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New Nurse anxiety on the job

by NurseSu12 NurseSu12 (New) New

Hello everyone!

I'm a new RN. I graduated last December and started working at a nursing home in October.

I was just hoping to get some thoughts out and have some feedback about what i'm feeling at this job.

I recently started on my own (this past sunday). I'm mostly concerned that I will never stop feeling so anxious. Before I go to work I feel anxious. When I get on the floor I feel anxious. If something happens out of the blue I feel anxious.

I'd just like to know that there's a light at the end of the tunnel. I don't want to feel this anxious all the time.

I just want to do a good job, serve my patients and do everything I've got to do in a night.

I mean I've even been doubting myself if Nursing is suited for me. That really hurts me since I worked so hard to get to where I am.

I also don't know if it's just me or because I'm in the wrong speciality.


Specializes in Med/Surg, LTACH, LTC, Home Health. Has 35 years experience.

You have less than two months of experience. The anxiety will leave once you learn the residents' names, routine, facility, and coworkers. You may begin to relax a little around months 5-6....depending on how well you adapt to your new environment.

This is normal. Even after two years, if you decide upon another area, the anxiety will return. For now, just keep you list of diabetics, tube feeders, and crushed-meds residents handy until you learn them without having to refer back.

It's different from nursing school, isn't it?:yes: But it will all fall into place once you get your routine down.

Ruby Vee, BSN

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching. Has 40 years experience.

We used to call this "reality shock". It's a normal part of your career trajectory. Most of us went through it in one form or another when we started. It's not just you and it's probably not that you're in the wrong specialty, either. It just IS.

It takes about two years to become competent as a nurse, but it only takes about one year to become comfortable and to start feeling some confidence. Right now, everything is new: the patients, the physicians, your coworkers, the meds, the disease processes. As you progress through your first year, you will become more and more familiar with all of the above, thus improving your comfort level and your confidence. Somewhere about the one year mark, most people feel something "click" and realize that they're beginning to put it all together. Beginning any new career is like this -- and changing jobs is like this, too.

The first year of nursing is awful. It's just going to be awful. The only way to get through it is to GO t though it. Stick with it, and you'll come out the other end. It's worth it; it really is.

CrunchRN, ADN, RN

Specializes in Clinical Research, Outpt Women's Health. Has 25 years experience.

It never goes away completely, but that is a good thing. Keeps you sharp. However, with time and experience it will decrease significantly.

this is a common feeling , but working in a nursing home can be worst. Very very short staffed and disorganized which makes nursing more difficult.

Thank you soooo much everyone for your insight and addition to the thread. Honestly sometimes I just need a little reminder that it's perfectly normal to feel this way!! It's great hearing from other nurses because often times other nurses seem so secure and confident but we all came from this place of timidity and shock.

I'' definitely starting to get a bit of a hang of things.

I got a beautiful moment tonight when I was leaving a patient pulled me aside to compliment my nursing. I nearly cried.

But I'd like to thank you all again!!!

Hi this is April. My sister joined nursing school last month and she is really excited to learn nursing and is happy that she has took the field she loves the most.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 15 years experience.

Your anxiety in the nursing home setting will substantially decrease once you become more familiar with the residents and develop a safe routine that facilitates speed.

It is normal to feel like a nervous ball of wax in the beginning. Thus, as time passes, your clinical fund of knowledge increases along with the confidence to do the job.

What shift do you work? I am relatively new as well and started on evenings. It was too much! Days are busy, but at least there are people around to ask questions to. I frequently worked by myself on evenings and it was so crazy, a lot of times I would start crying just from being so overwhelmed once my shift was over and I'd get to report and finally think about how overwhelming it all was. I eventually switched to nights- I didn't want to as a new nurse since then there really isn't anyone to ask for help, but that was happening so frequently on evenings anyway that I figured what's the difference. I'm much happier on night shift- it's still busy, but no massive med passes, not many treatments, and I can usually actually accomplish everything I'm supposed to. On evenings, it was all I could do to just get meds and insulins and INRs done- anything else was just icing on the cake, unfortunately.


Specializes in critical care, ortho-surgical. Has 5 years experience.

Just reiterating everything everyone already said - totally normal. The good thing is you're worried and you care enough to do everything right. Don't get me wrong, you'll make mistakes, but it's important to acknowledge your shortcomings. Ask for help. Ask questions. Do what you can but don't try to be super nurse. It's only 12 hours and whatever is left undone, the next shift has another 12 hours to accomplish it. Nursing is 24 hour teamwork! I've been an RN for 5 years and I have no problem admitting what I don't know. As time goes on, you'll get more confident in your skills. Good luck! :nurse:

Oh wow! I've considered night shift for sure but haven't worked it at all!

I started off on Days and honestly it was so much for me. The amount of people running around and the constant activities preventing me from passing meds (going to the salon, family visits, trivia, bible study...etc) was all so much! i recently went over to evenings and it's still stressful but much more doable for me. My fellow evening nurse is always willing to help and it makes me feel safe and supported! :)

jschut, BSN, RN

Has 20 years experience.

Give yourself time to settle into a routine! It will all become so much easier as time goes on... Best of luck to you! :)

OP, thanks so much for posting this! I'm a brand new LVN. Graduated in May, passed NCLEX in August, and got my first nursing job in October in an LTC that also serves short-term rehab patients (S/P TKA/THA, S/P MVA etc). I too felt so anxious- anxious to get my assessments done, do my prn treatments (when the treatment nurse isn't around), report change in condition of my patients, pass meds (remembering all the parameters that go with them), AND do my charting. I was so nervous/anxious the first week off orientation, that I could eat was yogurt, almonds, and water (with the conscious thought of "I'm only eating because I HAVE to eat, not because I'm really hungry"). I'm a per-diem/on-call LVN, but I've taken as many AM and PM shifts as I possibly could. This has helped my anxiety decrease a little, though I still get heart palpitations when I'm changing a stage 4 pressure ulcer dressing (sterile, and he's positive for MRSA in a separate stage 2 heel pressure ulcer), and in the middle of it, my COPD patient (who also suffers from anxiety) starts calling out that she can't breathe (due to both diagnoses). I have great CNAs that at least check in with my patients and tell them I'll be there soon, and my fellow nurses have been a great help (whether I needed a 2nd pair of eyes for something abnormal I detected in my patient, or in calling a physician when a critical lab value for one of my patients came in, etc). I'm super relieved I'm not alone in my feelings of anxiety, and even more relieved to hear from more experienced nurses that it'll gradually pass.