Hello all,

I'm a new graduate nurse, RN BSN, graduated in May, hired in June, working Med/Surg up until now. To be frank, I feel like a failure. My senior year preceptorship went great, and I had thought that I would be up to the challenge of working that I knew was coming. But like I heard a Army private say upon his first deployment to Iraq, [despite all the training and preparation] "there is really nothing that can prepare you for this."

I feel like I am fumbling, bumbling, and one move away from disaster all day long. Everyone on my floor has been supportive and helpful, but their frustration is growing, and I right now just can't do it all.

May the Lord help me, because I am breaking. :crying2:


901 Posts

Has 5 years experience.

I sometimes look at the veteran nurses on my unit who seem so calm and "together" all the time and I wonder how long it takes to get to that point! I hustle my butt off for the first 5-6 and last 4 hrs of my shift, literally almost running up and down the halls (I never notice anyone else moving as fast as me!). I don't feel like I can't handle my job, I just wish I had less pts and more support staff on a regular basis. You are still so new, cut yourself some slack and accept all the help that is offered to you, and don't be shy about asking for help if you need it. I agree with you about not having any clue what the job was really going to be like until you're off orientation with your own pt load. I look at the new orientees who are still giddy with their new positions and I want to roll my eyes and say "Just wait!"


25 Posts

I agree with the idea that no one is prepared to come out of school and start nursing. It is a tough profession and there is a steep learning curve. However, I can definitely say that I am 100 times the nurse now then I was on my first day. How are your time management skills? Do you work day shift or night shift?


22 Posts

My time management skills are poor, but after re-reading "From Novice to Expert" by Benner, I think what is more the issue for me is my prioritization. I found this quote yesterday from the above mentioned book which describes perfectly what's going on:

"New Nurse: In nursing school, you have very few patients. And then I come on here and I still have few patients, but I didn't realize all the lifting and time it took because I'd want to get... I don't know... I'd come here and I'd get all my sheets out and go pass them around and then somebody would want a glass of water and I used to just run, jump anytime a patient said anything. And that would totally disorganize me... If you saw me in the beginning, you would see me making a hundred trips up and down he hall with a very frustrated look on my face, almost in tears and never really accomplishing much of anything. You would probably have to give me a lot of help. You would be watching somebody give me a lot of help..."

I know it will get better, and I have been granted a lot of grace, I go back to work this weekend, and I only hope to do better this time.

From what I have been told, almost every nurse experiences this phenomenon at first, and my directors are confident that I will succeed. I just pray that all will be well for my patients.

Specializes in MSN, FNP-BC. Has 8 years experience.

I feel the same way. I have been off of orientation for a little over a month now and every time I go into work, I feel I'm just one milimeter away from killing one of my babies. I ask questions all the time that I think I should know the answers to already. Simple stuff.

But what I have noticed is that it is slowly getting easier. My favorite saying righ now is.........Rome wasn't built in a day and neither was a good nurse.

We just have to learn to be patient with ourselves and allow ourselves to make mistakes. It's the only way we are going to learn.

Case in point............ the docs and I were talking in rounds about pulling a PICC from one of my kiddos because they didn't need it anymore. The resident who had this kid that day took FOREVER to put his orders in. The rounded at 10am-ish and orders weren't put in until almost 4pm!!! I called several times and asked him in person if he was going to put orders in.

Being that he was dragging his feet, I went ahead and pulled the PICC. Come to find out, they wanted the PICC in for one more day just in case.

Luckily there was no pt harm done but you can bet it's a mistake I learned my lesson on!


141 Posts

Specializes in Pediatrics. Has 2 years experience.

I feel the same way, and I'm just glad I'm not alone. Your story sounds like mine, great last semester, everyone's really nice, but I know I'm not doing things as well as I should be, even though I'm trying really hard, and questioning whether I'm really cut out to be a nurse.

I hope things look up for you soon!!


38,333 Posts

Take a day off to get extra rest once in awhile. It might do wonders for your ability to handle the stress. Take a good look at your practices and try to find one area at a time to spend extra effort at improving. Think of ways to streamline a process for yourself, ask your peers and others for tips to try. For example. Suppose there are seven steps that must be followed up on whenever you decide to call the MD for a patient. Write those seven steps down on a sheet to use as a checklist. Then follow it. You will save time by not having to sit and think to yourself, did I do this, did I note that? Just go down your list. Make yourself an example binder with all sorts of handy info and checklists to help you through your shift. Keep the binder with you to refer to. As time goes on you will find yourself referring to your cheat sheets less and less, and then the binder will have its place in your locker for reference if needed. Realize that nobody gets it right off the bat. You are already ahead of the game because you are being supported and nobody is talking about getting rid of you. So take a deep breath and practice relaxing!


30 Posts

Specializes in FP, immunizations, LTC, psych.

I'm so with you....


80 Posts

That binder is such a good idea!


1,025 Posts

I'm so with you....

me toooooooooooo