New grad dealing with mixed feelings not sure what to do

  1. Hello,
    I'm a new grad who was lucky enough to land my first job at a long-term acute hospital. I'm 2 months into orientation and so far it has been going well. I feel that I have support from my preceptor, from management, and from most of the other nurses. During my short time here I feel that I've learned a lot but I'm still going through the new grad emotions of feeling overwhelmed and not competent but EVERYONE tells me that's normal and that I'm doing great. Sometimes I feel like I lucked out with this job, however, this isn't what I want to do. I want to be a NICU nurse but I took this job with the intention of getting a year of experience and moving on. However, I find that I'm completely miserable. I cry all the time before and after work. I see less and less of the ones I care about the most and it makes me sad to think that I'm not loving what I'm doing. Part of me wants to seek a position in labor and delivery, another part wants to seek a job in a larger hospital where I can eventually transfer to the NICU, but then another part of me says that the grass isn't always greener on the other side and to stick to my 1-year plan. But the thought of spending 1 year here makes me really depressed. I was just hoping to get some insight and maybe some advice as to what to do.
  2. Visit nursex23 profile page

    About nursex23, ADN, RN

    Joined: Jun '17; Posts: 6; Likes: 9
    from US
    Specialty: <1 year(s) of experience

    14 Comments

  3. by   Sour Lemon
    Quote from nursex23
    Hello,
    I'm a new grad who was lucky enough to land my first job at a long-term acute hospital. I'm 2 months into orientation and so far it has been going well. I feel that I have support from my preceptor, from management, and from most of the other nurses. During my short time here I feel that I've learned a lot but I'm still going through the new grad emotions of feeling overwhelmed and not competent but EVERYONE tells me that's normal and that I'm doing great. Sometimes I feel like I lucked out with this job, however, this isn't what I want to do. I want to be a NICU nurse but I took this job with the intention of getting a year of experience and moving on. However, I find that I'm completely miserable. I cry all the time before and after work. I see less and less of the ones I care about the most and it makes me sad to think that I'm not loving what I'm doing. Part of me wants to seek a position in labor and delivery, another part wants to seek a job in a larger hospital where I can eventually transfer to the NICU, but then another part of me says that the grass isn't always greener on the other side and to stick to my 1-year plan. But the thought of spending 1 year here makes me really depressed. I was just hoping to get some insight and maybe some advice as to what to do.
    I'm assuming you didn't have offers for L&D or NICU when you accepted this job ...and you still don't. Go ahead and apply if you're yearning for a change, but you might find that you're no more marketable than you were two months ago. In fact, you may actually be a less desirable employee if you're seeking to take off from your first job after eight weeks.
    Apply, but keep your expectations realistic. And try to get something out of the job you have now in the meantime.
  4. by   cleback
    You realize you will have all the same feelings of being new and incompetent on a nicu or L&D floor, correct? I'd stay and work through the challenges now... build confidence and some basics before transferring to a population you love.
  5. by   JKL33
    I see posts here where I do think the new grad is in an unfortunate situation - often because the setting or culture is overly harsh or there is a blatant focus on shortchanging the orientation in favor of getting a body out on the floor. I'm really not getting any of those kinds of vibes from what you wrote. Your feelings sound very typical; getting up to speed as a new nurse isn't easy. Plus this is a major life transition.

    Quote from nursex23
    I'm 2 months into orientation and so far it has been going well. I feel that I have support from my preceptor, from management, and from most of the other nurses. During my short time here I feel that I've learned a lot [...]
    You really shouldn't underestimate these things. They are a big deal. If I had to describe (what I believe is) an ideal first position, it would be a place where the culture isn't off the rails and the new grad is well-supported and is able to learn general med/surg care.

    Quote from nursex23
    ...part of me says that the grass isn't always greener on the other side and to stick to my 1-year plan.
    That part of you is right.

    Do it. Stick to your plan.

    Best wishes~
  6. by   joansmith1
    What you are feeling is normal. The 'new grad' phase lasts a full year. You are going to be scared and unsure until then Take a deep breath and be happy for yourself that you landed such a great job to start with. This type of job is exactly how you should start your RN career. It will teach you so much...you are learning all your skills, time management, patient interaction. Every minute at this job is creating an important foundation for you to be able to move on to your next step when the time comes. AND one more thing...make sure you take care of yourself on your days off. Take care of your health and get enough rest. Do things you enjoy and make you happy so you can decompress from all the stress that comes with being a new RN. You're going to be fine!!
  7. by   psu_213
    It's one job. Specifically, it's your first job. A lot of times first jobs are not what people want, and they are considered less than ideal. However, you have it to build skills and to build your resume.

    There is, I would imagine, a fairly large number of nurses who did not get their dream job as a new grad--and a number of nurses who got that dream job and then realized it was nothing like they imagined. Work out your year plus, give it you best, the apply for the positions you want. Good luck!
  8. by   Davey Do
    Let me get this right, nursex23: You landed your first nursing job at a hospital where you work with supportive staff and you're gaining experience as a nurse and learning a lot but this isn't what you want to do.

    I'm having a difficult time feeling empathy.

    Count your blessings, buck up, this is life, nobody ever promised you a rose garden, and pay your dues before you sing the blues. Learn and go forth.

    The very best to you nursex23.
  9. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from Davey Do
    Let me get this right, nursex23: You landed your first nursing job at a hospital where you work with supportive staff and you're gaining experience as a nurse and learning a lot but this isn't what you want to do.

    I'm having a difficult time feeling empathy.

    Count your blessings, buck up, this is life, nobody ever promised you a rose garden, and pay your dues before you sing the blues. Learn and go forth.

    The very best to you nursex23.
    What he said!
  10. by   ruby_jane
    Quote from nursex23
    Hello,
    EVERYONE tells me that's normal and that I'm doing great.
    It is, and they're right.

    You don't have to love what you're doing. You just have to get to be a competent nurse. Focus on what you're learning and transitioning into safe practice. You may have to dig in here a little. It's uncomfortable to feel like you don't know what you're doing. Give it the year (and then you'll look magical to any L&D unit because you've had a year of experience working in a tough gig).
  11. by   tnbutterfly
    Moved to First Year After Licensure forum.
  12. by   Ddestiny
    I think everyone has been correct in saying that this is a completely normal feeling for a new grad. It can take around a year or so (for some less, for others more like 2 years) to feel competent and like a "real nurse".
    I want to add that this feeling returns *whenever you change specialties*.
    When I went from 3 years of primary care to med/surg, I felt like a brand new grad and was super stressed all over again. After 2 years of med/surg I have moved to ICU and I felt like a new grad that had a bit of added confidence. lol Not completely like I wanted to cry in the supply closet, but definitely relied on a lot of great nurses and available resources.
    Get comfortable where you are, if for no other reason than for the fact that the fields you want to work in are, in most areas, very competitive. Once you attain the combination of feeling comfortable and stable in your job, and are marketable, consider if you are willing to start over with that level of stress again. I don't say that to discourage change (clearly lol) but to use it as a measuring stick for if you're ready for that level of stress again. Even going to a new facility in the same specialty can be pretty stressful, learning new protocols, new unit culture, who you call for what and when, etc.

    It doesn't make it any easier, but what you're experiencing is what every new nurse experiences. Embrace the suck, try to laugh at some of the absurd discomfort, and remember how this feels later on when you are the experienced nurse that has the opportunity to take a new nurse under your wing.
  13. by   applewhitern
    If you are having these thoughts and feelings now, what about when you actually do work in NICU or L&D?? Why do you think that would be different? Those are two very stressful areas; stay where you are and gain some experience.
  14. by   Workitinurfava
    It is called stress for a reason. You will either learn to adapt or it will always consume you. It will never fully go away because it is keeping you from making serious errors but it will and should lessen with time.

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