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Coping Strategies for New Grad Nurses


I've posted before, I work on a Telemetry unit with LVAD and transplant patients on the day shift. I've been on orientation for about 8 weeks now and have a few weeks left until my orientation is done. My patient load is 6 and it feels like I've taken steps backwards. I spend many days before and after work crying. After a few days off I always tense up, get heart palpitations and cry the night before I work again. I know being a new nurse is overwhelming and its normal to feel afraid, but there aren't enough good days on the floor to cover up all the other days. I always come home thinking if I forgot to chart something or if my notes were done correctly or if I should've told the night nurse this or that. I wonder about some of the patients that I had that were sent out to surgery and transferred to ICU and wonder if there was something I could've prevented. My time management is my biggest problem and it feels like i never get a chance to even just think. i get so caught up with giving meds on time, looking up labs, taking off orders, that i feel like there's hardly any time for me to think about the patient. in the back of my mind i think if i really made the right choice in nursing. i feel miserable, stressed and anxious and most importantly unhappy. i know it's too soon and everyone tells me to lighten up and not be so hard on myself because i'm a new nurse but i'm having a hard time coping with the stress. my preceptor says i administer meds well and my notes are ok but i really need to work on managing my time and communicating with the people around me.

i just need help managing my stress and some encouragement because i'm so ready to quit right now.

Ruby Vee, BSN

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching. Has 40 years experience.

you've heard this before: the first year of nursing is like that. there's only one way to get through it, and that's to go through it. really. everyone struggles in their first job -- regardless of career -- and everyone wonders if they're in the right career. the only way to answer that question is to just go through the misery of that first year. one day, something will just "click", and it will start to get easier from that moment onward.

good luck.

joanna73, BSN, RN

Specializes in geriatrics.

I didn't find my first year as challenging as some, partly because I'm a second career nurse, and I've been working for 22 years already. More importantly, I was well aware of knowing and accepting that some days would be very taxing, shifts and weekends are involved, and sometimes....I wouldn't like my job. Many new grads are too hard on themselves and not at all realistic about nursing. Like Ruby said, you just need to go through it, and learn as you go.

joanna73, BSN, RN

Specializes in geriatrics.

The other thing is....you have to just try your best to prioritize at work, but leave work at work. Yes, this is not always easy, but I'll be darned if I'm going to stress about my charting or my patients at home. Someone else can worry about it. That's why we pass things on. Of course, I think about my residents from time to time off the clock. However, I don't go home and worry about everything. What's done is done. You cannot change anything from home. Reflect on your shift for a few minutes once you've left for the day, learn from it, move on. Otherwise, your own health will suffer.