Wednesday, 19 January 2011


I love my job. I really do. It is the BEST thing I have ever done.

But it has taken a while to settle into the team dynamic and heck just making that transition from student nurse to qualified. At about Christmas time I really started to settle in and felt like I was moving forward. Then it took one shift yesterday for me to feel like I was taking two steps back, again.

The nursing team are VERY close. Some have worked there for years so I knew I couldn't just walk in and be apart of it instantly. It has taken time. The team I work with are amazing. Then yesterday I had a really busy bay of patients. I had 2 dressings to do, medications still to give out, a patient whose drain had just fallen out of their leg (how I have no idea because they are stitched in?!) and he was bleeding on the floor. Then one of my ladies took a turn for the worse and started to become septic and her vital signs were really bad.

I lost complete judgement of the situation and to be honest wanted to go home and cry. I could not cope at all with all this to do. The other nurses had just as busy bays. The nurse in charge asked me what I was going to do about my deteriorating patient and I drew a blank. How scary is that?! So she had to help me and kind of take lead of the situation. I know I shouldn't be afraid to ask for help.

But I felt like a failure. I panicked, even though I have experience with critically ill patients and dressings and medications. I failed.

I have a day off today and I can't stop playing back what happened and how it occurred so suddenly. I want to do my best but not even that feels like it is keeping me above water.

One the downsides of nursing is that your accountable for everything. If something goes wrong and it isn't documented the right way or handled to 'perfection' then your called up to the nursing board for evaluation of your registration. It can be done so easily.

The best thing to do is to think and learn from it which I have. Yet, it doesn't take away this really crap feeling at the moment. The pressure sometimes is awful. I love my job. I don't want to be super nurse but it sure does feel that if I'm not super nurse then I'm not a very good one :(.

I just needed to vent today.


Kristen said...

So sorry that your're struggling but like you said we all learn and I am SURE if it happens again you will know how to deal with it better.

Don't be so hard on yourself girl. You didn't come this far to be pipped to the post. I think your doing really really well!

Jamie said...

Thanks for visiting my blog today. I'm sorry your mind is so heavy today. Please don't beat yourself up! I am confident you will have learned from your experience. Give your cares to the Lord, pray for a clear mind and trust yourself!

Alex(andra) said...

*hugs* Rough days are not fun. But you're an amazing nurse. Try not to let this get ya down too much.

The Mad Hatter said...

I'm here for no other reason than to rationalize my love for Jersey Shore.

1) It's train-wreck TV.
2) I know no matter how far down the drain my life may go, I'm watching rock-bottom and I will be able to fall that far.
3) Cabs ah here.

Holly said...

I have lots of the same thoughts about teaching, to be honest. Sometimes I have shitty days on placement and wonder what I'm even doing there, since I'm convinced I'll never actually be any good at it!

But. I need to remember not to be too hard on myself, and that it will get easier as I get more experienced. I think you need to remember that too! :)

Janet said...

Just remember that some days are tougher than others, but please don't lose heart! You are an amazing young lady, and as long as your'e willing to learn from the tough times, you'll go a long way! Keep your chin up! Tomorrow will be better! xx

Colette said...

Oh Becca.

Trust me, we all have those days. I'll guarantee you that all the nurse on your team, regardless of how long they've worked at the hospital, have those days too.

I had to see the nurse at my GP's surgery this week and she was so lovely, she made me feel really positive about something I was really dreading. I left the surgery feeling really great, just think that you probably do that for patients everyday too!

Keep your chin up!

Mere said...

((HUGS)) Sweet girl, those days happen. I hope the days ahead are much better!


a life of color said...

I am sorry to hear you had such a crazy day. I hear the first year of nursing is the hardest. However, as crazy as your day was I am sure you were still able to touch your patients lives :) I have no doubt in my mind that you are a great nurse...everyone hits a few speed bumps along their journey.

Steph{anie} said...

It's ironic that you posted this, because I had a whole week like this last week. I left after my three shifts feeling like absolute crap...I didn't want to be a nurse anymore because I felt that I didn't know ANYTHING.

The charge nurses have been giving me more difficult patients to challenge me, which is a good thing, but I've really struggled with confidence in my skills. One patient in particular was a trainwreck; uncontrollably bleeding out his chest tubes (after open heart surgery, they put in pleural and mediastinal chest tubes to help us see if the patient is bleeding). I call the physician (who hates me and thinks I'm a moron) and he promptly yelled at me for calling him, even though I had a gut feeling that someone was wrong with my patient. I had a lot of help from my fellow coworkers all night, but that left me feeling inadequate and completely void of knowledge.

I don't know about you, but I struggle with putting pressure on myself; I want to be the perfect nurse RIGHT NOW! I had a heart-to-heart with one of my close nurse friends last week about my anxiety on the job and she told me something that I think will help you too. She said:

"Stephanie, you've been a nurse for 4 months. Nursing is a process: you're not going to know what to do every single time, especially so soon out of school. Be patient with yourself, ask for help, and allow yourself to make mistakes. You're not going to be perfect, so cut yourself some slack!"

That helped me so much...I had been putting so much pressure on myself to function like a nurse with 10 years of experience. The unfortunately reality is that isn't going to happen. We as new nurses need to give ourselves at least a year to get comfortable with our roles on the healthcare team. Someday we can teach the newbies a thing or two, but until then, we need to keep learning as much as we can and more importantly, allow ourselves the grace to know that it's ok not to know everything right now.

Hugs to you, my wonderful friend!

Stacie said...

We (nurses) all have days like that. In the first year, especially, but even 11 years down the road- there will be a day that you think, "Um, seriously, why? And where is my brain?" But as experience builds it does get easier. No one can predict what will happen with your patients when they make an assignment for the next shift, but sometimes a bad assignment can be to blame for a bad day just as much as all of the circumstances. I know it's really easy to beat yourself up about it all but it's not your fault. And it's okay to ask for help. Remember that until you retire! I'm sorry I'm just now getting caught up on your blog. I hope you've had better days since and this one is becoming a distant memory. Chin up SuperNurse!

Callie Nicole said...

I'm sorry you had such a rough day, Becca. And I'm sorry that I just now got around to reading this post! I hope you're feeling better now - I can't imagine the amount of pressure that you must feel being a nurse, but I'm sure you're doing a great job! I work in hygiene, not nursing, but I have those days where I just draw a blank, or make a mistake, and I fret and beat myself up over it - it's the perfectionists in us, I think.

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