Need career advice...please help

  1. Good morning,

    I have quite a dilemma on my hands.....it's a semi-long story, but I really need good advice.......

    I'm a Cat Scan Technologists asst at an area hospital. I have been working in this position for about six months. Although I like it, I want to be a nurse. However, I have had a hard time getting the job. My main responsiblity is organizing films, getting them to the radiologists, getting patients for the exam, making sure they get the oral contrast needed for the exam, etc. My dept. manager has told me several times the techs are frustrated because it seems like I'm not "getting it". The only specific I have gotten recently is I have problems multi-tasking. For instance, I may start something, be called away, then forget the first thing. Sometimes I have inaverdently put the wrong film in a chart, but luckily it was caught before it went to the doctor. I also have made larger errors.....on patient was added on to be scanned one day. When she arrived, we were notified, and I was asked to go deliver her oral contrast. I was working on something at the time, and forgot until about an hour later. I got written up for that....it delayed her exam, and she ended up needing a drain (unrelated to my error). Another time, a tech asked me to deliver the oral contrast to a patient in a room. I took the medicine to the patient, and right after she drank it, I figured out I had been told the wrong room. I normally verify a patients name, but I didn't ask the tech who told me to take it to her her name, and I failed to check with the patient as well. She wasn't caused any harm luckily, but of course I was terrified. How could I be so stupid!!
    I have talked to some techs....one in particular feels two other techs are very hard on me, and she wonders if (as well as myself), if they are taking it a bit too far. There are two tech assistants working in our area, yet I always seem to be the one that is constantly asked to "go do this" even though the other tech assistant is capable, and even if I'm working on something. I understand I have to rememer to do many things at once, but it seems a little skewed in my case. One tech even rolls her eyes at me when I ask a question.
    Anyway, my boss is hinting that this job my not be for me....I may fit better at another job. My fear is that if I can't handle this job....how will I ever handle being a nurse? I really want a job in which I help people and make a difference. I also want job security, and good pay. All of which nursing offers. So my friends....any advice on what I should do?
    Thank you so much for any advice......I'm quite worried about what to do.

    Lisa
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   Katnip
    Nursing is all about details. Checking and double checking meds, the patient name, etc.

    What helps me, is if thre are a lot of things to do is make notes. In the ER Im doing a clinical in, I have to right down times of second blood draws, EKGs, etc. Some things have become second nature and I no longer have to write them down.

    Figure out what your tasks are and focus on what you're doing at the time.
  4. by   sjoe
    "I have problems multi-tasking. For instance, I may start something, be called away, then forget the first thing."

    This would be a VERY serious problem in the nursing field.

    Before you even think about nursing school, I'd check with your local community colleges to see whether they offer a class in organizing skills and prioritizing tasks (as is sometimes offered for new students lacking in study habits, for example).
  5. by   BusyMom
    Try carrying a small notebbook in your pocket. When you are asked to do something, just do it happily. But write yourself a reminder of what you need to finish up. Those little details that you forget could be critical to remember. Good Luck!
  6. by   RNonsense
    Originally posted by sjoe

    Before you even think about nursing school, I'd check with your local community colleges to see whether they offer a class in organizing skills and prioritizing tasks (as is sometimes offered for new students lacking in study habits, for example).

    Great idea!
  7. by   Anagray
    I agree. Taking a class on organizing and prioritizing is very helpful. Also, try critical thinking class and see how u do.

    Another thing.. a person's lifestyle has a lot to do with their ability to think. If you are not getting enough sleep, it can influence your judgement.

    when I was little someone told me that I daydream too much and that when i'm doing a task, I need to think about this exact task and not to let my mind wonder in different directions. This person was right.

    don't let things discourage you.
  8. by   lmolvr
    Thank you for the replies...... the notebook I will try as well as taking the classes....great idea....thanks!

    Sounds like the general idea is I can train myself to be more efficient. Is this possible? I'm also concerned that I'm trying to hard to please these two techs in particular. The one tech I talked to said when asked about my performance (part of my review) she stuck up for me. She felt some techs were being too hard on me, and she felt I was doing a great job (very reliable....as opposed to some of the other tech assistants (there are four of us during the day.....two in the hospital, one at our outpatient center, the fourth having the day off)...as far as being at work...not calling in sick. She also said she'd rather have me ask questions over and over, versus doing the wrong thing. She also told me to not let these people decide my career for me. She thinks that the area I'm in isn't a good representative of the nursing field. The people in our area can be catty (which she has said can be anywhere) She has encouraged me to relax, slow down, and ask questions to the techs I feel comfortable with. Another tech I trust told me that nursing may not be the field for me, but encouraged me to get career counseling.
    I hate to think nursing may not be for me, but we're talking about people's lives, and I have to be very careful. For those of you who found it difficult, or scary......what are some of the things you did to help make it easier?

    Lisa
  9. by   rachel h
    What I find that helps is to finish the task I am working on completely before going to do something else (unless it is an emergency). That way I don't have to try and remember later in the day what time I gave a certain med or try to remember details that need to be documented, because I took care of it as I was doing it. I also will jot down future tasks that are awaiting me, and then cross them off my list as they are completed.

    Even if you are busy and feel rushed, always take the time to be thorough. Don't let yourself get overwhelmed with future tasks that need to get done. Do the best you can do as one person.
  10. by   lazyrocking
    You might also consider an assertiveness training class along with conflict resolution. They are usually available through either the local college or on the net. They really help with multitaskinga and prioritizing things.
  11. by   Burnie
    Assertiveness training would be great.
    And quit trying to please the other techs! What difference do they make? Concentrate more on your job and less on pleasing the other techs. It is very easy to fall into the "I have to do whatever someone asks me to do because I don't want them to think I can't do my job well" pattern. Your job comes first. Patient care comes first. You can say no, I am busy right now. It is OK.
    It is difficult to organize your own work load when you are jumping around doing things for other staff so that they think you are good at your job. You really aren't doing your job then, you are doing their job.
    You can do this! I have faith!
  12. by   orrnlori
    Okay, I see several issues here in this order.

    First, talk to your supervisor that is "hinting" this job may not be for you. Ask for specific guidance to understand her/his issues with you. You have several based on your post. But first, find out what your supervisor is thinking, address those first. Are her issues what the others are saying about you or her direct observation of you. You need to know this. Don't mess up by thinking you know what she is thinking. You need to know exactly what it is.

    Multi-tasking is not just indicative of nursing but of most things in working life. Do you know what the priorities of your job are? Prioritizing is paramount in nursing. You must be able to prioritize before you can multi-task a job. Everything can't be done at once, everything must be done in some sort of order and you must know what that order is. Sounds simple, but is not easy to "just do". So you must think about this critically. Make a list of how you see your job and the priorities of that job. Discuss them with your manager and see if he/she agrees with your list. This shows effort on your part and causes you to synthesize your mental processes with physical actions.

    Your mistake of giving the right med to the wrong patient was a huge mistake that I doubt you will ever make again. The lesson has been learned. I did it myself my first month of nursing when I hung an antibiotic on the wrong patient. Panic/horror/self-degredation followed, but so did learning. I trust you have learned from your error and thankfully there was no apparent harm to the patient.

    You are seeing yourself through the eyes of those critical of your performance. Something else you will learn is that co-workers can be the pits. You need to try to evaluate yourself by yourself with the assistance of your supervisor, NOT by your coworkers. There will always be someone who has a bone to pick with you. Nurses eat their young, you will hear it often, and my opinion is that it is true. I find however, that lesser trained ancillary staff are even more critical of their peers than nurses are of their peers. We all perceive ourselves at least partly by how we think others think of us. This is human social psychology. It's effects lessen as we become more competent and proficient at what we do. Try to remember this and don't let those negative people define who you are.

    Become competent at your job before you jump to do the bidding of others. You are trying to please those around you by doing things for them. You need to find your voice to say you can't do something while you are busy doing what you need to do. It's called assertiveness, as pointed out above. Again, easier to do than say, especially when you are low man on the totem pole. But you've got to do this.

    I agree to "write it down" even if you have to write it in ballpoint pen on your hand. When I was a new nurse, I always had notes written in the palm and on the back of my hands. I believe it helped me, I couldn't remember everything while I was trying to set priorities. So I made notes all the time.

    How old are you. Are you 18 or are you 28? Have you always had problems and been scattered, or are you succumbing to this job in particular. If you are a young'un chances are much of this will subside as you mature in the work world. If you have always had these kinds of problems then the issue is perhaps deeper and you need some very real assistance that might mean taking classes and redeveloping your thinking and ways of doing things.

    I hope this helps you. I wouldn't be willing to throw in the towel on this job yet, but then I'm a very tenacious little bulldog about things. I don't let things get in the way of what I want and I always look to myself before I look to others. Let us know how it turns out. Best wishes to you.

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