I graduated as an RN with an Associate's Degree in 2011. I now work night shift on a telemetry/obs unit and have been there for one year. I really like my coworkers and am pretty happy with the management. I don't have any issues with patient care or passing medications etc. My problem is that I feel like I do not know enough. I would like to work day shift but am afraid to because I would have to interact more with doctors and family members. It seems like everything I learned in nursing school left me as soon as I graduated. When doctors ask me "How is the patient doing?" I often don't know what to tell them or I give them a run down of the patient's situation and the doctor seems unhappy with my answer. Patients sometimes ask me questions about their procedures, medications, or current diagnosis and I feel as though I never have the correct answer. A lot of my patients ask me how long I have been a nurse and I think it's because they can tell I struggle with answering their questions about anatomy/physiology and how/why their body is doing what it is doing. I am a slow learner and I have to review things several times to get them in my head. I am afraid that I am not capable of critically thinking. I frequently ask questions and when my charge nurse or other coworkers give me the answer it seems so obvious. I immediately think "Well duh, Why didn't I think of that?" I also struggle with comprehending how the body systems work together. For example, when I first started this job I had a patient that kept having anxiety attacks and my charge nurse looked into the situation and said that according to the times of each attack, they were most likely due to the routine breathing treatments the patient was receiving. I never even thought of that. I can't think of more examples right now, it just seems like I struggle with problem solving and figuring out the cause and effect of certain health issues.
I really enjoy spending time with my patients and helping to ease their fears associated with hospital stays, but I feel like I know nothing as far the medical background goes. I think I would do much better learning one body system/health issue and dealing with only that area. For example, diabetic teaching etc.
People tell me it is normal to feel how I am feeling at this point in my career, but I know that I am not as intelligent as other new graduate nurses that started after I did. I know that I will learn more as I gain more experience, but I feel like this is an issue that will be never-ending. I am not a confident person and wonder if maybe I took the wrong path with deciding to be a nurse. My father is a nurse and he told me that I should take any and all classes I can at work to continue improving my knowledge. I do take all the classes I can, but so much information is crammed into each short session that I cannot remember half of what was discussed once the class is over. I frequently leave work upset and I always feel nervous/sick when heading to work each evening.
I do not want to go back to school. I really do like working 3 12-hour shifts per week and I am able to take frequent vacations to visit my family and to work on my house. I know that becoming a patient educator would most likely require me to have a "9-5 job" and work Mon-Fri which I don't really want. I have thought about working in a doctor's office or health department, but that seems too slow paced for me. I am very stressed about this and don't know which direction to take as far as my career goes. I would greatly appreciate any advice.
Sep 19, '12
Heyyyy im in the same boat exactly as what you are feeling now !!! Oh my gush you know i just started my first job its been 6 months since i graduated. Its been past 2 weeks now im in training handled 3 pts on my own already but it seems to me that i couldnt think critically as well
everytime i ask questions i get a look like---didnt you learn that in school? Eveytime i come home i would cry after a 12 hr shift in the floor.
My preceptor is not really explaining things to me:/ sometimes this person does but at times would just disappear or play games when done with charting
Last edit by Cgc21 on Sep 19, '12
Sep 19, '12
You are fortunate enough that you have class session .I dont have im just running in the floor around all tense and scared and freak out. I guess eventually you will be able to catch up just hang in there.
I am thinking of quitting my job after a month but i do have bills and school loans to pay.
I believe you can do it jut hang in there.
i dont have much advise to tell you since im in the same boat as you.
Feb 19, '14
I am wondering how you are doing now? I just read your post and I can relate. I am awesome with patients and I'm very smart but I don't know if it's nerves or if I just don't "have" it but it seems so overwhelming the amount of knowledge required and all the additional tasks to complete. I worked on Tele for a year and a half. I'm working on my BSN now but wondering where I fit in in nursing and I just was wondering if it ever got easier for you or if you found a better specialty more suited to you. I think it must have something to do with our training? Else, how could we get through nursing school, pass boards, work at a job and still suck/be freaked out? lol.
Nov 24, '16
Update please!!! You are not alone!!!!
Dec 6, '16
I think you're being too hard on yourself. I don't know much about an Associate's Degree in nursing but maybe you just didn't get all of the information you needed for the intelligent questions that you have! The fact that you question so much is good, even if you don't have the answers. If you don't want to go back to school, you could just try switching to another type of nursing or just try studying on your own. I often have a LOT of questions that I need to research when I get home. Also, when I do have time at work, I find many answers in the clinician notes in the patient's chart. The more information you gather, the more you will be able to understand disease pathways, the way organ systems work together, and what normal care/treatment is for any given condition. Don't give up, just find a new solution!
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