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New grad nurse - how long did it take you to feel like you knew your job?

The0Walrus specializes in Psych.

I'm in my 2nd week of my first nursing job in the psych unit. I know the meds, their actions, etc. I wrote out notes to remind myself how to discharge patients, admit patients correctly, and do other things on the unit. The unit is friendly and don't mind helping me which is great but I hate that I can't remember how to discharge the patients on my own, admit patients. I haven't done it on my own yet but I still feel like I'm asking too many questions or like maybe I should know more now. How long did it take everyone to feel like you did your job at least competently?

verene specializes in mental health / psychiatic nursing.

I felt like I had no idea what I was doing for about the first two months, I felt like I was getting my legs under me at 6 months. It was about 1.5-2 years before I felt confident in the majority of situations and relaxed in handling crisis / unusual situations.

We were told before graduation that it was pretty normal to feel like a beginner for the first 1-2 years of practice.

hppygr8ful specializes in Psych, Addictions, Elder Care, L&D.

About a year but whose counting - find a nurse to mentor you someone you can bounce stuff off with. Work hard watch tons on you tube videos and observe procedures done by other nurses as often as possible. At two week in you don't even know what you don't know so don't beat yourself up.


VivaLasViejas specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

You're two weeks in? It took me two YEARS to feel confident in my nursing practice. Even so, I had to start all over again at every new job and learn everything from the ground up, so if you're wondering, just know that we were all newbies at one time and didn't know any more than you do right now. Much luck in your new venture.

KarenMS has 3 years experience.

I’m coming up on 2 years on my unit and starting now to not feel “new.”

Tomorrow? /has being doing this a lot of years.

As the others have posted, it takes time to get your feet under you. I truly feel lot of the "I forgots" moments are stress related, and this improved little by little shift by shift. Keep slogging and keep asking questions!

I’d say at about one year I felt like I could possibly handle harder assignments (that’s also when they started giving my harder ones) and after a month or two of those I started to feel much more confident. I’d say around 1 year-1.5 years I started feeling pretty good about my assignments and like I could handle most situations. And the thing is, if there was anything I wasn’t sure about, I’d just ask my charge nurse for help! I also started precepting about 1.5 years in and that helped my confidence as well! You will get there, just give yourself some grace. this is a hard job!

RN_atlast specializes in ICU.

The first 2 months on my own were awful. Everything was so new. I worked nights on a busy tele/CV Stepdown, and we were always slammed with admissions. Admission charting would take me an hour. I didn’t really even understand the process of admitting a patient. Then after 2 months I sort of realized okay get report from ED, get the patient take VS and assess, call provider let them know pt is here and report abnormal assessment findings/pt complaints. Then get the orders and I’m set.

It’s different for you in your setting of course. But basically, once you do something a few times for a specific diagnosis, it will become automatic. I almost think it’s harder for you in psych because there is way less objective data than the areas I’ve worked.

Not comes with time. I’m a year in and still sometimes see new things that throw me off.

MrNurse(x2) specializes in IMC, school nursing.

The only stupid question is the one you didn't ask. Most experienced nurses don't mind questions and are wary of new nurses who don't ask. This is a career, not a job, and experience is key. I consider most nurses with three years and less "new". It isn't a knock, but there is a lot of secondary education you get post graduation. Give it a year to feel comfortable. It will come and when you look back, a year is quick. Good luck, and don't stop asking questions.

Quota specializes in Oncology.

I’ve been fairly comfortable since about the 5 month mark, mostly because I have a very supportive unit and I have zero issues asking questions if needed. Usually it’s just clarifying questions making sure I’m correct about what I already think I should do. I’m right around the 8 month mark now and feeling really good.

I work on an Oncology unit and am just finishing my chemo certification, already hanging it but still need to finish my online exam. Sure things still pop up that I’m unfamiliar with and ask for back up on but nursing is a huge field and I expect that to continue for years. I’m actually starting to feel ready to step up for one of the “super user” trainings coming up soon on my unit for new software upgrades. ie: taking on an extra responsibility for the unit.

I certainly agree I still have things to learn and room to grow as a nurse but I feel comfortable in my job. Sure there are still good days and bad days but that’s just the nature of the beast sometimes. Heck the same four pt can be smooth sailing one day and non-stop running around, staying late for charting mess the next day (at least on Onc they can).

I specifically remember feeling things "click into place" 9 months into working as a new grad telemetry nurse. I still obviously had a lot to learn & never lost sight of that, but that time period was when I first felt truly comfortable and no longer like a silly noob. Always be willing to take advice, listen to any senior nurses/NPs/MDs/ancillary staff that are willing to teach, and take the time on your off days to look up information or conditions you are unfamiliar with. It takes time to build up that knowledge base & feel comfortable but we all can get there!

I’m in month 8 and I now feel pretty confident in my job. Not 100%, but I’m definitely beyond the “I’m an idiot with no idea what’s going on” stage. Around month 3 I started to occasionally feel like “Hey, maybe I’m getting the hang of this!”


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