I'm a graduating nursing student...and I know NOTHING!!!!


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Specializes in ICU, Education. Has 25 years experience.

Oh my gosh! I haven't read one single reply to you on this but will respond anyway. I would love to be your preceptor!!!! I cannot tell you how many new nurses I have seen that were overly confidant, did not ask enough before acting, and did not have respect for the harm they could cause. To me, your fear shows your concern and regard for the patient. I was scared ******** when I first started nursing in M/S and I came from and ADN program (although it was Purdue, and I believe we had more theory than any BSN program today). Luckily I had a great preceptor. When I made teh decision to move to ICU, I was more scared. Unfortunately I had a very bad preceptor to start but moved to a new ICU and it was the best experience ever!. That was over 20 years ago, I have worked critical care ever since, have my CCRN adn just earned my MSN. I love your concern! I believe the ones that worry about the job they do are much better nurses than the one's that act like they know everything (scary). However, there are some nasty nurses that will eat their young or even their equals, to make themselves look better by making others look weak. Just be prepared for that. You can aske to change preceptors if it is looking that way. Also, don't be so afraid of failing that you have a self-fullfilling prophecy. Sometimes we can get ourselves so worked up that we can't learn and acutally do fail.


43 Posts

Specializes in General Medicine.

Hi! I graduated with my BSN in May. At the times I felt like I was not getting enough clinical experience and was anxious to start my new job. Now though I realized that I have gotten a lot of knowledge in the BSN program and I developed a lot of skills (like IV insertion) when I started my new RN job... The preceptor is there for you to learn, not to fail you...


118 Posts

"not knowing anything" is normal and healthy for a new nurse. When I work with new nurses that act like they know everything that is when I worry. When I have precepted other nurses I always took that in consideration, there is no reason to quiz you on basic 1st week stuff, or intimidate you for that reason. there are nurses that do eat their young but that is the minority. This person will want to teach you and work WITH you. When you are on a busy floor we welcome all of the help we can get. You will learn a lot from the experience and will be a better nurse for it. Everyday you will run into things you dont know, it will happen now and 30 years from now, that is why you have co-workers and resources where you work. You will learn new things each and every day your work whether it be a capstone exp. or a day at work. If your preceptor is not appropriate then request another one, but give her a chance, she may be just as nervous as you are.

Vito Andolini

1,451 Posts

Girl, did you really vomit 637 times? :eek:How can you be standing upright? Get some Emetrol, please! :icon_hug:

Listen, try hard to just relax. :tbsk::onbch:Yeah, easier said than done, I know, but I think you'll be fine. Just do what you know to do and the rest will come. Let us know if your preceptor is bland, a battle axe, a carnivore, or what, LOL.:nurse::grad::wshgrt::stdnrsrck:


22 Posts

I'll bet ,everyone of us when we just started felt the same way. It's not so shameful to be scared. You'll get over it. Just be strong and face the challenge head on. God bless.

RNperdiem, RN

4,573 Posts

Has 14 years experience.

You are not alone.

For many people nursing school is like learning to swim from a written manual without ever going in the water.

You will do a lot of learning on the job.

Your employers know this, and many have extended new graduate preceptorships to get you started.

Eventually you will work through your fears and earn confidence.

One day you will precept a new grad who will be just as nervous as you were.

jjjoy, LPN

2,801 Posts

Look at it this way, worst case, your preceptor recommends that you not pass. If so, then you get the wonderful opportunity to do another preceptorship next term! That means double the clinical time where you're building on all that you learned and experienced during the first go round. All of that extra hands on experience can build your confidence. Plus, it's a one more term to continue working part-time as a unit secretary, which IS a great learning opportunity as well!

If you do pass the first time, you can figure that despite feeling like you know nothing, that you ARE doing well enough. Then, you get a job and the real learning begins.

I do wish there were some way to better "ease into" clinical nursing for those of us who do better that way instead of going from 0-120mph in a few weeks or months (from a student w/very limited opportunities to full-fledged nurse with one's own assignment). Maybe some kind of optional post-grad hands-on preceptorship just for building experience & confidence that doesn't require a 2-year commitment or $10,000 payback deal.

Since that's not an option most places, you just get a job, do your best, and learn what you can. It's not at all uncommon to change jobs once or twice the first year as you learn through trial and error what type of work and environment suits you best to build your foundation in nursing.

Best wishes!

Specializes in Peri-op/Sub-Acute ANP.

There are people on this board with tons more experience than me, but in my personal experience people like you do good in the end. You understand what you know, and what you don't know. Honestly, I have come across people fresh out of school who think they know EVERYTHING. They are the people who frighten me because they don't know what they don't know (if you know what I mean). They are the people who don't understand their own boundaries and really screw up!

If you spend the rest of your career understanding that you don't know everything, and seeking out knowledge at every opportunity, then you are going to be a fine nurse indeed.


9 Posts

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

Wow!!! Thank YOU for your honesty!!! Honey, most of us feel that way-even me after nearly 20 years in this business. I do have some advise for you. #1-just be honest with everyone around you and even yourself. Don't go acting like a freekin' looney, but it's ok to tell a patient that you are new and you really don't know how his bed works. ASK FOR HELP!! #2-Ask for as much hands on as you can get! Cut to the chase and get the pain overwith. You know-face the devil so you can chase him away. The more bandage changes, feeds, pump set-ups, baths you give, the better you'll feel about your position. #3-Remember that you are a NURSE and not a doctor! Some patients even docs think you should be able to interpret labs and tests like a doc, but that is not our job. You don't have that kind of knowledge, so don't try to do things outside of the scope of nursing.

You know what? It will come and you will be fine. Give yourself time and forgiveness. You're about to have the ride of your life.

Oh one more thing. Take lots of time to help the people you work with. Value and praise them and you will learn that they will take care of you.


9 Posts

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

Nice advice! Well done.

Just wanted to give an update:

So, my first day was yesterday and as it turns out my rpeceptor is AMAZING!!! I absolutely LOVE her. :D She is totally understanding of my concerns and yesterday she told me to simply shadow her to get used to the unit and how things run (exactly what I was thinking/wishing for).

But, I have to say, that I still am slightly freaked out. Yesterday a pt was getting LR and needed replacement K which she diluted with NS (stopped the LR and ran NS with K). Watching my nurse change the IV, set the K, NS, invert the tubes, set the pump etc. I just started to slowly tear up because even though I understand WHY we do all these things I just feel like I will never be able to do this on my own.

I,regrettfully, let a couple tears drip and she happened to catch it and pulled me aside and calmly, patiently, explained the why and how's, and reinforced that it will come to me eventually. I just feel like I will never get this. I'm doing 12's and it was aboslutely NON stop ALL shift long. And she said it was a calm day (BTW, I'm on a 48 bed surgical unit). THAT was calm????? Oh my god - no I will never get this.

Obviously, I have issues with anxiety and insecurity. I am just really scared. Really really scared.

Anyway, I just want to thank you all for your support and kind words. I feel **so** much more at ease especially knowing that I am in fabulous arms with my preceptor....:bowingpur


5 Posts

Buy some chewable Pepto Bismal to keep in your pocket, never be afraid to say "I don't know" or "Can I get back to you on that, I'll have to look it up." Preceptors ask questions to draw you out, not to expose lack of knowledge. You'll surprise yourself just how much you do know. I'm sure you'll pick up on things that aren't being done the "right way"! Students/New Grads are pretty well versed on Evidence-Based Practice!

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