Having trouble applying knowledge, pls advise

  1. 1
    Hey all, I have 1 yr exper in ICU and just got my CCRN. HOWEVER, the manager at my new ICU job feels I'm not ready to come off orientation yet after 5 weeks and is telling me that I'm smart but have trouble applying my knowledge at the bedside.

    Like I said, I had no trouble passing CCRN on the 1st try and I scored very well on my hospital's own critical care exam when I was hired ... and yet somehow I have trouble with the most basic things.

    What's the deal with that? I feel so incompetent. I'm not lazy, I study hard and do well on exams. I feel like I have a good knowledge base ... why is it so hard for me to put it all together at the bedside? Has anyone had this problem? How can I improve upon this?
    Last edit by Joe V on Jul 10, '12 : Reason: spacing
    Joe V likes this.
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  4. 13 Comments so far...

  5. 3
    Hi Ashley-

    I have been an MSICU nurse for five years now, hired as a new grad. You sound very intelligent and great at testing- brains are not your problem, you just need a little more experience. Five weeks of orientation is pretty short, even for an experienced nurse. Don't get discouraged, just make sure you have some good critical care pocket guides, and read everything you can get your hands on pertaining to critical care, esp. any areas you have difficulty with. Good luck!!
    Celia
    kkirby00, Ican&will, and mama2 like this.
  6. 0
    There are a whole lot of "book smart" nurses out there, who just can't pull it together at the bedside. Its sad to say, but a reality. I am sorry you are having a hard time, but sometimes GPA's and 4.0's and all that dosent really matter, when after 1 year, doing the same job, and one still is having a hard time. So really the CCRN is a personal accomplismnent, a nice accronym behind the RN. I will tell ya, thats not a good sign if you are in the ICU and having trouble with "basic things". My suggestion would be maybe come out of the ICU to a Med-Surg floor and get more hands on with "basic things", then work your way back up to the ICU when you gain more confidence. Maybe your manager see you are lacking confidence, thats why he/she won't release you from orientation. I don't blame them, you would be a liability. Good luck to you, and take heed.
  7. 0
    When you say the most basic stuff, what do you mean? Unfortunately book knowledge will only get you so far. Eventually you have to be able to apply that critical care knowledge in emergent situations. What kind of feed back does your preceptor give you? How did you do in your first year in the ICU?
  8. 0
    How did you do in your clinical rotations? Did your instructors mention this as an issue at that too also? Just curious. Good luck!
  9. 0
    It's difficult to advise without specific examples of what you're having trouble with. Could you maybe elaborate?
  10. 0
    I agree, a specific example would help us advise you. But a small gem of advice that was passed on to me from an instructor is that no matter what go back to your basics. Perhaps you are just trying to do too much, think too much, maybe a simple review of basic concepts will help you.

    It's great that you score well on exams but as my preceptor told me the test world and the real world are pretty different. It sounds like you need to forget about all the tests that you have passed and just become a student again. Think of it this way, you get to soak up all the knowledge of those around you! Also don't be afraid to ask questions, ask ask ask!
  11. 0
    Is this ICU a different type? Higher acuity? I too think 5 weeks is too short even for an experienced ICU RN. Are your nerves getting the better of you? I have an issue with anxiety and feel that I need to be perfect especially when on orientation (feel like everyone is judging me and if I am not perfect they will fire me). This impacted my performance and a couple of times I found myself unable to do things that had been second nature to me at my previous job. Once I got my anxiety under control I was able to perform well. Could this be an issue for you as well?

    I agree with other posters that specific examples could help us give you better advice.
  12. 1
    I think we're a lot alike, Ashley. I'm def more book smart than common sense smart, but I still don't have any issues functioning as a nurse and was recently asked to precept. A couple things came to mind when reading your post that may be affecting you: 1) performance anxiety 2) lack of experience. I def get performance anxiety. There's an intensivist where I work that probably thinks I'm an idiot. She's regarded in our facility as an amazing doc and I swear whenever she's around I just freeze bc I value her opinion so much and want her to see what a good nurse I am. Maybe you are doing the same with your coworkers bc you are new and are trying to prove yourself. Also, a year is not a long time to be a nurse anywhere. I didn't really feel compatible and 100% confident until around 1.5-2 years. Good luck. Everything will be fine!
    missE likes this.
  13. 1
    You've only been a nurse for a year! It takes time to feel good in the nurse shoes and apply all those book smarts. I started in the unit as a new grad and the first year is tough... It is learning basic nursing and a specialty all at once. You need to learn a variety of things, and honestly you won't know how much you've yet to learn and experience until you've done just that. Going to a new place after 2 years, I received 6 months orientation. Im in A high acuity 24 bed icu with balloon pumps, cvvhdf and arctic suns. Lots of drips and lots of things I had never seen prior in my 8 bed unit. Take advantage of all the orientation, relax and enjoy it! The pieces will fall together... It just takes time! Good luck Ivanna
    Altra likes this.


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