Published Feb 7, 2014
I am a new nurse that has only been orienting for about 3 weeks now. And I feel like I just don't know anything, that everything I have learned is nowhere to be found. I am not the only new nurse on my unit that's orienting and I feel like they are doing so much better than me. I know I shouldn't compare and I don't know what their situation is but I guess you can say I am paranoid. I try to get my confidence level up before I go into work, but then I get there and it all goes away. What scares me the most is that I think I might have done a med error and I don't know how it'll be handled. The medication was ordered under my patient but I wasn't familiar with it so I was trying to figure it out. So I asked a nurse that was in the med room with me and she told me what it was. At the time, I did not even question the medication relating to my patient's condition so I gave it. I am off the shift and I just keep questioning it in my head and why I did not verify it with the MD to make sure that that medication was what she wanted. This has completely taking my confidence down so many levels!! I'm feeling so out of control and that nursing just isn't for me. I hope I am not alone in my feelings. I guess I am just looking for words of encouragement or a sliver of hope.
Well I think all new nurses feel that way. And hopefully it eventually fades away.
But as a rule of thumb, I NEVER ask anyone med or procedure questions. I look it up for myself. What if they give you the wrong answer and you go with it and something bad happens. I don't feel like "oh well Liz told me to give the med" will hold up well in court! :)
Some days you just want to vomit. It took a few weeks being on my own to feel comfortable. Just keep swimming. :)
Lola if you ever believe anything, believe this. There is always time to look up a med before you give it. (unless you are pulling it out of the crash cart)
Buy a tiny pharmacopia pocket book, keep it with you, hi-light drugs and important info like infusion rate/serious side effects/contraindications... Make time to look up your drugs. If your boss tells you there isn't time, hand them your resignation now before you seriously harm a patient. Find some place to work that pt safety is a priority.
I know I have definitely learned from this. Always triple check meds, and to follow my gut feelings that if it doesn't seem right check with the physician. it's just so hard to get this incident out of my head because it's like I should know better! .
It's always very hard starting out in nursing and new nurses focus so much on all of the tasks they need to complete that critical thinking often gets thrown out the window. Always look at your MAR and always look up meds if you aren't familiar w/ them and why you are giving them to your patients. Take the opportunity to learn each day by reflecting on the patients and their conditions and ask yourself what went well? What could have been done better? What did I learn?
Three weeks in nursing is no time at all. Don't be so hard on yourself. It takes awhile to get it all down and then it changes so you always have to learn.
Regarding the med, was it a new order or was it a med the patient had been on for awhile? Does he take it at home? Yes to the last two means I'd give it and make note to myself to see how this drug fits in for this patient. Yes to the first means I'd figure it out before I gave the med.
Ruby Vee, BSN
As a new nurse, you're going to feel incompetent. I'd be worried about you if you didn't. Nothing scares me as much as a brand new nurse with CONFIDENCE.
Always look up meds for yourself rather than ask someone else. That someone could be wrong. You'll do better next time. We all make mistakes.
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