Still Feel Like A New Grad

Nurses General Nursing

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Still Feel Like A New Grad

I have been a pediatric nurse for 3 years and I still feel like a new grad. I think my main issue was that my first job was right before covid and they switched me around a lot during it. Eventually I was on one floor for a while but that was after like 7 months into nursing... I floated to a lot of units and it felt very chaotic

Then I tried the nicu and I couldn't hack it. IDK if I'm just not smart enough to do it, but it just didn't click with me. I was also bullied here and so my time on this unit felt very negative. I was here for 6 months

Then I did travel nursing and did 3 mo contracts for a year. I did extend one contract to 6 months but they were in different specialities (one in pediatric rehab, the other a pediatric cardiac step-down unit).

I got tired of moving and switching, so I landed a FT job. I feel like a new grad again. I think it's a personality thing because I am naturally very timid, anxious, soft-spoken person. this type of person does not usually get high rankings in the nursing world. I find it's always the loud, confident ER types of nurses that do really well and get everyone's attention. I'm just not that type of person. 

I do want to learn the skills necessary in my unit--for example, they said they're going to have me be chemo certified and train me on this. I'm finally going to be trained on placing IVs because all my old hospitals had an IV team

But even things I've been exposed to (chest tubes, halo-gravity traction, etc) I do not know how to do well. the reason behind this is I've been exposed to it maybe once and now they're expecting I know how to because I'm "experienced." I guess I feel self conscious because people who are newer than I am seem to have more confidence and catch on faster than I do. I just feel really stupid and I don't even know how I made it this far in nursing. I feel like I should know more than I do by this point in my career.

I have a lot of anxiety around nursing that I never controlled. I am finally going to see a therapist once my benefits kick in but obviously I'm starting on the floor before and during therapy. I just want to stop feeling like such a moron. I thought it would get better but it seems like everyone else got better and I'm still stuck. I feel like I should know more than I do (I've never done CPR, I've never bagged someone before)....

I feel like a failure and just not bright because it takes me a long time to learn something. This doesn't seem to be the case for most other people and I'm feeling very moronic. Has anyone else ever felt this way? Is maybe hospital nursing not for me?

You have been tossed around. It is difficult  to get confident when you are not in a place long enough to learn a routine.

You are far from a failure. You have survived the storm so far... and done very well. Travel nursing was  hard for me after 20 years of experience.  Yes, you need a place to land to get confident. Is this job it? Do you want to learn chemo and IV's?

 

Been there,done that said:

You have been tossed around. It is difficult  to get confident when you are not in a place long enough to learn a routine.

You are far from a failure. You have survived the storm so far... and done very well. Travel nursing was  hard for me after 20 years of experience.  Yes, you need a place to land to get confident. Is this job it? Do you want to learn chemo and IV's?

 

thank you so much for saying that. that means a lot. I'm not sure I really care about giving chemo, but I'm also not opposed to it. I 100% want to learn how to place IVs. I asked my first hospital if I could be trained. They had me shadow the IV team and I got to put 1 in. But 1 IV wasn't enough to make me feel proficient, and when clinical scenarios came up, I always felt it wasn't the time or that I was torturing the patients since I didn't know what I was doing + they're children! Maybe if I worked with adults I wouldn't feel as bad LOL

I agree with the previous poster that you have been tossed around a good bit.  It takes a while, even as an experienced nurse, to learn a new job setting.  It takes even longer for new ones.  It sounds like you have not been in any one setting long enough to get to that point.  I hope your current job is one where you can see yourself settling in for a while.  If not, consider keeping an eye out for something that is.  But be aware making another change will just delay getting "settled" in a permanent job.

As to being more soft spoken and timid, I've known many excellent nurses who had these qualities.  It's worth keeping in mind that different personalities do better in different specialties.  Ask yourself a few questions to help determine your best fit.  For example do you prefer a slower more predictable pace over a fast pace unpredictable setting?   Do you like chatting with your patients?  Do you prefer having more turnover and only taking care of patients for a short period, or do you prefer to take care of the same patients for longer periods?   Do you prefer small talk with them or a more established relationship?   

Asking these type questions will help you find the type of nursing that's the best fit for you.  I've often found that nurses that are either miserable or feel like a failure are often in a specialty or setting that is not a good fit for their strengths and weaknesses (or they may be in a bad work environment but that's a whole 'nother issue!)  

Once you find a place you click, I think it'll be easier to stay put for a longer period.  And that will in turn give you more time to learn not only the specialty but the ins and outs of the facility itself.  This should increase both your knowledge and confidence level.  You'll also develop closer friendships with coworkers.  And most of all, not have the constant stress of a new job environment.  Best of luck!  Keep us posted. 

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