Discouraged new grad in orientation hell.


I am a new grad and today was my last day of orientation. I was upset a few weeks ago because they wanted me to do another week on days before switching to nights. I tried to tell them I felt ready, but they had made up their mind. I cried. Right in front of my manager. I felt so stupid. But I got through it and in the end appreciated the extra time. I had had LOTS of preceptors, and they had given me a week of vacation early in training and I think that had set me back. But again, I got through it.

My nights have been decent, but they've been a little crazy. I didn't have much of a chance to get my routine down because I kept getting admissions RIGHT at the beginning of my shift, and (according to my preceptors) had a couple heavy assignments that probably weren't appropriate for a new grad "trying to get a routine down." But I got through and I feel I've been still improving.

But, yesterday, my second-to-last night of orientation, went great. I was told I was ready, I felt accomplished. Today I had a new preceptor but the same patients. It was a manageable day and I took it kind of easy, which I realize was terribly stupid. I was behind and disorganized on my documenting/charting but I got it done and my preceptor, though he nagged me, didn't have to hold my hand. I got the actual patient care done, and what I got from the discussion afterwards was that I had done such a terrible job charting that they wanted me to do another entire week of orientation. I'll admit, it was bad, but I don't think it was THAT bad. Both times this happened my preceptors went to my nurse educator/manager without talking to ME first. I was not included in the discussion and it was always dropped on me at the very last minute. And I was totally blindsided. Again, too upset to have a rational discussion and I just kind of cried and stammered. Awful :(

I need some encouragement and words of wisdom. I'm not sure how to approach the next week. I want to prove that I'm independent so I'm planning on asking my preceptors to back off (in a much more professional way, of course) and just audit my charting so they can see that I'm doing it. But otherwise leave the work to me and give me some space. I'm also not sure if that's the only issue because I don't trust that they've been very honest with me. I kept saying, "how do you thinks it's going" and they would say "fine." Apparently not. Any ideas?


664 Posts

Specializes in LTC.

You feel bad because they gave you an extra week!!! I would have slobbered all over it! TAKE IT AND RUN BABY! you're lucky...and it'll be ok....you're a new grad.

allnurses Guide


7,065 Posts

Specializes in Peds/outpatient FP,derm,allergy/private duty. Has 47 years experience.

I think you're lucky to work in a place that is willing to extend your orientation twice. It means they have faith that you have what it takes to succeed. You should have faith in their ability to judge where you are in that process, because they are better equipped to accurately determine whether or not you are ready to be independent. It isn't an indication that you are a failure. I would try very hard not to cry when these things happen in the future, although I can understand your being upset, there will be days when you are just as upset after you are off orientation. Best wishes to you - it sounds to me like you've got a good employer!


413 Posts

Specializes in Emergency Nursing. Has 5 years experience.

I agree that it is a positive sign that they are willing to extend orientation instead of telling you that you don't cut it. And when I was in orientation, my preceptor *purposely* sought out difficult patients for me so that I could flounder and panic and then learn while she was still at my side to help me out. It was hard to see it that way when I was going through it, but now I am thankful for how it worked out.

iluvivt, BSN, RN

2,773 Posts

Specializes in Infusion Nursing, Home Health Infusion. Has 32 years experience.

I would not ask your preceptors to back off as you word it b/c they are simply doing their job and that could be taken the wrong the way. You rather want to integrate yourself into the team as seamlessly as possible. What I think you can do however, is to let your preceptors know that you are open to to an honest exchange and you do want to hear their suggestions for improvement and you want to learn and grow professionally . That will let them know you are an adult and you are willing to take responsibility for your own learning and actions. It will also let the preceptor,which can be a thankless role,know that you value their input and that will help you become a team member.

Do whatever you have to to to STOP crying when you get constructive feedback...to that in private if you must. You have a serious responsibility as a nurse and you have to get a bit tougher here and realize all of these nurse with far more experience than you are making certain that when they release you to care for patients they truly want to make sure you are the best you can be at that point. This is GIFT and you would be wise to accept it graciously and see it as such. You will have the rest of your career to work independently. Hang in there it will be OK


4 Posts

Call me if you have a few minutes. I have too many questions and a quick phone call would be easier. I echo the comments that others have said that you have had your orientation extended. It is no big deal, it shows you have a manager that is supportive and believes in you. The hard part is believing in yourself, that will come in time and grows minute by minute, patient by patient, day by day. Try to chart everything before leaving the patient's room. You WILL be ok

LoveCali---I think it's against the TOS to have your number listed here.

OP---Allow them to hover over your charting. Have them do an on the spot correction. Sounds like maybe you developed a bad habit and need to figure it out before you get stuck with it! Be glad you have more time instead of being fired!

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

4 Articles; 20,908 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 43 years experience.

Organization is key! Charting is imperative.......for legal reasons, for reimbursement reasons, accreditation reasons.....it's a big deal

You may need brain sheets.......here are a few.

doc.gif mtpmedsurg.doc doc.gif 1 patient float.doc‎

doc.gif 5 pt. shift.doc‎

doc.gif finalgraduateshiftreport.doc‎

doc.gif horshiftsheet.doc‎

doc.gif report sheet.doc‎

doc.gif day sheet 2 doc.doc

critical thinking flow sheet for nursing students

student clinical report sheet for one patient

Change them as you need. Take this time to perfect your skills.....;). Good Luck!

llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 46 years experience.

I pretty much agree with others have said, but want to add one thing.

You contradict yourself. There is a disconnect between how you describe your actual performance and your conclusions about your level of readiness to come off orientation.

You acknowledge that you had multiple preceptors plus time off early in your orientation and that those things set you back a little -- but were surprised when they said you needed a little extra time on day shift to compensate for those interruptions to your learning.

You say that you "are ready" for independence ... but then you admit that you didn't do a very good job on your last night, you "took it easy," you admit that your charting was "bad," etc. If you see yourself making these mistakes, then it should come as no surprise to you that your preceptors/manager are not comfortable with your level of performance yet. You may WANT to be independent and ready to come off orientation, but you need to be honest with yourself about your actual performance and acknowledge that you need a little more orientation. That honesty will help you avoid being surprised by any negative feedback you get.

Your preceptors are probably assuming that you know things didn't go well ... and would be surprised at the fact that you were not expecting the extension of your orientation. Be grateful they are willing to invest a little extra in your orientation and treat it as an opportunity to have their support while you get a little more practice. Good luck to you.


135 Posts

I am 2-3 months off orientation and my advice is enjoy your time on orientation. There is someone who check your charting for you, check your patients and always there for questions...how awesome is that????


1 Post

Head up, shoulders back and brain on. It's hard to hear that sometimes we aren't perfect, especially when we survived nursing school, passed boards and got a job (while others can't). You clearly are a stong new grad- it's time to believe in yourself and commit every minute in the hospital to doing your best. You can do.


3,445 Posts

Specializes in ICU / PCU / Telemetry. Has 11 years experience.

I got off orientation the same day you did. My first solo flight will be on my next shift this weekend. My orientation was also extended by 2 weeks previously, and I embraced it. Do I feel 100% ready? No, of course not. But the umbilical cord had to be cut sometime! Go with the flow. I know I will.

This topic is now closed to further replies.