how long till you're good? - page 2

With all the skills i have been taught in nursing school and limited opportunities to use them during clinicals, i feel somewhat intimidated by the prospect of using those skills when i become... Read More

  1. by   live4today
    Originally posted by Rustyhammer
    .........................I'm confident enough that I will give advice
    on the things I know and confident enough to ask for help in
    the things I'm unsure of.
    Excellently and truthfully put, Rusty! I've been a nurse now for 15 yrs myself. I never really found nursing difficult, but I never took anything in nursing for granted......textbook is textbook......reality in reality in nursing.....each patient presents with their own classic drama, so one should never take anything for granted when it comes to assessing patients. The textbooks are the tools we use to gain our baseline of care for patients, but it's from the patients that we actually learn the reality of assessment from.
  2. by   nurseguy74
    thanks for all the replies, i feel better knowing i'm not expected to know everything when i graduate..........chris
  3. by   Weenurse
    I don't really think you can put a time limit on when you'll be good, it takes experience, having good mentors and roll models. confidence and good management. But I believe, if you've got it, you've got it, if you haven't then you have'nt. I qualified 2 years ago, am now a senior staff nurse and am frequently in charge of a medical admissions/ emergency assessment unit and I feel and am told by others that I am good at what I do, but I also know nurses who are 20 odd years in the job and just aren't up to it. The bottom line is, youv'e just got to find your niche and don't expect to be able to know everything. But remember, no matter how long you're in the job, there's always something you dont know. Good luck!
  4. by   jnette
    Good topic...Thank you ! While we're at it...... do "seasoned" nurses get tired, weary, or even annoyed with us "newbies" ?

    I've always felt "when in doubt, ASK." And then I really make an effort to learn and absorb that which I am being shown or having explained to me. But there are SO MANY "new things" to learn dailey, and I WANT to KNOW that I know that I know! Procedure wise, (technical skills).. I pick up on pretty well, but I want to know the reasoning behind why the experienced nurses do it their own special little way.. not just be shown "this is how".... wanna know WHY "this is how!"
    So do you all get annoyed with that? I want to learn, but I don't want to be annoying, nor on the other hand, be intimidated. I'm a "watcher", too. I LOVE to watch everything so I can pick up clues to improve on my care... I often wonder if this bothers the nurses... ? I go back to my textbooks a lot to refresh and learn anew, but there's nothing like watching and asking....
    just hope folks won't think I'm a pest.
  5. by   live4today
    Jnette......I have always loved precepting newbies to the field of nursing! They have never bored me, or been a bother to me. For that one interested in learning has ever bothered me. The only ones that irk me are the "knowitalls" who can't be taught much of anything due to their sour attitudes (mostly). They think that they are "above being taught".....and yes, those do exist in the field of nursing as well in all walks of life.

    I look forward to the thrill of assisting my fellow nurses in anyway I can. That's how I was when I worked before as a nurse, and that's how I vow to stay. It's who I why alter what I already enjoy being in life. :kiss
    Last edit by live4today on Oct 11, '02
  6. by   cactus wren
    Ditto on what Cheerfuldoer said
  7. by   neuroRN
    Great thread! I am a new grad, I've been working Neuro/Trauma for 5 months now and looking back I have to say that I have learned A LOT. I went through a program like yours where you are an LPN and then an RN, and I have to say that it was very beneficial to get out there and start working and getting comfortable with things. I have days now as an RN when I feel good about what I did then I have days when I feel like I should go home and re-read my nursing books. But I do have to say that I am never afraid to ask a question and everyone is always so helpful. Everyone will reach a "comfort" level in their own time, but don't expect too much of yourself as a new grad, just jump at all of the experiences that you can and always keep an open mind and never be afraid to ask questions and you will be a great addition to the nursing profession! GOOD LUCK!! :-)
  8. by   Bluebarn
    I asked this same question of the nurses when I started. The general consensus is {6 months - 1 year} to feel some degree of confidence and competence.

    The first month or so was awful. I actually had nighmares about IVs. I was nauseous before going to work every day.

    It's been about 8 months now and the difference from when I began is black and white. The nurses have been very supportive during my continued inexperience.
  9. by   Jotie
    Thank you soooooo much for this thread I too am a student and this has been the thought on my mind for a while and has been growing in intensity as my training gets closer to ending. I get very frightened some times to the point I want to pull out but I keep telling myself I have invested so much time (2 years) and energy and my family have been so supportive. I couldn't do it to them, or myself. So here I am still plodding in my one year to go and the brown undies may have to come out of the

    I thank everyone who has posted here.... It was just what I needed to hear

    Love and Sunshine to all
  10. by   semstr
    ok, started my training in1978, so I've been around for a while. I am a nurse educator now since 1992 and boy, there are so many things I was never "good" at and others I never will be "good" at.
    Normal, you can't know everything.
    But you learn the basics of the speciality you work pretty soon. after 6 months (not talking Intensive care or something) you're quite an expert yourself. And then you go to another ward.....everything starts again. But you'll notice after a few years, you have your basic- knowledge handy and learn the new things fairly soon.
    And don't forget: ask, ask, ask and read, read, read!!
    Take care, Renee
  11. by   fedupnurse
    Been a staff nurse in ICU for 10 years, started right out of school. I worked in that unit while in nursing school as a tech. Invaluable experience. If there is anyway you can work in the field while in school, do it! Many places are offering 24 for 36 (Baylor Programs) for students while they are enrolled in clinicals. I found my work experience more valuable than my school clinical experience because I was working with a bunch of nurses who had been around for a long time and liked to teach. My best advice to you is never assume anything. We had a new grad who was very cocky at first and turned of renal dopamine because he felt the patient didn't need it. I explained to him why the patient needed it and why he can't just turn off drips like that without an order. He chilled out and became a decent nurse. My next bit of advice is if you do not get along with your preceptor ask for a new one!!! There is no crime in this. You will find out who the resource people are on whatever unit or floor you work on. Use those resource people. People aske me stuff all the time. After 10 years I ask people stuff all the time too. Things change alot in this profession. None of us know it all, we are all constantly learning. Find a good, reliable resource person and use that person whenever you need to. I happen to be very good at ABG's, but I suck at starting IV's. I do the ABG's and the good one's at IV's do the IV's. It is a team effort in the ICU setting. There are nurses out there that will treat you like crap. Gravitate away from those people and toward those like myself that really like to cultivate new staff.
    I would be concerned if new nurses weren't nervous! It takes at least a year before you feel comfortable. As Rusty said, if you don't know ask and if you do know speak up!
    Most importantly, know you will feel uneasy for awhile. This is the best time to learn. Soak it all up. Instead of going in with an attitude of I am terrified go in with I am going to learn new procedures today. It is amazing how much more relaxed you will feel if you change what you are telling yourself. There are plenty of great nurses out there that like to mentor and precept. Find them. And just because you are off orientation doesn't mean you can't still ask questions!!!!!!
    Good luck to all of the new nurses!!!
  12. by   RNConnieF
    I'm kind of in between here, been an LPN for 6 years but didn't work in the hospital, RN graduate in May and took a PCU position in July as my first hospital job so I'm kind of an experienced new nurse. The most important thing I would pass on is that you know way more than you think you do, now you have to learn to apply it to real people. In my nursing career I have learned to trust my feelings about what is going on with a patient. If my gut is telling me something isn't right even if I don't know exactly what is wrong, I go to one of my more experienced colleagues and tell them I have a "bad feeling". I have NEVER had a fellow nurse blow me off or refuse to come into the room and do an assessment of what I feel the problem is and in every case, even thought I couldn't tell you what the pathophysiology was I was right that "something" was going on. Being a good nurse is about knowing when to ask for help from an experienced nurse., when to listen to your inner voice, and when to say I don't have a clue and I need help. (Sounds like Love Story for those of us old enough to remember "Love means never having to say you're sorry") You will never know all that you need to know but your knowledge base will grow daily. I work with nurses who have been in CC for almost 30 years and they still seek a second opinion, not as often as I do for sure, but they will still do it.
  13. by   mattsmom81
    I agree with everyone's take on new grads..a solid year is average to really 'gel' and most experienced staff understand that the new grads needs this time.

    If staff seem irritated by questions or 'watching' ask them if they would be more comfortable if you found another preceptor. I don't believe staff should be forced to precept if their heart is not in's not good for anyone involved.

    Agree with Fedupnurse...gravitate to the 'student friendly' staff and stay clear of the young eaters!!

    Try not to take it personal...everyone has bad days/years and a nurses grouchiness is probably not due to you being there at all.