I started in a busy ER as a new grad, and 3 1/2 years later I am still there, and still alive to talk about it
Believe me, I was an LPN before graduating RN school so I thought it would be a little bit easier for me to adjust, but believe me, it doesnt really help that much at all. I was still pretty much on the same page as my fellow new grads when we started working as RN's.
I remember that first year and being terrified every time I went into work praying that nobody died on me and that I didnt screw something up. The first few months are the worst, you feel like you dont know anything and that you will never get it. I think it was about 6 or 7 months when I started to feel like I was "getting it" and things were running smoother. After 1 year I was gaining confidence and I was ready to take on more difficult assignments.
How you are feeling is totally normal, as you gain experience it will get easier. Do not be afraid to ask questions, that is the only way you will learn and is the only safe way to do something that you are not familiar with. We will ask questions our whole career and there are still plenty of times that I still ask more experienced nurses about things I am not familiar with. I remember when I was new, some nurses doing
when I would ask a question like "how can I not know that". But the truth of the matter is, they asked the same questions when they were new too, and if they dont like it too bad. You will know who you can go to and who you cant. You are wrong if you dont ask questions when you dont know something. That is how mistakes happen and patients get hurt.
A word of advice to new grads:
Put yourself in the position to try new things. The new grads that I work with now are progressing very well because they are totally open to trying new things under supervision and are learning very quickly and developing great skills. There was another nurse that works with me who started as a new grad and is now leaving after a year and a half. She always avoided high stress situations by making the excuse that she was "too busy with other patients" to do intubations, drips, ect, so now at this point in her career she has no idea what to do and she is not working at an equal level to other new grads of the same experience. I dont know how she was able to push this all off for so long, but now she is really suffering for it. I think when nurses are new they tend to push off difficult patients because they are scared and dont know what to do, but after a certain point you just have to jump in and do it in order to learn. She has no clue how much this has hurt her learning, and wonders why the charge nurses will not start training her in other areas of the ER like triage and critical care when nurses who started after her are. The doctors dont trust her, and the "new nurse" title does not apply anymore since she has been there too long for it to be used as an excuse anymore. She was not a bad nurse by any means, but has not taken any initiative to learn how to deal with really sick patients, but avoids them instead. Because of this, she has not learned how to prioritize effectively and becomes overwhelmed a lot when she should not be. I believe that this type of thing can happen to anyone, no matter what area they work in, if they are not open and willing to try some "scary" things.
Good luck to all my future coworkers!!