Experienced Nurse Unconfident all Over Again

  1. I never thought after three years of nursing I would be inthis position all over again. So as mentioned I've been a nursefor three years. Nursing was my first job ever and over time I've managed togrow from being a very socially awkward and nervous individual. I started outbeing afraid of everything but experience helped me gain confidence. Ieventually moved onto a new facility where I worked for a year. While I alwaysmake sure I respect and am pleasant to my coworkers, I couldn't help but feel thata few of the nurses did not reciprocate the same behavior. I ignored it becauseI can easily adjust to all types of personalities. However a year into it, Irealized that all of the negative energy was making the work environment toxic.I soon realized, the nurses (all levels) were always placing blame on eachother for everything wrong that happened even when it was no one's fault. I'mtalking very petty to very extreme mistakes/incidents. It was ridiculous.

    Then one night, I had a terriblework experience that completely shattered the confidence I've managed to build.FYI I did not hurt anyone or even come close to it. However, it was more of a situation where I felt I was being blamed for actually helping a patient whentheir nurse wouldn't. While I knew I didthe right thing as a nurse and even more, as a human being, I chose to leave that environment. Even when I left though I was so annoyed by the situation that occurred and the way my fellow nurses made me feel. I took a step back for a few months to think about where I wanted to work next. I was overwhelmed with the thought of having to work like this again and eventually grew fearful of having to work in an environment where I'm being blamed.

    I recently started working at a surgical center just to get back in the groove and to start slow. So much time has passed though that all of my initial fears of when I first became a curse resurfaced. I have no problem when I'm with my patients; I am most calm and pleasant around them. My coworkers are nice and respectful, but all of my social awkwardness and insecurities have come back again. I'm so uncomfortable and self-conscious around them, that it's starting to affect the way I work when they're around.

    Ex: If I have to start an IV and a surgeon or OR nurse is there standing over me, I am more prone to messing up. Additionally, while I maintain respect and try my best to bepleasant, I ultimately keep to myself and avoid small talk. It's been a few months, and this is still an ongoing issue. I can tell many are also avoidingme and I somehow feel they may think I am incompetent.

    How can I fix this? Does anyone share similar experiences and what have you done to overcome this? I ultimatelyknow that my patients and their safety are really my priorities. But clearly my previous experience has negatively impacted the way I deal with my current coworkers and I don't want it to affect my nursing care.
    Last edit by traumaRUs on Mar 5
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    About Pinny90

    Joined: Jun '17; Posts: 2; Likes: 4


  3. by   All_night
    Pinny, you sound a lot like me, except I'm an experienced CNA for the time being rather than an RN. You know the strangest thing, though? I became unconfident and very anxious at work pretty much overnight for several days. It seems to have been triggered by stress from school and uncertainty regarding a couple of possible new jobs. It was so bad (shaking hands, racing heart), that I thought about calling in sick instead of going to work in addition to talking to my doctor about anti-anxiety medication. And when I wouldn't let myself take the easy way out, I felt an overwhelming sense of dread. Outside of work, I even had a panic attack. However, de-stressing by working out seems to have set me straight again somehow. I don't know if this will help you, but please give it a try. Working out to the point where you have the same symptoms as the anxiety and being able to push through them seems to be what helped me the most.

    I understand that there is an emotional component to your stress, but I still hope you try adding a strenuous activity to your de-stressing routine. Please keep us posted, and good luck. I know you will find your confidence so that you can help your patients the way you used to =)
    Last edit by All_night on Mar 8 : Reason: Typo and addition
  4. by   Floridasunnurse
    Pinny, Having returned to facility nursing recently after being away has been a real eye-opener and brought feelings very similar to what you describe. I don't find alot of true comraderie where I am and my friends in other areas of Nursing have reported the same. We have discussed it and feel it's more a sign of the times than anything we do or say to our co workers. My best advice would be to recognize this and try to seek out that one co worker you feel is genuine and caring to talk to and share. And I also agree with All night that going for a walk, working out or a trip to the coffee shop just making some time for yourself helps to build confidence in that you deserve time to enjoy something for 'you'.
  5. by   Pinny90
    Thank you both for your comments. I appreciate the advice and feel a little better. I'm definitely taking your comments into consideration and working on ways to deal with it. I've got a long way to go and reading comments on this blog seems to be helping. Thank you again
  6. by   hppygr8ful
    Quote from Pinny90
    Thank you both for your comments. I appreciate the advice and feel a little better. I'm definitely taking your comments into consideration and working on ways to deal with it. I've got a long way to go and reading comments on this blog seems to be helping. Thank you again
    You are doing fine be your self and be confident in your skills - I'm something if an IV whisperer even though I don't do them anymore. I once had to start an IV with like ten people watching me. I commented that I felt like the main event on "Masterpiece Theatre" and I worked best without an audience. Got it on the first stick which was good since family was standing by and had watched several nurses not get the stick. Be confident, breath, be polite and a social as you like. It will get easier.

  7. by   CecileSF
    I had a same issue when I a switched to a new job after a few years of working. I am still a fairly new nurse but not a new grad. I went from a busy high acuity hospital to one which is less busy and I thought it would be easy. I am introverted and awkward so I didn't always get become great friends with my coworkers, but my skills earned their respect. At my new job, I had to prove myself all over again, it was like being a new grad. The senior nurses, and even younger nurses, would hover over me and give me advice. Because of this, I have gotten negative feedback because I did things the way I was used to, not how the culture of the new facility does it. My skills were rated very highly though. My confidence went down hill. It will take time, but the longer I work there the more trust my coworkers will give me. Hang in there, it will take time to get used to this new setting, although it is slower paced. I feel like learning the routine and getting along with your coworkers is half the battle.
  8. by   amzyRN
    Perhaps try to use this experience as an opportunity for growth, to show you how to improve your skills and what you need to work on. People learn by experience an mistakes. No one knows everything, everyone makes mistakes, everyone will find something they can improve upon. To err is human. I've had plenty of those experience, where I got my butt kicked by a difficult assignment or made an error and embarassed myself. But knowing that everyone has these moments, I did not let it drag me down and used it as motivation to improve.