Don't want to be a nurse anymore

  1. I have been having a tough time at work lately. I have been working a lot of overtime b/c we are understaffed. The money is great but the stress is getting to me. I work on a high acuity floor and I love my patients, but when I have a problem I don't want to talk to the management. They seem to not understand sometimes and I don't really trust them enough to tell them things. On my days off I do nothing b/c I am so exhausted from work. My stress has increased so much that I am becoming more depressed and going over in my head what I did wrong that day (or what I percieved to do wrong). I feel like I give 100% to my patients, but am just losing the reason why I got into nursing. I don't want to show that I am stressed in front of my patients, but sometimes its hard to hide it. Can anyone help who has gone through this?
  2. Visit belindalou profile page

    About belindalou

    Joined: Dec '06; Posts: 11; Likes: 3


  3. by   UM Review RN
    Yes, I've BTDT. A lot of us have. I recommend a few days off.

    Turn off the phone, you may not use the phone at all on the first day. Sleep and hang out in your underwear the entire first day. Watch chick flicks. Have food delivered (NOT pizza!).

    The next day, have someone take you (don't even think of driving, let someone else do it) to the park or to the beach, get out in the fresh air, away from people, and just walk around until you can express three distinct sentences that have absolutely nothing to do with work.

    Go out that night with some friends and do something social.

    The third day, catch up on your housework and phone calls. Do not answer any calls from the hospital or from coworkers.

    Repeat prn till your sanity is restored and you have enough energy to go back to work on a saner schedule.

    Last edit by UM Review RN on Apr 7, '09
  4. by   brandon2002
    are the stresses that bad in the nursing profession? i am trying to get into the profession and you are trying to get out of it. is there anything else that i should know about the profession beside the stresses you mention?
  5. by   Lovely_RN
    You really need to stop working so much OT. I know your job will pull the guilt trip on you and cry about how short staffed they are but you are not obligated to work so much. Nursing is hard, stressful work, and you need time off to recuperate between shifts. Use your caller ID and don't answer when they call you because it's not your fault that they don't hire enough nurses to staff the place properly.
  6. by   llg
    I agree with the others. As a nurse with over 30 years of experience who has spent a lot of that time working with new orientees, I have seen your situation many times. You need to recognize your limits and live within them. Establish a more healthy lifestyle -- beginning with the establishment of a healthy balance between your work life and your personal life.

    Decide ahead of time how much overtime you can reasonably work and/or want to work. Volunteer for those extra shifts at times when they are convenient for you. Then "just say no" to all the rest. When asked while you are at work, simply say that you have other plans that would be difficult to change. When you are at home, screen your calls and don't answer the phone if it is work requesting you to work extra.

    To maintain positive relationships at work, you may have to be a little flexible and be willing to pick up a little overtime here or there -- or be willing to switch shfts ocassionally. But you should not have to do so all of the time. You should be able to maintain some control over when and how often you work. Take ownership of your schedule don't let yourself be pulled all over the place by people who just want to get as much work out of you as they can.

    If you have a little vacation time saved up, you might need to use a little of it now to recover. Consider it an investment in your health and long-term quality of life.
  7. by   GooeyRN
    Stop working OT. Just do your scheduled shifts. Don't answer the phone if work shows up on the caller ID. Let the answering machine pick up. Don't return the call until it is WAY too late to go in for the shift, if it is a call to work OT. It sounds like you need less time there.
  8. by   youknowho
    Remember, the fact that the floor ibeing understaffed is their problem, not yours.
    If they ask you to stay over, just say you cant today and like everyone else has said, dont answer the phone. They will do what they have to to get the patients covered. If that means calling in others who do want to work or calling in the managers, they will do it. :heartbeat
  9. by   TX_TeleRN
    I concur with Bx_RN2B and GooeyRN.

    You're taking too many OT shifts. Stop or limit yourself to 1-2 OT shifts per month. You need time to recover. From your posting, it does sound like you are well overdue for a vacation in order to recharge! Turn your ringer off when you sleep. Use your caller ID to determine whether to answer the incoming call. Don't let them guilt you to take on OT.

    Sounds like the staffing shortage is issue for your unit. Perhaps with the lack of resources to do OT, your manager may realize the need to hire more people. You need to focus on yourself first and foremost. Otherwise you will not be able to help others. Good luck!
    Last edit by TX_TeleRN on Apr 14, '09 : Reason: spelling error
  10. by   KalipsoRed
    I refuse to work over time ever. I'm poor and I need money, but I figure I need to learn to live within my financial means. It sucks because I barely have money from week to week and I spend most of my time at home. However, I have had a whole lot of time to think about my finances, get things better organized and see where I can get to with what I make. I don't like my job (I like taking care of my patients...doesn't mean I have to like my job). Take some time, figure out your financial situation and excatly where all this extra money is getting you. Your just out of school and you are going to be in debt for a while, don't sweat it.
  11. by   NeoNurseTX
    Lay off the OT!! I might pick up ONE shift here and there but I value my sanity and leisure time more than the extra $$ on the paycheck.
  12. by   KalipsoRed
    Personally I don't work over time and have been a nurse for over a year now and STILL don't want to be there. I love my patients but I am beginning to really really hate 12 hour shifts. I hate nightshift because it screws up my social life and I hate day shift because it is to stressful for me to work. Kudos to you who can handle days. I have to work as a nurse for another year because of my contract. I don't know what I'm going to do after that. It has improved some over time, but basically the difference between now and when I started is how I act right before I have to go back to work. I use to cry every time before I went to work....cry to the point that I had made myself sick. Now I don't cry, but I get very depressed and moody. Practically speaking it would be wise for me to get a prescrption for Xanax just so I don't get so upset. Nursing is a horrible career. I want to help people, without killing myself and sacrificing my social life, my values, and morals to do it.
  13. by   SoundofMusic
    I really value my time off. And I even hate to do two shifts in a row! I am just too tired from that. I have learned how to SERIOUSLY relax on my days off.

    I have done overtime ONCE, and it just wore me out that week. I don't think many can do more than 3 shifts in a week. It's just too much and you need recovery time, mentally and physically.

    There are some days off I just spend time staring into space. I think it's just my brain needing to cool off.

    Don't burn yourself out. Life is long, and your career will also be long if you dont' burn out too early from it.
  14. by   AOx1
    Personal question here, so don't take this the wrong way. Are you a "type A" perfectionist? The reason I ask is that some parts of your post make me think you might be, just like I am. I think most nurses go into this wanting to genuinely help people. Add to that the need to be "perfect" if you are a type A who wants everything just right, and it can be difficult.

    My first year, I beat myself up every night, second guessing every decision, and making myself feel bad because I couldn't live up to that perfect example of a nurse that I wanted to be and that I'd been taught about in school. I thought I must be the worst nurse ever because I found myself so task oriented and just trying to complete what I had to do, like a checklist, with no real time to spend personally with each patient. In your first year, this is normal. It's hard to be therapeutic and perfect when you have to learn how to do basic tasks, how to send lab off, who to count on when things go wrong, and all the other myriad tasks you face as a new nurse.

    At around 6 months out, I started to realize that I knew a "few" things, and stress was reduced a lot. At a year, I realized that the things I used to think were difficult and somehow magical were becoming routine and easy. People were starting to ask me for advice, and sometimes I knew the answers, lol. After two years, I felt really, really confident with the caveat that I still had plenty to learn. Each year it gets better and easier, and I can focus more and more on the patient.

    But some days are just horrible, and it doesn't matter how much experience you've had. This is often a staffing issue- not enough help to do all the work. On those days, you just have to tell yourself that you did the best job you could with the resources available. I refer to it as nursing utilitarianism- sometimes the best you can do is to bring the greatest amount of quality care and kindness to the greatest amount of people, and call it good enough. It's official, staffing and the current healthcare climate have assisted my transformation into the John Stuart Mill of nursing.

    When you are tempted to pick apart your performace, try reminding yourself of all you did accomplish that day that few other people could have done. Maybe it was just a kind word or a smile, but it may have changed someone else's attitude or life.

    It sounds silly, but I was having the worst day last week- hormonal, fought with a friend, lost my debit card, you name it. Everything was going wrong. Traffic was horrible, I was trying to get to my bank in time to withdraw cash in person, and a man smiled at me and let me in to traffic. Then at the bank another man held the door open for me and said "good afternoon!"- tiny gestures, but when I got back to my car, my attitude had totally changed from borderline nasty to grateful for the small kindnesses in the world. As nurses, we have the chance to offer kindness to others every day. Some will accept it, some will reject it. What they do with our kindnesses is up to them, but it can really change your own outlook. I learned to fake a smile and a good attitude early on, and before I knew it, it was real, lol.
    Last edit by AOx1 on Jun 11, '09