New Grad Overwhelmed at Work

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    I need help please. I'm working at a well known hospital in my area. I was so excited to get a job. I was hired on a busy Med/surg floor. I have been on orientation for 6 weeks and am about to be released from it in a week. I don't feel comfortable at all with my pts.

    I am so overwhelmed and so stressed, I don't enjoy the patient population I work with. I don't feel beside nursing is for me. I go home feeling exhausted and dreading to go in the next day. My preceptor and managers say I'm not showing so much interest as they wish and I don't know what to tell them or what to do. The pay is great, and I don't know if I could afford a pay cut with my current situation, but I'm not sure what to do. I feel like I need the Med surg experience to do anything I feel like I'd like to do like case management or nurse education. Something other than bedside. I feel lost on what to do, and am questioning if I picked the right major. Please help!

    Dear Feeling Lost,

    Feeling overwhelmed and dreading coming to work is more common than you know for new grads in a new nursing position. Even so, six weeks is a relatively short orientation for a new grad. I would ask the manager for an extension of orientation

    To "show more interest", ask more questions such as "The lab shows a low potassium, I am going to call the doctor for potassium replacement orders, what do you think?"

    Also ask your preceptor and manager for specific and measurable goals. "In what way can I meet the performance goal of showing more interest?" Read When you Receive a Warning at Work

    There is a big potential problem if you quit the hospitals- it can be hard landing another inpatient job. You do need about 2 years experience to do case management. I hope you can stick it out.

    Think about it this way- stick with it and re-evaluate in 6 week increments.

    Best wishes,

    Nurse Beth

    Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!
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    About Nurse Beth, MSN, RN

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 1,445; Likes: 4,319