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Not confident in some nursing skills

Specializes in LTC Management, Community Nursing, HHC.

I'm still a fairly new RN, and have been working in LTC. I feel that I'm beginning to lose some of my skills that I don't get to use often, and some that I haven't used at all since clinicals. I've been considering other options for work, but I'm not sure as to firstly how I get those skills to a point where I feel confident doing them on my own, and next how to explain at an interview that I'm not confident about certain skills, but would like to be able to practice those and get to where I should be. Should I look for a more acute setting type position?

Thank you for reading.

Ruby Vee, BSN

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching.

If you're not using certain skills in your current job situation, they will get rusty. That's OK. When you take another job where you need them, they are easily relearned. Plus, as an experienced nurse you now have some skills that you didn't have when you learned your "skills" in the first place. You can easily relearn how to put in a Salem Sump, but you now know to explain it to the patient ahead of time (and the family), explain things as you go along, note how the patient is doing as you're doing the procedure, provide reassurance as needed, and many more things you didn't notice as a student putting in a Salem for the first time. I wouldn't worry too much about losing skills. Concentrate on developing your critical thinking and time management. When the time comes that you need these "skills" of which you speak, they'll come back.

VegGal, BSN, RN

Specializes in LTC Management, Community Nursing, HHC.

Thank you, Ruby Vee. I appreciate your response. It makes a lot of sense, and really helps.


I've worked in two huge LTC facilities starting off my career in nursing; they were both med-surg on steroids.

Previous poster took the words right out of my mouth...critical thinking skills and time management; both are necessary. It is almost impossible to have competent time management without critical thinking skills.

The word worry...eliminate from vocabulary, review skills that aren't practiced on YouTube and/or other sources. I know a women who was in an accident and ended up in a wheelchair. After two years of being in an AFCH, she re-entered the world of the living. Her driver's license had expired while institutionalized. She was 55.

There was much to do for this female to enter back into the world; it wasn't until 7 years after the accident, she went to test for her driver's license (had to do both written and driving). She passed the written part. I will mention that the family would not let her practice in their cars. She had ended up near family over 2,000 miles away from where she called home. Her family believed that she was delusional. I mean, why would a person in a wheelchair want to drive?

She arranged with her mother for the mother to drive her to the DMV and use the mother's vehicle. On the day of the driving test; she told me she wasn't nervous at all. She knew how to drive (didn't need special vehicle; regular car was fine). She went through the pre-driving exercises with the DMV driving examiner and when he told her to start vehicle and go, she told me it was if she had never stopped driving...passed with flying colors.

Her family was shocked when she passed and received a driver's license. I see confidence with determination using a non-stress approach. If you hadn't swum for 10 years, and someone threw you into deep water, would you drown (assuming that you knew how to swim) :sarcastic:?

You may have only practiced some of these skills you refer to once or twice, but you have done them. It's true we get better with practice. You need to stay updated and educated, as things in our business are always changing. Take a proactive approach to your work; don't wait.

What "skills" are you referring to? IV's, Foleys, and NG tubes are all tasks.

Real nursing skills are observation, assessment, and communication. In an interview, these "tasky" things would not come up. Your interview questions would be based on "observation, assessment, and communication" skills. They are not going to ask you if you can start an IV an a dehydrated 90 year old :)

If you want an acute care setting position, go for it. All they can do , is say no.


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