When will I feel like a real nurse?

  1. 1
    I received my LPN license at the end of August. I am working in the same nursing home that employed me as a CNA for four years. I thought the transition would be easy and I was so eager to start working as a nurse. Well, I hate it. I have never felt so slow and clueless in all of my life. I excelled in school, but it is taking me so long to get the hang of nursing in "the real world". I am always staying over for about an hour to finish up paperwork and treatments. It takes me about 3-4 hours to do my morning med pass. I feel like a complete failure and a terrible nurse. I'm only working a couple days a week, but it still seems like I should have the hang of it by now. Everyone at work is very encouraging, but I feel like I went from being one of the best aides to the worst nurse in the building. It's like I don't have time to be a good nurse, and all I can do is pass my meds and do the minimum amount of charting to squeak by. I am an overachiever/perfectionist in general, and I HATE not doing a good job. I'm currently in school finishing my RN, and I have plans to continue beyond that to BSN and possible NP. I am so scared that I'm doing all of this hard work in school and I'm going to hate my career. How long did it take everyone else get the hang of it and feel comfortable in your role as a nurse? I need some encouragement, thanks!
    mashelle13 likes this.
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  4. 7 Comments so far...

  5. 1
    Give yourself a pat on the back! Starting new is one of the hardest parts of your career. It is a huge learning curve, you are learning new skills, critical thinking, prioritization, and independence, just to name a few. As well, it takes more time for some of us to be able to translate the theoretical learning into practice.

    The fact that you recognize your performance limitations is important too - you're not over-confident. I know I had some frustrating shifts and a few cries when I started, but it's frustrating because you care and want to do your best! Be kind to yourself, soak up new learning, take time after your shifts to reflect on what you did well and what you'll do next time. Learn tips from your coworker and if you're comfortable doing so, seek constructive feedback. It's going to get better.

    Good luck!
    tnmarie likes this.
  6. 1
    Hang in there! There's a learning curve in almost everything we do in life, this is no exception. It WILL get better.

    Best of luck to you!

    And to answer your question, it took me several months to stop feeling like such a noob. It happens gradually. A day comes and you realize you are no longer second guessing yourself, the answers are coming to you and your skills are rapidly improving. Things stop feeling awkward and start feeling like second nature. You'll find your groove - just be patient!
    tnmarie likes this.
  7. 0
    I am so scared that I'm doing all of this hard work in school and I'm going to hate my career.

    I'm sure all of us have had good days and bad days, good jobs and bad jobs - that is only normal.

    You said that you "hate it" - I'm assuming you meant your job. There are plenty of posters who have mentioned that they weren't crazy about their first job, worked with less-than-encouraging (or even evil) co-workers that made their jobs sheer hell. But when acquiring work in a more convivial environment, their whole attitude about nursing, the work, patients, etc., changed for the better.

    You're still relatively new to nursing, and I will admit that working in LTC where the lion's share of your responsibility is passing meds - is not terribly interesting or engages the nursing parts of your brain. LTC facilities are notorious for understaffing and over-working employees.

    I'm also new to nursing but have been very fortunate to land in a great place to work. I've got no complaints. This is a second career for me - I'm older and with age comes confidence. It took me about 6 months before I felt like i could tackle any task.

    My best to you.

  8. 0
    Have you considered applying to an acute care hospital that offers a comprehensive training program? With you having previous experience in the medical field & presently working towards an RN degree, you shouldn't have a problem finding a hospital that will hire you.First of all, it would be easier for you to learn by shadowing a RN for a few shifts, then taking 1 or 2 pts with the supervision of the RN, & adding more as you feel comfortable. Second, you won't have as many patients to medicate. Not all acute care pts have 20 meds each like many of your geriatric pts in a nursing home. Once you're flying solo, you will usually have 5 to 7 patients each shift.Finally, not knocking nursing home nurses because I have a deep respect for what they do, but you are missing out on a lot of skills you will have to demonstrate as an RN such as IV's, TPN, a variety of procedures, & the age variations.I would recommend 2 yrs on a Med/Surg floor for every new nurse. That was the best advice I received while in nursing school. I followed that advice & can confidently work in most areas of nursing.Hope this helps! God bless you & best of luck!
  9. 0
    Thanks for the encouragement. I plan to go to a hospital once I get my RN. I think I'd love ICU or something with fewer patients so I can actually care for them properly while using my nursing skills. I feel so incompetent at work because I just don't have the time to spend with my patients. I know it will get better with time, but I'm still frustrated right now. I had a great day on Sunday. I was working on a hall I had gotten used to, and I got out on time. I felt so confident and I really liked it. Then yesterday I was on a hall I had never been on with all rehab patients. It was HELL! Their families wouldn't leave me alone, and it seemed like I couldn't get anything done because I was always on the phone, writing an order or something. I think I finished my 9am med pass around noon. Then I had a stack of charting and orders to note. I couldn't do any of that though because I had to start my noon med pass. I was supposed to get out at 3:15 but was there until well after 5, and I still didn't get everything done. I didn't cry, but I sure wanted to! I don't hate nursing, I just hate not feeling confident about what I'm doing. I strive to be the best, but I feel like I suck right now. I feel like my patients deserve better than my minimal nursing skills.Also, they have been working me on first shift and I belong on second. I have always been on second and feel much more comfortable with the people on second. Tonight I worked second and I was on that same hall from hell. My coworkers took pity on me and did most of my paperwork. I am so thankful for them, but I feel bad that they had to pick up the slack for me. I just keep telling myself it will get better. I only have to work one more day on first, and then I'm on second permanently. I can't wait!
  10. 0
    I just hate not feeling confident about what I'm doing.

    Well...we're not born knowing how to be nurses, and confidence comes with time.

    One skill that I have not been able to practice much is drawing blood. I work in an urgent care setting, and depending on the day, moon phases, and if our phlebotomist is in, I usually don't do a whole lotta draws. And when I do, I like doing pts w/big fat ones.

    I've watched several youtube videos of venipuncture to get some visual experience this week cuz our phlebo is on vaykay - and when she is, guess who does the draws? The nurses!

    This week I've done about 20, 3 of those I could not see the vein, but could kinda sorta feel it. Knowing basically where the vein is supposed to be helps, so I use my best instinct and put that butterfly needle in the arm. Bingo, I get the flash! I've seen a couple co-workers get a vein where I swear there was none. Heck if they can do it, I can do it!

    The angels have been watching over me. I tell ya...my confidence is high right about now.

    Just keep plugging along, it'll come to you. Do your best.
  11. 0
    Yeah, its hard at first. I had many of those same feelings so I understand where you are coming from. Somehow with encouragement and support from my fellow nurses I was able to get though it. I worked with 10-15 patients on vents, trachs, feeding tubes. I felt like if I could get though that and learn so much, I could get through anything. By the way, once I got through I felt so much better about myself! My confidence and speed really improved! I liked the job a lot after that. I really appreciated what I learned from it, and how I was helping. Yes it can be hard and quite challenging at first, but you will get there. Do not give up. I know I did.


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