How long before you get comfortable in LTC?

Nurses LPN/LVN


I am a new grad LPN and was hired for Per Diem LTC. I know that school mainly prepares you for the NCLEX and that most skills are learned hands on once you start working, but how long does it take before you start to feel confident in your skills? I just had my first week of orientation and I felt like a total idiot, like I learned nothing in school. It probably did not help that I had a different nurse

orient me every day and out of 5 nurses, only 2 were helpful and the rest treated me like a nuisance. I know I was slow on the med pass the first day, but by the end of the week, I did pick up the pace because I was getting familiar with some of the residents. And it seems like there is never ending paperwork to learn. Right now, I am wondering why I became a nurse. Please tell me it gets easier with time and someday I will be as competent as the other nurses.

Long Term Care Columnist / Guide

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

22 Articles; 9,986 Posts

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

Of course you will! Like everything else in this life, nursing is a learned set of skills that get better and better with practice. Be patient with yourself; it takes at least a year or two to see enough situations, enough times, that you feel comfortable dealing with them. It may take even longer to feel you're in control of the job. That's OK---in fact, I worry more about those "super-nurses" who think they've got it all wired after a year or two! I've been in this field for 15 years and I STILL don't have it all figured out......and I think most good nurses with 20, 30, 40 or even more years on the job will agree that they never stop learning.

If you can stick with your job for a while, that will help you achieve competency faster since you're not having to learn a new facility along with new skills, new paperwork, new residents/patients etc. I didn't realize this until I was well into my career---I'd done a lot of job-hopping in my first few years, and I didn't really feel competent until I'd been a nurse for a full decade!

Best of luck to you............and please feel free to come here anytime to vent, to ask questions, to be supported. Don't let a few old cats "eat" you......we haven't a nurse to waste. Whether you (or they) know it or not, you are needed. Welcome to our profession!


76 Posts

Thank you for your kind words. I haven't heard too many kind words during orientation.

I hope to stay at my new position for as long as they will have me. I am only per diem now, but I am hoping that I can move up to full time eventually. It really is one of the best facilities in my area and the residents are very well taken care of. I guess it just bothers me that the facility is in need of extra nurses, but yet I felt like an intruder. I will be orienting on 3-11 and 11-7 and these are the shifts I will probably work, I just hope the nurses on these shifts are more accepting of a new nurse. I chose to start in LTC because I am a new nurse and there is always at least one other nurse around in case I have questions. I just hope that whoever is around will be a little patient with me.


520 Posts

Specializes in LTC.

It will get better. When I was a brand new nurse my biggest problem wasnt the was the terrible never ending overwhelming all consuming confusing paperwork. does this go here? i fill out this for that? does this apply? ..does it not? was so redundant and it still changes every time i turn around but now i can take it more in stride. and what made it even worse was when 2 different nurses would tell me to do one thing 3 different ways...finally I just did it one way and it stuck. just had to read through it....i made myself a notebook of just about everything...which took me monthsssssss to do....but i had a section for how to do an admission with copies of the paperwork that it included, how to send someone to the hospital, death and mortuary forms..what stays...what goes, incident reports, discharges, you name went in my notebook. I kept that book in a cabinet in the med room for over 2 yrs til someone moved it to the desk ( i had it labeled 2nd shift book) b/c guess what? they needed instructions on something.....and then the don told me it wasnt needed now i just keep it in my car...ive had nurses call me on days off at home wanting to know where my book is..cuz...guess again....yea....they need neurocheck instructions or a copy of a mortuary slip or vs sheet or a nurses note page b/c they cant find one. Not needed? sureeeeeeeeeeee lol....but worked for me.


26 Posts

Oh good,I thought about carrying a notebook for when I begin my first job but wasnt sure if there was time to stop and take notes all the time. I just thought it may help prevent asking the same questions over and over. I learn by doing and if you tell me something I wont remember, once I do it a few times I get it. So I figured the writing the steps will just make it easier and save time stopping to ask something I've already been told. I cant wait to start working, ready to take the good with the bad and learn as much as I can

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