarding all of this, it would be to work towards not reacting emotionally at the various interactions and situations that come up. Admittedly this is not easy to do, not at all! I'm not talking about 'not crying', etc., but about not making every situation personal.

    I will use your example (bolded ^). This individual who looks at you like you have two heads because you don't know about a "male bed"? Recognize that her own knowledge of the world is a bit limited if she doesn't know that many, many units these days have all private rooms! So...regardless of what face she makes at you, it means nothing. Her funny face is devoid of meaning that is personal to you. It merely reflects her own limited knowledge. Therefore, you can remain completely calm and simply say, "Oh, that makes sense. I've never heard that term because I haven't worked on unit with semi-private rooms." The End, you know? There's no deeper meaning about your abilities or your intelligence.

    This general thinking pattern is useful for nearly every situation you may come across in nursing.

    Your job right now is to learn everything you can. I know you already know that, but what I mean is to squelch that which gets in your way of doing so....including worrying about all these extraneous things. Put yourself on a mission to learn and don't let petty things get in your way. Your ADN has nothing to do with it. But you ARE (relatively) slow and experienced. So what! Every nurse before you was relatively slow and inexperienced during orientation too.

    Summary/TL;DR - Grieve your losses. Make it your mission to not take everything personally, and your ultimate mission to make the absolute best of this learning opportunity!

    ((virtual hug))!
  7. by   chacha82
    It will get better, and if you were lucky enough to land a job in a large teaching hospital with your ADN, take advantage. It's impossible to absorb everything you need to know in just a few weeks.

    One strategy is to keep a "running tab" of what you learned. It doesn't need to be complicated. I still do the same thing now, but for my stepdown instead of floor patients. So when you get home take a few minutes to write down skills you did or procedures you saw that day, whatever. Just keep a tally, no patient identifying information. When you see the same thing again or repeat the skill, give yourself a check mark. You don't need to do it for small things like flushing IVs, but maybe something you find complicated, like starting a pain pump or TPN or whatever.

    This helped me see patterns in my work and ask for opportunities to see these skills again. It was really helpful for things like A-lines and NG tubes, because I didn't work with them everyday. In time it really does get better, and you will reach a point where you feel ready to care for a group on your own. But no one expects this at two weeks! You'll get there.
  8. by   lck8119
    Hang in there. Nursing school prepares you for the NCLEX BUT not necessarily real world experiences. I learned more my first 6 weeks of being a nurse than I did as a nursing student. When I precept , I try to remember how it was as a new grad and don't assume that anyone knows much about anything. However, different people have different personalities. Try not to let your orecepror get to you. You'll get the hang of things. The first few months are stressful.
  9. by   marienm, RN, CCRN
    Just food for thought- nursing/hospitals/health care are full of industry- and institution-specific terms. I used to work in a different industry that was the same...probably just like any specialized line of work. I used to 'tail down a batten,' 'west-coast a scrim' and 'run a barrel on a leko'. I don't expect most people here know what any of those things mean...they just sound like random strings of words! So does 'male bed' or 'bed 12 needs an HS Accucheck' (which uses the brand name of the machine, so if that's not what your nursing school used for blood-glucose checks, good luck figuring that one out!) Surgeons call tweezers 'pickups'...

    All I'm getting at here is that you're in a new world, and it's very normal that everything sounds crazy. You'll start to get it, but it takes time. (Yes, more than 2 weeks.) Listen for context when you can, and it's better to ask for clarification rather than get something confused...if I ask for TPN, I definitely don't want TPA!
  10. by   not.done.yet
    Know what I see when I read your post? A new grad nurse who is smart enough to start identifying all the things she does not know. THAT, my friend, is worth its weight in gold and a huge indicator of future success.

    It is super humbling to be in your position. Every nurse has been there. You will not get a real feel for how far you have come until the next round of new grads hit the floor and you witness them where you used to be in terms of knowledge.

    You definitely should not look for another job. Why? Because all of these challenges will still be there. Give yourself time to learn. None of this has to do with your ADN. Nobody graduates nursing school ready to hit the ground running anymore, regardless of their degree. Didn't know what a male bed is? Guess what....I have been a nurse seven years and I just learned that. From you. You only get the weird look once, then you know what you didn't know.

    Hang in there. Have good stress relieving techniques. Meet up with other nurses socially to help decompress. Be truly off on your days off and do things that make your heart happy.

    I have a feeling you are going to be just fine.

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