Nursing can be a very rewarding careers, but many will tell you that it is also a very demanding one. Much like any career, one of the key things that will help you succeed is confidence.
Whether you’ve taken a well deserved break and about to get back to work, or you’ve simply been having a hard time at work, there are a number of reasons why you have lost some of your confidence.
Maybe you made a mistake, medication error, forgot to remove a wound dressing or cared for a patient die unexpectedly. Maybe you’re a new mum, returning to work after maternity leave, or caring for your own parents. Or maybe you feel intimidated or bullied at the work place.
Whatever it is, you are only human and feeling a loss of confidence after anyone of these events can make you feel nervous when you next return for your shift. Know that there are things you can do to get your confidence in nursing back.
Trusting in your knowledge and skill and believing in yourself can make all the difference when you’re on working hard as a nurse.
Don’t expect everything to come to you instantly, confidence comes with time. When you’re at a new job, or back at your old one, it takes time to adjust to what you need to do and what is expected of you. Take a deep breath and remember all the hard work you did to get you here. Over time and with practice you will get you will build more confidence in yourself.
Sometimes things are worse in your head than they really are – talking to people can help you see clarity through that. Why not organise a catch up with a group of nurses you know? Chances are you will learn that you are not alone and that other nurses from time to time battle with similar nerves and frustrations. They may even be able to offer some advice about how they dealt with it.
If there is something you are unsure about or you need assistance with, then ask for help. It doesn’t make you a lesser nurse if you are unsure about something or can’t do it by yourself.
The only dumb question is the one you don’t ask – how else will you learn about something you are unsure about? When you get help with something, it doesn’t take away from your accomplishment of completing that task or helping a patient.
Something that can boost your confidence is remembering your achievement and the difference you make. Write down 5 good things you did to make a difference at work or for a patient or co-worker. Whenever you feel a little low, review this list and see that what you do matters and that you were there when these people needed you.
Everyone makes mistakes at work – it doesn’t matter if you’re new or have been there for decades. If things do go wrong, don’t let that get in the way of your confidence. Remember, mistakes are a way to learn new things.
When you make a mistake at work, reflect on it – this may mean you write it down or talk to someone, then move one. “Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get on with it”. You are a capable nurse, do not let your mistakes define you.
This piece was inspired by one of our Facebook followers who posed the question earlier in the week to nurses, asking them how they got their confidence back in their nursing ability. We’d like to thank her and all her nurse friends who responded to her post for their wonderful responses.