So...uh...when will I feel like I know what the heck I'm doing?

  1. Hello all! I am going into my 3rd semester overall in January in nursing school. I'm in a BSN program. I have only had one semester of clinical experience. This next semester will be my second clinical experience.

    The first clinical was sort of helpful...we were only there for 6 hours once a week. I feel like I'm not ready for next semester, when more responsibility will be placed upon us.

    What should I do to prepare a little before for next semester? I have until January 7th until that semester begins, but I just have zero confidence. I can't wait until I feel more confident.

    I feel okay with meds. I feel okay with my assessments. I also feel okay with labs. I guess.
  2. Visit Skips profile page

    About Skips, BSN, RN

    Joined: May '10; Posts: 479; Likes: 490
    Registered Nurse; from US
    Specialty: School Nursing, L&D


  3. by   kabfighter
    I graduated in May and have been working med-surg since June and I still don't feel like I know what I'm doing. If your state allows you to take the LNA/CNA test if you have a completed a semester of nursing school, you should try that for a part-time job. It will help with your bedside manner and time management. I worked as a per-diem LNA on a medical-oncology for the last three semesters of my ASN program and I felt like I was miles ahead of my peers because I didn't find the hospital to be a stressful place any more.
  4. by   Skips
    I do have my CNA, but I chose not to work during school to keep my grades up. I did work as a home health aide for two years prior to beginning school. Thanks for the advice. (: I'm sure I will get the hang of it the longer I do it, right?
    Last edit by Skips on Dec 4, '12 : Reason: spelling
  5. by   LevophedUp
    I felt the same way going into my second clinical experience (which I just finished, going into my 3rd this January), and I must say that at the end of this semester I felt like a totally different nursing student. It may have been due to my phenomenal clinical instructor, but I really figured out the routine of the 12 hours and how I needed to prioritize and structure my day. I definitely did not feel like I was aimlessly walking around the floor anymore, but was constantly busy and able to provide proper care to my clients.
    My suggestion would be to work on clinical reasoning, that is what really helped me this semester. Why am I doing this care before that? Why am I holding this med? Should I go and re-evaluate their vitals now after giving that medication and what am I looking for? It helped pull my entire care together and focus on the why, not just the what.
    Good luck!! Have confidence in yourself, you'll find your stride.
  6. by   SunshineDaisy
    I'm going into my 4th, and last, semester and still dunno what I'm doing :/ I know things. put a patient in front of me and I can do things, but put me on the spot and I am instantly stupid!
  7. by   Racer15
    I just finished my practicum and graduate on Friday...still don't feel like I know what the heck I am doing, lol. Do I feel more confident than I did that first day of clinicals first semester? Oh heck yeah. But I still have a looong way to go.
  8. by   Luckyyou
    I've been a nurse for 19 months and still sometimes feel like my head is on backwards.
  9. by   bankssarn
    As others have said, I still feel lost some days and I've been a nurse for 9 months now! Just when you think you've got the hang of it, you'll graduate, become a nurse and feel lost all over again. Hopefully the transition from nursing student to nurse won't be too hard for you!
  10. by   BostonFNP
    Hopefully, never! There is always more to learn/know and that feeling you have drives your lifetime learning. It also helps keep your practice safe and collaborative.

    Remember that both knowledge and experience play a big role in how much you know and how comfortable you are with it, and currently, you have little of both. Even seasoned nurses and NPs don't have all the knowledge of our physician counterparts because of their extensive schooling and residencies.

    What we are very good at, arguably better then our physician counterparts, is knowing the patient and where something is wrong or not. Do you know when something just isn't right with a patient? Keep developing that.
    Last edit by BostonFNP on Dec 5, '12
  11. by   lovingtheunloved
    Been a nurse for almost 6 years...there are days I still wonder...
  12. by   melmarie23
    I have been a nurse for over 2 years now (practicing for just under). And I still have my days where I am like "what the heck is going on/what the heck am I doing?!"

    Helpful? lol
  13. by   QuarterLife88
    Probably not until at least 5 years on the job has passed. Feeling like an idiot is part of being a student.
  14. by   NurseKatie08
    it takes a while. i have been a nurse for more than four years now and just recently changed specialities...i definitely have times now that i feel clueless. i worked for four years on a medicare rehab unit within a snf--in september i started working on a med-surg/transplant unit in a moderately sized teaching hospital---it's a huge difference and was a good reminder that there is so much to learn in nursing. very humbling to go from the experienced nurse that everyone goes to with questions back to being the new kid on the block that is always asking questions! you'll eventually get comfortable in your practice, but i think it happens gradually. good luck!