I do not think I am a good nurse

by pmw2007 pmw2007 Member

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1 Article; 5,758 Posts

It sounds to me like you merely have a case of moving from a specialty that suits you to one that doesn't. You are not the first person to make a move and find it was the wrong one. As for how hard they are coming down on you, in nursing every thing is a federal case, especially if it is a minor problem. While they are carrying like on you killed someone they will most likely be ignoring some really dangerous situation somewhere else. It is called managment, it is what they do.



Specializes in Everytype of med-surg. 96 Posts

It seems like oncology is not the place for you. I would suggest starting in another area, hopefully at the same hospital so it is easier to get an inhouse transfer, and start fresh. At times patients and other nurses still make me feel inadequate, but I learned a patient will not give you as hard of a time if you feign some confidence. Of course, do not do something you are not able to safely do, but smile and say this looks like this vein is going to give me a hard time, let me get a pro in here. No job is worth stressing yourself out that much on, relax, give yourself a break and learn from it.



Specializes in OB, School, Medical, Surgical. Has 18 years experience. 9 Posts

Well, I feel your pain. We all feel like we are not good nurses from time to time. In fact, you'll learn some of those times can be lenghty. You are so new in this field! Give yourself time.

My greatest concern for you is your reaction to yourself manifested in anger that is very visible to others. Your concerns prove to be so inwardly directed at a time when your energies should be directed toward the care of others.

Technical skills will come in time with practice-that's a given.

Your skill of self-control, self-respect, and self-forgiveness must come within yourself.

Good luck.

Music in My Heart

Specializes in being a Credible Source. Has 12 years experience. 2 Articles; 4,101 Posts

Your skill of self-control, self-respect, and self-forgiveness must come within yourself.

But also require practice... Change is never easy but if you keep practicing and working at it, these skills will develop just like your technical ones.


jjjoy, LPN

2,801 Posts

Some managers/co-workers are terrible at giving constructive feedback. Some aren't even good judges of professionalism, having their own strange idea of what makes a good nurse. So you needn't automatically accept the feedback you've gotten at face value. Since these folks weren't willing to listen to your side things, since these folks apparently had no *constructive* advice for you, that could mean that their judgement and feedback shouldn't be taken to heart. They might say and think you're not a good nurse, but that doesn't make it true. I think it's very unprofessional "to question how you ever nursed before." There's absolutely no reason for them to say anything like that.

It sounds like you were doing okay at your last job, which means you have been a successful nurse in that setting.

If you can step back emotionally from this and sort out what happened, who said what, etc. that should help.

leslie :-D

11,191 Posts

when one is dealing in a specialty such as oncology, it is important to self-assess as to whether you're a good fit with this pt population.

they've been dealt a life-altering blow and as such, are struggling to come to terms with a potential death sentence.

even if your technical skills are notable, can you deal with the emotions and psyche issues that are specific to these pts?

only you can answer that.

wishing you the best.




145 Posts

I have heard that oncology can be an extremely stressful and busy environment. I know a nursing assistant who tells me the busiest floor in our hospital is the oncology floor. I still think you should try your hand at floor nursing but perhaps on a different unit.

deeDawntee, RN

Specializes in Travel Nursing, ICU, tele, etc. Has 12 years experience. 1,579 Posts

i know others have said this here, but i am going to repeat it... you must be your own best advocate... it doesn't seem that there is anyone else to advocate directly for you there but you. you need to let go of all defensiveness and defeatism and arrogance that you might have (i don't know, i haven't met you) and be an open, honest and actually not only say, but believe that you are a good nurse. admitting your shortcomings or mistakes and committing to doing better goes a long way rather than hanging your head in defeat. i am teachable, i can learn and i am committed to doing what i need to do to be as competent as i can be.... i can admit my mistakes, correct them and move on...

whether oncology is for your or not, i can't answer, but your attitude will follow you wherever you go. this is one of those golden learning opportunities, they really suck, but if you take from this what you need to learn, it may contribute more to the quality of your life than anything you can imagine.


wonderbee, BSN, RN

Specializes in critical care; community health; psych. 1 Article; 2,212 Posts

If you do not think you are a good nurse, you will project that and that's the perception that people have of you. It sounds as though it's becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. Yes, you have to be realistic about your weaknesses. Be specific in your self-accusations. "I'm not good at starting IVs or drawing blood" doesn't necessarily equate with "I'm not a good nurse." As others have said, work on those skills. Be a proactive participant with your preceptorship and ask for what you need.

Also remember that there are many other avenues along the nursing highway besides hospital bedside where other less task oriented skills might be in demand.


Dragonnurse1, ASN, RN

Specializes in ER - trauma/cardiac/burns. IV start spec. Has 9 years experience. 289 Posts

Dear pmw2007

first I will make some comments that may make some of the other respondents angry. You are a new nurse you will be a "new nurse" until you have been working at least 2 years. Oncology is tough unless you have the hide of an armidillo you will not survive that department. Surgical step down units are not known for the variety of skills you will development. As far as drawing blood or starting IV/s. There are a number of types of patients that are "hard sticks", chemo, sickle cell, hemophliacs, burn patients, chronic druggies. It would take someone with a very large ego to walk into a chemo room on their first day and not be nervous.

Until latex stole my career, I was considered the best stick in the hospital when I was on duty, i was called to start iv's on every floor but esp. for starting IVs on HIV/AIDs patients. In 2003 I put a 22 across the instep of a burn patient so that she could be put on a vent. 5 medic's 4 EMT's 3 Dr. for anasthesia had not been able to put a line in anywhere. But I worked in the ER and must have started 20 IV's each night. 9 years of that and you could start them too.

See thats why you work nights - no suits. Every floor or department has its own protocol. Do close the doors don't close doors I don't know about your hospitalbut at ours just pulling the door all the way closed made a racket. You must work on your self confidence. Until you learn each patient's prefences. And since you were low man on the totum pole you get chopped first. Give the ER a try Clinic side 1st

Greet 'em, treat em' and street em.and if they get mad in the ER and leave they did not need to be there.

Stick it out. You worked hard to get there. Take each criticism and grow from it.

Just don't do things like put 10cc of HumulinR into a 100 cc bag of saline for a 1 to 1 drip. Before you setfoot into your hospital to work your prayer should be a simple on - First let me do no harm. live by it. send me note about howit all goes Private message. Dragonnurse is not just my computer name the residents use to call me that.

gonzo1, ASN, RN

Specializes in ED, ICU, PSYCH, PP, CEN. Has 19 years experience. 1,737 Posts

Did you have trouble like this in your previous position? If you were doing good in your prior job, and now can not do anything right then you need to carefully disect what is going on and why. You say you should never have left the previous job. Perhaps this new job is simply not a good fit for you.

I have had several jobs in my life and some fit really well, and others were like putting a square peg in a round hole. If this is the case then focus on the good experiences you have had in previous jobs and think about what type of work environment you need to be in to function at your best.

Nursing is very diverse, with many opportunities. If you find that you do not fit in here you can go somewhere else. I promise there is a place where you will be accepted and respected.

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