I'm afraid that I'm a bad nurse.

  1. Hello All:

    I am a relatively new nurse (practicing 8 months). At the time I started my first job, I entered with the excitement and enthusiasm that accompanies most new endeavors. Although nervous and extremely stressed, I persevered through my first few months with few incidents.

    But I find myself consistently plagued by a sense of dread. This feeling that I am missing something. During my shift, the tasks seem overwhelming. Tasks.... Even with CA fantastic 5 pt ratio, the needs of my patients can be too much for me to hold. I wish I could pull up a chair, converse with my clients... be in an environment that isn't wound up so tight at the hilt... anyone get my drift?

    Perhaps Med/Surg just isn't my niche.

    I have considered searching out opportunities outside the hospital. Perhaps home health, primary care, or even pursuing an advanced practice degree.

    I know this post is a bit dis-jointed. And maybe it's just the rain outside talking. But I'm desperately afraid that someday, all the little things that I've missed because I've felt so under the gun are going to come crashing down. I don't want to be that nurse.

    Anyway, any thoughts are appreciated. It's good therapy for us all.

  2. Visit dankimal profile page

    About dankimal

    Joined: Oct '10; Posts: 19; Likes: 27


  3. by   Chin up
    You are brand new, give yourself a chance for it to slow down. Right now everything is a whirl wind. You want to be perfect and are probably comparing yourself to exp. Nurses. Just do the best you can, ask for help and ask questions. One day, you will find everything has slowed down. You will look around thinking, wow, I had such a good day. Got most things done and in a good time. That point comes to everyone at different times. But it will come and you will be glad you stuck it out. Peace!

    *clarification*. Slow down does not mean a slow down in work load. It is a football term associated with new quarterbacks. It is when they start to see the field more clearly and in effect, everything slows down so they make better decisions, and confidence is increased.
    Last edit by Chin up on Mar 20, '11 : Reason: Clarification
  4. by   Blackheartednurse
    As a home health nurse of 8 months I definitely have time for converstation with my patients-but prepare to take a pay cut.
  5. by   missladyrn
    I think that is normal. I feel the same way! Try doubling your patient load ( I had 8-10) . I hated always leaving feeling like I did not do a good job, or couldn't physically keep up my job even without taking breaks or even bathroom breaks.

    I changed jobs, left med surg. I work in a clinic now and LOVE it! Just keep looking, you need to find something that is a good fit for you. But I do not regret any of the time spent in med surg, I learned so much! You could not pay me to go back though. Just look around, try a different type of job.
  6. by   LPNweezy
    Quote from dankimal
    I wish I could pull up a chair, converse with my clients

    This right here, says to me that you are a great nurse. good luck.
  7. by   tokmom
    I have been doing this job for a lot of years and I rarely go home feeling like I didn't miss something. I think it's part of the job. Can you ask for a review from your peers to see what they think?
    Cut yourself some slack. You have only been a nurse for 8 months and med/surg floors are busy. You have to multi task a lot.
    Have you thought about ICU? More intensive but less patients?
  8. by   dankimal
    Thanks, everyone. I know it will get better, and relative to my first few months (see my previous posts) I am doing much better on the floor. And I have no regrets regarding the invaluable experience med/surg had given me, and to missladyrn, I have often wondered how anyone could handle more than five! My hat's off to you!

    Cheers to you all!
  9. by   dankimal
    I have though about ICU, and I have seriously considered it. But part of me (perhaps the "grass is greener syndrome") is looking outside of acute care altogether and leaning more towards primary care. My nursing program kinda shortchanged me a bit in that arena, but we were in a rural area with little clinical space, so I am looking at shadowing opportunities at local clinics and seeing if that's a better fit. Regarding home care, it sounds like a dream come true, but before I am eligible for most positions I would need a few more years in the hospital.

    So we'll see. My year review is coming up and my DON is fantastic. I feel completely comfortable bringing this up with her.
  10. by   MomRN0913
    You are not a bad nurse. You are a new nurse. Simple as that. I had that dread for over a year. And it reemerged at one point for me actually.

    I started in med/surg, tele floating. i hated it. I wanted to get to know my patient, their diagnoses and help heal them. But I had no time to do that. I was med pushing and charting and trying to get control of the crazy patients. Then after 4 months I was offered a job in MICU. It turned out to be a good fit. with 2-3 patient (only 1 on CA!) I got to know my patients inside out, use my critical thinking skills, help them, help their families... may it be high pressure and really crazy at times, it was the kind of crazy I craved.

    So take some time, find out what kind of nursing is for you. ANd again, for the record, you are not a bad nurse.
  11. by   caliotter3
    You can't get less stressed than extended care with a home care client, but as stated before, expect a pay cut. You can talk with your patient to your heart's content and their tolerance level during an eight hour shift.
  12. by   carolmaccas66
    It's funny - I was just talking to my Mum about the hospital in our home town and the lack of support when I first worked up there, then I read your post.
    First of all, I DREAM about having a 5:1 ratio - all the med/surg I've done we have 6-12 patients, easy (or more if a staff member calls in sick, or we get extra admissions).
    You are probably just feeling nervous and depressed. You also need to get your time management down pat, then maybe you will feel a bit better about your work load. Do you use a cheat sheet, with all your patients name on one side, and your times up the top, then work out after handover what duties you have to do? The more organised you get, the better you will feel re your work place.
    Also don't let patients manipulate your time. You have to be firm but professional. For example, walk into your first patient's room and say: Hi Mr/s _____ I have 5 patients today, I can spend 15 minutes doing your obs (or whatever), that way the patient has a realistic idea of how much time you can spend with them. Tell them when you walk in the room you only have so much time to perform a certain procedure (like checking an IDC for example). ALWAYS ask is there anything you need URGENTLY before you leave a room, saves time with ringing bells (but not always).
    Needy patients will take up much of your time, you need to use a bit of psychology with them, but don't let them manipulate you. Needy patients have usually been in the same or different hospitals many times, and know how to work the system. Be firm, state your duties for the day, get your work done, get out of there. If needy patients just want to talk (and they invariably do re all their multitude of problems), don't get sucked in. Say I will be back later or something, (after doing all your checks on them), then walk straight out the room. They will soon get the message, one would hope anyway.
    There isn't enough time in nursing to get everything done, that's why you need to really prioritise what you need to get done in those precious 8 hours (or whatever) of work. Nursing is VERY HARD - don't let anyone tell you any different.
    Ask other nurses you work with re their time management. Also talk to your manager or preceptor if you have one re your problems. Maybe that will help (but being the cynical older nurse that I am, I doubt it very much).
  13. by   Been there,done that
    Please don't feel inadequate, you are trying your best. There are simply too many tasks on our plate to perform each and every one to the fullest.

    Try this... when I do my assessment, I sit down, look at my patient and try my hardest to hear what they are saying.

    It doesn't take any longer, and I get a wealth of information. They also feel... somebody at least.. is listening.

    Good luck, it's brutal out here.
  14. by   KalipsoRed
    uh, frankly in today's medicine if all my patients are alive and 80% comfortable when I leave then I did a good job. I don't care if my charting was done all the way, I don't care what meds I've forgot, and I don't care what management's complaints are. I'm sorry, we're to over loaded, and if someone wants to take my license away, go for it. I do what I can and that's it.