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texasnurse07 01-08-2008 08:13 AM

did you ever feel this way?
I have had my RN license for 2 months now. Unfortunately, the first time that I took the NCLEX, I did not pass. The second time I passed with flying colors. Everyday was a struggle for me. Not only did I have to deal with the fact that I didnt pass, I had to deal with additional drama at my job. Everyday I was harrassed about when I was going to take the test and the pressure was mounting for me to pass. I felt as though I had to carry a mountain. During the first time that I took the NCLEX, I was still in my new graduate internship. When management found out that I didnt pass, they immediately took me away from the bedside and I was demoted to a tech position. So for 2 1/2 months, I was not able to participate in patient care nor were the nurses willing to teach me anything.

When I got my license, management literally threw me back to patient care. So I am essentially starting all over again.

I feel like I dont know anything. I have no support at my job and everyday someone makes an effort to make me feel less than the gum on the bottom of someone's shoe. 80% of the nurses in my unit are of Filipina descent and I feel as though I have been discriminated against. The nurses assign me to extremely hard cases back to back, and I have no support. There have been times when I am still at work an hour and a half after I was supposed to clock out and I have no help. The charge nurse will just leave me when she knows I am drowning. I have been written up on numerous occasions for things that I have not done and for lies that people tell.

Since I am contractually bound to work at this hospital, meaning that I will owe thousands of dollars if I quit before my specified time period is up, I have to stay where I am. I am very inexperienced as far as the length of time I have been a nurse. And even if i were to quit now, I dont think anyone would hire me due to my inexperience.

I just dont know what to do. I feel as though I have no one to talk to. I just feel so overwhelmed and stupid. I struggle each shift, and I just dont feel confident in my nursing judgement right now. I have panic attacks all of the time, I get sick at work because I am so nervous, I dont sleep, I feel on edge all of the time, and I feel like im losing it.

Did anyone else struggle as a new nurse? If so, when did you start feeling confident? Any advice for me?

thank you to anyone who reads this and extra thanks to those who respond.

Julie 01-08-2008 08:35 AM

Hi Texas Nurse,

First of all let me welcome you to Nursing Voices. There are lots of great people here at all stages of their career who hopefully will be able to help you during this difficult time and beyond.

You have obviously been through a pretty tough time just when you should have been getting used to life as a new RN you were suddenly treated as if you had no knowledge and skills and more fool management for doing that. It is difficult enough when you first qualify because your brain tells you that you know stuff and should be able to do it easily but the trouble is that is just the time when your confidence can go a bit. This is something I have experienced a few times and to help you it is important to have at least one person around you who you can turn to for advice and support.

Have a look around you, is there just one person who you could confide in? Who might be able to help? Do you have a preceptor, an ex tutor or supervisor from your training days?

I'm in the UK so it is hard for me to make any other suggestions, I am not over familiar with how things are for you in terms of work, but I am sure someone else will be able to help.

Good luck and keep us in touch with your progress.

LesleyJoy 01-08-2008 08:51 AM

Welcome TexasNurse07!

And congratulations on passing the NCLEX!

There can be tremendous stressors associated with nursing school and the NCLEX. Putting newly-gained knowledge and skills into practice and navigating the myriad of legal and social workplace expectations can also be exhausting and can cause professional and personal uncertainty. Please consider reading From Novice to Expert: Excellence and Power in Clinical Nursing Practice by Patricia Benner. If you have already read it, read it again. Much of what you are experiencing is perfectly normal.

Now I want you to take a deep breath. There is a way out. But it will take some soul searching and hard work. Are you doing anything that contributes to your workplace turmoil? Are you willing to ask your manager for a frank evaulation of the quality of your work and your reputation? Are you willing to ask for and work with a mentor, perhaps in another department?

Please do keep us posted on your progress.

Cheering you on,


Mother Jones, RN 01-08-2008 10:35 AM

I'm sorry that you are having a hard time right now. It's a sad fact of life, nurses eat their young, and it sounds like you are today's menu. Go talk to your Director of Nusing and tell him or her what is going on. Perhaps you can transfer to another unit. Stick up for yourself and let people know you are going to take the abuse anymore.

MJ :pepsi:

MyOwnWoman 01-08-2008 12:01 PM

Julie, Lesley, and Mother Jones all have very good advice for you. It's hard to start new, and it's certainly hard to re-start in a place where you are "known." There are so many people out there that love to talk about your short-comings because it (in their minds) makes them look so much better.

My advice? Stop, breath, refocus. Your goal is to give the best treatment you can to your patients while remembering you are only ONE person. Ask for help when you need it. Validate your assessments with a skilled RN. MAKE them WANT to help you by letting them know you want to succeed. If all else fails, try a transfer to another unit where they don't "know" you as well.

Oh, by the way....welcome to Nursing Voices. I'm glad you found your way here. At the minimum, you'll get some confidence builders here.:shakehands:

texasnurse07 01-08-2008 05:25 PM

thank you
Thank you all so very much for the welcomes, encouragement, and advice! This helps me so much! Thank you for caring!

God Bless!

P/J 01-09-2008 01:26 AM

I know this has been said before, but...
Stop, breath, think, act. A lot of the time we run around non stop without grounding ourselves first.

I can't suggest much as I'm under another system but it sounds like there is an element of workplace harrasment; look into this as it is illegal. You shouldn't be having to work unpaid overtime unless you are behind in your assignments (which should be too often). Our nurses are very 'forceful' on the assignment of hard patients and will get rotated through them.

Talk to other unit manages, you DON, even your university might be able to give you some suggestions.

best of luck!

KimRN 01-09-2008 07:06 PM

I felt like an absolute nothing for my first year as an RN, and that was in a supportive environment for six months of it. I thought "what the hell have I gotten myself into???"!

The fear, the panic, the dread - it happens and you will live through it. I did and thirty years later I'm still at it.

Believe it or not, you are learning every step of the way, every single shift.

If you can make it to another unit, do it. If you can't, go to your manager. You need to stay in the hospital, but not necessarily there.

Another thing to do is what P/J says - just stop, take a breath and think about what you are doing. Focus on your patients. You have the hardest assignments? You are there for the patients and not for your co-workers.

One day, one shift it will all come together and "click" for you. It will happen.

Hang in there - and welcome to Nursing Voices - WE are glad you are here and part of our profession! Congratulations! :shakehands:

RoxiRn 01-10-2008 05:28 PM

Wow, what a nightmare. I am assuming there is no preceptorship in your unit? They just throw you onto the floor and expect you to be a nurse? I remember when I was done school and believe me,
I too felt like I knew nothing. And others on the post are right when they tell you that you will learn something new each day. You didnt mention what kind of unit you are on? One of the great things about our profession is all the different avenues you can go and still be a nurse. Look and see if there are any openings in any other parts of the hospital. I am again assuming, if there are a lot of foreign nurses that there is a
shortage of nurses at your hospital. Maybe they stick together because they feel they are the odd ones out and feel more comfortable with each other. I know everyone has told you that there has to be at least one person you could talk to- so I truly hope you can find someone. We need all the good nurses we can get, so please, dont give up. Good luck with this, and let us know how you make out.

runningnurse 01-10-2008 10:40 PM

You've gotten some great advice from everybody here, texasnurse! Congrats on passing the achievement in and of itself. I recently was reading "A Nurse's Story" by Tilda Shalof (GREAT book for any nurse) and it helped me out quite a bit recently because I was so super stressed out at work. It reminded me that we need to take our own pulse first.
Think of how you feel about the situation and remember if you don't take care of yourself first you can't properly take care of your patients. And remember if you feel unsafe you can say no (at least in Canada you're able to)- and refuse to do the tasks...
The best way to take care of your patients is to take care of yourself. Find some things that you enjoy that reduce your stress and try not to take your work home with you...most of all find someone to talk to (it's not that bad afterall-and you get a 3rd party's opinion)Spend time with family, friends, and doign things you like to make you a healthier person.
It sounds like you recognize that there are problems, which is great:) just take care of yourself, do the best you can, and stick up for yourself-if you don't feel right/comfortable get help or speak up.
Good Luck with everything!

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