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Reality Shock after Nursing school

Hey everybody, I was wondering if you can help me out with something. I'm in my final quarter of nursing school and a discussion was brought up. here's the topic:

Talk with at least 2 nursing graduates who have been working as nurses for anywhere from 3 months to 3 years. Ask them about their socialization to nursing after graduation. Did either of them experience reality shock? How long did it last? Did they recover from the shock? If so, how?

Feel free to email me. Any info would be great!!!

thank you so much!!


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4 Responses to “Reality Shock after Nursing school”

  1. Cassie Says:

    I was on orientation for 6 months and was not adjusting well at all. I was so stressed with the paperwork, time managment and scared to death about hurting someone unintentionally. I got off of off orientation and did not feel any bit better. I actually had a panic attack at work. I had to leave in the middle of the shift. A year later I finally started feeling better about being a staff nurse. I went through counseling , got on clonazepam and Zoloft. Now a a year and a half later , I’m no longer stressed about going into work. I feel confident and love my job. PS. I was working in the high stress enviroment of Surgical ICU.

  2. Katie Says:

    Get into a internship or a job as a nurse aid/tech if you can!! I was a patient care tech., but since I was a nursing student at that hospital, the nurses would let me practice my skills… anything from IV starts to NG tube insertions, etc….

    It helped me learn my time management skills (although very basic to what i’m doing now) and to not be so scared with patients.

    Now as far as adjusting to real nursing… I’ve been an RN in the NICU since June. I LOVE what i do. Some days suck, and it’s hard since I am not 100% in my groove. But i think w/ my previous work experience, and i did a preceptorship in the NICU before graduating, things weren’t as scary as they were to others i started with.

    Also look for a job that as an internship to help transition you from a new grad to an RN, once that is a good length for the unit (ex. 16 weeks for ICU/NICU.)

    But i will tell you this, the old sayin ” nurses eat their young” is totally true! There are so many RN’s in my unit that would rather sit and play on their phone than lend a small help when a newbie is drowning. Not everyone is like that, but more than i thought would be are.

  3. NewNurseInTheMountains Says:

    Talk with at least 2 nursing graduates who have been working as nurses for anywhere from 3 months to 3 years. Ask them about their socialization to nursing after graduation. Did either of them experience reality shock? How long did it last? Did they recover from the shock? If so,If so, how?

    I have been working in a VERY small hospital in rural NE washington for 6 months now and I am just now feeling as if I am just now recovering from Reality Shock.

    Our hospital has a whopping 25 beds (10-12 of which are nursing home beds) and a two bay ER- we are the only hospital in the county and some folks drive two hours to get to us. We stabilize ANYTHING that comes through the doors, do whatever we can with what we have, and then sometimes just cross our fingers until the flight nurse tranport team can come and take our patient’s to higher level care centers. When the helicopters or planes can’t fly, WE (the RN’s) have to ride along in teh ambulance and provide ACLS protocol and pain medications until we can meet a paramedic crew that can transport the rest of the way to the higher level care center. And oh yeah, the rest of the nursing staff (roughly 13 others) each has at least 10 years experience with a per staff average of 20.

    And then there’s me…. (!)
    Socialization into this situation went well for me- I was introduced to most of teh hospital staff (“!” again) before I was hired and a big part of my selectio nhad to do with my ability to socialize with them that afternoon. I was a “good fit”
    My “Reality Shock” seemed to mainly hinge on two things-
    How to do things in this specific hospital (“Where do I find this?”, “What is this?”, “How do I do this!”, “What’s the protocol here”,”How do I run this suction machine with glass bottles that belongs in a musesum?”)
    Yes, it is much easier to prioritize when you are staring at a paper studying for your NCLEX. It is much harder when you can’t even keep up with the pace of normal tasks let alone with the everchanging sea of things that need to be done NOW.
    I have been known to go into our med room (We have no pharmacy. Just a closet with a lot of drugs that are stocked by a pharmacist and a Nurse’s Drug Guide and our brains. Oh yeah, and the internet!) and stomp my feet and gnash my teeth and even shed a few hot, angry, sweaty tears. Then I close my eyes, take a big breath, and walk out and don’t bat an eye when Mr. Johnson is incontinent of BM for the fourth time this shift and needs to be cleaned up and, oh yeah, there are no acute care aids and did I mention an ER just came through the door? Have you given that 2 mg of Morphine to the chest pain in room three yet?

    Finally, there is recovery. I am not sure that I am fully recovered but I actually am finding myself saying to the nurse that I work with after the first and busiest part of the shift, or after a good run of ER’s, “wow, that was fun! Let’s have some more of that!”. I guess that is how I know that I have grown enough as a new RN- I am having “fun”. I think I am finally attaining some borderline proficiency and efficiency in the tasks that I do and it is making my days much smoother. Not so much teeth gnashing, hand wringing, and hot tears.
    My advice- BLOG! An NP who works with me here and who has also done some teaching suggested it and I am so glad I started!
    Best of Luck!

  4. Ebby Says:

    I’ have been a nurse for over 20 years but let me tell you my first 1 year on a nursing job is still fresh in my mind.
    I count myself blessed to have secured ajob at Memorial Hamman hospital immediately after passsing NCLEX. I assumed all nurses will be helpful since they knew I was a new nurse. My three months of orientation was hell, she was out to make my life miserable as long as I stayed at that hospital. A mentor who was meant to guide and teach me whatever I needed to know as a new nurse.Turned into a nightmare, she peformed her procedures very first to ensure that I do not grasp anything. Whenever I attempted to ask her anything she always brushed me off and claimed that she was too busy. Life at work became very unbearable, finaly I’ decided to quit.
    I hope no one else experiences this.
    Here are some tips for survival as a new nurse.
    1.Remember your success depends on your first mentor as anew nurse. She will help you build a strong foundation in nursing career. She will teach you basic skills and critical thinking.How to give priority and time management.
    2. She should be able to answer all the questions and concerns you have. keep in mind there’s no stupid question
    3. If you start feeling uncomfortable with your mentor to the point that you are not learning anything.Please let your nurse manager or nurse director know if possible switch the mentor.
    I learned the hard way.
    4. It is extremely important to learn as many skills as possible during your internship. After that, your are fully responsible for your own actions to the point of losing your license if you make an error.
    5. If you do not know how to perform ar certain skills always ask before you hurt a patient. keep in mind you are dealing with a person’s life.Incase of any doubt ask ask ask.
    6. Follow all the hospital policies they are for patient’s safety and to prevent you from making an error.
    7.Time management is crucial. Practice completing your tasks on time.
    8. Keep TO DO LIST and check off as you complete the task.
    9. Give priority. start with the task that is very important. For instant breathing is more important than dressing a wound.In other words if your patient can not breath make sure you assess him first

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