Reality Shock

  1. I am doing a talk on reality shock at a preceptor workshop next month (on friday the 13th no less) and could use some help. Not finding alot out there on the subject and how it relates to nursing. Does anyone have any articles or good stories I can share in the class? I would appreciate any help you can give me. If you want you can email me at
    Thanks, Susan
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    About shrpgrl

    Joined: Aug '02; Posts: 14
    rehab rn


  3. by   mario_ragucci
    Reality shock first encompasses all shock. Reality shock for a PT is facing a threat of death because of a physical ailment, and all the implications associated with that. How would you react to learning of your own serious illness (if you had one)? I don't know what I'm talking about, or if anyone understands :-(
  4. by   Genista
    This article has some points:

    The classic (which you may need help in finding) is the book by Marlene Kramer, called, "Reality Shock: Why Nurses Leave Nursing."

    I vividly recall starting as a new grad on med surg pm shift and facing my own reality shock. On that shift, we each took 6 pts to start, and could get 1-2 admits by end of shift. Some pts were tele, too. I was working with another new grad, who had graduated 6 mos prior to me. I kind of looked up to her- she seemed so confident when I felt so unsure and nervous. I remember one night when she lost it. The straw on the camel's back was her restrained pt who pulled out his IV for the 2nd time that night! She was running her tail off, and went in to check on him, and there was blood all over the place! She freaked out. Not so much from the blood- but the stress of having to do care on 6-8 pts and not being able to keep up. She quit her job not long after.I felt so shocked by it, as she NEVER told anyone how stressed she felt, and kind of kept her stress to herself. I felt the stress, too, but really asked for advice and suggestions on how to improve my organizational skills. One experienced RN (RN 25 +years) told me,"It takes at least a year to start to feel comfortable." I think her comment really helped me in those first few months when I felt so incompetent.

    Personally, I remember dashing into the med room and crying from the stress, then taking a few breaths and running back out to finish my job. I will never forget the stress of a new grad. It was so overwhelming- the total assist patients all calling for their nurse at once (me), all the procedures I had never done (and dragging the P&P out so often it was crazy). All those meds you have to look up, because you don't know them yet. I was so scared evertime I had to call the MD! ;-) It was so mentally exhausting & I felt so inadequate. The pace was 1,000 times faster then any clinical I ever had. My fellow nurses were supportive, but even so, I felt so "overwhelmed." I didn't have the skills to prioritize like I do now, so I felt panic stricken everytime there were multiple crisises, which as we nurses know, is daily. ;-)

    I think the important thing to relay to new grads is that most of us do experience reality shock. And that it does get better. Asking for help from seasoned RNs and asking for advice is always okay. Nursing is teamwork. Good luck with your talk! :roll