Scared to death

Nurses New Nurse


I know that this post is probably going to be redundant but I just need to vent. I started my first nursing job on Tuesday, and I've already come home and cried my eyes out. I am so overwhelmed I don't even know where to begin. The job is on a surgical floor, and I get a 6 week orientation. Today will be my 4th day working PMs. So far I have had three different nurses to work with, and on two of those days, the nurses I were working with were in the middle of a 16 hour day. So I got no report, I really didn't get to do any assessments, none of the stuff you do to start your shift out. I feel like I know a lot less than I thought I did. I don't really know how to read doctors orders, what to do when we get new orders, the nurses I'm working with just say "ok now we have to do this"...well, how do you KNOW we have to do that. I know that it didn't just appear in front of you!!! I get scared that my school did an exceptionally crappy job teaching me stuff. I never learned how to read orders and what you do with them! I feel like I can't even hang a piggyback right. I mean IV therapy is still something I am really uncomfortable with. And there is sooooooooo much paperwork!!! I just have no clue how I am supposed to know how to do all this stuff in 6 weeks. And I guess I'm going to start out with a full load too. I'm guessing I'll build up to 4-5 patients on orientation. I feel bad because I've had stuff explained to me more than once and I'm still uncomfortable with it. I think I just need consistency with once preceptor and someone who is coming on shift WITH me; not someone who's already been taking care of the same patients for 8 hours!!! I don't know if I can do this!!

Kevin RN08

295 Posts

Specializes in Med-Tele, Internal Med PCU.

I think I just need consistency with once preceptor and someone who is coming on shift WITH me; not someone who's already been taking care of the same patients for 8 hours!!!

IMHO, this statement says a ton! I realize that when we're just starting there are other things that need to be tended to- HR, Orientation, Studying/Reviewing Local Procedures and Instructions, Scavenger Hunt, Videos, Proficiencies, the list seems endless. If you were doing these "other" tasks then the following is obsolete.

I have to ask, is this the way orientation was originally described to you? Have you brought these problems to the attention of your manager, educator, or one of your preceptors? Either way you need to ask questions, frequently experienced nurses may be on their own timing and forget that we don't know everything.


195 Posts

My favorite instructor told me that no matter how smart you are, no matter what grades you got in school, no matter what job you take when you first start out, that the first 6 months on the job is going to be tremendously difficult. She said she came home crying EVERY night for the first 6 months. But that it gets better after that.

In fact, the manager of the ICU that I've been hired into (but haven't actually started yet) told me the same thing: that she cried EVERY night for the first several months.

So I guess it's normal to feel that way. Not that that makes it any easier.


510 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Cardiac.

Are your manager and the person in charge of your orientation program supportive? If so I'd talk to them. It's not like you're griping, you have valid concerns and have thought out constructive ways to address them.


40 Posts

thanks for the replies. Yeah I talked to her last night, she is really supportive and totally cool and switched me to days next week so I can have the same preceptor for 2 days, and then a new preceptor for another 2 days. It really sucks, they just don't have the staff to have the same preceptor for all the new grads they hired (8 of my classmates will also be on the same unit, so at least when I have a meltdown I'll have some familiar faces around who know what I'm going through!) Last night was much better. I just need some structure!

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