So, Im a brand new Nurse, Help!


Okay, Im freaking out a little because every person I talked to that has been in my class has told me that they have gotten almost no orientation at all. I just interviewed at a place that promised me orientation but didnt say how long it would be. Come to find out, it isnt that long (few days) according to a new nurse that I know who works there.

Im really scared because I still have a lot to learn and my clinical skills are shaky. I have never done a tube feeding, a catheter (not worried) and have very little IV experience. My friends told me they are being thrown out to fend for themselves. Is that what nursing is, sink or swim? Someone please give me some advice on how to make it through this.



310 Posts

LTC is sink or swim. Focus your energy on med pass where you will be spending most of your time and have the most chance of making an error. If you haven't done something before just ask your charge to show you how ie: tube feedings. No one is going to expect you to walk in and know everything. and I wouldn't worry about IV skills in LTC.

All the best



Specializes in geriatrics, IV, Nurse management. Has 7 years experience. 365 Posts

I started out in retirement. It was 3 days orientation. I was a nervous wreck when I started out, but believe me, they won't let you sink. Your mentor for those 3 days is available for questions/etc. Use it to your advantage and come prepared with questions. I was never allowed to do a skill that I was hesitant on without my DOC being with me. You can do this!:) Congrats on the job!


jmanshutt, LPN

Has 8 years experience. 21 Posts

Nursing is not something that you can expect to know what you are doing within 2 days or 2 weeks. When i fist started in long term care after i finished school i was oriented to the position for 6 weeks. And in that 6 weeks i learned about the position that i was assuming and alot about assessments, paper work and all the other things that go along with it. I can tell you that after 4 years there are things that i still dont know and things that i am still learning. Dont expect to know everything in a few days or in a few weeks. Nursing is one of those beautiful careers in which everyday is a learning expreience. Good luck and enjoy your career.



Specializes in Dialysis. Has 10 years experience. 119 Posts

You will learn something new every single day no matter how long you have been in nursing!!!



Specializes in retired LTC. 7,735 Posts

Unfortunately,way too, too many new nurses are graduating with the expectation that initial employers will provide them with the basic and/or expanded education and technical skills that were NOT covered in nursing school. Yet these are the skill sets that are needed by employers. I understand that learing deficit!

However, healthcare facilities (be they acute care, LTC, et al) are in the business of providing healthcare services to its recipient pt population. They ARE NOT there to be extensions of nursing school, part II, for the newbie nurslings who need more school.

With the state of healtcare's dependence on decreasing income and resources versus their operational costs, it is no wonder that the luxury of orientation is so marginal. And it IS an expensive luxury for the employer to provide!!! Their expectation is to hire employees who are up & ready to start work. It would really be terrific if there COULD be some better way to give new nurses a good start with improved orientation periods, but I just don't see that happening.

I truly believe the weakest link here is the declining level of preparedness provided by education. But then again, I don't see THAT improving any time soon either. So to OP and other new graduates, you can only use what time you are provided with to make the best of it by focusing on the priorities! Rely on your preceptors, mgrs, supervisors, Staff Dev, coworkers as nec but you've got to be proactive for yourself and participatory in whatever opportunities avail.



23 Posts

Okay take a deep breath now exhale it's all a rite of passage so to speak we all been through it been overwhelm and survived. Take it one day at a time don't attempt to do any caths, trache suctions,tube feedings, ect if you are not confident in your ability. Ask questions ask for more practice but in reality in LTC is that dark kept secret that school can never prepare you for. Depending on how you look at it each day will be a learning experience.Orientation is just a little shove to get you going down the road you will adopt your own rhythm so to speak to make things work better for you remember it's like this for everyone but it gets easier so don't stress. Good luck.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 16 years experience. 226 Articles; 27,608 Posts

I was promised 3 days of orientation at my very first LPN position, but ended up receiving one 8-hour shift before being cut loose to work on my own.

Although more orientation time is desirable, many LTC facilities do not have the money in their budgets to offer extended orientation periods. Orientation is intended to get the new hire accustomed to the floor, paperwork, and residents. Orientation is not a time for paid clinical rotations or school practicum where you get to learn all the skills that you did not learn in school.

If you need more help with skills, ask the nurses with whom you will be working. Good luck to you!



137 Posts

I was where you are about 3 weeks ago, I got 2 days of orientation, that were at the very best weak 2 days. The nurse had no pleasure in showing me the ropes lol.

I busted my butt*, did everything that I could & ask questions, listen in where I can now and I was told that I am doing a fantastic job & they wouldn't guess I was a new nurse. When it comes to skills, you can always read over them, restudy them ect. You should be fine. If you are scared, then ask someone for help. It's not going to be the end of the world.

Edited by MySonIsAdorable
curse word! Ooops!



Specializes in Very well rounded.. Has 19 years experience. 67 Posts

Ok Gn's, newbies,

There is a great educational system available to you that was not available to me! I utilize the hell out of now. Search... The sound is sometimes bad but these individuals almost always want to make an informative video. If it proves to be a waste of time the time is short, usually 3-4 minutes. Review foley, Iv, Ekg, Abg, Ng tube, thoracentesis, chest tube insertion and or tidaling, etc. I utilize youtube and I have been a nurse x 19 years.

Russell Roach