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hmarine88 hmarine88 (New Member)

a healthy fear?

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I am starting to get into the "thick" of my nursing program. The reality of being a nurse is hitting home a bit more every day. Nursing is something that I have wanted to do since I was a young girl, and I am thrilled to finally be pursuing it. Here's the kicker: I am starting to get terrified! Granted, I do have diagnosed anxiety and am on medication, and am doing really well. But, when I think about being responsible for peoples' lives, making sure I pass correct medication, know how to spot signs of a declining patient, remember how to properly do everything, it's overwhelming and scary! What if I mess up? What if I forget how to do something? What if I accidentally do a med error?

Whew...is this normal for being a nursing student? I've always been so sure of my profession I'm pursuing, and now I'm terrified.

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I have been a nurse for quite awhile now - and I still have a healthy fear. Every time I draw up a med, every time I assess a more "fragile" patient.... I have that healthy fear. If you get too comfortable - that's when you make mistakes.

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These are all totally normal feelings. Errors happen. We are all human. If you don't know how or forget how to do something, make sure to ask questions. I think nurses who think they know everything, even with experience, can be far more dangerous than a brand new nurse who may be slower but are paying attention to details and asking lots of questions. The biggest advice I have for a first job is to thoroughly investigate the orientation process and make sure you will have a sufficient amount of time and support to help you in your first steps.

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AS an RN, I have messed up, forgotten something, and unfortunately made a med error in my 12 years.

Messed up - one shift I was overly attentative to alarms and a parent requested that I not be their nurse the next shift

Forgotten something - one shift forgot to notify one of the consulting MDs about a lab until a few hours later. I didn't notify because no chnage would have been recommended, I just forgot that this particular MD wanted immediate notification, not a few hours later.

Med error - I had a pain medication running at a lower rate becuase the MD wanted some weird calculation. I didn't question the calculation and ran as orderd. Pt was undermedicated. I felt terrible.

I stated the above to illustrate that things happen. sometimes even on a daily basis. You will find strategies to keep things in order and on the task, but you will do all three of the above at some point, sometimes even on the same day. So... things will happen. Some small, some big. As time goes on you will and become more confident n your abilities. Some people will pick things up faster than others.

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humerusRN,

Thank you for this. I guess I'm realizing just how much there is to nursing. I knew it was a lot, but wow, it's even more than I thought!

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Checkers08,

Thanks for the advice. I probably would have assumed that most places had the same amount of orientation that is required for a new hire. I will most definitely be looking into that aspect of the job.

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RNNPICU,

I guess I just want to cruise a long and be a perfect nurse, haha! But yes, I see what you are saying. I guess really the only thing you can do is be knowledgeable, try your best, and go from there.

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The people that don't have a healthy fear/respect for the job are the ones that get careless and aren't good nurses. Just be cognizant of your nervousness and don't let is paralyze you, you will be fine. And any nurses that tell you they've never made a mistake are lying. It happens to all of us, we do our best to practice safely, and hope that our training and work systems in place will help to keep our patients safe. Good luck to you!

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On 12/17/2018 at 3:14 PM, hmarine88 said:

I am starting to get into the "thick" of my nursing program. The reality of being a nurse is hitting home a bit more every day. Nursing is something that I have wanted to do since I was a young girl, and I am thrilled to finally be pursuing it. Here's the kicker: I am starting to get terrified! Granted, I do have diagnosed anxiety and am on medication, and am doing really well. But, when I think about being responsible for peoples' lives, making sure I pass correct medication, know how to spot signs of a declining patient, remember how to properly do everything, it's overwhelming and scary! What if I mess up? What if I forget how to do something? What if I accidentally do a med error?

Whew...is this normal for being a nursing student? I've always been so sure of my profession I'm pursuing, and now I'm terrified.

Fear is a good thing.  It's what keeps you from making a really big mistake.  The thing that scares the experienced nurse more than anything else is a student or new grad who ISN'T fearful!  Being afraid is not only normal, it's healthy!

Now about mistakes -- you WILL make them.  Everyone makes them.  What matters the most is what you do AFTER you've made the mistake.  There used to be a thread called "What to do When You've Made a Mistake," but I can't find it.  Maybe it's gone forever.  Perhaps my next project is to START that thread again.  

Everyone makes mistakes.  Everyone.  When you make one, the first thing you have to do is recognize your mistake and admit it to yourself, to the provider, your preceptor or educator, and your manager.  You set about mitigating the damage to the patient.  You do everything you can to keep the patient from harm.  And when the patient is as safe as you can make them, you try to figure out what you can learn from this mistake, and how to prevent it from ever happening again.

And lastly, you forgive yourself.  That is probably the hardest part.

Good luck, and let us know how you are doing.

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