New Nurse, discouraged

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Jennibean Jennibean 3 years, 1 month ago.

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    Profile photo of Jennibean

    Hi all. I am a new nurse, an LPN and currently getting my RN at the same time. I started my first job as a nurse at a skilled nursing facility and I am still in my orientation phase. I am very very discouraged because I am overwhelmed and making mistakes. Yesterday was my first time doing a catheterization and the nurse who was training me constantly corrected me before I even had time to realize I made mistakes. Anyway, long story short, I am scared I don’t have what it takes. Am I in the wrong field? I have never felt so dumb and inadequate in my life.


    If your preceptor corrects your mistakes … say thank you. That is how you learn. If you aren’t sure about a procedure, you should review the steps with your preceptor before going into the room, so you are both comfortable that you know what you are doing. Any corrections of mistakes which have already happened, should be discussed after the procedure, outside of the room, so the patient doesn’t hear it … but if you are about to do something that will harm the patient, then expect to be corrected on the spot. Any corrections at the bedside should be over things that will change what you are doing at that moment … corrections for ‘next time’ should be addressed afterwards.

    You will get better at all of the tasks you have to do … 99% of what I know in regards to nursing has been on the job training. Nursing school is pretty much an introduction and weed out process, the real learning happens on the job, so embrace learning how to do things you don’t know how to do, or learning how to do things differently than the way they taught you in nursing school

    If the nurse you are working with is riding you in front of patients, you can either go with the flow and get what you can get from the information provided, or take him/her aside and ask that corrections for ‘next time’ be done outside of the patient room and you should only be interrupted during a procedure if you are doing something that may harm the patient.

    Good luck, but don’t feel bad for being overwhelmed … you are supposed to be overwhelmed a little bit at first, because you have never done this before.

    Profile photo of ashtim1514

    Jason hit most of the highlights of how inadequate most RN programs truly prepare grads for the work force whether it is time management or skills. I graduated a highly touted ADN program and only performed one foley and one IV it was on a mannequin. There are a very limited number of opportunities to perform in the clinical portion of nursing programs. I am new grad in an overwhelming state university academic setting ED now that I’ve graduated. I see new nurses all over the hospital that are new grads from about six different programs and we do some group orientation stuff together. All of the programs are identical and you are experiencing exactly what they are feeling. I know exactly how you feel and after two days, all of the skills I felt like I was doing left handed, I can now do those blind folded. Give yourself a break, all of these skills are going to feel new to you and I can promise you the textbook is not the same way your preceptor does it and no two preceptors do it the same way. Be open minded and learn from new and old nurses alike. Skills are nothing more than muscle memory, technique, and adjusting to challenges….that will take time based on how many you do a day and to expect you to have this down as a new grad is unrealistic. I’m sure what they expect is an open mind and willingness to learn and show no fear once the instructions are given. Have confidence in your ability to do just that and you’ll soon realize you’re moving onto more advanced challenges like time management and prioritizing. Performing these skills that cause you stress will be a thing of the past you laugh about and it will be much sooner than you think. If you are concerned about being overwhelmed, that’s a good thing…you care about your performance but you’ll need to work through that. Stick with will all work out in the end. There are days I feel like I’m drowning and other days I feel like I’m the one handing out the life jackets cause “I got this…” This is part of the process for new grads and you’ll be fine. Good luck!!


    Profile photo of Cappy

    Jennibean, it is totally normal to feel like a klutz and to wonder if you picked the right profession when you’re new ( and even, on occasion, when you’ve been a nurse for years!) . We all did/do. Time and experience are the best teachers and confidence builders. I would strongly suggest you follow Jason’s advice and review a procedure with your preceptor out of the pts room. At that point your preceptor can get a feel for your understanding of the procedure and interject without throwing you off in the room.
    Hang in there and know that every day of your nursing career you will either be learning something new, fine-tuning what you know, and as time goes on, sharing that knowledge with some new nurse who feels like a klutz!

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