Need opinions/advice

  1. Hello. So I've noticed something about myself that concerns me. I'm an intelligent person, but I can do really stupid things sometimes or just make tiny dumb mistakes. I'm worried that those dumb little mistakes might turn into big ones that will end up causing my future patients harm or just make me as a nurse look incredibly stupid to my coworkers etc. Like I said, I am an above average student, I wouldn't say I'm a genius but I do have a 4.0 and have been in college for 3 years (this is my first year in the nursing program). My clinical instructor gives me good feedback but for some reason I just feel like I never do a good enough job. I don't know if it's because I'm a "perfectionist" or overly critical of myself. I'm also an extrovert but tend to be a little socially awkward sometimes and I get a little anxious if I'm put in a social settings that I'm unfamiliar with or uncomfortable with. I love talking to patients and enjoy clinical but as a student, I'm intimated by the other nurses (who aren't my professors or instructors) and doctors too. I hope I'll grow out of this once I actually become a nurse. Going back to the "dumb" things I do; for example instead of grabbing just the glucometer to get a patient's blood sugar, I grabbed the entire thing including what it was being charged on. The other day I had trouble putting on a blood pressure cuff cause for some reason I couldn't figure out the right direction even though this is my second semester in clinical and I've done it so many times. I felt very embarrassed in front of my patient and the PCA. One time I drove on a ONE WAY STREET and didn't realize until I saw a car coming at me (they were really far away so I had time to stop and turn around) but seriously who does that?? That scares me (I do have a perfect driving record & have never been in an accident though so it's not like I do stuff like this often). However, a couple times a school bus was parked with the "stop" sign on and I guess I wasn't attentive enough to notice so I kept driving and realized I shouldve stopped after I got honked at. Also, just to clarify I'm never under any influence (it's shocking to most people but I have never been drunk in my entire life so it's not like that's the problem) it's just stuff like that, I'm hoping I'll grow out of it. I'm 21 years old so I feel like I'm old enough not to be this dumb!! I know no one is perfect, but I wish I was more confident in myself. In class, I am confident. I understand the lectures, answers questions, and do great at presentations, etc but for some reason in clinical I get so nervous even though I truly love being there and enjoy it. I don't want to change my career so please no one suggest that. I just want to get better at the "skills" and "social" aspect of Nursing rather than just the knowledge. Also all my friends tell me I'm an extroverted person and I even asked two of them for their opinion on this and they told me I don't have a socially awkward personality but I disagree. I don't undertand why I am so self conscious about myself and every little thing I do. If I do something wrong or make a mistake, I think about it for hours on end and how much I hated the fact that I did that. It gets really irritating & I often feel embarrassed about myself in front of others. I just want to improve in this aspect of life before I become an actual RN. How do I stop doing "stupid things" and improve my communication, social and life skills, etc?? Thoughts would be greatly appreciated thank you!!!
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    About AddictedToCoffee4657

    Joined: Sep '17; Posts: 16; Likes: 6

    5 Comments

  3. by   Double-Helix
    Your post covers a wide range of both personal and professional concerns. The root of these "mistakes" you describe seems to be rushing and distractions. Grabbing the glucometer docking station and putting on the blood pressure cuff the wrong way are the product of trying to perform an unfamiliar skill too quickly. Anxiety about the skill and feeling pressure to perform it well are also probably contributing to these missteps. The best way to combat this is to simply slow down. Take breath and think through your actions before your start doing. Walk through it step-by-step before you begin a skill. Run through the "what-if" scenarios in your head:
    "What if I'm doing this dressing change and my sterile glove touches my scrubs?... I'll stop, explain what happened, take off my gloves, wash my hands, and put on a new pair... I'd better being an extra pair of sterile gloves with me just in case."
    By doing this, you gain confidence that you know the steps, you've thought through ways in which it may do wrong, and you've prepared yourself by identifying what extras you might need to bring with you. If you're in the middle of a skill and something seems off, pause. Look around you, think about what you've done to that point and trouble shoot what may be going wrong. Trust me, you will look far more competent if you stop and troubleshoot than if you continue fumbling to correct the issue without taking time to identify what the issue is.

    The driving mistakes you mention seem to come down to simply not paying attention. Which, despite your perfect driving record, is dangerous and concerning. Where I am from, bus drivers will call take your plate # and call the police if you pass a stopped school bus. Make a special effort to be focused and present while driving. Reduce or eliminate distractions like the radio, cell phone, and conversations with passengers. You might consider a defensive driving course as well.

    The social issues you mention... I can't really help you there. You seem to be pretty critical of yourself and how you come across socially. My biggest piece of advice is to embrace who you are. Some of this will come with age. Maybe you're the energetic, outgoing person who loves singing karaoke. Maybe you'd never be caught dead singing in public. Maybe you're the somewhat dorky person who loves Star Wars and science. Maybe you're not great at making small talk, but give really great advice. None of these people are better than another. You don't need to act a certain way to make people like you. Your friends should like you for who you are, but you need to like you for who you are first. When you realize that your true personality is awesome, and embrace it instead of evaluating it, you'll be less anxious and happier.
  4. by   dudette10
    The PP gave some great advice on everything. I'll just amplify what was already said from a clinical instructor's perspective.

    SLOW DOWN while in clinical. You do not yet have the skills to do things quickly. You don't have the muscle memory; you don't have the intuitive thinking. I had a clinical student last term who did things too quickly, and it did require a sit-down conversation. Every student makes little mistakes, but when a student makes multiple, unrelated little mistakes, it's usually due to going too fast.

    Good luck!
  5. by   dudette10
    I just noticed your username. Too much caffeine can makes thoughts quite jumpy and disconnected. Is that a problem for you?
  6. by   AddictedToCoffee4657
    Thank you for your advice! No, I actually only have one cup of coffee in the morning. I honestly just couldn't think of any other usernames & I love coffee so I put the two together (I'm not really addicted to caffeine). However I think that sometimes I do try to get things done quickly so I'll be sure to slow down & take my time from here on out! Thanks again for your input!
  7. by   AddictedToCoffee4657
    Okay, thank you so much!!! This really helps.

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