New RN on Cardiac/stroke IMC unit


Hey guys,

Im a new nurse just starting out on the Cardiac/stroke IMC floor at my hospital. Im on my 5th day of orientation and so far Im feeling VERY INCOMPETENT!! :( I work with a really great nurse. She's been a nurse for about 25 yrs. She's very supportive, BUT when we are caring for our patients I have SO many questions, and when she answers them I truly feel DUMB! Im supposed to take my first patient by myself next week and I am NERVOUS (an understatement). All I can think of is....what if my patient codes because of a mistake I make. I know a lot of ppl always say its "normal" but i dont know. Im very insecure at this point. I feel like nursing school didnt teach me ANYTHING except the basics!! Any advise from those of you who survived through the very very beginning?!

groovy jeff, RN

348 Posts

Specializes in Telemetry & PCU.

this to shall pass! everyone feels incompetent when they start out on a pcu/tele floor. relax, learn all you can, invest in training/books, learn your strips and meds, you will be fine. you could do one pt now, you just don't know it yet!

Specializes in ER, progressive care. Has 7 years experience.

The feelings of incompetence is just one of the woes a new grad must face. All new grads go through this period, and it takes time to become comfortable - 6 months up to a year. That's good that are you are asking a lot of questions - I would be scared if a new grad wasn't asking anything! I feel like I have asked some pretty dumb questions, but my preceptor(s) always remind me that no question is a stupid question. And I always tell myself, "I would rather ask and be sure than to be only sort of sure.

And remember that you are never alone! I had an emergent situation with one of my patients recently...did not code, but had to be intubated. It was me and a CNA that responded first when I heard screaming. I told the CNA to go get help and luckily one of the other RN's was right next door and came rushing in. Everyone else rushed in and rapid was there in less than a minute.

Hang in there :heartbeat I'm nearing my 5-month mark and I'm still not entirely comfortable but I'm much more comfortable now than I was when I first started. I still ask A LOT of questions. I ask for second opinions in case I am missing something that a more experienced RN could point out. Everyone has been very supportive and that makes a world of a difference.

Specializes in ED/ICU/TELEMETRY/LTC. Has 20 years experience.

Learn what you learn. If you only learn one thing a day, learn it well. Your studies are not over. The most important thing is not to make the same mistake twice. And remember, none of us were born nurses. We all learned.

Let me tell you my story about my complete abject failure of a patient. He was and older man, maybe 70, pleasant, and quite heavy. I forget what he was in the hospital for. I was working on telemetry. I had the man for a couple of days. The third day I went in and he was looking out the window. I did my assessment, talked to him. He seemed fine. VS were good, NSR on the monitor. But he looked uncomfortable. Denied pain. VS every 4 hours. All good. Through out the day he looked out the window all day. He kept leaning to the left, going farther and farther toward the window. I straightened him up. Fixed him with pillows. Pulled him over. Time and again. About 12 noon, I realized what was going on. I had fiddled around all day and let the man stroke.

Yes, I did all the tasky stuff. Kept him comfortable. VS, fed, clean, comfortable. I have no idea when his symptoms started, and I doubt that anything I did would have made a difference. (I like to tell myself that). But I owed it to him to think. I never forgot it. I never will.

Do-over, ASN, RN

1,085 Posts

Specializes in CICU.

1. You will never be alone.

2. You will never be alone.

3. You will feel competent one day. Give yourself AT LEAST 9 months to a year.

4. You will never be alone.

I had about 3 months of orientation and just had my first week on my own. It was SCARY! I got floated my first night! Luckily the unit I was floated to had some very helpful nurses that were aware of it being my first night off of orientation. Just remember that when you take your first patient that your preceptor will be overlooking to make sure that you didn't miss anything and aren't doing anything that will harm your patient. Also, you can ALWAYS ask if you need someone to double check or something just doesn't seem right to you.