Still know nothing at 1 year experience? so anxious


Hello! I am a new grad nurse and almost done with my first year of working. However, there are still so many skills and experiences I have not yet seen before of course. I have always been an anxious person but I'm just so worried about my skills/patient care is still lacking despite having a full one year experience under my belt. Some nursing essentials like experiencing a rapid response/code blue or hanging blood or performing electrolytes replacement are just a few common everyday skills I have not yet experienced. I will soon graduate from "a new grad" on my unit so therefore, I will just become a staff nurse like everyone else, no longer new grad.

..... but I still want to ask "stupid questions" when I don't know something! I still feel that my critical thinking is lacking by far and that's scary to me. There have been instances where I am told "Man, you have been here for this long and you haven't ever done that?!" or "How good of a nurse are you if you have never done that?" or "So and so has been here for almost a year, but she seems so helpless sometimes"

So it's like I have one full year experience but yet still feels like I barely know anything and I'm taking care of people with this lacking skill and experience mindset...... I still rely on my charge nurse A LOT and I can tell others are noticing this habit of mine.... I write down everything I learn that day every single day and review it on my days off and I study my old school textbooks too for information. I write down all my mistakes so I learn from them everyday too. But I still feel it's not enough.

I'm sure it's part anxiety and lack of confidence problem too. But may I please ask for advice on just how to build up skills and knowledge and developing critical thinking in spare time (besides just from more time and working)? Thank you so much!

HalfBoiled, BSN, RN

1 Article; 186 Posts

I just print out my hospitals policy for specific competencies. I don't do PCAs (patient controlled analgesia) too often. Before I ask a senior nurse for help, I look up the procedure policies and read through it. I always imagine the process in my head prior to executing the task.


Wishinonastar, BSN

Has 37 years experience. 3 Articles; 1,000 Posts

Every single patient requires different skills and challenges us intellectually. But you do get better with time. My first year was awful. I felt like everyone was just waiting for me to fail, judging my every move. And in a way, I guess they were, because I was the "new nurse".

There is always a learning curve in any new setting. I wish they would give you a preceptor to support you. Things like that can make a difference. It seems to me that with every new job I go through this period of being terrified of making a mistake, then all of a sudden I seem to turn a corner and I feel like I do know what I am doing. Some places take longer than others. With my first job it was about 6 months, though I still felt anxious during crisis, and I still had a lot of things to ask questions about. But I was confident in my own abilities after six months.

Keep studying, learn policies and procedures, and keep moving forward. Good luck to you.



5 Posts

I have been nursing for about 4 years, but in an acute care floor for about 2 years. Before starting on an acute care floor I worked LTC, hospice and a community setting. I never felt like I really belonged and wasn't really fulfilled at my other jobs, since starting on this crazy, overwhelming and busy floor I leave work with a sense of accomplishment and pride of everything I knew I accomplished for my facility and patients. With that, there are days I have doubt, sadness and worry that I missed something, I made a mistake, or my co-workers are judging me. Like I said, I've worked in nursing for 4 years, and I am always learning and growing, and I really feel this is apart of nursing. I think confidence and critical thinking some nurses displays will develop differently for everyone. Trust the process. Believe in yourself, and just keep learning. Never concern yourself with what others think of you, no matter what you do in live someone will judge. Just keep providing safe and competent care to your patients, and the confidence and skills will grow.