New Nurse Confidence?

Nurses New Nurse


  • Specializes in Ha! I am gaining experience everyday!.

I am a new nurse as of March. I landed a job on a cardiology floor which specializes in angiograms and pacemaker insertion. The majority of our patients are cardiac in nature, but we are getting an influx of diverse med surg patients because our floor does what it does so well that it is gaining in popularity and doctors want their patients going to our floor rather than going to a regular med surg floor. So, I have worked for only four months and I just want to know how long it takes to stop feeling stupid. I graduated from high school, went straight into nursing and I never worked. Our teachers said that if I didn't have to work, to not do so. They wanted me to focus on my curriculum. That is what I did. So the time came to graduate college, find a job, and become that nurse that really makes a difference. Only that it feels like a total culture shock. I care deeply about the patients that I have, and I have had many family members come up to me, crying, telling me how much of a difference I have made with their family member that was ill. I feel on top of the world then. But then it is like Lyndz, you forgot to chart here, or Lyndz you don't have to write a book when you chart, or my favorite, Why did you do that? Explain. I feel like I have this microscope pointed directly at me at all times. I get that I am a new nurse and I am on a critical care floor. I understand. But it feels like I can barely breathe before I get dunked down again. My patients aren't the problem. Charting my assessments doesn't bother me. It just seems like no one else does anything amiss. The worst thing I have done was flush a dialysis catheter without replacing the heparin. I found my mistake, called the surgeon who actually put in the vas cath, and the problem was fixed. The patient didn't have any problems, the cath stayed open for her dialysis, and all was well. (I had 4 critical care patients and one of those had a central line and another had the vas cath, I got them mixed up!) Not that that is an excuse, but I admitted that I made a mistake, fixed that mistake, and filled out a QA for the near miss. I just want to feel confident. I know that I don't know everything ( and will learn new things everyday), but I want those who are 20-30 year vets of nursing practice to realize that I am new and being on the job for less than 5 months won't make me supernurse. I just feel dumb because I don't have my own routine down yet. Isn't that the basis on being new, learning how to become the nurse that you were molded to be in nursing school? Stress is so not only a word now.

Tait, MSN, RN

2,140 Posts

Specializes in Acute Care Cardiac, Education, Prof Practice.

Two years (my nursing instructors were pretty spot on on this one), and even after all that there are still days where you go home and think

"oh what the hell?"




89 Posts

Specializes in oncology, med/surg (all kinds).

i stopped feeling like a complete idiot after 1 year. i started feeling like, hey, maybe i AM okay at this nursing stuff after about 5. of course, after 5 years of nursing i had 5 different jobs. stay put for a while unless you are really miserable and i'll bet you will BE a better nurse than you think you are after 1 or 2 years. that is, you will probably be pretty good but not believe it. it takes longer to believe it. it's rough being a new grad and you are in a tough unit!

Specializes in Med-surg > LTC > HH >.

I always thought they should have a course or two teaching how to gain confidence in our future nursing careers while still in nursing school. It is the worst feeling to always second guess yourself when u first come out of nursing school.:nurse:


17 Posts

Specializes in med-surg, cardio-thoracic icu's.

There are factors that affect your confidence aside from being newly grad. U can talk to one of your senior at least makes u comfortable while u are working. She went through all this stuff as well. Experience is the best teacher. Just pray always to remind u that God is still there to help u even if u feel alone struggling.:nurse::nurse::nurse::nurse::nurse:


56 Posts

I am asking myself the same question. I am a new nurse and work in a nursing home. I used to work there as a med aid and people say to should know how to do the job you worked here before. That doesn't help my confidence one bit! Also I feel like I am expected to know stuff that was never covered in school or that I was only barely introduced to in school. I have absolutely 0 confidence right now and hope things improve quickly. One thing contributing to my lack of confidence is that I only got a weeks worth of training on each unit. Anyway I appreciate reading all the answers on this post because I guess the bottom line is that I need to give myself a break and not expect to be perfect. It takes time to get it down!

Specializes in PICU, ICU, Hospice, Mgmt, DON.

Seriously, I think it does take about 2 years to really be comfortable. I have long said that nursing is on the job really do not learn much in nursing school execpt the very basics...especially if you go into a specialtly, like you did. You are being really hard on yourself, I think the experienced nurses do realize you are trying and you don't know a lot of this will learn something new every. single. day...what you need to do- is remember what you learn and just keep on going. Just be careful, don't try to rush through, don't go beyond your scope, ASK questions if you are not sure. I do not know a single nurse that would not rather stop and answer a question-and make sure you do something right-then to have you venture out on your own and guess at something. Don't be afriad to ask questions. 4 months is NOTHING in the scheme of are still a baby keep on going and soon you will look back and smile.

Specializes in ER, Pediatric Transplant, PICU.

After a little over a year of experience, and I was finally able to feel like I knew what I was doing at least half the time. The other half, I still felt like I had no clue. I do think 2 years is probably right on the mark as far as getting comfortable.

It gets better. ((hugs))

And at least you know you are taking good care of your patients in their family's eyes.

nurseprnRN, BSN, RN

1 Article; 5,114 Posts

it does get better. it took me about a year to feel reasonably competent in my first job (pacu) and then we moved and i started all over in a huge med/surg icu (neuro, resp, surg/trauma, cardiac surg/transplant). they let us newbies work c close interaction with unit instructors (we had three full-time on our unit alone) for six months to get a clue, then pulled us out for a six week icu course. why not do that first? because we really had to have some of what they call in the ed biz a "conceptual framework," i.e., we had to know something about it so we could recognize what we didn't know by taking the class, and learn a lot more now that we had some sort of framework to hang it on.

four months is about what it takes to get marginally comfortable in a new job that you know well already. give yourself a year, minimum, and figure two to four years to get really good at it. at about 6 months, see if you can get into some continuing ed classes related to your field. you'll be amazed how much it will help you.

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