Quote from newycRN
I'm a new RN. I've been off orientation for about 2 months. I don't know if it's normal to feel like this. I feel like I still ask for too much help, and like I should know more than I do at this point.
I don't regret asking for help, cuz at the end of the day I'd rather be safe than sorry. If I don't know something, I damn well make sure I ask before I go in the patient's room blind. So I'm going to continue to ask for help. I just feel like maybe I shouldn't be asking for this much help at this point though. Every shift there's things I don't know, and I have to ask for clarification. Like how to change certain dressings. Or how to straight cath (I didn't have any experience with this in orientation). I just don't want my coworkers to think I'm stupid with all these questions, and at this point I feel like they do think that.
Any advice on how to deal with this? How much did you know at 2 months?
There are ALWAYS things we don't know and have to ask about. Even after 40 years, I find things that I need to ask about. Recently, I asked my orientee (who came to us from a Neuro ICU) about changing bags on a lumbar drain. A previous orientee had worked as a sound technician and was able to hone my doppler skills. That isn't what you're asking about, though.
If you're concerned that you're asking too many questions, are you first trying to find the information for yourself? It is better to ask where to find the phone list than "What's the number for Blood Bank again?" It is better to ask in a way that shows you've already done as much to find the information on your own as you could. "Hey Jerry, I need to straight cath Mr. Pee. I've read the procedure and gathered my supplies, but I've never done this before. Can we go over it before I go into the room? Maybe you have some tips I could use."
If the information is easily looked up -- the standard dose for Lasix, and whether or not you can give it IV, for example -- look it up yourself.
Make sure you're asking the right person. A CNA or supply tech can help find the straight catheters, a Clin Tech or LPN can help you with the procedures, only the charge nurse can help you find out what bed your patient will be transferred to on Step Down. (Or, sometimes the unit secretary) Call PT to find out whether your patient is on their schedule, the lab to find out which tube an erythrocyte count goes into and the pharmacy if you need to know whether this antibiotic can safely be given to a patient with that allergy.
As a charge nurse, a preceptor and a crusty old bat, I would much rather work with a new nurse who is unafraid to ask questions than with one who never does. New nurses have so much to learn, and it's impossible to teach a new nurse who already thinks he knows everything!