Has anyone figured out how to be in 6 places at the same time?

  1. I am yet another overwhelmed new grad and I have read the pages upon pages of people saying "stick it out a year" and "you'll feel better after 6 months!

    I have been out of a 10 week orientation for about a month now, working nights with 5 to 6 patients. I think I work on a great floor with nice people and a good manager, although it is still super busy and very challenging. There are days where people seem upset and overwhelmed but there are plenty where everyone seems fine. I have had mostly positive feedback and have never been called in to be told I made some huge mistake or anything. I guess I am more concerned about being fired/reported to the bored/sued for something I missed. I feel like I can't give anyone enough time with all the running around I do and we do get some fairly high acuity patients. I have had a code, a couple ICU transfers... heard of patients having a bad outcome a few days later.. I feel like I did all I knew to do with all of these people and I constantly am bugging the charge nurse with questions, but I'm so afraid something is going to come back to haunt me. We also have lots of nursing home, dementia or just plain confused patients who try to get out of bed, pull of their oxygen, pull out their IV, etc, and I know we can't just tie everyone down or have a sitter in every room! We have even had a couple people fall while family members were standing right there and just did nothing. It's scary! I wish I could just have one patient so I could sit there and stare at them and have their vitals constantly monitored like in the ICU. A lot of people tell me "you will get used to it, this stuff happens" so am I just being too sensitive.. people sometimes just decline or code or have bad outcomes and it's not my fault? I am scared that I suck at nursing and nobody is telling me or that I will get sued years from now for some mistake I made as a new nurse. I would think that if I was doing a bad job someone would have said something by now. Am I just being paranoid or do nurses just live with this level of fear all the time? I don't know if I can stay in this field if it feels like this forever, I'm always thinking about it at home. I have no problem with working hard and was looking forward to it, but I also want to feel good about the work that I'm doing!
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   mcknis
    It is very difficult to hear those around you or on here stating, "It will get better. Just hold in there." Believe me, I know. I was in your shoes just about a year ago coming out of a very rough 9 week orientation. My manager wanted me out of orientation at about the 6 week mark because she felt I could handle things. I knew I couldn't and therefore i pleaded to take the whole time and it worked. Once I got out on my own, I felt like the whole world was coming down on me. I couldn't take it! i hated my job, my life, everything! It wasn't until being out for about 6 months on my own, that I felt somewhat comfortable and safe around my pts. Now I didn't feel completely safe, just a little bit. Around this same time, the colleges in our area were having clinicals on my same floor I was working on, the one in which I still didnt feel 100% comfortable. It truly became an eye opener when nursing students started coming to me with questions how to care for their pts, and all I could do was stare back at them with a jaw dropped look. Humility, aka stupidity, definitely became second nature to me during this time. After about 10 months being on my own and learning the system/docs/charting/policies/procedures, I became fairly comfortable with it all. Now I have no problem discussing topics with students/families/patients/etc but it has taken me the time in order to do so.

    I said all that to say this, you won't be able to feel comfortable until you come across several barriers, whether that is a slip up on an order, med pass, pt care task, or something else. You have to go through the valleys to appreciate the peak times. When you start out you are in a big valley, but with time, you will come out of it. Just relax, pray, and remember that we all have been through where you are at now. There will always be someone else to rely on or to bounce ideas off of. Good luck to you and remember this forum is always open for questions and answers.
  4. by   mamiekay
    mcknis is right. I've been at my job for 1 year, 7 months. I remember sitting in my NM's office at the end of my orientation in tears because she, my preceptors and my educator all felt I was ready but I *KNEW* I wasn't. They forced me to go out on my own, telling me if I really couldn't handle it, they'd give me more time in orientation, but they all knew I was as ready as I was going to be. I agonized and obsessed about work every waking moment, and had nightmares in my sleep. Right around the 6 month mark, I realized I hadn't been worrying about going to work every night. There had been several nights of driving in, enjoying the radio & not obsessing over my assignment & what it might be. And then one evening I was talking to one of my co-workers and I said, "I finally don't have to think about every single move. The simple things are coming more naturally so I can save my brain for the important stuff. I'm not mentally exhausted every single night when I leave the floor." Then we talked about how there's always more to learn and our brains will always be in high gear, but it will be about more in-depth things, not how to hang an IV bag or whether the bowel sounds were hypo or active. There happened to be a very experienced nurse sitting near, finishing up an admission, who chimed in and said, "Honey, I've been a nurse for over 30 years and I still learn something new every day and there are still days when I feel overwhelmed." I've watched all of the nurses on our unit and we all have days where we know what we need to know, we're able to keep up with our assignments, and we make all the right calls. But everyone has days where they don't know. The difference between my first months and now, and between the more experienced nurses and me at this point, is knowing it's okay not to know something. Knowing you're NEVER alone. And knowing it's always okay to ask. If you're on a supportive unit, take advantage of that support. When someone asks if there's anything they can do for you, ask them to help you do something with which you're uncomfortable. Or ask them to do some of the simpler tasks so you have time to dedicate to those time-consuming jobs that take forever to learn. Ask to watch when they have something you've never done. And sit tight, remembering that there honestly will come a day when you realize, you no longer feel like you've been dropped in the middle of a foreign country with no map, no knowledge of the language and no idea how to get anywhere. It does get better.
  5. by   Lola77
    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for posting your responses. I am coming out of my 9 week orientation in 2 weeks and my boss thinks I will do great on my own and I am terrified - I haven't even had a full patient load yet. I feel like an idiot 90% of the time. It is so overwhelming. Thanks for passing on the hope.
  6. by   classicdame
    I felt the same way for at least one year. It does get better. The turning point for me was when my former preceptor, a nurse of many years, asked MY opinion on something. I thought she knew it all. I learned no one can know everything and be able to recall it 100% of the time.

    BTW, the only one I know who can be in 6 places at once is Santa Claus.
  7. by   Ruby Vee
    the first year out of nursing school is hell. you have all this responsibility and, unless you're totally clueless, realize that you don't know nearly enough to be safe. but you learn. every day you learn a little bit more, get a little bit more organized and feel a little bit more confident until one day you realize that you can do this. hang in there, it does get easier.

    i don't worry so much about new grads who feel overwhelmed and incompetent. it shows that they get it. it's the new grad who claims to know everything and be on top of everything that worries me. if they don't know enough to know when they're in trouble, you cannot trust them to come to you with questions. you sound like you're getting it. you just need more experience, and there's only one way to get that.

    good luck with it -- in a year or so, you'll be the one giving advice!
  8. by   OldnurseRN
    One way to look at it is, I'm an old nurse and you are a new nurse. Yes, I keep up on changes, meds and procedures but you, you're fresh, your idealistic (Thank Heavens) and you give your new fresh ideas AND ideals to the profession.
  9. by   helper T cell
    I am almost two years out and totally know what you mean. It is obvious from your post that you are a caring nurse that wants to do the right thing by your pts. This one night things were just going crazy on our unit a code way more admits then we could deal with with the code and acuity levels present. Our manager came in and everyone pitched in but I felt vulnerable. After that night I went to the NSO web site and got the insurance. I never felt like getting it before then even though i had and still have all your concerns. Maybe you should look into it if you are worried about liability. Thanks for you post
    Last edit by helper T cell on Nov 6, '09 : Reason: correct spelling
  10. by   Kittyfeet
    Thanks to everyone for all the support and words of encouragement. I just keep going in every night and hoping for the best. I've had smooth shifts and bumpy ones. I am noticing a little improvement though. And I've realized I don't mind being incredibly busy, I'm just grateful when everyone has stable vitals and labs! I'm going to keep trying for a year and build up my experience.

    Thank you again, so much for your kind words And good luck to all my fellow scared and idiotic feeling new grads!

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