I feel so incompetent....

  1. I'm a nursing student in my 3rd semester. It only a 13 month RN program and it feels like we haven't have a whole lot of clinical experience. So my question is....how do hospitals handle new grad situations when they hire? How much training does the average hospital give for new grads with no experience?
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   jjjoy
    I'm sure you're not the only who feel unprepared for the "real world."

    It seems to be an unfortunate trend in nursing education to reduce the students' clinical experience. Even if a program may provide lots of hours of clinical time, it may be with only a few patients and only covering a small portion of actual nursing duties.

    So then hospitals are having to supplement nursing education by offering longer orientation and preceptorships. During this time, the new grad is usually paired with an experienced nurse they split the care with the newbie taking on more and more over time.

    I'd figure the longer the orientation, the better. Standard is probably 6-8 weeks. A local hospital I know of offers 4 months, but you need to give a 2 yr commitment or pay back the hospital for the training time. I've heard of as long as 6 months for specialty areas (eg. ICU).

    So if you're feeling particularly unprepared, don't settle for taking any old job offer. If they're going to throw you off orientation in 3 weeks, that's not a good sign of how they support new grads. Even then, you can't know everything about a facility or about how you'll do, so if the first position doesn't work out, count it as a learning experience and try again.

    If you have any access to your school's previous graduates, ask them about their experiences with orientation and local facilities.
  4. by   gradRN2007
    hiya,
    i am a new grad starting as a RN in June, my program was a part time transistional program, one day a week for 2 years only they cut it short and we ended in oct instead of dec. so 1/2 of day was clinicals and the other 1/2 was lecture...I am really nervous even though i have been in the lab at this hospital for >20 years.
    I interviewed for a job in the intermediate ICU and got it (that was nerve racking the interivew), all i know is that i have 6 months orientation with a preceptor before I am on my own. I will work his/her schedule and will probably have to take phlebotomy, acls classes before i start at night..I have emailed a professor and asked if i could sit in on her assessment class for a refresher...i get more nervous everyday but excited too. DOn't feel incompetent but get all the experience you can with IV, foley etc..i have basically none...that would help a lot
    good luck
  5. by   NeosynephRN
    I will also be graduating in May. I will start in the ICU after that. I get a minimun of 3 months on one on one orientation, and then I get a mentor nurse for another year, I believe on top of that. I will be in a classroom setting and on the floor during my orientation..taking all the classes..ACLS etc. I can extend my orientation if I feel the need to do so. Good Luck
  6. by   RN28MD
    Hi there, let me tell you my experince when I was a GN (graduate nurse). I didn't have much clinical experience as well. I had only done IV pumps maybe twice and didn't remember much about it. I didn't have very good clinical instructors. I guess it all depends on them. Anyways I ended up going to a medical surgical floor and actually was scared to start working b/c I still needed to take my NCLEX to become a RN. SO i heard horror stories of how if you don't pass the exam the hospital take you off payroll as a GN and keeps you as a nursing aid. At least where I am you can stay but only do nursing aid stuff. I was so scared that that would happen so I didn't start the orientation right away. Then I decided to go to work do to family circumstances and ended up in the middle of orientation. It was hard b/c the nurses on the floor couldn't remember I didn't have the full orientation and where mean to me. THey thougt I asked to many questions. WEll I tell you this b/c in 4mos of working there I was so comfortable and felt very confident in my abilities as a nurse. The 1st mos is hard but you will get it down. By that time I was teaching students. So don't feel you are the only one. Just get a good preceptor ask many questions. good luck
  7. by   Tweety
    No matter how they try nursing school just isn't the real world and it's entirely normal to feel incompetent. There's just so much to know and do you can't get it all in school.

    Our new grad orientation is 12 weeks (or longer if they need it).

    Remember there are many practicing nurses out there that did the same program, or similar, and are doing just fine.
  8. by   nad1914
    Don't feel alone we've ALL been there. May I suggest you to take a position in a teaching hospital. After you,ve inquired about the length and flexibility of their orientation. Be intuitive during the interview, if you choose to enroll keep and an open communication with your Nurse Manager or initial interviewer. Be honest when asked about your progress. Hospitals invest so much on a new employe it it in their best interest to taylor the orientation according to your needs, remember we have all been there! Good luck.!
  9. by   droadracer
    I start nursing school in Aug, this was such a good thread, and all the responses will give me something to think about down the road...thanks all...
  10. by   KellieNurse06
    You are not alone...believe me! I am a new nurse myself..... I work home care doing 1 on 1 shifts in homes for hours at a time.....so I am just thrown in on my own........most nurses I have talked to tell me this is alot more responsibility than the hospital because there are always others around.......but in the home you are alone ,making judgements, calls etc........and if something goes wrong...you are alone with no help..except of course 911.......so believe me....if I can do it as a new nurse like this...so can you! And trust me.....I feel like you do most of the time........but it will all come together eventually....Good Luck!
  11. by   Halinja
    Oh wow. You could have been sitting in my pocket tonight.

    Tomorrow I have another practicum day. And I feel so useless and fumbling. I even managed to screw up when I DC'd an IV the other day. I feel hesitant facing my preceptor because I feel sure she must think I'm an idiot.

    I don't always feel this way. Some days I feel like I'm helpful, like I'm learning. But tonight I'm worrying.
  12. by   time4meRN
    Your not feeling anything that most of the rest of us havn't felt. Most hospitals are so anxious to get nurses they will be happy to train as needed. The trouble may come when you start working. Many times I find that units get busy, short staffed and then the next thing you know , your trianed by fire. Meaning your pushed into taking a full load and your orientation is cut short. It's not fair to new nurses or new grads for that matter but , it's the real world. I've found that even though it's scary, it can be a good experience for a new grad. (even though it may not feel like it at the time)
  13. by   mim-o
    Hey,
    What you are feeling is normal. Remember nursing school is to build a basic foundation. Look into hospitals with intense orientations and make your preceptor your greatest assest. A good preceptor can really make all the difference in the world. To be honest with you no amount of school or quality of instructers can prepare you for the transition into real world nursing. I was very intimidated at first but, it all started coming together a piece at a time. Nobody can know it all and if they think that those are the nurses to steer clear of and we all have bad days (sometimes even weeks). Congrads on your pending graduation and relax-you will be fine.
  14. by   anne74
    Nursing school is only exposure to becoming a nurse. I would look for a position at a teaching hospital. I started as a new grad at a university hospital - they have a 1-yr nurse resident program, in which you're paired with a one-on-one preceptor for 3 months for med/surg, and 6 months for ICU. Then each month you have new grad classes. It's good because you meet other new grads in other parts of the hospital, and you don't feel so alone. This helped a lot because I was the only new grad on my unit at the time, and I felt so behind everyone.

    I had a really hard time as a new nurse - mostly because I started off with a nightmare preceptor. Just make sure you're paired with a preceptor who is patient, approachable and has a similiar work style to yours. If you don't match well with your preceptor, ask to be switched. That can make or break your nursing career.

    And don't worry - I felt like a total fool at first, but eventually you'll get it. Just try to not focus on everything you don't know - each day, think of 3 new things you learned that day; things in which you weren't able to do before, but now you can. That helps you see the progress you're making. Eventually there will be fewer and fewer things you'll have to ask help for. Don't get discouraged. It will come with time. You have to be patient.

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