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.