That familiar student nurse feelin'.

  1. Has anyone had that feeling during hospital orientation that they're back in clinical? I spent most of today on the floor chasing the nurse around... trying my best to assess and whatnot - but, she had six patients (most which required a little extra care), was behind on the meds, and was a little too flustered to really teach me. I know I have a really long orientation ahead of me... and this was my first day on the unit -- I guess I'm just hoping this isn't how it all turns out to be like. Any thoughts?
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    About Dempather

    Joined: Jul '06; Posts: 180; Likes: 65
    Specialty: Emergency Room, Cardiology, Medicine

    10 Comments

  3. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    It's my opinion that nurses on orientation should be considered supernumary until they've been given a chance to become familiar with the unit layout, the paperwork and the expectations. They should be given the same assignment as the preceptor, who then lets the oreintee do the work, helping as needed. Once the preceptor is happy with the new staffer's work, then and only then should the new staffer have a spearate assignment. I realize that might be unrealistic in the real world, but it's how it should be. You shouldn't have to be chasing after your preceptor who is too busy to even tell you where things are. That's unfair, and unsafe!
  4. by   Dempather
    Thankfully, how you described "how things should be" was closely related to how they were. I did not have any of my own patients, but rather followed a nurse who had... many! It's easy to feel a little less like a team-member and a little more like a student when this happens.
  5. by   youngatheart
    I have felt the same way, I have been on orientation since 7/10/06. As a new grad i feel I am not getting the help or instruction I need. I have been assigned to a nurse who has also been the charge nurse. She is very busy doing her charge nurse duties. Which is understandable but please assign me to a nurse who is not in charge. I have had 4 other preceptors in this short time. It has been very frustrating for me, not so much the patient care end but the paper work and charting involved and finding out where supplies are kept. I will be orientating for 12 weeks days and then go to nights 7PM-7AM. Feel i am getting the short end of the stick. Hopefully nights will prove better as during the day especially during the week it has been very hectic (especially when I am left alone) I have been assigned so far three patients and next week move up to four then eventually five (the most). It has been really challenging to try and organize with three patients and next week moving up to four Yikes! Oh well I guess I just have to jump in head first right? I wish I could just get my nursing legs fast. Sorry for the vent but I feel the same way as FraNny07
  6. by   RITA2007
    I felt similar on orientation. My preceptor would often disappear, probably off the floor or to chat with another nurse or on her cell phone. It was quite frustrating, especially in the beginning. After a while, I just started asking other nurses my quick question instead of hunting her down. She was in other aspects a very good preceptor, but tended not to be readily available when I had a quick question. I've been off orientation for two weeks now and it's been great. (cross my fingers and knock on wood) :spin:
  7. by   MIA-RN1
    my first couple days went by in a haze of sweat and confusion lol. I just ran to keep up and tried to figure out the reasons behind everything. It was similar to clinical in that I felt kind of lost, scared and confused. After a couple days tho, I began taking on more responsibility but not my own patients. (preceptor wasn't letting me!)
    It culminated and got better about a week into it when the person precepting me complained to the nurse educator right in front of me that precepting is hard and it slows her down and risks her license (?) and she should get extra money for it. The nurse educator told my preceptor that I was ready to take two of the four couplets we'd been assigned and since then it went way more smoothly. I found out that my preceptor is an awesome person and great nurse, but not as time-oriented as I am and so it tended to drag us down a bit.
    I've been off orientation for all of 2 days now, and I felt more than ready to have it end.
    My advice is to be proactive. Search out opportunities and try to get as much experience as you can.
  8. by   youngatheart
    Thanks coopergirl for the advice, I will be off orientation in about 3-4 weeks and cannot wait. I know that the nurses i will be working with on evenings will be very helpful compared to my preceptors now on day shift. I will be up to 4 patients tomorrow and in 2 weeks have 5 patients. I really am a day person getting used to nights will probably take me several weeks to get use to. I will be working the 7 pm-7am shift. It is very hectic during the day with all the doctors coming in/orders to check/people going off the floor for tests. I think at nights i will be able to organize myself a little better then eventually switch to days.
  9. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    You need to take steps to protect your sleep. Make sure everyone knows that working nights doesn't mean you're available to go for lunch, or babysit, or any of the other things people seem to expect us to do. They don't understand that we NEED to sleep during the day so that we can function at work. Invest in a supply of nice soft foam earplugs, some blackout blinds, a nice sleep mask, a fan for white noise, an answering machine and a little sign to hang by your doorbell that warns off those who would ring it a dozen times because they know you're home! Turn the ringer off on the phone. Wear sunglasses home from work. Eat some simple carbs before bed. Try not to stress out if it doesn't work at first. Good luck...
  10. by   MIA-RN1
    Quote from youngatheart
    Thanks coopergirl for the advice, I will be off orientation in about 3-4 weeks and cannot wait. I know that the nurses i will be working with on evenings will be very helpful compared to my preceptors now on day shift. I will be up to 4 patients tomorrow and in 2 weeks have 5 patients. I really am a day person getting used to nights will probably take me several weeks to get use to. I will be working the 7 pm-7am shift. It is very hectic during the day with all the doctors coming in/orders to check/people going off the floor for tests. I think at nights i will be able to organize myself a little better then eventually switch to days.
    I agree that you will probably enjoy the night/evening better than days. I oriented about 50% on days and I am now working straight eves. I LOVE EVES. By about 8pm, most visitors are gone and by 10 things are feeling pretty good. Of course there is always something happening somewhere but it is just a less-chaotic feeling than days. Plus on the weekend eves, its like a whole different world. I love that the best.
  11. by   Dempather
    thanks for all the great advice guys... especially janfrn with those napping tips. as a new nurse, i'm just so excited to know more and learn the right way and i'm reaally nervous that my colleagues won't learn to trust my judgment (hell.. i'm nervous that i won't learn to just my judgment!).

    thanks aggain
  12. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    Quote from fRaNny07
    thanks for all the great advice guys... especially janfrn with those napping tips.
    Oh my dear, I wasn't talking about "napping". I was talking about SLEEPING. You know, in bed for eight hours and out cold. Napping is only to be done after your last shift for a few days. Otherwise you just get progressively more sleep-deprived and cranky. And it's really hard to think through the brain fog that sleep deprivation brings. In a job like ours you have to be sharp all the time. I recommend that people who are going to be working permanent nights make it a lifestyle. I know that's really difficult with a family to consider, but health-wise it's the best thing.

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