New nurse, completely discouraged

by mama2midwife mama2midwife (New) New

Specializes in Emergency, Med/Surg.

I am feeling extremely discouraged, sad, fed up, and angry today. I am a new nurse grad with about 7 months of experience in an ER. My orientation experience was not the greatest. I was not given any paperwork to go by, tasks for checkoffs, etc. Only when I made a serious medication error was it brought to the DON's attention (by me no less) that I had not been given any type of orientation packet by my NM. I had always felt that my NM didn't care about me. She was always "too busy" to talk, and to many who work in the same department, it is clear that she plays favorites and doesn't have time to bother with anyone else. The nurse who oriented me was extremely kind and supportive, as well as the charge nurse, but there was very little structure. I was then provided a random assortment of education materials with each shift, mainly on medications. I completed everything that I was asked to do.

There was one instance that a PA and MD said that I was rude. When counseled on this by the NM, the conversation was initiated with "Well now, I know you come from the North..." As you can see this is a hospital in the South. I don't come from the North. Anyway, I took the experience for what it was and learned from it. I watched everything I said, everything I did, I was extremely conscientious, even more than I had already been. This added to the already ridiculous stress level working in an ER environment. I busted my behind to try to be what they wanted me to be.

Then it happened. I made another medication error about a week ago. I was placed on unpaid leave for 5 days before the DON and the NM could meet with me, and suggested to resign. It was stated to me that I need more med/surg experience, and told that I was once again rude. I am a total wreck. I feel that the only person to blame is myself, even if the staff MD wrote the order and I gave it as he watched. I had recently received help from a much more experienced nurse trying to patch up my crummy orientation experience with assistance. He says that I was set up for failure. I tend to believe him.

Being a new nurse, I was so very proud with what I had accomplished. It was such a struggle on so many different levels to even get through nursing school as a single mother. I guess that I can only have hope that there is a plan for me, somewhere. Right now, I am just not sure what it is.

The thing is, I really wanted to be a nurse. I wanted to help people and did so well in nursing school. All I feel right now is a resounding cloud of failure. I am more than willing to admit my mistakes and to learn from them. No one died, and I feel horrible about the mistakes that I made. Any support or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I am starting to wonder if I belong in this profession at all. :crying2::crying2::crying2::crying2::crying2::crying2::crying2::crying2:


al7139, ASN, RN

Specializes in Emergency. Has 5 years experience. 1 Article; 618 Posts

I am sorry that you have had such a bad experience where you work. When I graduated, I really wanted to go directly to the ED, since that is my interest. Instead, I took the advice of more experienced nurses, and started working on a tele/medical unit (I still work there 3 years later). Every nurse I talked to said this is what I should do to get my "Nurse Legs." I am glad I took their advice, because it was a good way to learn. I did make mistakes when I was new and it sucked, but I was always honest about it, and my supervisors were great about it. Yes there was accountability, but I was never told I should resign. Instead it was a learning experience, and I never made the same mistake twice. I suggest you find another position with a good orientation, and get the real world experience before going back to the ED. IMHO, the ED is too crazy of a place for a new nurse to really learn the skills and critical thinking needed for the job. That is no reflection on you, and does not mean that you are not a good nurse, but on a unit at the bedside is a better learning environment for a new grad. I don't regret my decision at all. and am starting to look for jobs in the ED now that I have the knowledge and skills base.

Don't give up!