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How long to feel confident?

by angieRN528 angieRN528 (New) New

Hi everyone! I have been a nurse for 5 years and was working in LTC. I recently started working at the hospital on a med surg unit, I have been there about a month, about 3 weeks on the floor. I'm a nervous wreck before each shift and I'm still in orientation. We have 5 patients, and I have pretty much been doing all meds and assessments by myself on all 5 patients. My preceptor believes that we need to just jump in full force to get a feel of what it's like on the floor. I'm doing ok but I have so much anxiety before my shift! Once I get there and get started I'm ok but the night before a shift I dread it. I hope it gets better and I don't want to give up too soon, I'm just wondering if these feelings are normal.?!? I feel like an idiot 1/2 of the time because I don't even know what certain procedures are! Does anyone work on a med surg unit that can relate?

NurseCard, ADN

Specializes in Med/Surge, Psych, LTC, Home Health. Has 13 years experience.

Sure, I can relate. Anytime you go to a new specialty, it can

feel like being a brand new nurse again. I went from LTC to

home health a few years back and it was a shock, really

hard to get used to.

Med surge is known for being tough, but 5 patients doesn't

sound too bad. Are they on telemetry? Any or all of them?

Any post surgery patients? Any peds mixed in? Do you

have nursing assistants?

Anyway, what you are feeling is normal. Give it time,

you'll be fine.

Davey Do

Specializes in around 25 years psych, 10 years medical. Has 42 years experience.

Hi angieRN! Welcome to AN.com.

As an auto mechanic who I was learning from stated something that could be applied to many a situation. He said, "Everything's hard before it becomes easy".

I can relate to your situation, but it was when I broke into OR as an LPN scrub nurse after 2 1/2 years as a psych nurse, back in '86. I felt all thumbs the first three months. The assistant supervisor even had a talk with me in the beginning and relayed to me that maybe I wasn't cut out to work in surgery. I couldn't put things together. Surgeons yelled at me for not knowing what to do. I felt discouraged and like a failure.

But I persisted. I bought a book on surgical instruments and procedures. I utilized my abilities at drawing and made illustrations of instruments, setups, and tables. I drew overhead views of the surgery- where each participant stood, the location of the tables and the various surgical items. I studied each surgeon's surgery routine and the specific instruments they used, which were written down on index cards for referral, until I could recite them by heart.

Then, suddenly, it all came together. I became a good scrub nurse! I could freely interact with the surgical team and perform my duties well. Eventually, some surgeons went as far to request me on certain cases!

Okay- I'm done floating my own boat, but suffice it to say that with persistence and dedication, you too, AngieRN can experience an epiphany.

Good luck and the very best to you!

Been there,done that, ASN, RN

Has 33 years experience.

There are many current threads regarding your issue.

Check them out .. and get some validation. Nursing is a tough gig.. one shift at a time.

You need to try to relax and learn. You can do this.:up:


Specializes in Peds/outpatient FP,derm,allergy/private duty. Has 45 years experience.

It's absolutely normal! I say that from experience in being anxiety-prone and having dealt with what I now believe is a myth-- if I'm a nurse I should be able to move effortlessly from one nursing job to another. My most difficult adjustment was from one job to another in the same company, because what I assumed would be smooth sailing wasn't.

You're lucky to be in a supportive environment, for another source of anxiety for me was worry over asking questions you suspect will get a reply that conveys the message "you're a nurse and you don't even know this?". Just give it more time. Best wishes to you!