Quote from chrty_knox
Im in my 3rd year as a nurse I took a long maternity leave after my twins and returned casual call so a about 4 or 5 shifts a month now. I did do an apprentice nurse program after my first year of nursing school and completed my preceptorship/orientation with flying colors. I felt like I was doing great then.....I now feel as if im a horrible nurse. I feel like I am still a newbie to an extent. I think I hope I will gain even more experience when I return full time. The 3rd year of being a nurse has been the hardest. Although experience wise it prob adds up to a 1 1/2 to 2 years full time experience. I even was a cna for 6 years prior to becoming an rn and still nursing is so different.
In the past two years I've been on two extended medical leaves -- with almost a year between them. In the interim, our unit has been moved to a different area of the hospital as the hospital is focused on updating and remodeling "to provide you the best care possible." Some things in the new unit are the same, but others -- including some policies have changed a lot. It doesn't help that we get a new crop of newbies (25 this summer) who turn over regularly. Fully a quarter of the staff was new to me when I came back -- plus new respiratory therapist, residents, PTs, pharmacists etc. Even though I've been in the ICU for 33 years, I felt pretty lost when I came back.
Coming back on casual call makes it even more difficult -- you work so infrequently that the learning curve is even steeper. You are a newbie, and you probably are, at this point, a horrible nurse. I certainly was when I came back after each medical leave. The good news is it comes back more quickly than you learned it in the first place! The time management, critical thinking, planning and hands on skills took time to develop in the first place, and they'll take time to develop again.
I wish you luck -- I'm still struggling a bit, but based on prior experience, I should be catching up soon!