Jump to content

Always feeling stupid.

Updated | Posted
Whitneyz Whitneyz (New) New Nurse

new-nurse-feeling-stupid-normal.jpg.155c545b0bee60ea3b90a8081f6939d4.jpg

I’m in L&D and though that is besides the point, I’m new to the unit and just feel stupid! My question to you is do my coworkers think I am dumb? I make small mistakes which is normal for being new, but my coworkers seem so perfect to me and never offer to tell me any stories of their mess ups when I am telling them mine. I feel like the dumbest one in the bunch. If they think I’m dumb now and I keep showing them I’m actually all right can their perceptions change?

You aren't dumb. You're inexperienced. Big difference. You need to reframe your view of yourself.

We expect new people to be inexperienced. We also expect them to gain experience over time. Not sharing stories of their mess-ups means nothing. I don't remember most of mine and the ones I do I'd rather forget and definitely have no desire to discuss.

RNperdiem, RN

Has 14 years experience.

Plan strategy. Seek help in things you don't know, but don't make a point to advertise inconsequential mistakes. If the emotional support and validation you are seeking is not forthcoming, you end up feeling worse. 

If they are not telling the stories of their screw ups, don't reciprocate. It might be a unit culture thing not to talk about certain things.  Nobody is perfect, but maintaining a cool and calm exterior helps. 

Replace the word stupid with "teachable". Attitude and framing helps. You are inexperienced and your coworkers don't expect you to know everything. If you have humility and are teachable you will go a lot further than the new nurses who "know everything" and are dangerous. 

JBMmom, MSN

Specializes in Long term care; med-surg; critical care. Has 9 years experience.

Everyone has worked with new nurse coworkers and EVERY new nurse has a learning curve. You can't come in knowing everything, you're learning every day. Be open to feedback, but don't advertise small mistakes unnecessarily. Good luck, it will get better!

10 hours ago, RNperdiem said:

Seek help in things you don't know, but don't make a point to advertise inconsequential mistakes.

Agree.

OP: In addition to what has already been said about this, there is the aspect of needing to just stay cool so that your brain can work well. Focusing on small "mistakes" (learning experiences) and making a point to tell others in hopes of hearing some emotionally soothing replies/reassurance is, at some point, time (and brain power and emotional energy) that could be better spent just focusing on the learning point and moving forward.

Humility is good. There is an over-the-top, though, as far as being actually self-deprecating.

It's all okay. Focus and keep moving forward.

 

SmilingBluEyes

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis. Has 24 years experience.

Don't be afraid to find a mentor or two if you can. Ask questions! That does not make you dumb; you are new. We all were. I remember well.

LibraNurse27, BSN, RN

Specializes in Community Health, Med/Surg, ICU Stepdown. Has 8 years experience.

Just because no one tells you about mistakes they have made doesn't mean no other nurse has ever made a mistake. I didn't tell students and new nurses I precepted about my past mistakes unless they asked. Not really something I wanted to advertise! And I didn't want to scare them. If they asked and it seemed helpful from an "everyone makes mistakes" point of view, I had no problem telling them. Because one good lesson is to always be honest if you do make a mistake.

But if you are talking about inconsequential things that don't affect patient safety I don't think you need to go around reporting any tiny thing you didn't do perfectly. Some new nurses say "mistake" when they mean missing an IV or not labeling tubing or something that didn't go perfectly but wasn't an actual error. Don't be too hard on yourself! It does get easier. 

speedynurse, ADN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in ER, Pre-Op, PACU.

On 4/7/2021 at 7:49 AM, Whitneyz said:

I’m in L&D and though that is besides the point, I’m new to the unit and just feel stupid! My question to you is do my coworkers think I am dumb? I make small mistakes which is normal for being new, but my coworkers seem so perfect to me and never offer to tell me any stories of their mess ups when I am telling them mine. I feel like the dumbest one in the bunch. If they think I’m dumb now and I keep showing them I’m actually all right can their perceptions change?

You aren’t dumb - you are in a new speciality. My advice is do your best, work hard, show your willingness to learn, and ask questions! I feel like for the most part, other nurses are more than happy to lend a hand or answer questions for a newbie. Many nurses switch specialties and questions come with the new territory.

Curious1997, BSN

Specializes in Psych, Medical. Has 13 years experience.

I would try to identify someone who appears empathetic and competent and doesn't participate in gossip. Such a person would be a great mentor for you. Identify how that person receives communication that they are responsive to. I mean do they like short, precise, objective or breezy, expansive, subjective anecdotes. Remember you want something from that person, not the other way around. It's important to do research. You wouldn't offer a Muslim pork, would you? 

Once you know what that person likes you are more likely to obtain the information you need. And since you posted, it would appear that you are anxious about how you are getting on. Having a good mentor is a great way to gaining confidence.