I don't feel smart or fast enough to continue to be an RN.

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    I have little confidence as an RN, I have a BSN. I passed my courses with great grades. And in my first 2years at bedside I was off and running, I felt like I was "getting" it. I loved the career I had chosen. Then during my third year and until now 5.5 years later, it seems as though my memory is failing me. I am 38. I have to constantly look up things I didnt have to before. I have become so cautious and careful that I skip meals during my shifts. I get tongue-tied when i give report. When I get home I constantly replay all the events in my head to make sure I was safe and gave the best possible care to my patients. I dont want to go to work anymore. I want abandon the career i worked so hard for. I have never caused harm to a patient, or even nearly caused harm to a patient. But i know of nurses who have made terrible mistakes. And in the new state I moved to a year ago, they publish the names of nurses in the nursing newsletter who have ongoing disciplinary action against them. I recognize my anxiety but has anyone else ever experienced this?
  2. 4 Comments so far...

  3. 1
    Yes! I thought I was the only one...I've been a nurse for about 3 years and I still have anxiety about work. What may be contributing to that anxiety is the fact I've changed jobs 3 times in those years and never really "settled in"...although I thought the grass would be greener on the other side. I've realized that bedside is bedside is bedside. And I don't like it very much. I think it's a lot of stuff to do, to know, and liability...I would like to work in something less stressful. Another thing I realized through my short nursing career so far is that I personally have a lot of anxiety in general, am very self deprecating and hard on myself in a lot of aspects of my life but even more so in nursing since I compare myself with my colleagues, even new grads. But that's all personal and ties into my work.

    For you, do you think your anxiety is something new or has been with you for a while? If it's new, did something happen in particular that you can point to where it began? So you feel burnt out? Maybe you need a new environment that's less stressful? Just something to think about. Good luck!
    EducatedNurse07 likes this.
  4. 5
    It would be helpful to you to see, in order, 1) your primary care physician that can work you up for physical causes for your symptoms (thyroid? early perimenopause? who knows? your PCP should know) and if nothing found, 2) a counselor who specializes in work anxieties. You recognize that this is uncharacteristic for you, so seek some answers from the pros.
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    Okay I feel the same. I got my LPN in 2006 started right away in med surge but had to move due to union strike. I got a job in a nursing home and worked there for about 4 years. Hated it at first and then liked it then hated it again and it got worse. My anxiety levels were through the roof. I quit due to health reasons and then eventually got my RN last year. I got RN in March 2013 and got a job in July 2013. I then quit that job last February. It was the same job I had when I was a LPN but at another facility similar to where I had been. Now what to do? I feel stupid and I feel like I should know much more but there was a lot of things I didn't get to do in my clinicals such as access a below the skin port, which now I see as I worked recently that this skill was more important. I know it sounds dumb cause all you do is find the center and stick it. But it's not easy for me. I was nervous. And I feel like I should be a pro at care plans but truth is, I haven't done any since I finished school. And that is more important too cause every job now you have to do care plans and there is no way around them. Why do I feel so dumb? I have had LPN experience that no one else has. I should have had a job by now and working and making tons of money but I also know that I can't work full time due to health issues. How can I hired some place? If I can't do skills and can't be on my legs very long what can I do? I thought about staying out a while but that makes things worse cause then I will lose other skills and my college loans keep growing in interest. I need to get my health things fixed if I can and then go back to work. But no insurance. Had obamacare and then they took it back as I am not working and stated I needed medicaid but I can't get that I tried. So now what?
  6. 1
    Quote from countrygonecity
    Okay I feel the same. I got my LPN in 2006 started right away in med surge but had to move due to union strike. I got a job in a nursing home and worked there for about 4 years. Hated it at first and then liked it then hated it again and it got worse. My anxiety levels were through the roof. I quit due to health reasons and then eventually got my RN last year. I got RN in March 2013 and got a job in July 2013. I then quit that job last February. It was the same job I had when I was a LPN but at another facility similar to where I had been. Now what to do? I feel stupid and I feel like I should know much more but there was a lot of things I didn't get to do in my clinicals such as access a below the skin port, which now I see as I worked recently that this skill was more important. I know it sounds dumb cause all you do is find the center and stick it. But it's not easy for me. I was nervous. And I feel like I should be a pro at care plans but truth is, I haven't done any since I finished school. And that is more important too cause every job now you have to do care plans and there is no way around them. Why do I feel so dumb? I have had LPN experience that no one else has. I should have had a job by now and working and making tons of money but I also know that I can't work full time due to health issues. How can I hired some place? If I can't do skills and can't be on my legs very long what can I do? I thought about staying out a while but that makes things worse cause then I will lose other skills and my college loans keep growing in interest. I need to get my health things fixed if I can and then go back to work. But no insurance. Had obamacare and then they took it back as I am not working and stated I needed medicaid but I can't get that I tried. So now what?
    You try again. If your state insurance exchange isn't defaulting to the federal exchange, you go there. If it is, you go to the federal exchange. If you think you qualify for Medicaid, you go back and apply again. I know how frustrating this is for you-- I have been doing a little pro bono case management for a friend who does qualify for Medicaid, and it's taking me months to get him enrolled, but meanwhile his coverage is retroactive to the date of the first application, so all is not lost.

    As to your feeling inadequate and ill-prepared for the RN role, you must remember that you are not a nurse with a ton of RN experience. You are, for all intent and purposes, a new grad RN. So stop expecting to be more than that for now. The RN role is, as you are discovering, very different.

    So get into a refresher course. You ask here for help with care planning -- there are myriad threads on the student forum where Esme and I tutor for that. Go read some of them and get your head around it as if you never learned it before. For particular skills like Portacaths, you can check YouTube and call up the local rep and ask who can teach you
    locally, probably an IV-certified nurse in a local hospital. Whatever you do, don't just sit there, set yourself some short-term goals and go achieve them! There's nothing like a little success to make you feel, well, more successful.

    Good luck!
    LadyFree28 likes this.


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