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Not feeling good enough to be a nurse


Hello everyone! I was wondering when did you guys feel confident as a nurse? I have been working in LTC for almost a year now and I just feel so stupid. I am a floor nurse and recently started my new position as the new infection control nurse and inservice coordinator so that is quite overwhelming. I find that I am asking too many questions and I feel like I can't make a decision without getting approval. I second guess my decisions all the time. I don't know how to stick to my guns and be confident in my decision. Perhaps it is my personality, but I find it hard because I am also a people pleaser (which I hate). I am realizing that I am not good at being a leader, because I am constantly worried about other cooworkers or worried I am going to hurt peoples feelings. I am also constantly thinking about what other people think with comments like "well you are the infection control nurse so you should know" or that I am a registered nurse in general and I should know everything

Lately, I am feeling like I will never be good enough and confident as a nurse. Last night I bawled my eyes out ( second time this week and seems like I am always crying at least once a month about my nursing practice). I just don't feel like I am good enough to be a nurse. I compare myself to other new nurses my age at my work (who have even less experience than me) and I feel that I am just falling behind or that I lack good judgement. I am the type that needs to experience situations in order to remember or learn from something, so I find that all new experiences that happen, that I don't always make the best judgement call and I hate that. It just seems so effortless for everyone else but me and it seems like I am the only one that feels this way. At the end of the day, I am beating myself up thinking "Oh I should have done that differently, why didn't I do it that way."

I love being a nurse and caring for people but its just lacking knowledge and having the pressure of being in charge to know everything gets to me or perhaps I don't have common sense or something? I don't know.

Has anyone felt this overwhelmed in their career or is it just me??

Thank you for letting me rant!


NurseCard, ADN

Specializes in Med/Surge, Psych, LTC, Home Health. Has 13 years experience.

I have certainly had overwhelming moments!! I once had a job as a shift

supervisor in an LTC, and honestly not one time during that brief stint,

did I ever feel like I knew what the heck I was doing.

You know, a year is not a very long time to have been a nurse. I mean,

sometimes it takes a good bit longer than that for one to feel comfortable

in their role as an RN. Saying that, maybe you need more time as a

floor nurse to get your confidence up, before you take on a leadership


I don't want to put you down even more by saying that, don't mean

to do that at all. Again, a year is really not that long. Chin up,

things will get better for you! :)

I love my job, I work on a crazy acute care floor, before that I did hospice and LTC. For some reason I doubted myself before starting at the hospital, and unfortunately that doubt continues. I think a big part of that doubt is my lack of self esteem in life. I feel a lot of pressure and anxiety that I did the right thing, and that I did everything my co workers would expect me to do. Why is that? I sometimes think nursing is a profession built on critiques, judgments and peer reviews. Yes of course reflection is mandatory in this profession, but alot of the experiences we have as a student nurse is in a group setting, with peer reflections, and sometimes we're compared to each other. I think nursing has actually allowed me to grow as a person, I am growing and developing as person and professional.

Lucky for us this profession is built on ongoing learning, growth, and developing. Stick to it, things will get easier. You'll find yourself, and you'll realize it doesn't matter what other nurses are doing with their career. Be the best person and nurse you can. Never turn down for an opportunity to grow.


I have been a RN since 2012. I'm coming off of a two year maternity leave. I've been back to work for 3 months now and decided to try med-surg. I still feel the same way you do and I'm seeking the same answers. Honestly I think I choose the wrong career. I too am a people pleaser but I think I would do better in a more autonomous position, one on one with the patient. We will succeed, we can get through anything and eventually "get-there", but I'm not sure I want to go through all the pain. I'm going to access my strengths and weaknesses and figure something out. This is mostly my rant now I guess, just another way of looking at things. My friend said to me the other day. Each door that symbolically closes is a sign post to where you should be. This sounds pretty good to me.

Tammy, I don't have all of the answers for you but want to let you know that you have taken the first step toward developing more confidence in your practice. Everyone is "overwhelmed" in the beginning. I have a few thoughts that might help you as you move forward.

1) You have only had one year of experience and you have already taken a new position. Any time you take a new position, you need time to learn and adjust. Assuming new responsibility is stressful, so do not expect it to be easy.

2) You have a lot of self-awareness which is wonderful, however as you stated, you are very judgmental and "beat up on yourself". Being self critical is never helpful. It undermines your confidence. When you are aware of being self-judgmental, just STOP. Don't do that to yourself.

3) You might want to practice and "Evening Review" where you take a few minutes to write down what you did WELL that day and what you would like to have done DIFFERENTLY. Be objective with facts as well as feelings. Then think of some things to do differently. If you consistently do this, you will begin to see that you are doing better than you initially perceive-there is lots of research to back this up.

4) Become more intentional about developing relationships with others. Every day begin to look for something that a peer does well-something positive-and let that person know that you noticed. This will help you to focus less on yourself and how you are feeling and more on others and will define how others on the unit perceive you.

5) The practice of mindfulness has been extremely helpful to me in dealing with feeling of depression and lack of confidence. You might want to look for a program that you can participate in.

6) Remember your words "I love being a nurse and caring for people". Let that be your mantra.