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New nurse; what is even happening?

First Year   (2,744 Views 6 Comments)
by NewNurseLat NewNurseLat (New) New

471 Profile Views; 11 Posts

Hello! A little background first. I'm a brand new nurse, graduated in December at the young age of 21(I did college in high school and always knew nursing was "my calling"). I got hired the week of my graduation to the hospital I've always dreamed of working at. I applied to everything. Regardless of my nursing school telling me to work 2-3 years on a med/surg floor before specializing.I worked as a CNA for a couple years on med/surg and I wasn't interested.

I then landed a position in an acute care neurology/cardiac-telemetry unit at a level 2 trauma hospital. We are the top stroke, seizure, and spine center in our area, and take care of brain/spinal surgical patients and the occasional post major cardiac event/surgery patients(all of usually pts who have spent a day or two in ICU if they needed that and if the ICU had beds available) We also get overflow who need cardiac monitoring.

I'm three months in and I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing, if I chose correctly, if I should've really done a non acute job first. I go to work every night (I'm FT 2300-730) praying that I have a good shift. I had my first code blue which resulted in a death on my fourth night alone.(nothing I could've caught prior says the doc, yet I feel like I should've noticed something..) I never get nights with my husband anymore and I am in constant anxiety about work.

As I read more and more threads I notice this seems to be a common theme among new grads. Now at my facility we have to stay in a current position 6 months before moving on. I'm still a few months short but am unable to tell if what I'm experiencing is normal, or if I just really don't like where I'm at. I did my senior preceptorship in the ER at this hospital and I LOVED it. (Again was that because I was still a naive student working under an RN yet still doing most things alone?) i just can't decide if 6 months experience on my current floor will have prepared me enough for my movement to the ER, or if waiting out this "magical" first year will be more beneficial.

Any advice is appreciated. Sorry for the long post, and thank you in advance. :geek:

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Rose_Queen is a BSN, MSN, RN and specializes in OR, education.

5 Followers; 4 Articles; 8,922 Posts; 104,763 Profile Views

General consensus is that it takes a year to feel confident and competent in the role of licensed nurse. I would stick it out for at least the full year. If you go elsewhere, you'll be starting over again and could simply end up exactly where you are now.

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CrunchRN has 25 years experience as a ADN, RN and specializes in Clinical Research, Outpt Women's Health.

1 Follower; 4,190 Posts; 30,403 Profile Views

Totally normal even for older grads. Hang in there.

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amb218 has 5 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Pediatrics, Critical Care.

1 Article; 118 Posts; 3,533 Profile Views

I also agree that what you are experiencing is totally normal for new grads, especially on a unit with such high acuity. There is so much to learn and your confidence will build with time. Don't put too much pressure on yourself; starting out as a new grad is very challenging, let alone in an ICU setting!

One thing I will say though, is that the shift you are working is a very tough shift to work. Doing the kind of work we do 5 days a week is VERY hard to do. I applaud you! I am glad you are seeing the common theme though, because believe me most (if not all) new grads have these same exact feelings.

Do you feel that it is the unit specific things you do not like (such as types of patients, unit setting, coworkers) and that is why you want to transfer to the ED or just the challenge of being a new grad? If it is unit specific and you think the ED would be much better for you, I would look into moving there after your 1 year of experience on this floor. At that point, you won't even be considered a new grad anymore! :)

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HouTx has 35 years experience as a BSN, MSN, EdD and specializes in Critical Care, Education.

9,051 Posts; 45,047 Profile Views

Having worked both, I think that 8 hr nights were easier & more compatible with family life than 12 hour nights. I discovered that my kids didn't even know I worked... I found out that they just assumed Daddy got them up and going in the morning because I liked to sleep late.

I echo PP comments. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. One day, you'll realize that things aren't as bad as they used to be; your anxiety is less; newbies are asking you for advice; docs are looking for you when they want to find out what is happening with their patients..... it'll happen.

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anchorRN has 15 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ICU, Military.

258 Posts; 6,958 Profile Views

Hang in there! It takes months (if not a year) to get your routine down and become confident in the ability to do your job. Nursing school prepared you for the basics (i.e. NCLEX) now its up to you to learn your real job, a bedside RN. It will come I promise! Working Med-Surg will help you develop time management skills that you will NEED when you transfer to a more acute dept (like ER!). Your charge nurse is a valuable resource, as are the more seasoned RNs on the ward. Yes some may be old and snarky, but ask them to help anyway lol. Dont give up this is all very normal for just starting out. Hell after 12 years of being an RN I still get anxiety sometimes when I go to work.

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