Feeling frustrated and inadequate

  1. I am working on a frequently busy floor. Which can be exciting and interesting, but trying to keep up can often frustrate me. We are adequately staffed. Staffing is generally not a problem.
    I tend to be kind of a slow plodding person anyway. Somewhat disorganized. I realize that unfortunately, these "qualities" work against me in nursing.
    One day this past week I missed a med on new admit that I didn't catch until I glanced over my meds at end of shift. I have no excuse to have missed it. It bothered me all night. The med was given when I realized it (future times changed to proper frequency). Unfortunately that is not the only stupid mistake. Seems like there is always something that I miss even if small. So far, nothing such as to endanger a pt. Nothing that can't be overcome, just makes me feel bad.
    I am still new to the facility and this is my first hospital experience. But, I feel like I should be doing better than I am. I know I will never be a super-nurse, but I wish I could maintain adequate.
    I know something more like LTC pace would probably better suit me, but I do not want to work with an exclusively geriatric population.
    I welcome any suggestions on what I can do to avoid these types of mistakes and also what area of nursing might suit me. I would like to work in a position that includes paid time off and retirement. I also don't favor working by myself. I often prefer to work with others. I was wondering if OR or PACU might suit me better, even though I don't like stuff on my face! Or OB. (I know OB can be busy, but not usually the level of complex patients)
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  2. Visit ~Kitty~ profile page

    About ~Kitty~

    Joined: Feb '05; Posts: 73; Likes: 2

    22 Comments

  3. by   BETSRN
    Quote from ~Kitty~
    I am working on a frequently busy floor. Which can be exciting and interesting, but trying to keep up can often frustrate me. We are adequately staffed. Staffing is generally not a problem.
    I tend to be kind of a slow plodding person anyway. Somewhat disorganized. I realize that unfortunately, these "qualities" work against me in nursing.
    One day this past week I missed a med on new admit that I didn't catch until I glanced over my meds at end of shift. I have no excuse to have missed it. It bothered me all night. The med was given when I realized it (future times changed to proper frequency). Unfortunately that is not the only stupid mistake. Seems like there is always something that I miss even if small. So far, nothing such as to endanger a pt. Nothing that can't be overcome, just makes me feel bad.
    I am still new to the facility and this is my first hospital experience. But, I feel like I should be doing better than I am. I know I will never be a super-nurse, but I wish I could maintain adequate.
    I know something more like LTC pace would probably better suit me, but I do not want to work with an exclusively geriatric population.
    I welcome any suggestions on what I can do to avoid these types of mistakes and also what area of nursing might suit me. I would like to work in a position that includes paid time off and retirement. I also don't favor working by myself. I often prefer to work with others. I was wondering if OR or PACU might suit me better, even though I don't like stuff on my face! Or OB. (I know OB can be busy, but not usually the level of complex patients)
    I would pick the area of nursing that you REALLY like and train there. There is the need in any area of nursing to get everything done and OR,PACU and OB are no different. If you are concerned about maybe working in an area that is not too critical, OB might work for you as long as you stick with only post-partum nursing. L&D is very interse as is OR and PACU.
    Maybe as you get more experienced you will be a bit better at organization, but that skill is paramount, especially when dealing with meds and treatments.

    Maybe you could work with a preceptor or other extremely organized person and see what exactly they do to keep from missing things.

    PTO and retirement benefits come with FULL-TIME positions.

    You obviously had that missed med on your med sheet or you would not have realized you missed it. Maybe just working on how to keep track of things better would help.

    You should have a small "cheat sheet" on each of your patients and make sure that you look at each one on an hourly basis to assure that you don't forget something.
  4. by   ~Kitty~
    I had my med times for my all day pts. What got me on this one was that it was a new admit and I didn't get it on my pocket sheet after the orders were done.
    I realize that all tasks need to be done in all areas. But what areas are more straight forward (nearly impossible to miss necessary tasks).
    That is what made me think of OR, no missed med times there are there?
  5. by   UM Review RN
    Quote from ~Kitty~
    I am still new to the facility and this is my first hospital experience. But, I feel like I should be doing better than I am. I know I will never be a super-nurse, but I wish I could maintain adequate. ....

    I welcome any suggestions on what I can do to avoid these types of mistakes and also what area of nursing might suit me.
    Since you're new, I'd give it a year to get fairly comfortable and then decide. The kind of mistakes you're making are not the kind that say you're simply not suited for this type of unit, they're what I call "beginner" errors, because they're so common to the new nurses on the unit.

    I know how frustrated you must feel. I've been there, too. I can assure you that with the right attitude, you can bust through the barriers that keep you from performing at your peak.

    Once you find a problem, tackle it. Figure out a way to prevent it. You say you're disorganized, for instance. So am I. Worse, I'm a tad dyslexic. So I have to be very very anal about certain weak spots I have. I have my Cardexes folded in such a way that I have all my meds written for each pass, all the IV fluids right there, and all the labs that I need to be checking on. I checkmark beside each name as I assess, then I red circle each room number after I've checked the chart, and black circle each room number after I've completed my charting on that person.

    Well, it sounds weird to anyone else, but it works for me, and I very rarely lose track of where I am with my charting and meds now, even if a doc or a therapist snitches the chart for a few minutes. My first idea, which was to stack the charts into two piles, "Done" and "Not Done," didn't work because other people would have to chart too.

    All this is to say that it took awhile before I found a system that worked for me, and it sounds like more than anything, you need a good system to make sure you have all your meds written down where you won't forget them.

    It takes time, but if you really put your mind toward solving your particular problems with your work performance, you can improve your processes and dramatically increase your efficiency.

    Let us know how it works out, ok? I'd hate to see you leave that job so soon, if only because you say staffing is not a problem. Sounds like paradise to me!
  6. by   Noahm
    Kitty I'm sure you are a really good nurse that just needs more organization. We all make mistakes and we learn from them and improve. Please don't beat yourself up and feel inadequate. You sound like a caring nurse who takes a lot of pride in her work. Remember to focus on the good things you have done throughout your shift and not just on the mistakes.
  7. by   meownsmile
    Even experienced nurses miss the occasional med and have to go back and "fix" things. Remember, one thing at a time, prioitize and dont let yourself get caught up in someone elses rush. It's easy to do. A nurse on the floor who seemingly is able to shuffle dozens of things at one time may look efficient but she also has things she is missing. We are all human.
    When i take report, i find a place on my report sheets to write 3 columns of separate tasks,, report from last shift in column one written in red, column 2 is things i need to do for that patient in the day(iv meds, dressing changes, central line care etc), and the 3rd column is things i want to make sure i tell the oncoming shift in report outside of what is on our action sheets. I make a list of all new orders on that patient someplace on the sheet.
    It gets better with time, i agree a good year is generally the rule to get to a "comfort zone".
  8. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Leaving your current position might be like jumping from a frying pan into fire. You stated the staffing was good. You have it better than many others just in this alone. That said, I echo the others before me. Give yourself more time. Don't be so hard on yourself; do NOT let errors stymie you into frustration and inability to perform. We all were new once, all made mistakes, all felt like quitting. Changing jobs probably is a poor idea at this time, based on what you tell me. I like the cheat sheet idea; I use one all the time. It's my "brain" I use to keep track of meds, treatments, lab test results, etc. I then use it to give report to the next shift when I go off.

    Please, be gentle with yourself and give it more time. It took me at least TWO years to feel comfortable in my speciality/job (OB, which by the way is not "slower" as many think). Get good diet, exercise, sleep adequately so you CAN be in optimal physical/mental condition to do your job.

    If benefits are what you seek, you need to try to work part or full time (FTE). Most places, casual, perdiem, PRN jobs do NOT net paid time off (although I do accurue retirement bennies as a PRN'er).

    I wish you well. HANG IN THERE, and DO NOT GIVE UP!
  9. by   stidget99
    Quote from ~Kitty~
    I am working on a frequently busy floor. Which can be exciting and interesting, but trying to keep up can often frustrate me. We are adequately staffed. Staffing is generally not a problem.
    I tend to be kind of a slow plodding person anyway. Somewhat disorganized. I realize that unfortunately, these "qualities" work against me in nursing.
    One day this past week I missed a med on new admit that I didn't catch until I glanced over my meds at end of shift. I have no excuse to have missed it. It bothered me all night. The med was given when I realized it (future times changed to proper frequency). Unfortunately that is not the only stupid mistake. Seems like there is always something that I miss even if small. So far, nothing such as to endanger a pt. Nothing that can't be overcome, just makes me feel bad.
    I am still new to the facility and this is my first hospital experience. But, I feel like I should be doing better than I am. I know I will never be a super-nurse, but I wish I could maintain adequate.
    I know something more like LTC pace would probably better suit me, but I do not want to work with an exclusively geriatric population.
    I welcome any suggestions on what I can do to avoid these types of mistakes and also what area of nursing might suit me. I would like to work in a position that includes paid time off and retirement. I also don't favor working by myself. I often prefer to work with others. I was wondering if OR or PACU might suit me better, even though I don't like stuff on my face! Or OB. (I know OB can be busy, but not usually the level of complex patients)
    I have to agree with what others wrote re: your situation. You absolutely must give yourself some time to acclimate to any situation. Take a moment, if you will, and picture one of the nurses on your unit that really seems to be on top of his/her game. That person was in your same exact position at some time in their career.

    When it comes to doing anything in life...whether it's driving, parenting, or nursing....watch what others do.....see the best and see the worst. Then, take the best that you have witnessed and form your own unique style. You may not be a super nurse now.........but you do have the potential!!!! Give yourself break....give yourself some time.
  10. by   ~Kitty~
    Thanks so much for all the wonderful replies and encouragement.

    I also didn't mention that I wasn't feeling good on that shift. About the time of the missed med, I was absolutely dragging. Wasn't feeling real sick, just super draggy. My stepmom (RN) mentioned when I told her about it maybe my sugar was down. I wish I had thought to check it. Would have been interesting to check and see if it was. (I am not diabetic, don't have any dx. r/t sugar)

    I will try to organize my cheat sheet a little better to try to make sure I have everything on there. Thanks for all the suggestions.
  11. by   11:11
    Ahemm....

    Ive got news for you.

    Even grizzled veterans with 20 plus years on the unit who know their way around pathophys better than some of the residents forget meds...

    I know. I get calls from them after they get home and remember:chuckle .

    Always strive to get better. But try to get along with yourself too.

    I dont know why but follow up labs to electrolyte protocols are my weakness. I dont miss them often but once in awhile it happened. So now I make it a habit in my mind to draw at twelve and four whether the patients need it or not. That way if I get swamped, crashed or whatever my pts dont get missed. Worse case scenario. And if they dont need a draw then at least I didnt forget.

    As you gain more experience you'll do better. But you'll still miss something now and then. Not a day goes by that I cant think of something I couldnt have done better or in a more timely fashion-

    HTH

    11
  12. by   Tweety
    I know how you feel. While I'm not one who plods along, sometimes I feel like the most disorganized beast there is. People are sitting and finished an hour after they get there and while I've "seen" everyone, I might have assessed and done total care for on a couple of patients by then. By the time I'm done and having dinner and charting, they are surfing the internet, reading magazines, or gathered around the nursing station having fun.

    Gotta love floor nursing.

    Good luck in whatever you do.
  13. by   FutureNrse
    Quote from ~Kitty~
    I am working on a frequently busy floor. Which can be exciting and interesting, but trying to keep up can often frustrate me. We are adequately staffed. Staffing is generally not a problem.
    I tend to be kind of a slow plodding person anyway. Somewhat disorganized. I realize that unfortunately, these "qualities" work against me in nursing.
    One day this past week I missed a med on new admit that I didn't catch until I glanced over my meds at end of shift. I have no excuse to have missed it. It bothered me all night. The med was given when I realized it (future times changed to proper frequency). Unfortunately that is not the only stupid mistake. Seems like there is always something that I miss even if small. So far, nothing such as to endanger a pt. Nothing that can't be overcome, just makes me feel bad.
    I am still new to the facility and this is my first hospital experience. But, I feel like I should be doing better than I am. I know I will never be a super-nurse, but I wish I could maintain adequate.
    I know something more like LTC pace would probably better suit me, but I do not want to work with an exclusively geriatric population.
    I welcome any suggestions on what I can do to avoid these types of mistakes and also what area of nursing might suit me. I would like to work in a position that includes paid time off and retirement. I also don't favor working by myself. I often prefer to work with others. I was wondering if OR or PACU might suit me better, even though I don't like stuff on my face! Or OB. (I know OB can be busy, but not usually the level of complex patients)
    How about an opinion from a non-nurse? You may not feel like a super-nurse right now because you've made mistakes, but I can assure you that at least one patient you dealt with very recently thought you were super. You're focusing on your mistakes, not on your successes. Stop and think about everything that you did right. Think about the patients that you helped, the thanks you received, these little things add up.
    One thing that puts you in the super-nurse catagory in my mind, is that you worried about the mistakes you made, and owned up to them, quite publicly at that. Not many people would do that. I'd be willing to bet that at least one other nurse that you work closely with made a mistake recently and didn't bother to tell anyone, or worry about it, or ask for advice about what to do about it. Your honesty, puts you a cut above the rest in my opinion. Obviously you care about the welfare of your patients, and that's what really matters.
    Work out a system to "check" yourself every couple of hours to make sure that you are on track. It could be a checklist that you type up, laminate and keep in your pocket, or something as simple as doing a run-through in your mind to visualize what you've already done. That could jog your memory of things you may have forgotten.
    Just don't be down on yourself, I for one admire your honesty.
  14. by   Todd SPN
    Lets see. Two nurses, three aides, 65 residents and one new admit. Oh yeah, no break for ten hours. Maybe LTC will be more your pace. :angryfire Come on over to where the grass is greener.

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