Rocky road for older new grad

  1. Hi, all,
    I came to nursing as a second career. Nursing school in middle age was not easy, but I graduated 4th in my class. I was hired as a NICU nurse but was told that while I did everything correctly, my pace was too slow. Now I am orienting in a different hospital in Med-Surg, and while I feel it is going much better than the NICU, I'm starting to sense that my preceptor and manager are still concerned about my progress, mostly in time management. Do I need to get out of the hospital environment? Is there a less acute setting that a new grad can be employed at? Has anyone else out there entered nursing in middle age and also struggled?
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   angel337
    i think it really depends on what you desire to achieve. if hospital nursing is something you want to become competent in, seek out as much help as possible. talk to your peers, managers, and see what they can do to help you become the nurse you think that you can be. but if you feel that maybe you just don't like hospital nursing and its not at all what you expected, there are some office jobs and insurance companies that hire new nurses, but you have to be really agressive about seeking those jobs out. don't be too hard on yourself and think things through before you make any decisions. good luck to you.
  4. by   CaliNicuRN
    When did you graduate?

    I don't know that being an "older" student or older new nurse makes or breaks a new nurse.

    I am a new nurse also and it's been a rocky road. I'm also in the NICU and I do think that going into a specialty right out of school is very challenging.

    How long have you been in med-surg? is it your new nurse manager that is concerned for your time management? I think it's much safer to be slow and precise and correct, than fast and make mistakes..

    send me a message if you want to support each other through this rough time.

    Tracy
  5. by   GingerSue
    have you considered rehab?

    or long-term care?

    or home visiting?

    or private duty?
  6. by   jo272wv
    If it is time management then that can be corrected. Find ways to organize yourself. I just grad nursing school in May and am 48, I made two forms that I use religiously to guide me through the shift. The one I call may brains has three columes, the first is the pts name, room number, times that vitals are to be taken such as q4, q6, qshift and i circle it. I leave space to write the vitals. The second colume is listed IV_______, Feed______, Foley______. Tubes_______ this is where I write my I and Os. the last colume is where I write my med times, and things to do. I divide this sheet into 7 rows to keep all my pts on one sheet where I can look at a glance and know what im supose to do and when.. works really well.

    The second sheet I came up with is a assessment form where I list everything I need to assess at the beginning of the shift such as IV sites, fluids, wounds, tubes, breath sounds, heart rates, I put lines after each item and write what i find briefly, I use this to then chart. I add lines undernieith that to keep a running problem list that I can refer to when I am giving report for the next shift.

    Try different things and you will find what helps you organize and gain speed.
  7. by   Magpie Nightingale
    Dear cjj0603~

    I'm currently doing my pre-nursing school prerequisites and I'm worried about having the same problem. I'm quick with book-learning but not so quick with orienting in the real world. I'm keeping a sharp eye on my young, fast lab partners. (And freely sharing my meticulous, detailed notes.) My hope is that once I do get oriented, I'll be able to do things as quickly as everyone else AND still have a good eye/mind for detail. Good luck to you! Let us know how it goes.
  8. by   nursemike
    Quote from cjj0603
    Hi, all,
    I came to nursing as a second career. Nursing school in middle age was not easy, but I graduated 4th in my class. I was hired as a NICU nurse but was told that while I did everything correctly, my pace was too slow. Now I am orienting in a different hospital in Med-Surg, and while I feel it is going much better than the NICU, I'm starting to sense that my preceptor and manager are still concerned about my progress, mostly in time management. Do I need to get out of the hospital environment? Is there a less acute setting that a new grad can be employed at? Has anyone else out there entered nursing in middle age and also struggled?
    It's hard for everybody! I graduated at 48, and at various times have wondered whether I could do this. 15 mos. later, many nights go fairly smoothly, but there are plenty of times when it's hard to keep up. For me, I don't think age is much of an issue, except that I've had more sick days in the last year than I had in the previous seven, as an unlicensed healthcare worker. Nightshift and stress do put a strain on the immune system, but I think I'm starting to adapt.
    I really think a year in med-surg is the best way to develop your skills before entering a specialty or going to home health, etc. Two years is probably even better. For me, at least, the times I've had to fight to keep my head above water have been the times I've learned most--not that I'm not grateful for the nights that go smoothly.
    Your comment about getting a "sense" of your preceptor's and manager's concerns disturbs me. You may need to confront them for more feedback. If they're willing to do their jobs, they'll tell you what they think and may even be able to help you improve. It would be great if you could sit down with either to discuss what you think your problems are and learn what they think. They may think you are doing fine, which can be unsettling, until you recognize that expectations aren't as high for a newbie as they will be when you are more experienced.
  9. by   Tweety
    Don't "sense", ask for some honest feedback. If the feedback is you're too slow, ask them to show you how to improve.

    Not everyone is cut out for hospital nursing, but don't give up if that's what you really want to do.
  10. by   Nascar nurse
    Quote from GingerSue
    or long-term care?
    NOT a good choice. Time management is essential. Not unusual to have to pass meds to 50 some residents in 2 hours - gotta hussle or no chance.
  11. by   cjj0603
    Quote from jo272wv
    If it is time management then that can be corrected. Find ways to organize yourself. I just grad nursing school in May and am 48, I made two forms that I use religiously to guide me through the shift. The one I call may brains has three columes, the first is the pts name, room number, times that vitals are to be taken such as q4, q6, qshift and i circle it. I leave space to write the vitals. The second colume is listed IV_______, Feed______, Foley______. Tubes_______ this is where I write my I and Os. the last colume is where I write my med times, and things to do. I divide this sheet into 7 rows to keep all my pts on one sheet where I can look at a glance and know what im supose to do and when.. works really well.

    The second sheet I came up with is a assessment form where I list everything I need to assess at the beginning of the shift such as IV sites, fluids, wounds, tubes, breath sounds, heart rates, I put lines after each item and write what i find briefly, I use this to then chart. I add lines undernieith that to keep a running problem list that I can refer to when I am giving report for the next shift.

    Try different things and you will find what helps you organize and gain speed.
    Wow, you are really organized. Thanks for the great ideas.
  12. by   cjj0603
    Quote from Magpie Nightingale
    Dear cjj0603~

    I'm currently doing my pre-nursing school prerequisites and I'm worried about having the same problem. I'm quick with book-learning but not so quick with orienting in the real world. I'm keeping a sharp eye on my young, fast lab partners. (And freely sharing my meticulous, detailed notes.) My hope is that once I do get oriented, I'll be able to do things as quickly as everyone else AND still have a good eye/mind for detail. Good luck to you! Let us know how it goes.
    I've had this same slow-to-ramp-up situation in the past, as early as high school and as late as my 40s in a previous job situation. Actually, almost every time I ended up excelling once the pieces came together. If you have had similar experiences, keep them in mind and keep your confidence up. Good luck in school and afterwards!

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