New grads, be ready to face your fears




Graduating from nursing school is one of my most valued accomplishments, as I’m sure it is for most of us. Four years of blood, sweat and tears finally paid off.

As I have heard from new grads, the transition from nursing student to RN is not an easy one. As excited as I am to have accomplished my goal, I’m also fearful. I have learned from talking to my peers that I am not alone in my anxiety about being a new RN. Thanks to my mentors and teachers, I have come up with reminders that can help allay these fears. Hopefully, they will help you, as well.

Fear of making a medication error

Medication errors can be avoided. Technology has come a long way and many hospitals now require us to scan patients and medications before we administer them to make sure they are a match, which helps prevent errors. We can also avoid errors by not taking shortcuts and researching our patients’ medications when necessary. As new grads, we will not know every medication’s prescribed usage, so look it up if you are not sure why the medication is being prescribed or if you are unsure of the side effects. If you are uncomfortable administering a medication, because you feel you need more training on the technique, ask for help.

Fear of saying the wrong thing to a patient

If you worked on developing a good bedside manner throughout your journey in nursing school, this fear will probably dissipate as you gain experience. But sometimes it’s not about saying the right thing — it’s about listening. Never lie to or mislead your patients. If you are unsure of how to respond to a question, tell the patient you will get back to him or her. The relationship between a nurse and a patient should be built on trust; you never want to lose that trust once you earn it. The same thing applies to a patient’s family.

Fear of working with an interprofessional team

Before I started my preceptorship and got the chance to work with an interprofessional team, I was intimidated by the idea of it. But I quickly learned that I had something in common with the team — the patient’s best interests are the No. 1 priority. As long as you are giving the patients the proper care as part of the team, you will be fine. It also is important to respect the people with whom you work. Being a waitress for the last five years has taught me that you do not have to like everyone you work with, but you must respect them. And we must all be open to learning from and listening to our supervisors and peers.

It is never easy to start a new job. We have been preparing for this for four years, and we’re very capable of doing the job well. When a fear creeps up, devise a plan to eliminate it. Then move on to the next challenge.

Do you have any tips for overcoming fears of being a new RN? Please share them in the comments section below. Congratulations to the class of 2016.


About the author
Kristen Ponticelli

Kristen Ponticelli 

Kristen Ponticelli is a senior nursing student at Molloy College in New York. Her posts from a student nurse’s perspective will appear on Nurse.com the last Friday of each month. Write to Kristen by sending an email to blogs@nurse.com.

One response to “New grads, be ready to face your fears”

  1. Always keep learning , always be prepared , review your patients chart , have your patients vital signs current labs/test in front of you before speaking with other professionals, if you are respectful others will treat you the same way, you are highly educated , own this , never be a know it all , always have a differential diagnosis , a know it all nurse is a dangerous one , chart like a lawyer is sitting on your shoulder , never dismiss your gut feelings , you may not know what exactly is wrong but if the patient doesn’t seem right don’t hesitate too to act on ” these gut feelings” , doctors are human beings and they make mistakes too , don’t be afraid to question an order or call a doctor at 2:00 in the morning if patient condition is not right !! Hope this helps !! Elaine Y

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