New grad nurse wondering if I made a mistake choosing this career

  1. I'm hired as a med surg/telemetry float on night shift at a large hospital. Many new grads in this hospital are hired for float and many seem to enjoy it. I'm on orientation and although I feel I'm doing well as well as being told I'm making good progress, I just don't feel competent enough. I know this is normal but I always wonder is this really what I want to do for the rest of my life? I'm always stressed out and worrying about doing the job well and handling things. When I was training on days there was so much going on that there is no way I could handle it all on my own. Most of the time I get these thoughts in my head then things end up going ok for the most part during my shift. I just feel lost and a little scared
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    About ddrn97, BSN, RN

    Joined: Oct '18; Posts: 13; Likes: 9

    11 Comments

  3. by   OldDude
    Like I've said on other threads...if someone doesn't die on your shift - it was a good one.
  4. by   Just-floored
    Give it more time. Most new grads don't really start feeling like they have their feet under them for 6-12 months. If you can, find a mentor to discuss your challenges with. In the beginning too it is good to write down something that you learned or a success you had after every shift. Then in a few months read through it. You will likely be surprised by how far you have come.
    Last edit by Just-floored on Oct 8
  5. by   City-Girl
    Your not alone, many new grad nurses feel the same way. Ask questions, listen, take in as much as you can and learn from your experiences. You'll get your groove in time. Welcome to the world of nursing!
  6. by   llg
    Quote from ddrn97
    I'm on orientation and although I feel I'm doing well as well as being told I'm making good progress, I just don't feel competent enough. I know this is normal but :
    As you already know, your feelings are normal. You just have to give it time to see if you are going to become more comfortable as you get more experience. There are no short-cuts or ways to avoid the normal feelings of being a bit overwhelmed at first. You have to endure them -- and grow from the experience. Here are a few tips that might help you get through this stressful time.

    1. Take care of yourself physically and mentally by eating well, sleeping, getting a little exercise and doing some fun stuff on your days off, socializing with some friends and family -- and just generally doing some things you like to do.
    2. Get to know the people you work with. Make some new friends in your workplace so that your work thoughts include some happy thoughts and smiling faces.
    3. Locate your resources. Find some people who you can go to when you have questions. You will always need some people in your workplace you can go to.
    4. Remind yourself of the progress you have made and how much you have learned and grown. Imagine how much you will continue to grow over the next few months.

    We can't always avoid stressful situations or unpleasant feelings in life. Sometimes, we just have to live with them for a while. So as long as your feelings are in the "normal" category, there is probably no need to worry. In a few months, as you get more experience, they will ease. If not, then you try a different approach -- or maybe a different job. But give it a little time first to see if those feeling resolve as they do for most people.

    Are you working in the specialty that you hoped to work in when you planned to be a nurse? That can be another big factor. If you aren't, you might be stressed because this is not the job you want. If that's the case, then plan on it being a temporary 1 to 2 year job -- and dream of the future, when you will be working in the specialty of your choice.

    Good luck to you!
  7. by   BedsideNurse
    Quote from OldDude
    Like I've said on other threads...if someone doesn't die on your shift - it was a good one.
    It is true.

    I was walking out of the hospital one morning after a 12 hour tele shift and a doctor I'd talked to overnight about a patient was leaving out the door at the same time says *Hello again, did you have a good rest of your night?* And I said, "Yeah, nobody died, so that's a pretty good night." His eyes widened like he couldn't believe it & then he busted out laughing. I thought to myself, what, do you think I'm kidding? Totally not kidding dude.
  8. by   Leader25
    it sounds like you are really fortunate no one is yelling at you or looking over your shoulder,most of your stress seems from your own perception.Hope it improves for you ,if not may I suggest counseling,I have found it very helpful at those taxing times. Good luck.
  9. by   FiveYearPlan
    WHAT???? Why in the sam hell are you guys slapping OP on the back amd welcoming her with anark commenta like "well if nobody dies, you're doing ok" and "you will get used to it"???

    did you not read the OPs post at all?

    she is a FLOAT, a NEW GRAD, NIGHTS and still ORIENTING.

    Dear OP....FLOATS are experienced, confident wearing all hats and usually have multiple roles already under their belts. you said you work at a large facility? i worked at a level 1 with 900plus beds. our FLOATS, or what is called the float team...is a coveted position where you make top dollar for the 5+ years in multiple specialties.

    a float on a unit is someone who can put out fires quickly and roll with situations that one of the floor nurses with an assignment cant quite handle alone.

    how in the hell do you ORIENT A FLOAT???


    YOU DON'T.

    i call my floats when i have a hard stick or a circling the drain situation. i need experienced hands not an orientee.

    this hospital is using you and abusing you badly.

    no wonder you think this is a poor career choice. that isnt new grad nursing sweetheart. i would try and look for a NEW GRAD RESIDENCY that has a structured teaching plan developed and a constant one on one preceptor.

    personally i am not shocked at all this is happening. just like another poster elsewhere talking about being "CHARGE NURSE" after four months of being a nurse.

    what a punchline nursing has become.

    OP, if you are young, get out now. i get it that you may have debt, but go be a respiratory therapist or an xray tech they pay significantly more than nursing, have autonomy and you get one pt at a time.
  10. by   lolis
    "is this really what I want to do for the rest of my life?"

    well the good news is it would be impossible to "do this" for the rest of your life, since you're only brand new once.

    Or you could mean acute care nursing

    Or you could mean med/surg nursing.

    Or you could mean float nursing.

    But I know you really mean you don't want to feel scared and lost for your entire life, and experienced nurses have already addressed that as well as the float issue
  11. by   Lil Nel
    Quote from FiveYearPlan
    WHAT???? Why in the sam hell are you guys slapping OP on the back amd welcoming her with anark commenta like "well if nobody dies, you're doing ok" and "you will get used to it"???

    did you not read the OPs post at all?

    she is a FLOAT, a NEW GRAD, NIGHTS and still ORIENTING.

    Dear OP....FLOATS are experienced, confident wearing all hats and usually have multiple roles already under their belts. you said you work at a large facility? i worked at a level 1 with 900plus beds. our FLOATS, or what is called the float team...is a coveted position where you make top dollar for the 5+ years in multiple specialties.

    a float on a unit is someone who can put out fires quickly and roll with situations that one of the floor nurses with an assignment cant quite handle alone.

    how in the hell do you ORIENT A FLOAT???


    YOU DON'T.

    i call my floats when i have a hard stick or a circling the drain situation. i need experienced hands not an orientee.

    this hospital is using you and abusing you badly.

    no wonder you think this is a poor career choice. that isnt new grad nursing sweetheart. i would try and look for a NEW GRAD RESIDENCY that has a structured teaching plan developed and a constant one on one preceptor.

    personally i am not shocked at all this is happening. just like another poster elsewhere talking about being "CHARGE NURSE" after four months of being a nurse.

    what a punchline nursing has become.

    OP, if you are young, get out now. i get it that you may have debt, but go be a respiratory therapist or an xray tech they pay significantly more than nursing, have autonomy and you get one pt at a time.
    Last year, I was working med-surge, at a small, community hospital.

    A new grad, who had been a nurse for three months, was sometimes made Charge nurse.

    This happens more often than you think.
  12. by   MassNurse24
    It gets easier everyday, I promise. I think everyone feels like that, and the ones that don't you need to be scared of! I used to be so anxious and nauseous but that went away by the first year mark. Good luck, you're going to do just fine!!
  13. by   neonn965
    I found that when my subconscious knew I had a preceptor to fall back on I would miss more things. I felt like I would never be able to keep everything straight on my own. Once my brain knew I was the last line of defense so to speak, I kept it all together better. I felt like I would never be able to handle everything myself, and I asked my preceptor so many times after difficult shifts what I would do if I had that assignment and she wasn't there to back me. Her response was that there would be rough days at first, but I would figure it out and I would seek help when I needed it. It's hard to imagine in orientation because it seems to come so easily to an experienced nurse. Not to say you'll be perfect, but I think most people feel this way and end up handling things better than they expect so long as things go well during orientation. Just remember, if you can't handle something, there will be help.

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