New Nurse I Don't Know Anything

by Monique Barber Monique Barber (New) New

Okay, so I graduated in May. In late September I took my NCLEX and passed in 75 questions. I found the test easy and there were several questions that looked like they were copied from the EAQ NCLEX-RN question bank. 

I am a COVID nurse, which means my clinical experience and instruction sucked. Sure I'm great didactically, but I don't know anything about nursing skills. 


Some Background: 

My first semester went so/so. I got a C in Fundamentals and an A in everything else. The clinical placement was terrible. We were stuck at a terrible roach-infested nursing home where the CNAs were just terrible. Anyway, we didn't get a chance to practice skills or do much of anything because most of the patients don't have acute conditions. I think the most exciting thing I did was watch an older gentleman get bathed and a nurse passing meds. I did get to give one enoxaparin injection, but that was the most. Our instructor did show us what we needed to do for our initial assessments, but that was just a few times. She was extremely nice and kind of treated us like babies that the first semester, but she really made me angry because a few clinicals, we had to make an agreement not to come in because she had another demanding leadership position. 2nd Semester ( late Jan 2020) was Med-Surg/OB. I was super excited to finally get some much-needed clinical time. The first day, I shadowed my RN who was okay. You could tell she felt overworked and tired. I helped position a few patients and watch the customary passage of medication. It was really crazy because we had a poor soul who was ready to pass from colorectal cancer, and the wife was in denial and just made the doctors and nurses uncomfortable with demands that were outside the scope of our practice. Anyway, he became our focus for that day, and the odor was something I've never smelled before and so was the tumor. To make a long story short, I vomited everywhere and had to go home. The next weekend, everyone and everything was on lockdown due to COVID.


So, we spend two semesters without clinical. When we finally did get back to clinical in the Fall of 2021, it was for Pediatrics, and it was the weekend. There was practically nothing to do except pass meds and ask the nurse I was shadowing questions. I did see a few procedures being done like a blood transfusion and IV, but overall there was not that much. I did get two nurses who were very rude, one was rude to the techs and one was rude to me directly, so it kind of felt like they didn't want you to step on their toes. 


Transitions was really nice, but the clinical days were only on Saturdays, and we had the same instructor from the first semester who didn't want to come in some days despite her working at that exact hospital. The huge Winter storm in Texas didn't help much either. 


Sorry about the long post, but another dilemma I have is that although I did receive my Bachelor's degree online from a university that's only about 50 miles away, I live in a small town, and we only have one residency program. I applied on the 7th, and I still haven't heard anything despite people claiming the nursing field is just booming with jobs. I would like to move to the city where I graduated from, but I have no money, and I can't find anyone to room with me. The truth is because of COVID, I forgot a bunch of nursing skills like how to take blood pressure. I don't know what to do. I feel very lost. 


Has 9 years experience.

Getting into a new grad program is ideal but doesn't happen for everyone. I would suggest looking into volunteer positions where you can work on clinical skills but if you can't get in anywhere because of COVID, then start looking online for case studies or simulation packages!

There are so many other things you can do as a nurse.

Look into teaching BLS or look into being a telehealth/call center while you're waiting for better opportunities. You can still have an impact.

Nurses aren't considered less than if they do something outside of the bedside like public health or community outreach. Lots of nurses start a Youtube channel to teach or share knowledge.

Look into research nursing opportunities. Look into COVID testing sites. Look into aesthetics nursing or medical spa nursing. 

You may find your place in the wide world of nursing by picking a specialty- find something you like and take a certification class!


One week is not a lot of time for an employer to get back to you. When I was applying for my first RN position, I did not get any replies for a few weeks. Although there definitely is a nursing shortage right now, that doesn't mean that managers suddenly have tons of free time to interview people immediately. Be a little patient

If you don't get any interest after a few weeks, check in with you university and see if they have a resume writing/reviewing service. You want to make sure your application is properly geared towards the jobs you are applying to and they can help you polish it up. 

Also, apply more broadly if you can. After I got in touch with a recruiter, I discovered that some of the posted jobs I had been applying to were not actually still open. 

You can also get in touch with your clinical instructors and see if they know of any openings. Your university might also be able to help you with your Job Search.

lpag789, BSN, RN

Specializes in OB/Perinatal.

I'm sorry about your less than optimal school experience. I wouldn't be too hard on yourself about clinical skills, most places hiring new nurses know that situation with Covid. Not to mention, they always say you actually learn how to be a nurse on the job. 

As far as your Job Search, definitely give it more time. I applied back in June for jobs that I'm just now hearing back about for interviews. The job I accepted took about four weeks from application to unofficial offer (then another two weeks for the official offer). Just takes time! 

kbrn2002, ADN, RN

Specializes in Geriatrics, Dialysis. Has 19 years experience.

If it was the 7th of this month that you applied don't panic.  Even in the best of times it usually takes at least a few weeks and these are certainly not the best of times. It's most likely the hiring manager hasn't had time to start wading through the short listed applications yet. At this point no news is good news, 


Specializes in New RN grad.


Seriously, have courage. Most of us do not start as RNs able to handle 4 acute patients. Do not expect others to give you courage or feel sorry for you, especially after all they've been through in 2020-2021. Project calm, good humor and confidence in your cover letters and interviews.

Emphasize what you know and what you're interested in becoming good at. Don't volunteer information about what you may have missed out on in nursing school. 

Exercise to increase those endorphins. Get counseling if you're bummed, so that you can build up confidence for interviews.

Pick the place where you want to work and ask about working as a CNA to prove yourself, with the understanding that they'll consider you for an RN slot after a certain amount of time. 

It's a frightening world out there, but also a world of opportunity in our field. You will have to be persistent, day after day, week after week.

Best wishes. A lot of us have been where you are! You passed a nursing program and the NCLEX! You have the power and intelligence to move ahead in this field. 










Leader25, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in NICU. Has 38 years experience.

On 10/12/2021 at 9:50 PM, Monique Barber said:

he truth is because of COVID, I forgot a bunch of nursing skills like how to take blood pressure. I don't know what to do. I feel very lost. 

Ease up,you will get an answer eventually .You can brush up on skills on your own, refer U tube or if your school lab is open go there.Look up proceedures in Lippincott following a dx. Look up emergency proceedures,first aid ,CPR.