New Job Anxieties For "Mature" Nurse - Help!

Nurses General Nursing Nursing Q/A

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New Job Anxieties For "Mature" Nurse - Help!

I've been a med surg RN for nearly 40 yrs and have recently started a new position in an outpatient eye surgery center.  While my former job was extremely stressful, I felt completely competent, was the "go to" person for everyone and the time flowed very quickly.  The 12 hr shifts were become exhausting however and I'd been looking for a job with less stress that would carry me into retirement (in 3 years.)- no holidays, weekends and closed Fridays.

Day one was yesterday and I felt like a fish out of water- all paper charting, and although a fast pace I felt like time dragged because I'm not used to the work flow..... or Staff or facility. I'm just curious how long it's taken for such a role change to become comfortable- I'm an anxious person to begin with who dislikes change so this new job is causing some major dread and  remorse for leaving my comfort zone.

For those people who've made a job change after a few decades - how long did it take to adapt and feel like "one of the team" and not the "new girl"?

13 Answers

allnurses Guide


7,071 Posts

Specializes in Peds/outpatient FP,derm,allergy/private duty.

I can relate!  What really jumps out at me is this, though.


I'm an anxious person to begin with who dislikes change...

Through all my specialty changes, and even a hiatus from nursing altogether, I've had to accept the above quality about my personality and slog through the awkwardness until I get to that new comfort zone--regardless of my age.  If everything other than the adjustment phase was a good fit for me, I never failed to at least begin to feel competent, knowing that there's always more to learn in any job.

It usually took longer than days (more like weeks) to feel more confident, but it always happened.

I find it really helps if you can find a co-worker who you can ask questions and who won't give you attitude or make you feel stupid.  That's invaluable if you're fortunate enough to have such a person in your midst.

All the best to you in your new job.


11,514 Posts

Specializes in NICU, PICU, Transport, L&D, Hospice.

In my experience, where I changed specialties 5 times in more than 4 decades, it takes about 6 months of full time work to feel like you know what you are doing most of the time.  It's almost impossible to develop professional expertise in fewer than 3 years, maybe that's different in a setting like your new work environment.  

I think change like this can be stressful for most of us.  You have a strong nursing background. It sounds like you have good assessment, prioritization and organization skills, take comfort in knowing that you can learn paperwork and tasks relatively quickly but your professional knowledge base takes years to develop.  

My guess is that you will be a rock that others rest on in this job before you retire. Enjoy your new free time!

Specializes in PICU, NICU, Clinical Nursing Educator.

Six months is a realistic time span to feel comfortable in your new role. I hope that you also have a great team around you and that they will support and work with your anxiety as you transition. I fully believe that people make or break the workplace. Good luck.


3 Articles; 82 Posts

Specializes in Labor & Delivery, Med-surg.

I found that if I wasn't scared stiff at first, I'd be bored in three months.  Comforting myself with this fact helped me gets through those uncomfortable beginnings.

subee, MSN, CRNA

5,091 Posts

Specializes in CRNA, Finally retired.

Eye surgery is very repetitive.  You will be bored soon:)  Why would you possibly NOT be disrupted if you don't like change?  


23 Posts

10 minutes ago, subee said:

Eye surgery is very repetitive.  You will be bored soon:)  Why would you possibly NOT be disrupted if you don't like change?  

True, I was expecting to be majorly disrupted, just wondering from other long term nurses about how long it’s take before everything feels routine. 3 months??


23 Posts

Thank you Toomuchbaloney!


23 Posts

I'm almost 10 mths in and very glad I made the change!  I wonder how I survived 39 yrs of med surg..... Since I've become comfortable in pre and post op I've been training in lasers and corneal treatments- so there is some variety.  The patients for the most part are pleasant and the hours are ideal- no call, no holidays.  We actually have breaks and lunch time everyday!  Change is always tough but after a few months, it feels like home.


23 Posts

Thank you, helps to know I’m not alone in these feelings.

CrunchRN, ADN, RN

4,498 Posts

Specializes in Clinical Research, Outpt Women's Health.

3 months minimum. But it is a process and with passing days and weeks it gets better.


23 Posts

Thank you- I’m in the middle of my second week- the people are very helpful-I just feel like a fish out of water. My previous job was so much more stressful and complex but I didn’t have to focus so hard mentally as I’m doing now- paper charting and a crazy assembly line pace- it’s fast yet time seems to drag because I’m nervous all the time.   My previous job flew by.  I’m trying to take one day at a time and hoping in a few months something will click and this out of place element I’m experiencing will vanish.


12 Posts

Hi wondering how you are feeling about the change now? I've been in CVOR for 8 years and love my job, but have a 4 month old now and the call/hours is just too much! I'm also thinking about transferring to an outpatient eye center, and think I would have very similar feelings!

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