feeling competent

  1. I was wondering at what point (if at all) did you begin to feel competent in nursing school. I just finished my first quarter (one down 8 to go!) and hope that at some point things will come together and I'll have an "ah ha" moment where it somehow all seems like it is coming together for me.

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    Joined: Aug '05; Posts: 542; Likes: 88
    chronic student


  3. by   TheCommuter
    Most of my classmates and I never felt competent during nursing school. After all, during clinical rotations you are only taking care of 1 or 2 patients. This does not occur in the real world of nursing.

    I think it is totally normal to not feel 'competent' until you have some actual work experience under your belt. In my honest opinion, school doesn't prepare students for the real world, and virtually nothing is done by the book.
  4. by   mitchsmom
    I don't think anyone feels competent until much later after a lot of job experience. As far as school goes, our instructors are always talking about how things usually start to come together for students after the second semester (which for us is after fundamentals, pharm, psych, LTC, and 1st med-surg rotations).

    We just don't learn nearly everything we need to know in our jobs during school... I am going to graduate in April and I'm more scared than ever about being "competent" and ready, so don't get your hopes up in that sense! There's still a lot of learning after we graduate, but don't worry... that's the way everyone does it so we'll be ok
    Last edit by mitchsmom on Jan 2, '06
  5. by   studentnurserachel
    I don't feel competent, but I did have an ah-ha moment at the beginning of last semester (4 of 5 for me) where I really thought "okay, I'm getting this" after I finished clinical for the day. For me it was when I knew more stuff than stuff I didn't know at clinicals and discovered that I had some level of nursing judgment. During one particular clinical, I caught a potentially harmful situation that the night nurse had overlooked (really wrong fluids hanging) and also observed a change in my patient's ECG strip that had not been caught and was significant. I do not expect to feel competent or even really comfortable after this last semester, but I am beginning to feel like I am about as competent as a new grad can expect to be. It will come together gradually for you, don't beat yourself up and expect yourself to be as good as nurses who've been working for a couple years, try to focus on the progress you have made. As long as you are getting through clinicals and not getting any negative comments from your CIs, you don't have anything to worry about.
  6. by   MIA-RN1
    After second semester I began to feel competent as a student but I don't know when I will feel competent as a nurse. (Starting my final semester in a few weeks)
  7. by   purplemania
    I don't recall feeling competent in nursing school. Competency pertains to skills and tasks. I had to get more experience to feel competent. As for feeling like I was "getting it" and would pass the written part, well it was toward the end when everything started to come together and make sense. I got my ADN, then worked as RN while getting BSN & MSN. Both were easier because I was working as RN and could relate to situation.
  8. by   hollykate
    For me a feeling of competency came with my last rotation, a one on one preceptorship in the ICU. When My preceptor essentially stopped hovering over me and told me to yell if I needed help, I realized I had achieved two things- enough competency to do my own assessments etc, and the trust of another nurse. Of course, I'll readily admit that was all shot to heck when I started in a different ICU as a new grad...not the right bunch of people, I suppose. Now, I still have moments, things change so quickly in nursing and there are so many different things out there!