Happy,In denial, overwhelmed, nervous and worried


I took the nclex-pn late last month and i found that i passed early this month. Of course I was happy but i was also very in denial about it. I felt like i didn't prepare enough to take the test and i don't feel like i deserved to pass.

I'm afraid to look for a job because i don't feel like i know enough to do the job well and i'm afraid that i may hurt someone.

What do i need to do to become a really good nurse and what kind of jobs are good for new nurses like me so i can be reliable.

Ever since i found out i passed a few days ago, I started looking through articles on this site for information and looking for books about nursing and reading about things other nurses have experienced and I've been going through my old textbooks just to mentally prepare myself but i don't know if i'm doing enough.

Specializes in Critical Care, Capacity/Bed Management. Has 8 years experience.

Congratulations on passing the NCLEX-PN! Now ready for some hard hitting information?

Did you know everything on the exam? Absolutely not, no one does. I sure enough didn't when I took the NCLEX-RN last year, but my knowledge in nursing has increased because of continuing education, orientation, and EXPERIENCE.

Will you know everything there is to know about nursing? Probably not, no one does. You can become a knowledgeable nurse by educating yourself on your specialty, patient population and changes in practice. Join professional organizations and become active in workplace committees.

Will you harm a patient? Probably, we have all done something that caused some degree of harm. To say that no one has or no one will is rather scary. No one is perfect, it is important to be self analyzing and remember to be honest. If you make an error own up to it, write an incident report. Incident reports are not punitive, they are to help identify issues in a system and patch them up.

Best of luck in your professional journey!

Specializes in ICU.

Start applying for jobs. Be sure to ask what sort of orientation they offer during the interview - a good strong orientation is what's going to teach you how to do your job.

The only way to feel like you know what you're doing is to get out there and do it, and learn. Best of luck to you!


39 Posts

Jfleurim: congratulations on passing your exam. I had a big response but for some reason either I or my tablet is technically challenged this morning. I bookmarked it though so I can return this afternoon.


RNperdiem, RN

4,591 Posts

Has 14 years experience.

Most of the actual learning we do as a nurse is in our first year of working. If you are a new grad, don't worry, we know you need orientation and support to learn to do the job. Orientation is 12 weeks long in my unit and experienced nurses are willing to help.

Jensmom7, BSN, RN

1,907 Posts

Specializes in Hospice. Has 36 years experience.

Ok, first of all, breathe.

It's actually good that you feel inadequate and under prepared. The new grads who come in knowing everything and with a chip on their shoulder when it comes to learning how to actually be a nurse always scared the crap out of me.

Nursing school didn't teach you how to be an actual, functioning nurse. It taught you how to pass NCLEX.

It generally takes about a year to feel comfortable in a new job situation. Be a sponge, listen to your preceptor, keep a small notebook in your pocket to jot down subjects you want/need to research more.

When you feel overwhelmed, just remember this:


Horseshoe, BSN, RN

5,879 Posts

I agree with the above post. It takes a full year or so to become confident and comfortable as a new nurse, unless you are delusional and think you know it all. This is NORMAL. Just accept that for a year, you will likely feel some anxiety on your way to work, have days where you feel like an idiot, have days where you kick yourself over some error. This is completely expected.

But fortunately, "this too shall pass."

Go get 'em, tiger.


367 Posts

Agree with the above posters, there is a lot of learning that you do within your first year of nursing. I am in the same situation as you are at this time, I took my NCLEX-PN on May 26, found out two days later I passed. I started applying for jobs the Tuesday after Memorial day and had an interview on the spot at one of the places along with a job offer. I start my orientation next week Tuesday at a rehab/LTC facility. The facility that I will be working at is one of the better places with the average resident to nurse ratio being 12:1, other places closer to me tend to usually run a 30-36:1 ratio. During my interview I also asked the DON what type of orientation for new nurses do they offer. She told me that the typical orientation to the floor is 3-5 days, however if I did not feel that I was ready to be on my own they would work with me and they had one nurse that they provided with a month long orientation.

I know that going into this job there is much that I don't know, but I also know that the place that hired me knows this also. I will have other nurses around me that I can utilize when I need help and when I am unsure of something I need to make sure that I am using them as one of my resources. Am I going to make mistakes... yes, am I going to do something that may potentially or will harm a patient in my care... yes hopefully nothing that is life threatening and when it does happen that I learn from that and never repeat that mistake again. Yes I am nervous in starting this new job, it will be the first time in the past 9 years that I will be starting a job in which I really do not have any prior experience, that can be a scary thing but it is also an opportunity for me to learn and to grow if I allow it to be. You passed the NCLEX-PN which means that it was determined that you are competent to be safely working at the level in which they consider a new grad to be at, trust in what you have learned so far and don't be afraid to ask for help from those around you. Also when looking for a job, look for a place that will be supportive of a new nurse, ask about how many people you will be responsible for taking care of on a normal shift, what type of orientation do they provide or are willing to provide. Also think about what is important to you within a new job that will help you to be successful and grow. Good luck :)


18 Posts

Thank you for responding to my post. I'm gonna work on my resume and then i'll start applying for jobs asap.


18 Posts

@Leonardsmom Good luck to you too :)