Published Feb 25, 2014
I am not new to nursing but new to OB. I work on a floor that does nursery, L&D, postpartum and post surgical patients. I am nearing the end of my 12 week orientation period and instead of feeling more confident and ready to go I find myself becoming more and more fearful. I suppose I just dont feel like I have mastered any one thing and I am very dubious about my ability to manage a labor on my own with any degree of certainty. A patient walks in and I still feel like I freeze internally and think to myself, "now what?". Is this normal? Everyone says I wont feel good until a year but that seems like a long time to wait to be able to manage care confidently and securely. We have had a few serious emergencies while on my orientation so Im not sure if that is coloring my view of things but I guess I just feel like I should be becoming more sure instead of more afraid. I love it and dont want to give up. Any advice?
I feel ya! I too am not new to nursing, but I recently applied for a new specialty rn position in labor & delivery. Everyday I keep thinking if it was a mistake to try a new specialty now...I haven't heard anything yet, but I'm already thinking that I might end up feeling the same way you are. Hang in there! I'm sure you have good resources on your floor..
I'm new to L&D AND a new nurse who just finished a 4 month orientation. I am nervous every second of my shift since just started on my own last week No advice, just know you aren't alone!
My advice is to ask for more orientation if you need it, and if they deny it and you are on your own- always ask for help or a second opinion if you need it. Your co-workers should be supportive of you. We all want what's best for the patient's and that is going to be a confident, compitent nurse.
We don't set time constraints on our orientees, our nurses are usually supervised for 1-2 years before they are truly independent in L&D. Yep. YEARS. They take their own patients after the frist 6-8 mo (no sooner) but are always closely watched by a senior nurse with a light workload to step in and help when need be.
Wow, 1-2 years before on your own? That seems like a dream come true to me! I got my RN license in November 2013 and started a L&D full time position in January. I am about to finish a 2 month course (classroom time and preceptorship)--I'm supposed to have about a month more of training, but the other day I was called in to work because someone didn't show and I was on my own! It was very busy and I was completely overwhelmed and felt like crying all day. In no way, shape, for form do I feel anything close to ready to being on my own, yet I am not sure why they would have me working on my own as OT when I haven't even finished preceptorship yet! Needless to say, I'm extremely nervous. Being a brand new nurse, I am still trying to get IV sticks in--which is in itself stressful because often there is a bit of a rush to get an IV in--like someone is coming for emergency C-section and it has to be done right away and blood drawn--several times I went to do the IV but wasn't fast enough and so someone else did it for me. I have also heard it takes a good year to feel like you know what you are doing, so I don't know why I would be on my own so soon. It's incredibly nerve-wracking and stressful and I have a lot of anxiety. I too froze up when I had my own patient the other day, and it was very crazy on our floor that day. Signed a contract so I'm stuck for a while so am hoping it all gets better in time--just hoping they let me have my full preceptorship before setting me loose, but I have heard others got thrown in there prematurely too by themselves. It seems like it is sink or swim. I do hate the stress of feeling this way and hope it gets better because I don't want to be stressed out every shift for a long time and it is an interesting specialty and one in which I do want to do well.
The only way to learn is to do it. You can read about the stuff all day long, but until you actually experience it, you won't truly be ready. Every single L&D nurse started off just like you are. You will be fine. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need to. Don't be afraid to ask questions.
My advice is to ask for more orientation if you need it, and if they deny it and you are on your own- always ask for help or a second opinion if you need it. Your co-workers should be supportive of you. We all want what's best for the patient's and that is going to be a confident, compitent nurse.We don't set time constraints on our orientees, our nurses are usually supervised for 1-2 years before they are truly independent in L&D. Yep. YEARS. They take their own patients after the frist 6-8 mo (no sooner) but are always closely watched by a senior nurse with a light workload to step in and help when need be.
Wow I wish I worked where you work, instead of the, "Oh you have a BSN, you should know what to do and how to do everything. Nobody trained me, so I am not going to train you". I am so grateful there are still places out there that get it, because so many places do not.
I think that a 12 week orientation is too short...WAY too short. Hopefully something can be done about this, or you may have to depend heavily on the other floor nurses for assistance when needed!
I am a third yr nursing student and am choosing preferences for my last clinical, as in consolidation/precetorship. I was considering L&D but after reading some of the forums... I don't know, maybe this is not the specialty for me.
I am very proud of our orientation for new L&D nurses. Sometimes it seems a bit excessive especially considering we, technically, don't do high risk and don't deliver (on purpose) below 34 weeks. Then that 32 weeker post MVA in severe respiratory distress with collapsed lungs gets intubated in the trama center and we get called down to evaluate the fetus, find a category 3 FHR and race to a STAT C/section before the NICU transfer team can arrive...and voila, our orientation seems about perfect again!
passionflower, BSN, MSN, RN
Now I see why in the past new nurses were not hired to L & D.
It is true that all new L & D nurses feel like this for the first year. Unable to identify vaginal exams, or start an IV, afraid of catching your first baby. Those nurses that seem to love the fast pace and are like adrenaline junkies are usually that way for one of two reasons: either they have been there - done that so many times they are confident in their skills and capabilities or they are completely crazy.
When I started out I was a nervous wreck! I remember as I walked into my first unsupervised labor room I looked over my shoulder and said to the charge nurse "ok but if you hear someone screaming it might not be the patient". Now I am in charge of the unit some days, am very confident in vag exams and IV starts. I am now into my third year on the unit and can finally enjoy the honor of witnessing the miracle of birth. Took me a little over a year to realize I would be ok but it did happen. Hang in there. Memorize ob emergencies, including drugs and how to handle them, that made me feel a little more prepared. Hope this helps.
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