Being Enough…Thoughts of a New RN

Being a new RN is hard. It’s often said the first three months on the job is hell, and I believe it. Although I enjoy what I do, the transition from nursing student to Registered Nurse is tough. You have to learn the protocols and procedures of your institution, attend classes and training specific to your unit, and undergo training with a preceptor. In addition to all of this, you’re now working under your own license, so if you mess up, that’s your ass.

Last week, I felt as though I wasn’t doing well, and it made me question if I made the right decision to be a nurse. I was very tired due to work and training, and to make matters worse, I had to successfully complete a mess pass. This med pass consisted of me administering medications to six different patients. I wasn’t told in advance which patients I would see or what medications I was to give. I was to be viewed by three different RNs, two of which were supervisors. During the assessment, you’re not allowed to ask questions or for help. If you fail, you have to do it again. If you fail again, you’re removed from the new grad program. Since I was feeling tired, I wasn’t thrilled about this assessment, and I thought about calling off. However, I decided to do it because I wanted to get it over with and do my best.

During the assessment, I was extremely nervous. However, I didn’t want that to be seen in my work, so I tried my best to put up a front that I was calm and relaxed. I connected with my patients, used the rights of medication administration, and made sure to use aseptic technique. I even caught a medication error and contacted the physician about the order. Even though all of this occurred, I felt as though I bombed the assessment. While meeting with my last patient, the RN supervisor came to me and said, “I need to speak to you when you’re done.” I immediately thought she was going to tell me about the plethora of mistakes I made and that I failed. When I met with her she said, “You did great! I’m glad you caught that med error, and that gives you respect from the physician. Everyone has his or her own organization style, and you will get comfortable with yours. You can relax now.”

I was really shocked she said that, and it made me feel a lot better. It also let me know I’m too hard on myself, and I need to have more faith in my abilities. Too often I wonder if I’m doing enough…am I performing at my best, and if so, is my best enough?

I guess it is.