I've been working on the floor (med-surg/tele) for three months, and I'm even still with a preceptor. I absolutely hate my job. I remember being so excited about being a nurse, and eating up all the great stories my instructors told us. I now think they all need to be committed for being pathological liars. All I do all day is deal with pills and poop. My unit is perpetually understaffed, and the patient acuity is too high for our staffing ratios. I also never wanted med-surg. I want ICU or OR. My heart is not in this job, and I arrive/leave unhappy every day. I can't imagine having to stay for one to two years without having to be medicated...and I have thought about going to the doc to try to get anti-anxiety meds to keep me afloat at work. My anxiety isn't because I don't know what to do...it's because I can't do it all alone. I worked as a nursing asst before this, so I know how to do the dirty work and time management...but this is just too much. I thought I was alone, and opened up to another nurse. She told me she wants to cry most days as well, and most of the others do too. I feel like our patients are in more danger just being there.
How soon is too soon to try to leave? I would like to stay in the same hospital, but transfer to another unit. I've heard of my classmates transferring within a few months, but it seems like a very hard opportunity to find...I don't think anyone will take me if it seems like I can't handle med-surg...
Jan 30, '13
I also started in med-surg and hated it. I learned that I don't want to return to that high acuity, bedside nurse environment again if I can help it. The nice thing is is that med-surg is only the surface of what's out there!
Maybe try to look for other positions. In terms of transfer: the ability to transfer could depend on your progress too. You may want to look into what qualifies you for a transfer--if they take into account amount of time working for the hospital, evaluation, etc. Maybe just poke around in other places for other career opportunities. Look for non-traditional jobs--there's so much stuff it's ridiculous! It's just a matter of putting your foot in the door.
I'm not an expert by any means--I'm a new graduate looking for a new job myself--but if you can't keep up with the med-surg environment, ICU may not be a road for you to take either. But look to others who know this better than I to give you some solid advice on this one.
And there are places out there that offer OR without any experience--you just have to look for them. I just recently discovered a hospital not too far from me that will put new grads/inexperienced into a several month program for the OR.
As for how long you should stay? You kind of have to balance whether or not you stay at your current job. If your health is taking a back seat to the environment or you honestly feel you're putting lives (and your license) in danger, maybe consider resigning. Yes, it's important to have the experience and dedicate yourself to the position, but you have to think of your own health too. You can't work at your best if you don't feel your best. I know it's not a specific answer, but it's a decision you have to make based on what's going on.
The anxiety issue you could always talk to someone about and get help. It couldn't hurt--only help, really. If you can, I'd give it a try.
Mar 26, '13
I'm in the same boat. I just started on a medsurg floor and during the second day of orientation I wanted to curl in a ball in the medroom and cry. I only get get five shifts of orientation in my hospital and between med passes, drawing labs, getting calls every 10 minutes from needy patients, I thought, "What the hell... I'd rather be selling t shirts at the Gap and make less money than being continually stressed for 12 hours elbow deep in poop and running around like a mad man." I was told that it gets better in time and to just hang in there but it's just awful. I never thought I'd say this but I miss nursing school.
Mar 28, '13
I've been a nurse for a little over a year now and have been on a tele unit for the past 9 months. From what I've been told, tele units are rough in general, and after reading your post, it seems we're dealing with a lot of the same stressors. We're always understaffed (I think that's just nursing in general) and we don't have techs on my shift (7p-7a), so the nurses have to do it all. It's overwhelming... all the time. I dread going into work most days. A few weeks back, I had a meltdown... in front of a patient and several co-workers. Talk about humiliating. I have a lot of anxiety and depression r/t work. I'm even seeing a counselor now, because it's affecting my everyday life and my relationships. To top it all off, I'm 5 months pregnant, and high-risk at that. Finding another job isn't an option right now, because I can't jeopardize my insurance. I agree with the previous poster who said "I miss nursing school". I was hoping things would get better after the 6 month mark, but for me, they've gotten worse. I really don't know what to say, except that you're not alone. If you're unhappy (and it definitely sounds like you are), maybe you should look elsewhere (if you can). I know I would if I could.
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