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I am a new graduate nurse in a pediatric ED and the pace is too fast for me. I don't like it. What should I do?

Tuesday May 28, 2013
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Dear Donna,

I am a new graduate nurse in a pediatric ED and I do not like it. I feel the pace is too fast and I can’t keep up. I feel the fast pace potentially could cause me to make an error. I keep telling myself to stick it out, and it will get better. I want a job as a clinic nurse, but I know my lack of experience is hurting me.

Lost New Grad

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Lost New Grad,

Talk to your preceptor or manager, if you haven't already. They may be able to help you work through this or encourage and support you to change positions or specialties. Also, you can consult with a former nursing instructor.

However, if you are certain you no longer want to do this and want to look for something in ambulatory care, then start your job search now. When asked why you are looking to change jobs, just say the ED is too fast-paced and intense for you and clinic nursing, or whatever you are applying for, is what you really want to do.

I'm not sure what you mean by your lack of experience. Every new nurse has a lack of experience. Ambulatory care centers are not looking for any extensive hospital background.

I would recommend you attend some local chapter meetings of the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nurses (www.aaacn.org). When there's something you want to do, it makes sense to rub elbows with those already doing it. Networking is known to be a very effective way to find a job.

In the meantime, you also can look for volunteer work in a free clinic or your local public health department. This is a good way to try out a specialty to be sure you like it. Also, it's a way to gain recent experience and get your foot in the door. Volunteering often leads to paid employment.

You may find it helpful to read my book: “Your First Year as Nurse: – Making the Transition From Total Novice to Successful Professional,” available wherever books are sold and on Kindle.

Best wishes,

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/Asktheexperts/Deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://Events.nursingspectrum.com/Seminar.