struggling at work as new grad

Nurses General Nursing

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Hi everyone, 

I have so much anxiety when I go to work. I have been working on ortho/neuro for 2 years (1 as LPN and 1 as RN). I am 21 and I HATE going to work right now. I feel like I don't have time to spend with my patients. We are usually capped at 4 or 5 but how do I pass meds, do cares, wounds/dressings, assessments and remember to chart everything? The nurses on my floor are SO judgemental if you don't know everything in report. I know I can know everything but how do I expand my knowledge on all my patients and get everything done on time in such a short amount of time? I am going to be transferring to the ICU in several weeks and I am looking for any help on these struggles. Please help!

Do you use a "peripheral brain"? It's sort of like a chart of the things that need done for each patient? We all have different ways of doing it but they can be very helpful. 

Specializes in Ortho/Bariatric.

I built myself a check off sheet for certain things that have to be charted on every 4 hours, every 2 hours, every shift, and things specifically at the end of the shift. I've been doing what I've been doing for a while and still feel judged. There are things the nurses can find in the chart (just like I did when I wanted to know something specific) and I kindly let them know that. Keep your head up!!

Specializes in Postpartum/Public Health.

I am so sorry you are going through this! I totally understand the struggles with being a new grad. It's great that you are transferring to ICU, as the nurse-to-patient ratio is less, and I've heard the culture in specialties tends to be different. The beauty of nursing is that there are so many different roles you can do. 

If you want a good resources on different RN specialties, feel free to review our AllNurses Article: Best Registered Nurse (RN) Jobs and Salaries in 2024 - Nursing Careers (allnurses.com)

Specializes in Nursing student.

What is the best way to go about shyness? My clinical instructor says I am too soft spoken and that I wouldnt make a good nurse if I am not more confident. What are some tips?

Wuzzie said:

Do you use a "peripheral brain"? It's sort of like a chart of the things that need done for each patient? We all have different ways of doing it but they can be very helpful. 

What do you mean by a peripheral brain? Is it another way to describe critical thinking?

Nursing33LAPC said:

What do you mean by a peripheral brain? Is it another way to describe critical thinking?

Basically it's a piece of paper divided into blocks for each patient. You list what tasks need done at what time. It gives you a visual of how to sort your day out and helps you to not miss anything. 

Nursing33LAPC said:

What do you mean by a peripheral brain? Is it another way to describe critical thinking?

You will often hear them called "Brain Sheets."  They are exactly what Wuzzie said. 

Specializes in CRNA, Finally retired.

Oh, the first year was so wonderful and awful at the same time!  If you're worth it, you WILL feel stressed and not up to the job.  But things really start to  click the 2nd year when you have developed some confidence and intuition.  I never heard of a nurse who wasn't stressed out and somewhat miserable the first year.  The upshot is that you will never learn as much in one year as that first!

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac.

"peripheral brain" is a new on me too. LOL

I would take a look at how are you spending your time.  Are you disorganized and having to go in and out of rooms too much?  Are you doing everything yourself and not delegating or asking for help?  Do you spend too much time in the morning reading charts?

It's a tough demanding job and we all try to do our best.  I've been at it a long time and still get overwhelmed, stressed and feel like a total dope every day.  I would just hang in there and do your best since you're leaving soon.  
Good luck in all you do!

First thing - and sounds like you're already addressing it - is to get off that floor. Those people sound terrible. The people you work with DO make some of the biggest differences in your day. 
I've never understood why nurses stay on a shift/unit or in a specialty/hospital that they literally cry about on the way to work. There is no award at the end for staying in a miserable job. Move floors. Change specialties. Change hospitals. Go to school again to learn informatics. Become a midwife. Teach. There's LITERALLY more than a thousand things to do that aren't on that ortho floor you hate - both bedside and away from bedside. 

So, look forward to this move - don't go in to the ICU with these thoughts and feelings, rather go in fresh and ready for a new challenge that you might love and learn as much as possible in your experience. 

The thing about nursing school is that you learn a lot, but it doesn't really teach you how to be a nurse.  That comes with time and hundreds of hours of frustration.  We are hard on ourselves and think we should know how to do it all right away.  You'll get there, I promise! 

Specializes in ED & Critical Care CEN, TCRN, CCRN, CFRN, CTRN.

From experience, finding "your fit" may take a while! Don't be afraid to move from area to area. There are so many areas in nursing from outpatient to inpatient. You will KNOW when you have found your fit! 

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