I’m a week away from my 1 yr anniversary as an RN. I still feel like there is so much that I don’t know but should know. I still ask “stupid questions” and doubt myself a lot. My pre-shift anxiety and imposter syndrome kick my ass. Any advice?
You will continue to learn throughout your career. No nurse knows everything. A smart and SAFE nurse will ask questions for things she does not know about. Maybe consider asking someone to mentor you. Or talk to your manager and maybe they can recommend resources or a point person on your shift you can talk to. Good luck and never stop asking questions!
You will continually learn. I didn’t feel 100% certain until between years 2/3. It was like a switched flipped and I laugh about it still. Something that helped me was studying for my certification. It helped concrete some of the workflows and pathways my unit used.
A year isn't really that long a time in a new career, especially one like nursing where things
are changing all the time. It was a very long time ago for me, I'm retired now, but I still
remember doing a lot of research on my own time when I first started working. Still doing a lot of reading textbooks, journals, etc. My first job was in ICU on night shift. Talk about stress, ha. It was a whole new world of high anxiety. Try not to be too hard on yourself and give yourself time to gain some confidence. Also, take a moment to think about whether or not you really like what you're doing. If it's not the right fit, there are many, many ways to go in a nursing career. You don't have to box yourself into something you don't really want. Good luck to you. :)
Remember nursing school prepares you to be able to provide base-line or basic level of safe nursing care to patients.
No school can EVER teach you everything you will need to know for the next 20-30yrs of your Nursing Career. How could they?
Our wonderful career evolves. Things change. Evidenced Based care provision changes, grows, advances, AND SO WILL YOU!
NO ONE KNOWS EVERYTHING. Just think about everything you’ve learned during the past year!!!!!
Procedures you can do or assist with now that you knew nothing about on day #1 🤓!
NO SUCH THING AS STUPID QUESTIONS.
ONLY STUPID DANGEROUS ACTIONS BECAUSE YOU DIDNT ASK…
ASK FOR CLARITY…
ASK FOR A 2nd SET OF EYES .. FEELING SOMETHING JUST ISNT RIGHT BUT NOT SURE WHAT…Ask, run concern by someone, that is part of your charge Nurse’s responsibilities. As well as Nurse Supervisor..
PLEASE NEVER NEVER NEVER LET ANYONE TELL YOU THAT “YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO KNOW THAT. “ OR “WHY DONT YOU KNOW THAT.”
PLEASE REMEMBER EVERYBODY WAS WHERE YOU ARE ON THE WAY / ON THEIR PATH TO WHERE THEY ARE NOW!!
MANY act as though they have forgotten that and snap, bite, eat their young.
I always in any new learning job environment etc always look for that One Person I feel comfortable asking “Stupid Questions.”
Ones you see help others graciously and does not return to desk saying negative things about having helped that RN.
I also ALWAYS PAID ATTENTION TO WHOM WAS ESPECIALLY PROFICIENT IN WHAT SKILL. I.E. take note of who is the best IV starter. Who loves or has special skills for inserting foleys..
Who is good at talking patients and or family down off the angry tree.
On one unit I was the IV Queen and ironically my preceptor was the FOLEY Queen. We would switch those skills when one of our Veterans needed an IV or a foley. And we told them she loves and is super above good at doing this and wanted to help.
ALSO.. I learned often when people are THEMSELVES INSECURE ABOUT THEIR OWN KNOWLEDGE OR SKILLS IN CERTAIN TOPIC/PROCEDURE THEY SNAP, BECOME DEFENSIVE… they are not able to admit to self or others that THEY ARE ACTUALLY THE IMPOSTURES and THEIR EXAGGERATED NEGATIVE RESPONSE, BITE IS GREATLY DISPROPORTIONATE TO THEIR REQUESTED OR ASSIGNED TASK OF TEACHING A NEWBEE HOW TO DO IT!!!
Insecurity, Fear, Guilt Are MAIN CATALYST to many of the KaBooms you will see in the workplace.
Family: guilt fear leads to attack mode..target = Nurse.
Colleagues: insecurities, stress with poor coping, and believe it or not FEAR of being Surpassed are all triggers for their KaBoom.
Realize you need to learn (you already have and that is PERFECT!)
Realize our field is ever changing and growing.
One job / career in which you will NEVER get bored🤓!
STUDY. STUDY. STUDY.
POCKET SIZED ON THE JOB LEARNING MATERIAL IS WONDERFUL ASSET.
Now they’re apps on your cell. 🤪
TEACHING MATERIAL FOR PATIENTS ARE WONDERFUL CHEAT SHEETS FOR HELPING YOU LEARN AS WELL AS THEY ARE PRESENTED IN THE MOST SIMPLE OF FORMAT. If I recall correctly, they are written as fifth grade level. Microdex. Carenotes. Krames. If need be, step aside quiet moment, review it, then present to patient. Win. Win. You get quick refresher. Patient / Family/ Caregiver gets take home teaching sheet.
Don’t forget to print their copy in their primary language.
PROCEDURES : walk away to quiet area and review steps before you enter room. Ask person best at that skill to come with you in quiet are review steps with them. and have them in room with you.
THATS HOW I GOT OVER MY IRRATIONAL FEAR THAT VETERAN WOULD DIE THE IMMEDIATE SECOND WHEN I REMOVED THE REMOVABLE INNER CANULA DURING TRACH CARE! Irrational fear gone 🤓! Did I learn to love this task/skill…no….
Can I do it..yes..
I made sure I told students that tale before I accompanied them and their instructor into room.
Students seemed to be drawn to me even in my first Med Surg job. I told them you should probably go with Nurse XYZ as they have done this longer than I have so would know and teach you more..they would never leave my side.
I was VERY OPEN AND HONEST about good bad ugly wonderful unique amazing part of our Career.
I also would say “one time I did xyz and this happened…DONT DO THAT!!
I on more than one occasion heard a student say “I can’t believe you told us that.” “My mistake was learning teaching moment for me then and for you now. Are you ever going to do that.”... “No”. “Excellent, there you go/ That’s why I told you …Praise God my mistakes had NO NEGATIVE OUTCOME FOR PATIENT, it was all about doing something and having to start task all over .. having extended my time because I put myself back at square #1 when could have and should have been on #4-5-6 or what have you.”…
LESSON ALWAYS LEARNED!!!!
PLEASE NEVER NEVER NEVER LET FEAR HOLD YOU BACK FROM TRYING AND LEARNING ANYTHING!
Continue studying. I found free CEU courses on line and as Nerd 🤓 that I proudly am 🤓, I did those and it helped a good deal.
Best wishes on your Career to which you were Called Nurse!!!
No question is stupid. If you don’t ask then something bad may happen. Hopefully you have a resource that is supportive to new RNs. Hang in there!
3.5 years in and I still question myself everyday if I really know what I'm doing and if they should trust me, I can't say when that goes away. Like the others have said, ask questions, try to understand what you're doing and why, it helps in the long run. Keep your head up, you got this!