Feeling VERY Incompetent

by kyfitch kyfitch, BSN Member

Specializes in Med/Surg, Travel Nurse. Has 6 years experience.

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Specializes in Pediatrics, Women's Health, Education. Has 20 years experience. 2 Articles; 185 Posts

OP, it's normal to feel the way you do. There's a wide continuum of confidence and self-efficacy among novices...some people give themselves too much credit and some not enough. It's important to respect the gravity of responsibility nurses are given while at the same time not get overwhelmed with anxiety about that reality. Out of curiosity Are you in an Asn or Bsn program? Were you required to do a practicum, that usually gives students a taste of what to expect on the unit.

You would probably do better in a hospital with a formal residency program if you can find one. But if not, maybe taking an RN refresher course so you can practice skills without the pressure of getting a grade. You can also find tons of videos on line to review skills. There's also a book for new grads that discusses strategies for coping with the transition you may find helpful called Transition Shock.


FutureDNP2021, ASN, RN

Has 3 years experience. 46 Posts

"Another thing. The disgruntled ones make the loudest noise. The happy ones don't need to post much so take all the bad stuff you hear with a huge grain of salt.

I have always loved having male nurses around. I enjoy their different approach and attitude about things and it is a nice break from all the estrogen ha ha"


la_chica_suerte85, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology. 1,260 Posts

I'm not sure if this has been mentioned or not as I haven't made it through the whole thread but, if you are really feeling your incompetence, look to see if there are any new grad residency programs in Michigan you can apply to. Apparently Mercy Health has one: RN Graduate Residency | Career Options | Mercy Health Career | Nursing | Grand Rapids | New Graduates | West Michigan | Mercy Health

I knew the education I received amidst all the insanity going on in the administration and department at my school would be sub par. I did my best to teach myself what I thought I would need to know and I built a fairly impressive knowledge base -- but still, I knew it wouldn't be enough. I set my sights on a Versant residency program as my ultimate goal upon graduation. I made it into a fantastic hospital (a Magnet facility, which, as you'll see from others has it's pros and cons) and, while nurses still aren't at the top of the food chain, we do get treated a lot better than at other places I have had clinicals at/worked at prior to graduation. It has made all the difference. I am near the end of the program and I feel better prepared than if I had a standard 10-week orientation of doom and then get thrown in the deep end, which is how many people seem to experience their first jobs.

Hope this helps! Good luck! Everyone feels this way on graduating. It's a little bit of imposter syndrome and it will persist well into your first several months on the job. But, it gets better.


nursesaysay, LPN

Specializes in INTERNAL MEDICINE, PSYCH. Has 10 years experience. 21 Posts

Hi kyfitch...years ago I was in nursing school and the clinical rotations were basically a huge waste of time. The nurses on the units refused to allow us to do anything meaningful, and we were basically diaper changers, bed bath/ and bed makers, assigned to one or two patients for the six hours that we had to be there. The only real skill we actually learned was taking vital signs. New nurses learn how to be nurses by the experiences they have on the job, not the clinical rotations at school. That being said, I feel sorry for you being a guy in this field. We only had one or two guys in my nursing classes and they were failed out unfairly by bully nurse instructors. I will not lie to you. You have an uphill battle waiting for you because jobs are so hard to find, and most hospitals are either laying off, or only hiring per diems. Its really hard to get your foot in the door, and I only hope that when you get that first job, it is the right place with the right people. I have too often stepped into "frying pan" jobs that were cesspools of harassment and bullying from the start, and did not last long or well. Where are you? Here in PA there are too many nurses, thus the job market really sucks.

Unsure where you live, but what you are saying IS NOT THE NORM. I have practiced nursing in CT, MD, VA and DC. Nursing shortages everywhere, job postings up the wazoo. This goes for LPN, ASN-RN and BSN-RN. As for male nurses? High in demand as well. Never seen a male nurse get bullied.