new nurse with anxiety attack

Nurses General Nursing


i'm about to start a career in nursing...and this thought worries :o me...what if i make a mistake? what if i don't know what to do?... :confused:...i feel like all those years in school are not enough for the real thing...i would be doing actions that affects peoples' lives!...if i only know how to calm these nerves...oh my goodness!!!!! :eek:


951 Posts

Specializes in Hospice, Critical Care.

"The grass is green; the sky is blue..." Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth....deep breath.....there.

Now...everyone makes mistakes. You will too. Do everything you know to NOT make mistakes will, we all do. And then you'll never make that mistake again (you'll make others but that's another story ;)). Remember your five rights of medication administration; triple check your meds. That's probably the most vulnerable spot as a nurse.

If you don't know what to do--ask! Find a mentor or choose an individual at your facility that you trust and ask, ask, ask. I fervently hope you find someone who will help; sometimes in the harried life of nursing, it can pose a challenge. But never try to bluff your way through it. In the end, you will be more respected for asking than for bluffing.

Get as much orientation to the job as you can. Ask the manager if you can extend the orientation period if you feel you need to. It's a nurse's market out there so take a job where you feel the most comfortable.

Yes, you will be affecting people's lives...remember to be as kind and considerate as possible, give them information, talk to the patients and their families...this is what touches their lives the most and what they remember the most.

Good luck and write back and let us know how you're doing.


29 Posts

Hi Reyna,

tried to email you privately but it didn't work. I know exactly how you feel - I just gradded a few months ago and am constantly panicking before going to work. The only thing that really ever works for me is realizing that I'm trying to do the best that I can do - and doing that. We can't all be the perfect nurse - not now and not ever. We can just care and do our job to the best of our ability. If you get overwhelmed tell someone and ask for help. All the Best to you!

P.S. Write me if you want. :)

P.P.S. I still look up tons of stuff after work too!


41 Posts

Ask, ask, ask. If you have a question, or even if you just need a sounding board ask. Don't worry, many of us still go over things with our co-workers. And definately, never try to bluff. It took me a long time to realize that it is ok to say I don't know. I felt stupid at first, but then I realized that even the nurses that I thought were perfect said it sometimes. You'll be great!!


No matter, how LONG you are a nurse, you will ALWAYS still be asking questions!!!!

Asking questions is the BREATH of nursing!

Never be afraid to ASK!

I still ask questions, each and EVERY shift - as much as it takes!

The GOOD nurses will encourage you in this. If someone tries to put you down for asking, realize that this is their only pathetic opportunity to TRY and make themselves feel like they are "better" than someone else........



33 Posts

It is called "Deer in the headlight look!" I applaud you for being scared. The new nurses that I worry about are the ones that come in, knowing everything with no experience, and have no fear. In my opinion that is much more dangerous! I would much rather precept a new nurse like you. You will do well. Listen to the older nurses. They have been around, have a lot of experience. Find a nurse you respect and would allow to take care of your family members, and learn from him/her. But ALWAYS remember your 5 rights!!! It will save you alot of grief. Good luck!!!


499 Posts

Good advice here. The wonderful thing about nursing is that there is always something new to learn no matter how long you've been doing it. I've been a nurse almost 20 years and I'm sure at least once a shift I have to say "I don't know--" I agree wholeheartedly, the scarey ones are those nurses - new or old - who think they know it all. Be meticulous in administering medications. Almost everything else has a little flex, but meds are pretty concrete. I am confident you will do well.


37 Posts

You will be fine, really.

I can remember that feeling soooo well! One thing at a time. You do not have to have all the answers... no one expects that. It does help to know where to go to find the answers, though. I have been doing the nursing thing for a long time and every day I still find myself saying "I don't know" but I always follow up with "but I can find out for you".

Relax and seek out every opportunity to learn new things. There is always something new to learn. And, always remember... you WILL make mistakes and that is OKAY!!!! As long as you continue to learn from every one of them! I can remember many of my own!!! You always remember those.

Good luck to you in your endeavors!



6,011 Posts


One of the great things about most nursing places is the collaboration among the staff. It is sometimes formal (rarely) but usually on the run.....It's kind of like ....Oh sh** what should I do...and you will get suggestions and help no matter what.

There were a few co workers I couldnt stand and the feeling was mutual,.....but I tell you this if I needed help they were right there and vice versa...

You don't HAVE to like your coworkers you just have to trust them.

So ask, ask, ask, ask....and offer, offer.......Just whatever you do DON'T try to bluff your way through.

You're going to do well.


44 Posts

A word to the wise...

Nurses, for the most part, are well intentioned folk. You will find a great many of them are excellent resources. However, as one who learned the hard way, ALWAYS check your resources!! There is so much information out there no nurse can be expected to remember everything - especially in a "hurry up and go" situation. A drug book or even a med/surg book can be invaluable for double checking your fellow comrades!

I was given advice one time for a situation in which a patient was critically ill. The nurse who gave the advice was (and still is) one of our best. Unfortunately, this time she was wrong and it had devastating effects. If I had made a quick phone call or checked a drug book it would have made all the difference.

The scariest nurses are the ones who have never made a mistake. There's either a big one coming - or they've made plenty and are too dumb to know it.

You are obviously conscientious - that's step 1 to being a great nurse. Good luck!

I've been a nurse for many many years. And, I still have "don't know what to do" situations. I ask questions often. If someone thinks I'm stupid, so be it. I'd rather be safe then sorry.

I still utilize the drug books and pharmacy on a frequent basis. (I'd rather give drugs a little late then improper doses or not know what it is I'm giving).

I still go to other nurses to check things that "just don't look right to me" or "I'm just not real framiliar with it".

Remember, we all make mistakes. The vast majority of mistakes aren't fatal or even have any undo consequence.

Just ask ask ask and take your time. Do what you can to avoid mistakes. That's all any one can ask of you. Good Luck


115 Posts


Here's a BIG HUG from the "sisterhood".......


I sure can't add any better advice than what's already been given!

I've been at this "Nursing" thing now for thirty years (feels like 300 on some days.......tee hee)......but just so you know this:

EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US - (that is the one's who are being honest).........felt exactly like you do, when we started out.

Just some suggestions that might be of help:

When in "doubt".........DON'T!! (in other words, no matter what you might be doing, or about to do, if "something" doesn't "feel" quite right............STOP) Consult with a peer who is more experienced.

The only "dumb" question, is the one that didn't get asked!!!

When it comes to "meds".......just remember - it's always safer and easier to "wait" and ask, when in doubt, because once it goes in or can't get it back!!! No one will ever fault you for having "waited" and asked. (if anyone ever does, h/she is in the wrong profession)

Over all these years I have been in Nursing, the Nurses I respected and admired the MOST were the ones I saw "diving" for the PDR, or the hospital's Policy & Procedure Manuals, or the Medical Dictionary, or a quick "double-check" over the phone with the Pharmacist, or calling the Doctor, or the Supervisor on duty, or even Staff on another floor! You have resources all around you in your setting, and your self-confidence will grow as you learn to utilize these resources.

If you ever reach the place where you say....."This is great, I know everything now".........that's when you know it's time to get out of Nursing!!

I've had my worst Clinical experiences in settings where the Nursing Staff see their "roles" in terms of "competition" with one another. Nursing is NOT about "one-up-manship" should ALWAYS be a team effort

As far as the "jitters"........."this too shall pass."

Good luck in whatever you choose to do. You are off on the "right foot" because you are being open and honest out of the "gate."

Best of luck, and NEVER GIVE UP!!! Keep smiling.

Bonnie Creighton,RN

By using the site, you agree with our Policies. X