Hi fellow cardiac ICU nurses!
Quick synopsis of my nursing career so far: graduated BSN program in May 2012, hired in a neurosurgery ICU at large teaching hospital and worked there July through October. Moved to a different state, and was hired in Cardiac Surgery ICU in November. My orientation was intended to last through February but I came off in January. I felt competent to take care of the less acute patients at that point and agreed to come off early. Here I am in May, and I have been an employee in CSICU for 6 months now.
I love critical care and the complexity behind each diagnosis. I love the drips, drains, and pathophysiology behind each patient. I love interpreting labs, ABGs, vent settings, etc. My only problem is that I'm EXHAUSTED constantly since starting this job. It's nothing at all like the neurosurgery ICU I came from. The unit I'm in now is 11 beds and the hospital does about 600 heart cases each year. We don't do transplants but we do cabgs, valves, and use ECMO and RVAD/LVADS. we also use alot of CRRT.
We don't have a unit secretary so the RNs are responsible for answering phone calls. (I can't explain how many times the phone rings) I avoid charting outside of my patients room because I won't get it done answering the phone constantly) We have 1 or 2 nursing assistants which stay busy and you can't count on them for anything because they are so busy and hard working and may not get to your patient. My co-workers aren't exactly friendly either. Since starting, I've been told I'm "too nice".
I almost always work 13 hours instead of 12 (645A to 745P) and taking a lunch break is a luxury. On days when I finish things in a timely manner in time for lunch, the other RNs are slammed and I don't feel comfortable asking them to watch my patients.
I've talked to friends and family about my dissatisfaction with this job and everyone suggests to transfer to another unit. I feel like I just got my feet on the ground here and I want to progress in this unit. I guess I'll have to stick it out, but does anyone have advice for feeling overworked, exhausted, tired and stressed? I cannot even work 3 days in a row anymore. I have to spread then out so I can sleep and rest between days of work.