New Nurse Blues: Empowering New Grad Nurses

You’ve made it past nursing school and you were filled with excitement to start your first job. Now, you feel that you weren’t prepared, and you are now realizing the career you chose has unique challenges to continue prioritizing your own health and well-being. When you first get started, it can feel as though you didn’t choose the right career. You may feel that you are not qualified, or that you don’t enjoy what you are doing. Somewhat blind sided due to the inability to truly play the role while in nursing school, and now you hold the responsibility for your patients. That is because we already learned so much in nursing school, and we think we should just be ready. However, often times, we have so much more to learn and it can feel like you are restarting in some ways.

New nurse blues is not talked about much, and in unique ways, we have all felt some sort of new nurse blues. In this blog, we will discuss how to navigate through these feelings and how you can continue to prioritize your well-being. New nurses can be so caught up in the overwhelming environments they are introduced to which makes it so easy to put your health to the side.

Step 1: Acknowledge

Step one is to acknowledge the challenges, the large learning curve, the overwhelming tasks you will encounter, and your feelings. One common trait we see in new graduate nurses is the characteristic of sacrificing their lifestyle and emotions to “become a better nurse”. This trait leads to the feelings of burnout and increased stress because they forget that they are still a human who is allowed to have mixed feelings about their new career. As you may already know, nursing is not always an enjoyable job. Sometimes, we sabotage ourselves by putting ourselves on a high pedestal with the expectations of being perfect or knowing everything.

Acknowledge you will not know everything. Acknowledge your feelings about your nursing career can change on a day-to-day basis. Acknowledge that you need time to understand what is expected of you and that you need to take it one day at a time. Acknowledge that the challenges you face will continue to strengthen your practical knowledge of nursing that you couldn’t learn in nursing school.  Acknowledge that you are a human who needs to continue taking care of themselves, no matter how important your first nursing job is.

Step 2: Find Your Nursing Friends

It's essential to recognize that feeling overwhelmed and experiencing self-doubt are not unique to you. Many seasoned nurses have been exactly where you are now, facing the same doubts and uncertainties. Although they might not admit it, some may still be feeling unqualified or unworthy of their position. Nursing truly likes to humble you, no matter how experienced you are. Your unique journey will come into place over time. And yes, you will find comfort eventually.

Do not forget that you are now part of the nursing community. Try your best to get to know your fellow nurses you work with. Especially other new grad nurses, who likely share the same feelings as you. Talking through these feelings with others will always empower you to continue your pace to gain more experience.

Step 3: Empower Yourself 

Don’t drown in your new job. Continue to do things that you love to do outside of working. Try to avoid picking up extra shifts at first if able. Truly prioritize your well-being. Many new grads feel that they must only focus on nursing and beat the learning curve as soon as possible. Putting these expectations on yourself is risky and does not support the points made above. Take it one day at a time and pace yourself. You should not rush to learn everything and you should not think you can learn everything. Seasoned nurses don’t know everything either. In fact, nobody does. Once again, acknowledge that you need BALANCE. It is great to be motivated to learn more and feel prepared. However, do not sacrifice your life, personality, or well-being to rush into it. By doing this, you are running the risk of burning yourself and losing all motivation to continue being a nurse.

Lastly, celebrate your successes. Celebrate the massive accomplishment you already achieved- becoming a nurse. Be proud of yourself. Celebrate your good days at work every day and celebrate your bad days as opportunities to learn more. If you are dealing with the new nurse blues, we hope you get past the challenges and empower yourself to continue growing. Know that many feel the same and that you are not alone! At Tactile VR, we wish you the very best and we are so happy you chose to be a nurse!

Written By: 

Will Kirkpatrick, MSN, APRN, FNP-C, CCRN, CSCS 

Founder of Tactile VR

William has worked in many different positions such as an ICU RN, Nursing Supervisor, and Nursing Educator. With his experience, he was able to view healthcare in many different aspects and identify education opportunities towards improving the desperate need of more healthcare workers and education solutions. He is experienced in software development applications that allow VR application creation such as Courseta VR 





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