How to cope as a new nurse

  1. 0
    I just started as a night nurse on a pediatric floor. I was extremely motivated before and during nursing school to go into this profession and could not wait to start. I even accomplished graduating magna cum laude and got hired onto my "dream job." I am thankful for all of those things but now that I have been working for a few months I feel like this job is going to drive me into depression. I feel like I am always the bad guy to the parents since I look young and have to go into their rooms at night. Some of the nurses are a great resource but others expect much more out of me for someone who has been working for a couple months. I feel like I am on the verge of an anxiety attack every night and the day shift nurses always seem in a bad mood as I am giving report (if I don't know every little detail to a question it is like a did something horrible). I am just worried about changing into a different person and having my health be affected. Are all of these feelings normal as a new nurse? If so, how did you guys cope with them? I care so much for children and want to continue to do my part so they can grow healthy and strong, I just don't know how to find peace with the chaos that surrounds it.
  2. 10 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    i'm also a somewhat new nurse, and reading your words was like reading exactly what goes on in my own brain. i want you to know that you're certainly not alone and that I can relate perfectly to everything you're saying. Hang in there! No one can be a new nurse forever, righ?
  4. 1
    Give yourself some slack! Being a new nurse is so hard!! 4 months in as a new nurse on a cardiac floor I broke down and had a panic attack in the middle of my shift. It was very embarassing but I just couldn't keep up, I was way behind and just felt so overwhelmed. You have to take good care of yourself, eat right, exercise, spend some time doing things you like to do. Forgive yourself and give yourself some time to settle in. I used to get attitude from the oncoming shift too, I think it's a game and since you don't feel super-confident they are intimidating. As for going into the rooms in the middle of the night and parents giving you a hard time, that is just something you will have to ignore, you are there to care for your patient, if the parents can't see that they are in the wrong. I have been in nursing for 5 years and trust me it does get easier. Hang in there, take care!
    Cauliflower likes this.
  5. 2
    What you are going through is true for a new nurse anywhere. You feel proud of what you do and want to do it well. You want those around you to see you are competent.
    You are doing your job. Keep doing it. For some reason nurses have a hard time remembering how it was when they started. Some get frustrated when someone new comes along and feel that the new person should be up to speed immediately. Ask questions do your best and don't worry about what other nurses think. That is their problem.
    gallifrey and Cauliflower like this.
  6. 1
    Have you thought about accessing your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or seeing a counselor through some other route (like getting a referral from your PCP)? Take care of yourself.
    Hygiene Queen likes this.
  7. 0
    Thanks, it's so nice to hear this encouragement for the post Lotus started. It's helped me too! How long does it take before you feel "comfortable" and no longer panicking?
  8. 2
    I am so grateful to hear your words... I am a new nurse of about 2 months. And here is half of my day:

    6:30 Get to work early to print my patient med list. Look at new orders. Highlight my morning meds.

    7:30 Start assessments. Get stuck talking to patients. Try to extricate myself because I know I have 5 patients with about 15 different meds each and some have to be crushed and hand fed with applesauce. Check FSBS if I need to for diabetic patients to see what insulin is required before breakfast since they were not checked prior to the shift although they were due at 6:00 before my shift. Chart. Anxiety begins.

    8:30 Begin giving meds. Not all the meds I need are in the one Pyxis, so I go to the other Pyxis. Pharmacy has not yet sent up an antibiotic I need to hang by 8:30 because Patient #1 is having surgery. Fuss with the plum pump. Patient #2 in another room calls for pain medicine and Patient #3 calls because the pump is beeping. Patient#1 I am giving meds to has to go to the bathroom RIGHT NOW. Help patient to bathroom because the techs are already run to death. Giving one patient meds=30 minutes.

    9:30 Still giving meds. Have accomplished three patients and have given pain medicine and am starting to collect my cup of another 20 medicines. Pharmacy sends up antibiotic for Patient #1. Go hang antibiotic. Two charts are flagged with new orders. Check those. Patient #2 now needs a potassium piggyback and a urine culture NOW. Go to Patient #2's room. Patient #2 does not have to urinate, and pharmacy is sending up the potassium piggyback. Put this in my mind to remember. Tell Patient #2 to call when he has to pee. Patient #5 is going home and needs her meds immediately, so I go through the process of the Pyxis, the other Pyxis, and patient specific medications. Crush medications and feed patient meds with applesauce. Get family to sign discharge papers and DC catheter and IV. Ambulance is called for transport and nursing home is called to accept patient. Patient's daughter needs help dressing her mother, so I help. During all this I get called about Patient #2 who needs to pee now.

    10:00 Go get pee. Send to the lab. Patient #2 asks when Dr. Somebody will be in. I do not know, and the patient says, "Well, doesn't anyone around here know anything?" I go check for the patient's KCl, find it, and hang it.

    10:30 Still giving meds. Patient #5 has been discharged. Busy with Patient #4's meds. Collect all 10 of them. Go to Patient #4's room. Family is livid that it took so long to get their mother's medications. There are five family members in the room to step around. Hang a new antibiotic, have to explain why. Have to explain why these pills look different from the pills the patient takes at home. I have to pee, but it will have to wait.

    11:30 Finally done with 9 o'clock meds. Chart. Give meds that due. Patient #1 is mad because he is NPO. Patient #3's pump is beeping. #2 is complaining of pain again. #3 is quiet. Have a new order to catheterize #4. This is an endeavor and I am called many names. #4's amazingly large family aks how long I have been working here, and can they get a new and more experienced nurse. Take a 5 minute break to cry in the staff room, then cover up with concealer and retouch my mascara. My charge nurse talks to #4's family. #3 needs a FSBS and the techs are slammed, so I get the blood sugar, which is 260, and go to refrigerator to get Humalog insulin, which is not there. Panic panic panic. More time wasted. Call pharmacy. Wait. I still haven't had time to pee. I am getting hungry. That will have to wait.

    12:30 A new patient is being admitted, and it is a direct admit. Plan to be in the room for at least 25 minutes doing the admission assessment and setting up equipment. Patient is COPD and SOB. Call respiratory. Meanwhile, #4's pump is beeping, #3 feels nauseous and needs some Zofran, and Dr. Somebody wants a report on #2's H&H. My charge nurse helps out, thank God.

    1:30 Forgot to file papers and report a stat H&H on #2. Get chewed out. Take five minutes to pee and cry again. Cover it up. Grab a graham cracker to stabilize my own blood sugar levels, which are getting low.

    Well, I'd tell you the rest, but this is a long story now Hope someone can relate.
    Savvy20RN and owlRN01 like this.
  9. 0
    I suggest you look into mediation. Yeah I know it kind of sounds like some hippy/monk nonsense. but there is a good reason why mediation has been around for thousands of years. I suffer from anxiety at times, and nothing has helped more than mediation.. take about 20 minutes out of your day, lay or sit down, close your eyes and breath in and out slowly... clear your mind and just relax. It'll be difficult at first, but my gosh has it made me more calm and focused than before.
  10. 0
    I understand how you feel, Nursing is a real challenge. Working nights is depressing, i'm a new night nurse, and I feel so disconnected and not motivated as much but staying strong because this is part of the journey. Some nurses are miserable, very miserable, and do not let their annoyance, or anger make you feel like it's your fault. 99 percent of the time, its not you but their personal lfe and disatisfaction somewhere. Hang in there and don't change for anyone or anything, unless it's a change that pushes you forward as a person.

    Happy Holidays.
  11. 0
    Quote from rnsheri
    I am so grateful to hear your words... I am a new nurse of about 2 months. And here is half of my day:

    6:30 Get to work early to print my patient med list. Look at new orders. Highlight my morning meds.

    7:30 Start assessments. Get stuck talking to patients. Try to extricate myself because I know I have 5 patients with about 15 different meds each and some have to be crushed and hand fed with applesauce. Check FSBS if I need to for diabetic patients to see what insulin is required before breakfast since they were not checked prior to the shift although they were due at 6:00 before my shift. Chart. Anxiety begins.

    8:30 Begin giving meds. Not all the meds I need are in the one Pyxis, so I go to the other Pyxis. Pharmacy has not yet sent up an antibiotic I need to hang by 8:30 because Patient #1 is having surgery. Fuss with the plum pump. Patient #2 in another room calls for pain medicine and Patient #3 calls because the pump is beeping. Patient#1 I am giving meds to has to go to the bathroom RIGHT NOW. Help patient to bathroom because the techs are already run to death. Giving one patient meds=30 minutes.

    9:30 Still giving meds. Have accomplished three patients and have given pain medicine and am starting to collect my cup of another 20 medicines. Pharmacy sends up antibiotic for Patient #1. Go hang antibiotic. Two charts are flagged with new orders. Check those. Patient #2 now needs a potassium piggyback and a urine culture NOW. Go to Patient #2's room. Patient #2 does not have to urinate, and pharmacy is sending up the potassium piggyback. Put this in my mind to remember. Tell Patient #2 to call when he has to pee. Patient #5 is going home and needs her meds immediately, so I go through the process of the Pyxis, the other Pyxis, and patient specific medications. Crush medications and feed patient meds with applesauce. Get family to sign discharge papers and DC catheter and IV. Ambulance is called for transport and nursing home is called to accept patient. Patient's daughter needs help dressing her mother, so I help. During all this I get called about Patient #2 who needs to pee now.

    10:00 Go get pee. Send to the lab. Patient #2 asks when Dr. Somebody will be in. I do not know, and the patient says, "Well, doesn't anyone around here know anything?" I go check for the patient's KCl, find it, and hang it.

    10:30 Still giving meds. Patient #5 has been discharged. Busy with Patient #4's meds. Collect all 10 of them. Go to Patient #4's room. Family is livid that it took so long to get their mother's medications. There are five family members in the room to step around. Hang a new antibiotic, have to explain why. Have to explain why these pills look different from the pills the patient takes at home. I have to pee, but it will have to wait.

    11:30 Finally done with 9 o'clock meds. Chart. Give meds that due. Patient #1 is mad because he is NPO. Patient #3's pump is beeping. #2 is complaining of pain again. #3 is quiet. Have a new order to catheterize #4. This is an endeavor and I am called many names. #4's amazingly large family aks how long I have been working here, and can they get a new and more experienced nurse. Take a 5 minute break to cry in the staff room, then cover up with concealer and retouch my mascara. My charge nurse talks to #4's family. #3 needs a FSBS and the techs are slammed, so I get the blood sugar, which is 260, and go to refrigerator to get Humalog insulin, which is not there. Panic panic panic. More time wasted. Call pharmacy. Wait. I still haven't had time to pee. I am getting hungry. That will have to wait.

    12:30 A new patient is being admitted, and it is a direct admit. Plan to be in the room for at least 25 minutes doing the admission assessment and setting up equipment. Patient is COPD and SOB. Call respiratory. Meanwhile, #4's pump is beeping, #3 feels nauseous and needs some Zofran, and Dr. Somebody wants a report on #2's H&H. My charge nurse helps out, thank God.

    1:30 Forgot to file papers and report a stat H&H on #2. Get chewed out. Take five minutes to pee and cry again. Cover it up. Grab a graham cracker to stabilize my own blood sugar levels, which are getting low.

    Well, I'd tell you the rest, but this is a long story now Hope someone can relate.
    That was extremely overwhelming!! can‘t imagine myself with all these!(considering that I tend to panic most of the time). Honestly, Im still confused whether to work in the hospital and endure all the stress and anxiety.


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