Have just started my new nursing job, I feel like Im drowning )-:(25 Posts)
I qualified at the beginning of sept, was lucky enough to have secured a job back in February in ITU where I had done a wonderful placement.
I started last week and its just been a nightmare. Dont get me wrong I love it when Im there, the staff are all helpful and my mentors are great. But when Im away from there Im tired, cant stop thinking about work, I dream about it, and have this feeling of terror before i go to work.
Other people who work there say this is normal and that you have to be there at least 6 months before you start feeling better, but Im overwhelmed with the amount of information I have to retain and the responsibility
any advice or encouragement would be great
Don't know what to say, but wanted to respond to your post. Many of my friends are nurses and I trained briefly as a nurse. I have utmost respect for people in the health service. I know how incredidbly tough it is. Hopefully someone with wise words will show up shortly.
It will take a while to settle and it will feel completely different from when you were a student.
Suddenly you have gone from having very little responsibility to being a qualified member of staff.
You will have good support though and it sounds like you are in a unit that has a good structure of support in place for newly qualified staff.
My 2nd shift as a new staff nurse found me in charge of a busy medical ward. I left after 6 months and became a student again, put me off adult nursing for life!
remember this all too well. utterly overwhelmed with information overload and exhaustion. (still like that sometimes )
first 6 months were the absolute worst.
i suddenly realised that i did know something (i think i was talking to a patient about something) and also realised that nobody else knew everything either. everybody knows something about something but not everything.
and it is all about bluffing with a straight face.
and admitting that you don't know. as long as you say 'i don't know but i will find out and get back to you'. no one will mind that.
i used the 'i'm very new' excuse for ages as well.
just take your time. no one will expect you to be a whizz and speedy yet.
you will get there - honest.
moss I worked in picu for years and I know exactly how you feel and what you are describing. Things will get better once you get confident but that sort of environment is a real rollercoaster.
my advice is try to allow some wind down time and try not to work more than 2 days or 3 nights in a row
spacing shifts out really helped me
I loved picu I worked in various ones for nearly 15 years
good luck hang in there it will get easier
Congratulations on qualifying!
IIRC it took me about a year before I felt reasonably confident and comfortable in qualified role
IME 'tis the first year post-qualification where you actually learn to be a nurse
Sorry if not much help but just wanted to add reassurance that what you're feeling is pretty normal
No one will expect you to know everything, I think that it is once you are qualified that you actually begin learning.
The worst thing you could do is not ask for help/advice, no one minds being asked to help.
We would far rather be asked for help than for mistakes to be made.
I remember a new staff nurse (not me) who was looking after an 800g baby and got a cot ready for the baby (wouldn't normally go in to a cot until 1.6kg!!) I asked him what he was doing, his reply "Baby is too hot in the incubator so going into a cot will cool it down"
He thought he knew everything and would not ask for help, I unfortunately was his mentor for a short while.
Thanks at the moment I just feel like I know nothing and that Im doing things in the wrong order or wrong priority but i think thats because I'd rather get on with the things I can do than stand around watching someone else do the stuff I cant (IVs etc).
The support and education on the unit is excellent and I start my NDP Unit 1 on 7th Oct which everyone says will help.
I just fall apart when anyone asks me anything, even when I know the answer if a consultant asks me something my standard reply is 'i dont know' and I cant seem to get out of that, its like a mental block (is your patient male or female ...er I dont know )
BTDT, you will been fine, it just takes a while to settle donw. I am breaking out in a cold sweat now remebering the nights I used to wake up thinking, did I tell them (the staff on the next shit) that so and so needed a swab, did I remeber to sign for those drugs, did I document that sos and so declined something. It does get better and easier to switch off, I just don't have a cure for it whilst it is happening. Huge sympathies.
Consultants just love to do that, they have this ability to make a simple question seem like they are trying to catch you out!
Typo, shift not shit obviously....though it did feel more like shit some days!
I'm not a nurse but I so recognise how you feel - I qualified as a Social Worker and my first job in a statutory team was utterly, utterly miserable at first and I remember the shock of it. It was horrible; I felt weighed down by the responsibility. I'd listen to others in my team on the phone saying "this child needs this or that assessment followed by this or that therapy" and I'd think HOW DO THEY KNOW?!?!
However, people are right, six months down the line will feel very different. As curlywurly says it becomes easier to switch off because you trust yourself a bit more that you DID pass on information etc. However nursing/social work type jobs ARE very difficult to switch off from tbh and can take over your life a bit IME. Needless to say I no longer work in a statutory team but then everyone is different in how they cope and how good they are at switching off. Also with nursing, though you can't help everyone, you at least have the satisfaction of actually HELPING and making a difference, not something I felt I got in social work!!!!!
Keep going. I do feel for you!
thanks all, these posts are really encouraging . I know Im not the only person who's ever felt like this, but it just wasnt this stressful and demanding as a student but I guess then you dont 'have to' take the info on board so much.
Cali youre so right , although all the consultants Ive met so far have been VERY pleasant (introducing themselves, asking if I have any questions, making themselves available for questions)
On the unit where I work, the consultants are all really nice and pretty approachable but it is almost like an initiation process that new staff have to go through.
I work in the same unit I had a placement in as a student and have now been there a long time. It did feel different going back as qualified member of staff but not in a bad way. You will suddenly feel like you have always worked there, it just feels different just now because you are doing the job for real, IYKWIM.
Don't worry about thinking about work when you are not there, sometimes it is hard to switch off after a difficult shift.
I think in a few months you will look back at this and be surprised at how stressed out you felt, because the work will have become second nature to you. Your brain is trying to help you adapt, by giving you work-related dreams, but I guess it makes you feel you can't get away from it.
Try to do the bare minimum when you're away from work, to allow yourself to return a bit more refreshed the following day.
Is your DP being a bit more supportive or is that part of the problem - that he expects you to shoulder too much at home? I remember your thread about your graduation
Mosschops,WHAT YOU ARE FEELINGI S TOTALLY NORMALYou have picked a very "full on" area.
Don't pressurise yourself into feeling you should know everything.Do you have a mentor/preceptor?They should be understanding,everyone has to start somewhere.
I still have occasional days of complete terror,even after 15 years!But you do get to know your area.It takes time and the early days are hard as there is so much to take on board.It will fall into place,honest
feeling a bit better today, now have my workbook for my supernumery period which is helping me to work through the things I need to and not stress about the things i dont.
Both of my preceptors are fabulous and are being very supportive. I got told today that at the end of my supernumery period all they expect is that I am safe and sensible enough to say when I dont know or cant do something, which is good. Apparently he has no concerns about my work practice
dh is being wonderful helping with sorting the dc's out, giving reassurance etc which is also a great help.
How are you getting on now ss? You enjoying it?
Oh mosschops30- nursing is like passing your driving test. You only gain competence and confidence with experience. I felt like this too. It is normal. I would be more worried if you didn't think about it much because you still have loads to learn and will never stop learning over years to come.
My only advice is never be afraid to ask something you might think you ought to know but don't iyswim, because there will come a time when others will assume you know and that can be dangerous- unsure of anything then ask, stick like glue to hospital policy. You will be fine. ITU is intimidating to most nurses who don't work there
Well done for qualifying, which is quite an achievement in its self!
Do you have a tormentor mentor?
sorry sallstrawberry I only read the first couple of posts and have practically repeated you verbatum Great minds!
Mosschops - Hiya, I qualified as a m/w earlier this year and feel the same as you.
I started work at a different hospital to where I traiend so have found it really difficult - all policies are different and paperwork, etc.
I am learning lots but am very scared that I'm going to forget something major! I did a bank shift today at the hospital where I trained and forgot to record any respiration rates for a woman with an epidural for the whole shift! In my defence we don't do that at the other hospital. I often cry on the way into work I feel sick wondering how busy my next shift is going to be, etc.
Its been nearly 4 months now and it is slowly getting better. I'm sure it will for you as well. One week of work is very early days.
mosschops...I rememebr feeling like that after I qualified all those many moons ago...it is so normal...!
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