Published Jul 31, 2009
I have started my first nursing job 2 month ago. I need help because I feel like I'm drowning and no matter how much I try I can't float up to the surface and take a deep breath. I try hard, but still make a lot of mistakes. I forget things and beat myself up for forgetting things. I feel stupid and need help with organization and dealing with disructions. I'm stressed out and doubting myself in everything. I want to be a nurse and to be able to deal with being stretched in every possible direction and not to stress out, but don't know how. Any suggestions?
Whispera, MSN, RN
First of all, you're feeling a normal feeling. Being new to any profession can be totally overwhelming. It does tend to even out as time goes on. It's been said that can take about a year to happen. Be kind to yourself!
Are there other nurses who can answer your questions at work? Are there nurses you think are great that you could observe? Can you write down your questions and ask them in the tiny little times you might have available? Might another nurse be open to phone calls outside of work to help you with information? Did you have a preceptor who might help? How about your manager? How about reviewing your day to see what went wrong and what went right and how you might improve things the next time? How about setting ONE goal for yourself each day and working to accomplish it, and then evaluating how it went, and keeping it as a goal until you get it accomplished one day or the other. Can you delegate things to the aides that you are feeling you have to do yourself (but really don't)?
Back to the being kind to yourself...are you eating nutritiously and exercising appropriately? Are you taking time for yourself. Are you doing nice things for yourself? What are you doing to relax outside of work? You need to do something! Bubblebaths? Dancing? Yelling? Typing on allnurses.com? Talking with in-person friends? Venting about work with real life friends who are in the same boat? Eating cookies?
I know it's hard...I have felt the same way and I bet most nurses have. Ours is a difficult job and we hold lives in our hands! Keep on being as caring as you are, and be patient with yourself.
Which field are you in? With everything new, it just takes time to adjust.
I agree with previous post about getting help etc. It just takes time. Nursing is
just stressful and you may never quit beating yourself up if you make a mistake, but try to.
One thing that helps me, is that I have a work sheet or cheat sheet. I write done times for meds, things I've done, when pain med was given for each patient. Then if I haven't had time to chart. It's all on my cheat sheet. I made up my own sheet so it's logical to me and I can check off things as they are done. It really only takes a second and it makes me feel more organized. I still may run behind, but I can catch up a lot quicker when I have everything in front of me.
Hope this helps.
Good luck and things will get better in time.
Ginger's Mom, MSN, RN
When I was a new nurse, I would observe how the most organized nurses worked and adapted their practices. Don't be too hard on your self you feelings are normal.
NurseNora, BSN, RN
The more you expect perfection and beat up on yourself for not reaching it, the more difficult it is to learn from your mistakes. We all make them. If we're not making mistakes, we're not trying enough new things. I wish there were a better way to learn, but once you make an error, you won't repeat it.
So be gentle with yourself, you're only human. Perfection is not an option, only a goal that you'll always fall short of.
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