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Recent Grad: So Many Feelings...

First Year   (865 Views 13 Comments)

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Hi everyone, 

I'm a recent grad, several months into my first job, and still fresh off orientation. Let me say I love my job, I love what I do, and I love my unit... but oh, the feelssssss... I know everyone talks about how hard the first year is, but it's hard whenever your in a low part not to think "this is because I suck, and I'm horrible". I have way more good days than bad, and everyone says it is ok to feel not good enough, that's how the beginning is until you gain experience and confidence. But how much of feeling like this is normal? Where is the line of, struggling as a new grad and struggling because you are horrible? 

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Nurse SMS has 8 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

4 Followers; 6,030 Posts; 47,842 Profile Views

Any time you are engaging in black and white thinking it is a red flag that your brain is telling you stories.

What does your manager say? Are you on a performance plan? Have you been written up? No? Then you aren't likely horrible.

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496 Posts; 8,980 Profile Views

No, my feedback has been great. I may just be overthinking things... 

Actually, I have an amazing manager, director, preceptor (who still checks on me and provides feedback), and coworkers... I'm just confused by the fear and anxiety that hits me time to time

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Nurse SMS has 8 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

4 Followers; 6,030 Posts; 47,842 Profile Views

If you start to feel like it is impacting your quality of life or the quality of your work, then definitely see someone to help you through this hairy time. Just because it is normal doesn't mean you have to accept it as inevitable.

The humility of being a brand new nurse is profound. As you see the next batch of new grads starting up you will begin to be able to see your progress. Hang in there.

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ThatChickOmi has 0 years experience as a ADN, RN and specializes in Med/Surg.

238 Posts; 2,104 Profile Views

I am quite literally right there with you. Just graduated in May. Only been off orientation for 2 weeks at my first job and it's been a rough. I have to restrain myself from asking too many questions and try to figure things out myself before calling for help. I just don't want to screw up or overlook something, ya know? Good luck. We'll both be needing it.

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Nurse SMS has 8 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

4 Followers; 6,030 Posts; 47,842 Profile Views

16 hours ago, ThatChickOmi said:

I am quite literally right there with you. Just graduated in May. Only been off orientation for 2 weeks at my first job and it's been a rough. I have to restrain myself from asking too many questions and try to figure things out myself before calling for help. I just don't want to screw up or overlook something, ya know? Good luck. We'll both be needing it.

Be careful with this. There is nothing wrong with asking questions. Hearing of a new grad trying to "figure things out myself" makes me nervous as heck. If it is basics or time management, sure - but clinical situations? You need to ask.

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496 Posts; 8,980 Profile Views

That's good to hear, because sometimes I feel I'm asking too many questions

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Nurse SMS has 8 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

4 Followers; 6,030 Posts; 47,842 Profile Views

3 minutes ago, SunshineNRainbows said:

That's good to hear, because sometimes I feel I'm asking too many questions

This is a very common feeling! Definitely take time to review what you already know, but don't hesitate to ask questions. I worry about the ones who don't.

As you get to know the people on your shift and unit, identify your more experienced coworkers who are helpful and knowledgeable. You may even go so far as to ask if you can bring questions to them during your shift if you know you have a patient who is complicated or has a condition you are unfamiliar with.

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ThatChickOmi has 0 years experience as a ADN, RN and specializes in Med/Surg.

238 Posts; 2,104 Profile Views

6 hours ago, Nurse SMS said:

Be careful with this. There is nothing wrong with asking questions. Hearing of a new grad trying to "figure things out myself" makes me nervous as heck. If it is basics or time management, sure - but clinical situations? You need to ask.

Let me clarify, I know to always ask if it's a situation I've never had or an unfamiliar intervention but sometimes I'm like 99% sure I know the answer but I need validation to "be sure". Like whether I should call a doctor about something or a drug question, etc...I'm still struggling with my communication skills with doctors. At nights most of the time they seem very annoyed if you reach out especially if its something that ends up not requiring further intervention. It's a little demotivating.

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Nurse SMS has 8 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

4 Followers; 6,030 Posts; 47,842 Profile Views

On 11/5/2019 at 3:44 PM, ThatChickOmi said:

Let me clarify, I know to always ask if it's a situation I've never had or an unfamiliar intervention but sometimes I'm like 99% sure I know the answer but I need validation to "be sure". Like whether I should call a doctor about something or a drug question, etc...I'm still struggling with my communication skills with doctors. At nights most of the time they seem very annoyed if you reach out especially if its something that ends up not requiring further intervention. It's a little demotivating.

Their annoyance isn't about you and isn't your problem. Don't let it deter you from clarifying or requesting orders. This is where you begin to develop a thick skin.

Practice using SBAR to communicate with people regarding your patients.

Situation

Background

Assessment

Recommendations

It looks something like this.

"Hello Dr. Irritated. This is Nurse Awesome, calling about your patient, Mrs. Smith, in room 602. She is here for pneumonia and has a history of COPD, depression and anxiety. She is experiencing shortness of breath. Her BP is 110/78, respirations 16, SPO2 98% on room air. she is in sinus rhythm with a pulse of 80. She is restless, agitated and states she feels a little panicked. I see that your order for Ativan was discontinued earlier today. I would like to give her a one time dose now, to help her calm down and rest, or perhaps you have another medication you would prefer? How would you like me to proceed?"

However, if you are calling them just to investigate their reasoning just to make sure you understand it, without having an actual concern beyond that, that probably isn't the best use of your relationship with them. 

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ThatChickOmi has 0 years experience as a ADN, RN and specializes in Med/Surg.

238 Posts; 2,104 Profile Views

Thanks for the tip!

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