New nurse who feels like a failure

  1. Hello,

    I have been working as a nurse on the floor for a little over a month. I graduated from a BSN program and am currently in a new graduate nursing program at my hospital that is designed to transition from student to RN. It is different from most other nurse recedency programs that I am familiar with. Basically, we are on a floor with 8 beds (16 recently because of a full census) which is staffed at all times with two new graduate nurses and one clinical coordinater who is a more experienced nurse. We carry our own patient assignments as new grads and the coordinators audit us at the end of each shift to make sure all charting is complete. They are also there to answer questions.

    i started out doing okay, but I soon started struggling. There are no PCA's on the floor and I almost always am struggling to do all of my work in my shift. I know it is not good to compare oneself with others, but I can't help but notice that I seem to be the only one struggling to do my job. I never make time for a break so I don't eat or drink most shifts and I'm still down to the last minute charting or finishing my final med pass. I also seem to be making so many mistakes, like miscounting meds in the Pyxis when I get them or throwing out med bottles before I scan them. I feel like I don't know anything and can't do anything right. I was put on a plan by my coordinates which basically stated that I needed to improve these things or I'd have to meet with the boss. I have been working so hard to do so. I have been managing my time much better and finishing on time most shifts. I was even complimented on how thorough my charting had been. I really care so much about the patients and they all say they love having me as a nurse. I know nursing is more than that but I just get so discouraged when I feel like I had a great shift and then I still hear negative feedback.

    I was was recently informed that about two weeks ago, I had made a medication error. When administration went through charting, they noticed that I had given a patient his Percocet too close to his last administration, which had been in the ER before being brought to the floor. I felt horrible that it had happened, even though the patient was okay. I just felt so dumb. They also mentioned to me that I had forgotten to scan a lyrica pill before giving it to my patient, another thing that I felt extremely upset and embarrassed about. I had a meeting on my day off today with my boss today and she told me that she did not feel as if there was a future for me at that hospital or with bedside nursing. She is allowing me to come into work tomorrow under strict supervision and stated that it's my last chance. I am going to give 150% but I could tell by her voice that she's already made up her mind.

    What should I do? Everything just happened so fast. I just started my new job and it feels like I'm still learning. I feel as if they gave up on me so soon, but I understand that safety is a priority and they cannot have me working as an unsafe nurse. Will anyone hire me again? Should I really accept that I can never be a hospital nurse? Where do I go from here? I'm feeling so lost and so disappointed in myself.
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  2. 23 Comments

  3. by   pixierose
    I'm sorry this is happening to you.

    This is not the floor for you, to no fault of your own. You need more feedback at the time it's happening, not "2 weeks ago ..."

    It sounds like time management is a biggie for you, and the tossing of bottles before scanning and not scanning meds, errors in the Pyxis. et al sounds like you're rushing rushing rushing.

    Take a deep breathe.

    You're new. You're going to be slower than others and that's ok. But it's better to be slow than to make med errors. Get a good brain sheet that works for you. Talk to your "advisor." Break down those tasks and prioritize-- what needs my attention NOW?

    You can be a bedside nurse, but learn from mistakes and *keep learning.* Your boss may have already made up her mind and perhaps this is not the best floor for you; however, get that feedback and try again.
    Last edit by pixierose on Sep 22 : Reason: spelling/clarification
  4. by   JKL33
    Please, for the love of...I don't even know what...please tell me that at some point you had some semblance of an actual "orientation."

    If you didn't...ugh, I don't even know. I seriously believe that if it were me I would turn in my resignation notice tomorrow so I could at least tell my next place that I resigned because there was no orientation and I didn't understand that was the plan going in.

    So very sorry. At the end of nursing school you are in no way equipped to handle an assignment with someone merely lurking around somewhere in case you have a question, and then telling you what you did wrong at the end of the day.
  5. by   JKL33
    P.S. If you're placed in a situation that is a set up for failure, that certainly does not make you personally a failure.
  6. by   NICUismylife
    As a new grad, you have 8 patients and no aide? Am I reading that right? Sounds like they are setting you up to fail. Start looking for a new job ASAP.
  7. by   pixierose
    Quote from JKL33
    Please, for the love of...I don't even know what...please tell me that at some point you had some semblance of an actual "orientation."

    If you didn't...ugh, I don't even know. I seriously believe that if it were me I would turn in my resignation notice tomorrow so I could at least tell my next place that I resigned because there was no orientation and I didn't understand that was the plan going in.

    So very sorry. At the end of nursing school you are in no way equipped to handle an assignment with someone merely lurking around somewhere in case you have a question, and then telling you what you did wrong at the end of the day.
    There are hospitals out there with floors like these. No aides, just a floor with new grads and an "advisor" of sorts. At the end of the 6-8 months they ship you off to an actual floor.

    They reallllllly go after the new grads in my area. I received at least 6 emails and 3 phone calls ... and I never applied.

    Noooooo thanks, maybe good in theory? But they make the "orientation" on the job, on the floor.

    I'll take my 12 weeks of orientation and preceptor.
  8. by   PixieRN1
    I agree with everything the previous posters said, and it is a shame. I am so sorry that this is your intro to Nursing.

    That being said, they may have issue because the two med errors you listed are for controlled/scheduled substances. I personally wouldn’t get my panties in a wad over an isolated Percocet too soon (depending on how soon)...but that with not scanning the Lyrica, a Schedule V med, plus an error on the Schedule II med, that may spell trouble.

    I wish I could give you a Mama Bear hug. That situation sounds like it’s a setup for catastrophe.

    Good luck and keep your head up!
  9. by   SierraMoon
    That sounds like a strange and terrible way to start nursing. I'd quit before they fired me and find a place with a more traditional orientation. I learned so much from the other nurses I worked with, even though I wasn't precepting with them.

    This is just bad, it's not you.
  10. by   tsm007
    Heck, all of those sound like typical new nurse mistakes. Heck, most of them we've all done! I don't do it a lot, but I have thrown out a med still before scanning it when I'm tired. It happens! For me mistakes are just a part of how you learn. I'll give you an example. Forgetting to open the clamp on your secondary IV tubing. Ugh! Done it more than once when I first started (and have seen experienced nurses do it too). It happens. Now I am almost OCD about checking those clamps are open. Nothing more annoying than realizing you accidentally ran your primary bag at 300 ml/hr for 20 minutes. Oops.

    Not too long ago I was floated to another floor and I swear to God I counted the narcotic drawer wrong 3 times! I wasn't expecting this med to be a controlled substance and it popped open like a regular drawer would so I had already had meds in my hand and then it asked me to count. Well guess what I still had the pills that I pulled in my hand and was not counting them with the pills in the drawer. Oops. I did figure out what I did wrong when finally on the 3rd time when a discrepancy was opened that I still had the med I pulled in my hand.

    The problem with being new is instead of doing this stuff occasionally you do it often. You'll get there. Next job you watch you'll be the nurse that's getting it when the other one isn't. Don't beat your up, but don't discount the advice you're being given. You probably are the slow nurse right now, better to be the slow nurse than the stupid nurse. You haven't said anything that makes me think you don't have clinical knowledge. Don't sweat it. And if you have to get another job, you won't be the first nurse that it's happened to. I went through 2 jobs in 3 months when I first started. It sucked. I felt like a moron. It gets better! Hang in there.
  11. by   RNKPCE
    How is this considered a nurse residency program? Just cause they call it one doesn't make it one. This is not your fault. Even nurses in an actual respected nurse residency program can have struggles the first year. Even experienced nurses get more orientation than you've gotten when they go to a new facility. It you can, resign now, if not start looking for another job then resign. Sorry you are going through this.
  12. by   Captain_k
    I agree that 8 patients and no aide sounds like a recipe for failure. What exactly does the CRN do all day? Does she help with the workload?
  13. by   Daisy Joyce
    I'm so sorry your boss went and told you you have no future in bedside nursing. That's a pretty sweeping assessment based on just one job...
    This floor might not be the best fit for you, however. Especially for a newbie nurse. Not being a good fit one place doesn't mean you're stupid and bad and hopeless.
    You feel like you are growing and improving as a nurse. That's a good sign. Your *rate* of improvement might not be fast enough to save this particular job, but hold on to the things you've learned, take it to your next job and never stop learning.
    My first job was a disaster. If you talked to my co-workers then about me and my co-workers now, you'd swear they were talking about two different nurses. Thank God I never harmed anybody--but name a stupid, idiotic blunder, and I totally did it.
    never stop learning, and keep a level of humility. Good luck!
  14. by   Lil Nel
    As others have stated, I am sorry this happening to you. And I agree with the opinions expressed by many previous posters.

    I just wanted to add my voice to the chorus that is telling you NOT to take this experience to heart. There is NO way anybody should be telling you that you aren't cut out for bedside nursing simply based on this one job. THIS job isn't a good fit for you. But you will find another position that does suit you.

    Find yourself a position that provides you with 12-weeks of orientation with a preceptor. Take the lessons learned from the current job, and apply them to the new position.

    I have no doubt that you will be a fine nurse.

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