The first year as a nurse

Nurses General Nursing


I graduated in May 2001 with my BSN. I am tackling my first year as an RN. I work as a Staff Nurse on a surgical unit in a hospital. During almost every shift I face high stress, frustration, tears, anger, confusion, and the thought "I don't know how much more I can handle!" I am having a real tough time. The highlight of my shift is usually the interactions with patients (which is a good thing!) Is there any advice out there about how I can make it through this first year (I hear that after this "first year" I will not recognize myself)?


145 Posts


Hang in there! It does get better. Do you remember (while away from it all) why you got into nursing to begin with? Was there an area you particularly enjoyed while in nursing school? Look for a job there. Look at what you are doing now as a step towards where you want to be. Talk to someone. Read all the posts here. Especially the humor. Some days there won't be any at work, but there will always be someone here to listen. I only registered here a couple of days ago but I've been reading the

BBs for quite a while. It helps.

Hope tomorrow's better. I'll say a little prayer for you.


live4today, RN

5,099 Posts

Specializes in Community Health Nurse.

Hello susnel! :)

Hang in there and keep telling yourself that the empire state building wasn't built overnight so you can't learn all there is to know about patient care in a short amount of time either.

It does take time to feel really grounded and comfortable in performing RN duties. The way nursing is today doesn't really help new grads any, but if nursing is really what you want, don't give up! :)

All nurses have "cold feet" in the beginning. When we're students peforming clinicals with our Instructor close by, we have the time of our lives, and are anxious to graduate, pass boards, and start work as RNs. But, once we accomplish those tasks, and finally are able to wear the proud title of RN, panic sets in because now "We are the Instructor" -- the Captain steering our own ship -- if you will. ;)

Keep reminding yourself that all those seasoned nurses you work with at work who seem to have everything down pat were once in your shoes and felt the very same way. And, in time, you too will become a "seasoned nurse" that a "new grad" will look up to saying "Wow, how do you do it!" ;) Don't get discouraged! Anything worth having is worth holding onto and working hard to master! I'm rooting for you! :kiss


712 Posts

I agree with the other nurses hang in there! Right now you feel awkward and it is never enough but it does become better for you. Just keep interacting with your patients I find that a soothing tool when it is hectic on those floors. Congradulations finishing, though! You will be fine! I have been a RN for 2 years in the NICU and I still stress when I get a 26 weeker on a vent. You will be fine! :-)


65 Posts

Take this time to Learn, Learn, Learn ! Don't expect it to be easy, it's hard smelly work. That's why not everyone wants to be a nurse. Make a plan for the future. Explore your options, maybe float to another unit to see what it's all about. Above all, keep balance in your life. Make sure you spend time with family and friends and have hobbies to help relieve stress.

It DOES get better. Especially once you get your routines down and learn how to prioritize your tasks better. Your days will go smoother. Remember to keep smiling, and even if you hate your job, don't gripe about it at work. Find a way to vent your problems without demoralizing your coworkers. I found journal writing was soooo helpful !


1,041 Posts

Yes, please, don't (attempt to) demoralize the folks who are on your side and wear your uniform.

What is the hardest part? Is it the human suffering as a whole, or is it a particular issue or aspect?

Think of how great things are for you! I still have 4 years of learning before I get to your position. I would love to trade places with you and have my BSN. Oh - how I would love to just be an RN. I hafta go through 2 years of school just for that, and from what I am hearing, I may hafta deal with other people's depression during school. We'll find a way, and we'll both come out of the other side, struting our stuff. Life is a dance you learn by doing. So, shake your body down to the ground :-)


657 Posts

I remember that feeling.

The job does get easier and eventually everyone gets off your back.

You have to pass the "audition"


4 Posts

Dear Susnel,

I had my first year on the job 30 years ago, and I'm still going. The first year was certainly the hardest. However, things get better as you become more confident and are given more responsibility. After a while, I found that since I had seen it and nursed it before, I knew what to expect and what to do.

I hope you enjoy nursing as much as I have. Interaction with the patients is what I enjoy most - that and the chance to make a difference.

This topic is now closed to further replies.

By using the site, you agree with our Policies. X