Confidence Level Down the Crapper!


I will be a new grad in 2 months. I know my skills but last night they were no where to be found. I had my one round in the ER for this semester last night and I seriously felt like I was back in my first semester of nursing school! A pt kicked me out of his room b/c I was taking too long to start his IV. (I was fine with that b/c he was a hard stick anyway) but that seemed to take my confidence level down a notch. Then I had to go start a big deal, right? Wrong! I was shaking and fumbling around the entire time. I was so embarrassed in front of my nurse. Thankfully she was so nice about it.

Last semester I had half a day in a different (busier) ER and kicked butt at it! I thought that I wanted to be a trauma nurse but I'm having some serious doubts about that now. At least not as a new grad.

Can someone please tell me that I'm not alone here? I'm scared to death to graduate b/c after last night I feel like I know nothing at all! :cry: I know that it will take at least a year to become comfortable but I'm feeling really stupid right now. I don't want to get fired from my first job as a nurse b/c I'm shakey!

Thanks for any advice!


39 Posts

I think it is perfectly normal so be scared and nervous when performing procedures you are not familiar with. I graduated last December and I'm nervous about acting like an idiot when I start working, but I went on an interview last week and the manager said she would take a scared new graduate any day over a cocky no it all. She said new grads are more likely to be careful if they are scared. Her advice was just keep practicing procedures until they they second nature to you and eventually the nerves will go away.


29 Posts

I don't think you should let one day change your thoughts about being a trauma nurse. If you really want to work in an ER, then go for it :up:! I know lots of hospitals will hire new grads in ERs. EVERYONE has an off day every now and then :uhoh3:. I bet you anything that if you were to go back there another day, feeling fresh, you would do great. For some reason sometimes our heads just aren't as firmly attached to our bodies as normal :smackingfhaha and then everything we know up there just doesn't come out right. You know what you're doing, you just need to believe in yourself. Know that this was just one bad day, and you have no reason to doubt your skills. Walk into that ER holding your head high (and your hands steady)! You can do it! :D


94 Posts

Just hang in there, do the best you can and make sure to ask for help when needed. You will not know everything and you must remember all our strengths are different. Look at the bright side you will know when someone is a hard stick and you know how to do a foley.

I am starting in a level 1 trauma hospital in June & I am scared. I don't know everything but I am willing to learn. Good luck


20 Posts

Specializes in Rehab, LTC, Psych. Has 27 years experience.

hey there!!

I have been an LPN for over 20 years, and am now in the 4th semester of the ADN program, hoping to graduate this May!! From the first time I walked into a patient's room, I felt scared and nervous.:icon_roll My twenty plus years of experience went out the window!! I think being a student is a humbling experience, and it is very common and normal to have the jitters, or to be nervous when you confront something new.

Just remember, all the seasoned nurses were once new too. Like the other person said, many managers know that graduates are nervous, and very cautious because of it. When you get cocky, and act like you know it all, then that is a recipe for disaster!!

Hang in there, and don't give up on your dreams!!

Believe in yourself, and remember, you are in control of your destiny!:nurse:


I am graduating in two months also and I feel the same way. In fact my entire class (all 24 of us) feel the same way. We are scared to take the next step and work on our own, but every nurse has to start somewhere and it is now our turn.

Our instructors here are not very helpful. My classes morale is really low right now because they keep putting us down. I wish that the would make us feel empowered by giving us good comments once and a while.

I think that when we graduate finding a good preceptor program is key to our success. I am moving 3000 miles away so I can get into a preceptor program. I live in a place that has no jobs and a hospital that is probably one of the worst in the country.

Good luck to you!!:)


20 Posts

Specializes in Rehab, LTC, Psych. Has 27 years experience.

to ilovenursing2009,

Thanks for your input! That is unfortunate for you about your instructors. I am lucky enough to have teachers that encourage us, and want to teach us. We do have an occasional teacher in the nursing program that are tougher than others, but that has not been the norm. I know there are plenty of teachers that should not be teaching!!

good luck to you as well in your endeavors. its too bad you have to move 3000 miles away, but hopefully it will be to your benefit!


43 Posts

Wow, I could have written your post a few weeks ago when I first started my Senior Practicum in a busy 32 bed ER (Level 1 Trauma) after only a half day in the ER during my Critical Care rotation. I thought, why the hell did I choose to do this for my senior rotation!?! I was screwing things up right and left (nothing major, just simple mistakes like not putting pressure on the vein/canula when doing an IV and it bleeding a big mess or putting a nasal canula on wrong) totally felt like an idiot in front of my preceptor, like I didn't know how to do anything. When she would teach me how to do something, it just wouldn't stick in my brain. Then I realized my preceptor and I have different styles. She is teaching me one way that isn't working for me. I like to chat with patients when I'm doing procedures because it puts me and the patient at ease. She doesn't do this at all. She's a "get in there, do what you have to do, and get out" nurse and that just isn't me. She really is an incredible nurse and a great preceptor (very supportive and encouraging, and the smartest person I have ever met) and her style of nursing works great for her, but it just isn't working for me.

So I now know that I can't be an ER nurse like her, our personalities are so different, so I'm going to be one the way I want to. Now that I'm almost done with this rotation, I do a lot of things on my own, my way, and I do them right and I'm comfortable with how I do them. This realization has made a world of difference and I will be sad when this rotation ends, honestly. But I will be an ER nurse.

Oh and, by the way, the ER is a whole new world. But I'm sure you've found that out. I too, felt like a brand new student when I began this rotation. There are so many things done in the ER that just don't fly in other units. I feel like it is nothing like what we are taught in other rotations and in class.

And to all of those who think they want to work in the ER, be a tech in the ER while in nursing school! You will get so much experience doing procedures and you will have them mastered. I wish I had done it. But oh well, can't dwell on that.

Good luck, honey. You WILL be great!

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