New Nurse Blues

  1. I just graduated as a practical nurse in June and have been working at a nursing home since September. In school, academically, I excelled, but my practical skills were below average to say the least. My problems mainly were the fact that I am a bit on the slow side, have anxiety which can inhibit me at times, and that I don't have the world's greatest time management skills. This is still somewhat of an issue, but not as badly as it was in school (or so I feel).

    At my work we only work 7 hours and we are given work that I COULD do in 8 hours, but because of the limited time I am constantly busy and therefore tend to finish a half an hour late and I typically do not take breaks. We have a smaller home and therefore not as many meds/treatment, so the fact that I finish as late as I do with the size of our home makes me hesitant to apply to different homes.

    This is my first job period and I am twenty years old. I don't know if this is a truly a contributing factor, but it might be something worth mentioning.

    I have just been doubting myself so much lately. I question if nursing is truly for me on a daily basis, and wonder if I am good enough for it. Am I too slow? Too dumb? Too much of a perfectionist? I randomly went to go see a paychic with a friend and he strongly advised that the best course of action was to stay with nursing until the end of 2018 and then decide whether or not to switch fields which was kind of comforting, but at the same time I just feel like I am WAAAAY too slow.

    I do ask my co-workers for feedback and the experienced ones all collectively say that they were the same way and that it does get better. They also say that it's hard to establish a routine when I work every other weekend. I just feel like I haven't improved at all so I'm worried. My managers or other nurses haven't said anything about it aside from what I said above, but still I just feel very insecure to the point where I had a very vivid nightmare last night about how I didn't complete my med pass and that a co-worker called me up to confront me. This is not the first time I've had a nightmare of this nature.

    This post is all over the place, but I hope someone could kind of give me their perception of my situation. Should I be faster by now? Should I get out now? Am I doing fine? Is bedside nursing really for someone as slow as myself?

    (It is important to note, I think, that I work at a clinic where I tend to keep up with the pace so maybe it could be that nursing homes are not for me? I for sure as heck am staying away from hospitals if that's the case lol.)
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    About Miss-Hanabira

    Joined: Apr '18; Posts: 1; Likes: 1


  3. by   Ruby Vee
    At the end of 2018, you'll have slightly over a year of experience; most new nurses find at the end of their first year that they are far more comfortable in their jobs and actually LIKE the work, their patients, their coworkers and/or the paycheck. So the psychic offered very good advice.

    Even without the psychic's input, I'd say give it a year. The first year is miserable, but in order to get through it, you have to go through it. After the end of 2018, if you're still doubting yourself, consider other options.
  4. by   VivaLasViejas
    Ruby Vee is spot on. The first year of nursing is almost universally hellish. We all have moments of self-doubt (and you don't have to be a first-year nurse to have them!). I don't think the predictions of a psychic are what you should base your future on. Just know that you are going to be slow for awhile, and that it's much better to go slower and do a thorough job than rush through and make mistakes.
  5. by   LibraNurse27
    The first year is tough! It sounds like you really care about doing a good job for your patients and that's the most important thing. And I agree it is better to take your time and go slower rather than try to rush and make mistakes. You will find what works for you and your speed will increase with experience. I have worked in long term care as well as Med/Surg and critical care and I would say the time management in long term care was the toughest for me! So big props to you. As for not taking a lunch break I have learned from experience it is not wise... as long as there is not an emergent need to skip the break at least take a few minutes to sit down, eat and pee! You will go back to the floor refreshed and more productive rather than a continuous long stretch of feeling crazy/hungry/overwhelmed. Good luck!
  6. by   SavedNurse
    I am going to address the idea that everyone else has as well; stick it out. The first year to any job is going to be difficult, regardless of the trade skills you learned. Think of it this way, a hair stylists, a mechanic, a chef all go through the same years of struggle as they gain experience. Time management will come as you establish a routine and the abilities in your newly learned field. Do not let your self doubt and anxiety cripple you-- it will rob you of any job, any education you have or any other ones you think will fix it in the future. Take time, practice, keep asking for advice when you need it. And keep working. So it takes you and extra half an hour? so what? you're doing it well aren't you? Keep at it (and takes breaks so you don't get burnt out).
  7. by   xoemmylouox
    I was an LPN for over 8 years when I went back to pursue my RN. I have worked in LTC, outpatient clinics, homecare, teaching, etc. After I passed my boards and had that RN next to my name I started working in a hospital. Even though I was comfortable with working as a nurse it was a whole new world. I felt overwhelmed and scared some days. After several months I gained that confidence back and once again felt comfortable and competent. You will too. It just takes time. That is the hard part. Waiting for that fear to go away. Let me tell you a good nurse always keeps a little uneasy feeling. That keeps you front getting to cocky and hurting patients.
    Good luck and do give it time. LTC is not for everyone, but getting to know some of those patients is a gift. Now if only we had the time to sit down and provide them the care and interactions they so badly crave.
  8. by   CrunchRN
    I think you need to work more often to really increase your speed and skills. Every other weekend and like starting a new job all the time. Can you get more shifts there?
  9. by   choughlesRN
    Give it a year. You'll feel so much better. Some of our new nurses have started to pick up shifts occasionally. Those may help you feel more comfortable, however it can also make you feel overwhelmed, if you need the time off work. Play it by ear.
  10. by   drkshadez
    Doubting yourself is normal as a new nurse. You go through school, you are taught "ivlry tower" nursing ev n when taking the NCLEX. You are taught the purpose of the NCLEX is to protect the public from unsafe practices. Clinicals do not help - it ill prepares you because you have one patient.

    You are young. Nothing wrong with that. But you may not have enough life experience related to time management. You want to be thorough and that is great, but only so many hours in fhe day.

    Find a nurse or two willing to teach you, willing to share with you, willing to show you the ropes. Here is the best advice i received out of orientation from my first job: just because you're out of orientation does not mean you're alone you have a whole team willing to help you and willing to bring you up to speed to where you need to be. Find one or two nurses that you can really go to as a resource that will help you and learn from them and really listen to them.
  11. by   TruvyNurse
    Don't be so hard on yourself. Your coworkers, managers etc know you're new and young. You'll get some more slack than a nurse who's been working for 10 years and still slow or anxious. The first year sucks. I thought I'd made a huge mistake beoming a nurse. I felt so stupid and I'd go home crying to my husband. However, each day you learn a little more. And everyday you get a little more confident. I'd say even in 6 months you'll see yourself becoming more competent and better at managing your time. Just relax. Take good notes. Find ways to make your day more efficient. It takes time for everyone. Best wishes
  12. by   drkshadez
    As far as speed let me tell you what happened to me after 6 months at my first job, the model of care changed. I was on a med-surg unit where the acuity was really high, people were one acute event from going to the unit, and the model of care was going from nurses taking 6 patients instead of 5, and this was after I got my flow down I was comfortable I was able to split my time up face on the Acuity of the patience I had.

    It took me another two months to adjust how I did things because taking on an extra patient really was difficult. Some going to have there were nurses taking shortcuts mistakes were being made for medications a sentinel event happened it was a huge mess.

    Being a nurse is not about getting better faster. This is a long haul profession. It will take time to get better. The worst thing a nurse can do, in my opinion, is rush things.

    Something else as a new nurse and i shout this because all of us often forget...


    Make sure, if you doubt yourself, find that nurse you trust and say "here is what i am thinking about in regards to my patient and here is what i think i should do." That informs the other nurse you have good clinical judgement and can offet insight if you are missimg something.
  13. by   medic665
    I have to agree. Stick it out. I was a combat medic for 8 years in the Army before going to nursing school civy side. Like a lot of LPNs my first year was LTC because they are always hiring. Even after the military, that first year felt like sprinting in mud. It gets better. A lot better. You are going to get more proficient at things and that will make you faster. After you get that golden year of experience, you also might consider a job change to a place that will give you an actual preceptor. Nothing wrong with LTC, but every LTC gig I ever had was 3 days floor orientation then figure it out for yourself. I work corrections now and we give our nurses a month of orientation. You are going to get through this, everyone else here dealt with the same thing.
  14. by   Accolay
    First job and a new nurse, of course you're going to be slow. Echoing all the comments already stated: the first year of nursing is challenging, but it gets better. Keep working at it and work hard.
    Work deliberately on improving one thing at a time. Perfect and move to the next thing.
    Make lists of questions you have during your shift and look them up when you're done.
    Ask your colleagues questions before screwing something up.
    Reconsider not taking breaks.
    Do something for your anxiety: Eat good and healthy food. Drink plenty of water. Exercise. Hang with friends. Enjoy life.

    Good luck!