RN Orientation. Week 5:

Hot damn.

Learning how to be nurse on paper? Check. I even got a diploma for that!

Learning how to be a nurse in the clinical setting? Holy shitballs, batman. I have no idea what I’m doing!

Now, I’m probably exaggerating. Ok, I’m really exaggerating. Sorta. šŸ˜› I would consider myself relatively well prepared for new graduate nursing practice. I studied really hard in school, actively participated in nursing-related student groups, made the most of every clinical experience, completed a summer externship program, and worked as a nursing care tech. Basically, I did every single thing I could think of that would put me at the advantage in clinical practice post-graduation.

Best decisions I’ve ever made! I’m heading into week 5 of orientation this week. Most of the first weeks consisted of classroom learning and not actual floor nursing. Snooze! I’m good at learning, I’m very novice at bedside practice. I want more time at the bedside! With the start of this week, the classroom time is phasing out and my time at the bedside will be in full swing. I have 11 weeks of orientation left, so the sooner I can get into full-time bedside practice, the better. I thought I was ready, and my coworkers tell me I’m doing great, but I feel like a crazy person running around the unit when I’m working. I’m having an almost constant freakout session in my mind. Orienting to the ICU has been the most overwhelming. The majority of my experience is progressive level, so working in my progressive/acute unit hasn’t been a huge adjustment. Thank you, sweet baby Jesus. My poor nerves couldn’t take much more! The ICU is where I want and love to be, so I’m glad I’m getting to spend the time there that I am.

Everything might not seem so overwhelming…if I still wasn’t trying to digest the fact that I am a real-life RN. No one needs to double check every. single. thing. that I do. The MD can give me a verbal order and I can act accordingly. I can accept a critical value from the lab. I can perform skills and care for my patient without direct supervision. I can cosign drips, titrate drips, and waste controlled substances. I am a nurse. WHAAA?!! It’s so nice to have that independence, yet so hard to let go of that safety net. Is anyone else struggling with this?! I’m really starting to think maybe I’m just neurotic.

Me. All day. Erryday.

On top of everything else, I have online learning modules from the AACN (American Association of Critical-Care Nurses) to complete. These modules assist the new grad with orientation to concepts encountered in critical care nursing. While the idea seems grand, and in an ideal world they would be grand, they are KILLING me. They take hours and hours and hours to complete (Type A perfectionist…must. make. A. on. exam.) and take up almost every single moment of free time I have right now. Not only that, if I don’t complete them, or can’t pass the module, I can lose my job. Awesome. *thumbs up* I thought I was finished with school. Wrong! Sorry, hubs. (Who, by the way, is heartbroken that I have to spend so much time “working”.)

In other news…my next post (hopefully going up very soon!) will be a slight variation from my usual posts. So stay tuned, I think you guys will really like it! I’m always searching for new topics to blog about, so contact me with what you’ve got! My rambling really can’t be that interesting. I think IĀ have turned into a crazy person!


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March 17, 2014 · 7:16 pm

4 responses to “RN Orientation. Week 5:

  1. Janice

    Hey girl!! I absolutely loved reading your post. We are in the same boat, except I am just off orientation on a progressive care neuro tele floor. I have many of the same feelings, FYI. I Especially the “constant freakout” thing. I feel like I have non stop adrenaline coursing through my veins all day at work. I find I am somewhat OK if I have the same patient group ALL DAY but you know that never happens in step down so what really is more likely is you have maybe two that stay, two that go, two new ones, etc…Even tho the discharges are not hard per se, the admits still confuse me and the jumbling off all the patients really seems to throw a wrench in my “flow”. That, and when I get a critical patient, which luckily has only happened once. Alllllll these orders popping in from physicians that I don’t even know how to do cuz I’ve never done them!! (blood cultures x 2!). She was a hot mess n ended up transferring to ICU so didn’t end up getting that experience. Another difficult thing on my floor is learning all the Core Measures and the protocols! You have a stroke patient..OK, what do you do…OK, NIH stroke scale assess (and when to do it? how often?), freqeuent neuro assess, swallow screens at bedside (how many??? when??), did I check that all the Core Measures were followed? It is so overwhelming. You can learn it but it is another thing to see it day after day. Like you I am in the online ECCO modules. Took a break for a bit (I was overwhelmed and resenting spending every SECOND of my life studying at home on days off). I restart Week 6 I believe in the next couple weeks. I just keep telling myself that I learn something every day no matter how much I hate it or how stressed I am because truth be told there is very little I like about my reality right now but I am smart enough to know the grass is NOT greener at another hospital. This is a great opportunity and I am trying to just soak it all in as best I can and not kill anyone in the process. šŸ˜‰ I’m gonna follow your blog, it ‘s awesome. Hope you get time to write it. šŸ˜‰

    • Hi Janice!

      Glad you found me and I’m glad you enjoy the blog. I definitely wish I had more time to devote to it, but right now (as you obviously know) I just don’t. *sad face* In the last few weeks (since I wrote the post), I feel like things have gotten better. But, I also spent some time in our acute care unit. I don’t know if you’ve read any other posts, but I explain in detail how my unit works in one of the first posts about my job. I feel much more comfortable in the acute care world, because my background is all in progressive. But, I don’t want to work acute care. ICU is where my heart is. It’s all great learning experience, however, so I won’t complain too much! I had my first critical pt in the ICU a few weeks ago, so I totally get the overwhelmed-freaking out-what do I do first-how do I do this-I have to mix what and hang it?! feeling. WOAH. INTENSE! Everyone keeps telling me it gets better and easier (sorta), so here’s to that day!

      As far as those ECCOs go…BLAHHHHHH. I HATE THEM. &%$@*@#%&*!—> Me, being upset. I don’t feel like I’m really learning anything, because I just want them finished. I have to do 1-2 almost every week and have them turned in. So, it’s just too much. I graduated!! I want to work and enjoy my free time! This is like school all over again. I still have about 1/2 of the whole “critical care orientation” course to go. I can’t remember how many modules it is. I have 2 to do this week. I’m procrastinating, as usual. šŸ˜›

      I have had a few days where I didn’t eat and I didn’t pee, but overall…I can’t complain. I’m loving my unit and my coworkers. Everyone is so eager to help me. I had a pretty successful weekend, with multiple compliments from seasoned nurses about how I was ready to be on my own (WHAT?!?!?). It felt pretty good, but they have much more faith in me and my abilities than they should. Those crazies! šŸ˜› We can do this. We’ve worked hard to be where we are, and this is just the beginning! Good for you for not chasing greener grass. I think that’s very smart and admirable!

      Here’s to not killing anyone until we speak again! Hope to hear from you soon.


  2. Kay

    Okay, I have just stumbled upon your blog and I am already loving it and about to send it to all my nursing friends! I am a nursing student graduating in December and start an externship tomorrow on a neurology step-down unit. Needless to say.. I am terrified. But even more terrifying is actually becoming a REAL nurse. I have not read every one of your blog posts, but it seems to me that you were in the same boat with the same feelings of doom (is that a good way to describe it..?). Anyway, thank you for all your posts, I can’t wait to read more!

    • Hi Kay! How is your externship? I don’t know how far into the blog you got…or if I even blogged anything about this…but I too did an externship in a Neurosurgery progressive care unit. LOVED IT. Thanks for sharing my blog with your friends, that’s fabulous! Doom is a wonderful way to describe it, but you know what? It gets better. It goes away. For the most part anyway!

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