My confidence at year 3

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Sometimes I feel I am crippled as a nurse with self doubt—crippled in that it hinders my assessment skills and the confidence I have in them. I think this maybe goes hand in hand with being a new nurse, but I honestly I thought things would improve more drastically by now. After all, all of my peers told me that at 5 years I would feel more confident in my specialty…wait, it has only been three years! DUH!
Year one was a huge learning experience—and in a stressful way—for me. I questioned myself and everything I was doing…and I had a lot of hand holding as a new grad. While I didn’t feel very confident, I always had a back-up in my preceptor or fellow nurses who knew I was a newbie.

Year two I definitely got more confident. My assessments were done more quickly, I was able to spot potential problems before they occurred and act more efficiently in the face of a crisis. No longer did I dread shifts: I didn’t worry so much about what would happen in those upcoming twelve hours. I even felt a little cocky. And that’s not a good thing.

Sometimes I was lulled into a false sense of security that got me into trouble: I made my 1st med error, I reacted instead of responded, or I didn’t take responsibility for all of my actions and played the blame game. Yeah, I got knocked down a peg or two because things didn’t go right all the time and I wasn’t super-nurse. Yet I trudged on!

Year three finds me with more experience under my belt. I thought stupidly last year that I had seen it all. HA! Now I find that I question my practice even more. I am more careful than ever with my charting and my assessments. I’m always asking, “What’s wrong with this picture?” I have learned that getting a second opinion from my fellow nurses is a good thing. I am learning more about my specialty as I get more advanced certifications and I am finding I have so much more to learn. While I feel I am growing, I still really struggle with questioning myself. I look back at choices I made and wonder if I could have done any better.

This is all very humbling and overwhelming. The deeper I get into nursing the more I find that I have so far to go, so much more to learn. I have to run fast to keep up with the technology race. So my self-assurance has been stunted a little—it isn’t growing very quickly. I guess I’ll get out of this rut but right now it doesn’t feel very good. It must be all part of the learning process?
No one said nursing was easy, but I wasn’t quite prepared for this—and year 4 is coming. I wonder what it will bring.

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