I've been at my new job for about a year now and I've been an RN for almost 2 years. (I know. I can't believe it either. Seems like last week I started "Not Nurse Ratched" as a prenursing student.) I keep thinking "by now I should feel super confident about everything I do." I thought it at 6 months and a year as well, and now I'm starting to think that in this career I may never feel comfortable and expert, as I did as an editor. I was able to be an expert in that field, but in this one there will always be unknowns and new things. Perhaps it's the nursing condition and I need to settle in to it, much like that point in some shifts where you realize and accept that you are NOT going to get "caught up" and are able to relax into the chaos. Anyway, I've gotten a lot done in my fledgling career; I've guest-lectured twice on dysrhythmias to BSN students, I'm a board member of our local state ANA chapter, and I was invited by AJN to edit a new technology column and become a manuscript reviewer (yes to both, obviously). So when am I going to get that "I have arrived" feeling as a nurse? I am certified in ACLS and PALS, I'm taking TNCC next week, I keep really up to date with current research, I poke my nose into cases I haven't seen before at work so I have more exposure to new things, and it still seems like it'll never be enough. UNTIL. I remember what I felt like when I very first started and then I feel like I've learned a mountain's worth (I vividly remember my first day in clinical when I was stymied by getting a nursing home resident from wheelchair to toilet, and that wasn't all that long ago).
Things just may never settle down, and come to think of it that's one reason I chose to change careers. I was TOO settled in my previous one. I was bored. I knew pretty much all I could learn and was at the top of my career ladder with nowhere to go. I may feel a lot of emotions about being a nurse, but boredom is not among them. Settled, schmettled. In other words, I'm thinking the answer to my question is no, they don't, and that this is a good thing.