Advice for intimidated and overwhelmed yet dedicated new grad

  1. 0
    Hi all

    I am a new grad RN just beginning my RN residency as an SICU RN. I was a good student and I hope to become an exceptional ICU nurse. I greatly enjoy my unit, my managers - who have been so very positive and supportive - and my RN residency program (though it has a great deal of learning involved, understandably).

    However, I am feeling stressed out, overwhelmed, down on myself, and honestly, I am intimidated by my preceptor. She is an exceptional nurse and constantly corrects me in all things big and small - from the right way to spray cleanser on a wash cloth when cleaning a urethra with a foley to managing an Art line. I entirely respect her experience and she always has un-arguable insight and correction, however I have become so intimidated and frustrated with my self for her mulititude of corrections. By this point I feel as if I can't breath without it being incorrect, but I know I need to overcome my timidity and insecurity to prove myself to her and to be a good nurse. Adding to it, my desire to do better sometimes leads me become nervous and lose my train of thought - for example I will remember that we must zero the Art line with our morning comprehensive assessment but then forget to mention that a moment later because I am trying to keep track of everything and not let her down. I have tried to speak with her and have honest heart to heart conversations, but both times I ended up just voicing my concerns about the amount of little errors I make - which she says is understandable for a new grad in the ICU.



    Overall, I feel I connect the dots at a new grad level regarding vitals and changes in them/ how these correlate to the meds & drips/and other physiologic changes and effects. I do my very best to practice safe care - always monitoring I&O, vitals, patient changes, and med administration. Of course I am nowhere near perfect - I make many little mistakes and I need to learn how to discuss the bigger picture with Doctors and make moment by moment calls on how to adjust my drips in conjunction with the pt's changes in status (i.e. learn not to jump the gun too soon in my decision to address changes in vital signs).


    I guess what I am trying to figure out is: is it normal to be intimidated by your preceptor, to feel flawed and inadequate much of the time, and do you have any advice for managing these issues and growing into an good new graduate RN. I was good in nursing school but none of that matters now - all that matters is that I am worthy of this position & my patients and succeed. But how do I get over the anxiety and my stress I feel when I am with my preceptor and my own self-doubt?

    I want very much to succeed in this wonderful opportunity, to make my preceptor happy, to not fail out of this program, and most importantly, become a competent ICU nurse that provides exceptional care to my patients. Any advice and thoughts are greatly appreciated!!

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  2. 0
    Your preceptor is an ICU nurse- they talk/think a different way to other floor nurses. They are a blunt/direct breed. They are gonna tell it how it is so to speak.

    I wouldn't consider the preceptors' corrections as intimidating, I would be soaking up every word of wisdom/advice they have to offer. ICU nurses are known for their OCD, your preceptor is just showing you EXACTLY how they do things so that when orientation is finished you'll swim not sink. ICU can be an overwhelming place, I'm sure your preceptor just wants to prepare you for when your on your own.

    Keep up your hard work! And good luck.
  3. 0
    What ^^^ said😍😘👍👍.. Good luck.
  4. 0
    Your preceptor honestly probably doesn't even realize what she is doing. In SICU (I've only been pulled there a handful of nights) I've noticed that although I practice autonomously, when I ask for help with something, the nurses are blunt and everyone has their own way. Don't let her get to you. Thank her for helping you. A seemingly small mistake could have major repercussions on a tanking patient.

    ~ No One Can Make You Feel Inferior Without Your Consent -Eleanor Roosevelt ~
  5. 0
    Quote from throughaglassdarkly
    Hi all

    I am a new grad RN just beginning my RN residency as an SICU RN. I was a good student and I hope to become an exceptional ICU nurse. I greatly enjoy my unit, my managers - who have been so very positive and supportive - and my RN residency program (though it has a great deal of learning involved, understandably).

    However, I am feeling stressed out, overwhelmed, down on myself, and honestly, I am intimidated by my preceptor. She is an exceptional nurse and constantly corrects me in all things big and small - from the right way to spray cleanser on a wash cloth when cleaning a urethra with a foley to managing an Art line. I entirely respect her experience and she always has un-arguable insight and correction, however I have become so intimidated and frustrated with my self for her mulititude of corrections. By this point I feel as if I can't breath without it being incorrect, but I know I need to overcome my timidity and insecurity to prove myself to her and to be a good nurse. Adding to it, my desire to do better sometimes leads me become nervous and lose my train of thought - for example I will remember that we must zero the Art line with our morning comprehensive assessment but then forget to mention that a moment later because I am trying to keep track of everything and not let her down. I have tried to speak with her and have honest heart to heart conversations, but both times I ended up just voicing my concerns about the amount of little errors I make - which she says is understandable for a new grad in the ICU.


    Overall, I feel I connect the dots at a new grad level regarding vitals and changes in them/ how these correlate to the meds & drips/and other physiologic changes and effects. I do my very best to practice safe care - always monitoring I&O, vitals, patient changes, and med administration. Of course I am nowhere near perfect - I make many little mistakes and I need to learn how to discuss the bigger picture with Doctors and make moment by moment calls on how to adjust my drips in conjunction with the pt's changes in status (i.e. learn not to jump the gun too soon in my decision to address changes in vital signs).


    I guess what I am trying to figure out is: is it normal to be intimidated by your preceptor, to feel flawed and inadequate much of the time, and do you have any advice for managing these issues and growing into an good new graduate RN. I was good in nursing school but none of that matters now - all that matters is that I am worthy of this position & my patients and succeed. But how do I get over the anxiety and my stress I feel when I am with my preceptor and my own self-doubt?

    I want very much to succeed in this wonderful opportunity, to make my preceptor happy, to not fail out of this program, and most importantly, become a competent ICU nurse that provides exceptional care to my patients. Any advice and thoughts are greatly appreciated!!
    Yes that is exactly how it feels. I just finished a new grad icu residency and it sounds like you're perfectly describing my first month. The way I got through was by doing all the little things and big things that my preceptor instructed me to do. Eventually I was less and less anxious and my preceptors trusted me more and more and breathed down my neck less and less. You'll also meet other nurses who do some things slightly differently than your first preceptor. You'll learn which things are ok to change a bit and which are set in stone. Hang in and you'll get through it. Then comes being on your own and you'll want someone to ask all those little questions to! Like another said, try to soak it up. Also try not to take corrections as insults- your preceptor is trying to give you the best odds at being successful and she probably had someone do the same for her when she started!
  6. 0
    Sounds like a normal situation to me. ICU is intimidating, and being an ICU preceptor is an incredibly stressful job. You want to make sure you teach your orientee everything they need to know in order to succeed because their success reflects on you for the duration of their employment in the ICU. And because you want a competent coworker to have your back once they're through with orientation. And usually because you honestly like them and want the best for them. That's a lot of pressure! On the preceptor. Nevermind the amount of pressure that you're under as the preceptee! Communication sometimes gets strained, and orientees often feel intimidated even though that's the last thing the preceptor intended. Add to that the fact that many preceptors just aren't good teachers even though they may be awesome clinicians, and you've set the stage for a stressful orientation period for both the orientee and the preceptor!

    It sounds like the OP's situation is pretty normal and has the usual bumps in the road. Keep at it, keep learning and cut your preceptor some slack because she's stressed, too. Keep in mind that even though you may feel as though she's nitpicking you to death, SHE probably feels somewhat inadequate to the job of turning you into a competent ICU nurse! And that's why she's working so hard at it.
  7. 0
    Ruby that's such a good point. Some of my coworkers who are precepting (especially for the first time) get SO nervous, doubt their own nursing ability, and I can see how that strain could come across as anal retentiveness.


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