*do I even know what I'm doing?*

  1. Guys I just need someone to talk to. I don't know what I would do if I didn't have the hope and encouragment from reading all the treads here. I get off orientation in 1 week after jumping into the "joy" of ER Nursing right after I graduated in May. I love my job, I just feel SO overwhelmed! There is SO much to learn, it's like I can't think quick enough. Some nurses are able to pick up on things I hadn't even began to think about. I wonder when I'll be like that or when I can impress someone with my smarts? I feel horrible, I had been severely depressed but this past week I moved to night shift since it's what I'll be working and I LOVE IT. Yea it's busy but it's much more laid back. I really like night shift and didn't think I would. Point is, I know that I'll have people to ask questions if I need it, but I'm torn up not feeling competent enough!~
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    About level1_traumaRN

    Joined: Sep '06; Posts: 29; Likes: 3
    ER RN
    Specialty: Med/Surg, Peds, ICU

    18 Comments

  3. by   crb613
    It must be a new nurse thing! I feel exactly the same way... some days I come home I tell my husband...I am not sure I know what I am doing! It seems like the more experienced nurses just automatically know what to do & when to do it....I am amazed & can only hope one day that will be me! So if it helps you are not alone!
  4. by   hica19
    I feel the exact same way. I mean my preceptor is amazing and is always trying to find something to teach me. However, there's just WAY too many things to know. Not only on patient care procedures, but also on the documentation part, checking new orders, and all that. I know I'm learning a lot everyday and my preceptor even makes a point that I'm progressing. However, I can't even imagine what it will be like once I'm off on my own and caring for a full patient load by myself. Right now, even though I'm on my toes trying to prioritize care, I still need my preceptor to get my back quite a lot.
  5. by   RNsRWe
    From what I'm hearing at work, and on these boards, it's pretty normal to feel both incompetent and overwhelmed when you're so new. I have a week left of orientation, too, and there's not a night that's gone by without my asking my preceptor about fifty questions. Or is it a hundred?? I know I'm not INcompetent, but I sure have a long way to go before I feel like I can be trusted all on my own! Everyone tells me that being off orientation just means that you handle your own patient load BUT you have experienced nurses around to ask those same questions of. I'm going to hold them to that, lol, since I am always questioning what I am doing, or what someone else did, or some infernal paperwork snafu.

    We're new. We'll learn. And I just make sure I'm paying close attention at all times!
  6. by   hlfpnt
    Quote from hica19
    I feel the exact same way. I mean my preceptor is amazing and is always trying to find something to teach me. However, there's just WAY too many things to know. Not only on patient care procedures, but also on the documentation part, checking new orders, and all that. I know I'm learning a lot everyday and my preceptor even makes a point that I'm progressing. However, I can't even imagine what it will be like once I'm off on my own and caring for a full patient load by myself. Right now, even though I'm on my toes trying to prioritize care, I still need my preceptor to get my back quite a lot.

    Ditto! I go off orientation in 2 weeks & don't feel like I know enough to do so. I have my routine down, but this time management thing is killing me!
  7. by   DolphinRN84
    I'm so glad I found this thread! I'm feeling the exact same way!!! The only difference is that I started orientation this week and yesterday I had one patient to take care of. Yesterday was also my second day on the floor. So you guys are probably thinking don't be hard on yourself, its only the second day. But there is so much to learn! But I know in time I'll get better...(hopefully.. ). Thanks for writing the post other person! And I'm sure you will be fine
  8. by   RNKay31
    We all have these feelings but you will overcome it one day, stay the course LOL
  9. by   DolphinRN84
    I hear you Kay. I'll try and overcome. It's just so hard being a new nurse and all...I'm just glad I'm at least familiar with some things already. OP we can do this!
  10. by   amy0123
    I'm working on it! It feels like forever to grow out of being incompetent, but some day, I'll feel the full bloom and it's fragrance of being a nurse.
  11. by   Tweety
    You're sounding perfectly normal to me.

    Be gentle with the conversations you have with yourself. We all have been there. Please don't compare your insides with someone elses outsides because they aren't all that. They are just like you, you are just more self-aware and can admit it.

    Hang in there.
  12. by   DolphinRN84
    OP I'm still right with you. Tweety, thanks for the good advice. It's hard though...I'm crying like everyday now because of the anxiety and feeling so overwhelmed. I know somehow I'll get by. I'm glad I'm not alone.
  13. by   fakebee
    First off, regardless of how poorly you may feel you're performing now, every shift you work is filled with things you did right and did well! People tend to forget that you probably did 96% of all your tasks and procedures and orders to standard but being nurses we want to be perfect and so when it's pointed out to us we overlooked or forgot or just couldn't get to something we feel like total failures...we really need to cut each other some slack. We're darn good at what we do and that's reflected in the positive outcomes our patients generally have. As an 11 year ICU nurse I say howdy and welcome to
    the wild world world of nursing. I admire anyone who is willing to give this difficult profession an honest try-I can't imagine a more rewarding career when you find your nursing niche and find yourself surrounded by smart caring team members. You really can accomplish miracles!umpiron:
  14. by   amy0123
    There is a way to know what you are doing:

    #1: If your preceptor is telling you that you need to improve in a certain area, for example: IVs, dressing changes, documentation, etc. Write it down!! Put it in your pocket. Then take the list home with you, and make it your homework assignment. Look in your clinical nursing skills & techniques book or fundamentals of nursing book from nursing school or Barnes & Noble or go to the library in your hospital and borrow them. Read up!! Do this daily.

    I don't know why I didn't think of this before! But I've just started doing this. If I continue to read on everything that I am having problems with, I will be able to know more than my preceptor and become more knowledgeable of the rationale about doing tasks and documentation.

    #2 Take breaks and realize that time is needed for self care. Make time for you!! Do something really fun at least once a week or take a really nice long bath with candles. Treat yourself! You deserve it from all this stress and new learning experience. Also, try to laugh at least five times a day. Stay hydrated, drink a bunch of cups of filtered water that is provided on your floor because the air is so dry. Dehydation could be a stresser to the mind and body.

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