I always feel like an idiot.


Hey Allnurses,

I'm sure this topic has been posted on before, but I could use some encouragement right now. If you've read my previous post, you know I'm a new grad RN. I got my first job on a cardiac step down unit. And I have to say, it's definitely not what I expected. I'm not in orientation any longer, so I'm on my own.

The problem is: I always feel like an idiot.

I know I'm not an idiot, but I can't help but feel that way. It's not that I don't know information about, say a med or a disease process, it's applying it that's the problem. If I'm confused about something I'll ask a coworker, who are all great, but as soon as I get an answer I'm like "Duh, I knew that!" Or say I'll give a potassium pill, which is very common, I know I'm supposed to check the potassium level first, but sometimes I don't remember until afterward. I suppose I'm just having a problem putting all the pieces together. I feel so rushed sometimes its hard to think. Fortunately, due to previous experience as an LPN and a great preceptor, I've been able to keep my head above water.

All I'd like to know is, please tell me this goes away and one day I'll be competent :facepalm:

Specializes in ICU.

Don't fret. I'm a new grad also, and I feel just like you most of the time. I'm lucky that I have some awesome coworkers. They say it takes about a year to start feeling comfortable. I just keep banking on that. From time to time, I also look back to where I was 4 months ago. I've grown leaps and bounds and I bet you have also. Just remember, take it day by day. I'm keeping the faith that it will all come to me at some point.

Just keep trucking along.

Tweety, BSN, RN

32,599 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac. Has 31 years experience.

You're competent now. But eventually you will feel better about yourself and you'll be that great preceptor.

I've been at it a while and I'm the mentor, but there are still some days I feel like a bumbling idiot. It keeps me on my toes.


1,114 Posts

Specializes in PACU, pre/postoperative, ortho. Has 12 years experience.

It goes away with time...until you decide to change jobs, specialties, employers, etc. Then you have another adjustment period & get to feel like an idiot all over again (although not for as long).


222 Posts

Completely normal--you're a new RN, you shouldn't feel you know everything; new nurses who think they know it all scare the bejeebers out of me.

I've been an RN for a long time but I recently changed specialties, so I know where you're coming from. It does get better, but never as quickly as you would like! Hang in there!


30 Posts

Thank you all for your comments. I do look back from just a couple of months ago and realize how much I've learned. I think my nerves just get the best of me sometimes. But again, thank you all!


6 Posts

I'm a new nurse, too. I hear you. I feel the same way like you do too. At times, I still feel like an idiot. I do someday will feel more competent and be able to be confident. I work on nights on Med/Surg floor so I feel comfortable asking my co-worker. I am more anxious when working extra hours on days and PMs because there are so much more activities going on that I have not learned during my orientation or do not know. I feel incompetent when I ask about little minor stuff.


30 Posts

Well, at least were in this together :dead: like previous posters have said, it just takes time.