Feeling miserable nearly a year

  1. 0
    I've been working for roughly a year and some months now on a very busy telemetry unit. Nurse to patient ratio is 1:6 and we get LVAD and heart/lung transplant patients/candidates. This is my first job and I started here as a new grad. It's been a great learning experience so far, but can't help feeling so miserable. I do believe that it's the environment, and not so much nursing, that's making me feel miserable, but let me tell you my story.

    When I first started, it was very stressful but I slowly began to get used to the load and didn't mind going to work so much. Recently this telemetry unit just transformed into a split telemetry/step down unit. With that transformation came a new group of nurses, a new manager, and a new director. Our tele ANMs were no longer the ANMs, the ICU nurses were and they manage their assignments completely different from how our ANMs did. Within weeks the new manager quit because she couldn't handle the stress, well that's the rumor at least. So we currently have no manager and more often than not I'm getting 7 patients instead of 6. We're not adequately staffed and assignments are based on location and not acuity. I love my coworkers, but don't agree with the way things are running. The team dynamics aren't the same compared to when I first started. It seems like I have no support. Anyway i was able to find a new job on a Cardiac Step Down unit because a smaller patient ratio would allow me to really learn more. I feel as though I'm going about this the right way but I really can't help but feel so miserable with my life. I feel as though nursing is not for me and that I'm doing the things that I just need to do and not so much what I want to do. I never had a favorite unit in nursing school nor does any particular unit interest me know. I'm about to get my ACLS and start a new career on a cardiac step down unit but is this what i really want? i can't help but constantly think about quitting nursing altogether and going back to school to get another undergrad degree in something else that could be more enjoyable, less stressful, and does not include the lives of other people in my hands. I don't believe there are enough good to balance out the bad in nursing. I think if I had known what nursing was really like, I would've never gone into the field.

    Any words of encouragement or honesty? I'd appreciate it.

    Get the hottest topics every week!

    Subscribe to our free Nursing Insights newsletter.

  2. 0
    "...is this what i really want? i can't help but constantly think about quitting nursing altogether and going back to school to get another undergrad degree in something else that could be more enjoyable, less stressful, and does not include the lives of other people in my hands. I don't believe there are enough good to balance out the bad in nursing. I think if I had known what nursing was really like, I would've never gone into the field." I can completely relate. I am half way into the infamous first year of nursing, working in a medsurg/cardiac ICU, and still unsure about it, somewhat anxious, and ready to quit before during and after every shift, but I dont want to let my coworkers down, and im not sure if id be letting myself down too. Im not sure if a year or more will really make a difference honestly. I also dont think I paid enough attention maybe to the details that make up being an RN and working in healthcare when I was in nursing school, IDK. There is of course adifference between what you learn in school and the real world. I got good grades but I also never had a particular unit i liked and i dont think i really understood what itd be like. But, Im holding on to the idea that nursing can open up a variety of doors. Also trying to pay attention to things i do and don't want to do in the future to see if there's a way to incorporate my interests with my degree in nursing and work something out or work towards something without completely starting over. I think nursing is a very viable career, if you start trying to make it work for you, and I think you can go almost anywhere with it...Or at least try. I think about quitting but the thing is we worked hard for our degrees. Maybe we shouldn't give up on them too soon you know?
  3. 0
    You summed up EVERYTHING I FEEL!!!!


    I feel stuck here
    1. The job market sucks to just leave a job due to "feelings"
    2. I have no connection with the environment i am in.
    3. I am around alot of small minded (arrogance). you can't have a real conversation with anyone without them throwing theiir smart opinions in
    4. So many rednecks.
    5. I am working for money to pay bills, not to live life.

    This makes me think ALOT! Read it

    What thing about humanity surprises you the most?”
    The Dalai Lama’s answer was as follows:
    - "Man, Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.
    Then he sacrifices his money to restore his health.
    Then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present,
    and as a result he does not live in the present or the future.
    He lives as if he’s never going to die, and then he dies having never really lived.



    This pretty much sums up the situation you and I have.

    I just don't want to die leaving this earth having spent my years to keep things that wouldn't go with me like my house, cars, and loans. They need to be paid, but wow, I dont need to be miserable doing it. And happiness shouldn't be forced if you dont connect with what that is.

    Good luck tho.
    Last edit by gloryfied on Feb 17, '13
  4. 1
    Quote from newgradchad
    I've been working for roughly a year and some months now on a very busy telemetry unit. Nurse to patient ratio is 1:6 and we get LVAD and heart/lung transplant patients/candidates. This is my first job and I started here as a new grad. It's been a great learning experience so far, but can't help feeling so miserable. I do believe that it's the environment, and not so much nursing, that's making me feel miserable, but let me tell you my story.

    When I first started, it was very stressful but I slowly began to get used to the load and didn't mind going to work so much. Recently this telemetry unit just transformed into a split telemetry/step down unit. With that transformation came a new group of nurses, a new manager, and a new director. Our tele ANMs were no longer the ANMs, the ICU nurses were and they manage their assignments completely different from how our ANMs did. Within weeks the new manager quit because she couldn't handle the stress, well that's the rumor at least. So we currently have no manager and more often than not I'm getting 7 patients instead of 6. We're not adequately staffed and assignments are based on location and not acuity. I love my coworkers, but don't agree with the way things are running. The team dynamics aren't the same compared to when I first started. It seems like I have no support. Anyway i was able to find a new job on a Cardiac Step Down unit because a smaller patient ratio would allow me to really learn more. I feel as though I'm going about this the right way but I really can't help but feel so miserable with my life. I feel as though nursing is not for me and that I'm doing the things that I just need to do and not so much what I want to do. I never had a favorite unit in nursing school nor does any particular unit interest me know. I'm about to get my ACLS and start a new career on a cardiac step down unit but is this what i really want? i can't help but constantly think about quitting nursing altogether and going back to school to get another undergrad degree in something else that could be more enjoyable, less stressful, and does not include the lives of other people in my hands. I don't believe there are enough good to balance out the bad in nursing. I think if I had known what nursing was really like, I would've never gone into the field.

    Any words of encouragement or honesty? I'd appreciate it.


    I just became an RN about 2 weeks ago. I was an LPN for 3.5 years working at a clinic. I am able to stay on there as an RN, also and there is room for advancement-nursing supervisor which they offered me and I accepted.

    Now... The pay isnt great compared to what some of my classmates are making at the hospital. But for me I have less anxiety and stress.....just think.... no nights, weekends, or holidays, matter of fact I get the days off on a holiday with pay! And "ok" pay is good enough for me and I actually like my job and dont dread getting up for it in the morning.

    So my point is... I would not give up in nursing all together you have worked so hard to get there! Why throw it all away, just change your scenery...that is the beauty of nursing there is so much you can do. May be its time to get out of the hospital?? Because more $ does not always = more happiness. I know some people say your not doing real nursing if your not in a hospital. But nursing is nursing to me. I still get to use the nursing process, do procedures, and gives shots, and medications. I will not get to utilize all my skills of course. But I did not like the hospital even at clinicals. So for me even though I would make more money, I would not be as happy with my job as I am now. But later on down the line I might give the hospital setting a try and see what happens. Good luck with your decisions about your future.
    Last edit by Ella26 on Feb 17, '13 : Reason: spelling
    Lainie B likes this.
  5. 0
    Nursing is not for everyone- and even for people who are really called to nursing, not every specialty and position in nursing is a good fit for every nurse.

    It sounds like you're in a really rough spot at work- poor staffing, management and personnel changes, and low unit morale can take it out of even the most experienced and happy-with-their specialty nurse, let alone a recent grad who is still feeling their way in to their role. It sounds like you really need to get out of there, and who knows- cardiac stepdown may turn out to be a better fit. Just getting out of the toxic environment of your current unit may be a big help.

    If it isn't (or if your gut overtakes you and you decide against taking the job), I would think really hard about what you consider to be the "good" and the "bad" parts of nursing before your next job search. There are SO many different kinds of jobs available in nursing, especially if going back to school is on the table for you. Do you enjoy clinical procedures but dislike dealing with patient families? Maybe OR would be a better fit. Do you like the teamwork/learning aspect of nursing more than bedside care? Maybe teaching or running a nursing school lab would suit you. There's case management, public health, administration, school nursing, hospice, product reps, transport, ER, outpatient procedures... so many areas of nursing that have little or nothing to do with what being a med surg hospital nurse is like.

    Some paths might require you to go back to school or to work a little longer in clinical areas, but you might find that more bearable in a different unit and/or with a goal in sight beyond "changing these linens and hanging these fluids is what I will do shift after shift forever until I retire". All of these jobs will have ups and downs and no job worth doing will be stress-free, but it seems a terrible waste to abandon nursing altogether just because of a (really, really, really common) experience like a rough first year in med surg. If "I had a rough new grad year in med surg" were a merit badge, you'd see if on a lot of the experienced nurses you know.

    Take some time to really think about what it is you DO like about nursing (remember, you've had ONE job in this crazy huge industry- whatever you thought nursing was really going to be like when you first started nursing school may still be out there) and what you don't like about your current job and talk to some of the older nurses you know about new paths to explore.

    Feeling burned out and miserable in med surg after one year is not a certain sign that you went in to the wrong field; it's a sign that you're like most people (I know some people do love med surg and GOD BLESS THEM, seriously). There's a reason med surg units almost every where have such a high turnover rate and so many new grad slots available. I've been there, lots of people have been there. Loving med surg is a a sure sign that you were meant to be a nurse but NOT loving it does NOT mean the opposite.

    I worked several years (you may remember them, they were some of the longest years ever) in med surg and although, like you, I loved my coworkers, I found that not long after the newness and challenging phase wore off, I was wretched. It's a hard job with a lot of demands and very little excitement or thanks and even with the best coworkers in the world, it can be draining.

    I eventually switched to ER and am SO MUCH HAPPIER of a person. I didn't know that a job could be this much fun. It's not easy, either, but it's so much of a better fit for my personality and interests that it's like night and day. I may not work ER forever, but the difference in my satisfaction and enthusiasm for work is unbelievable from a year ago. And that's just switching hospital departments! (okay, I switched hospitals, too, but you get what I mean). Can you imagine how different it would be to be in a non-hospital or totally non-clinical role?

    Basically: don't run away from nursing just because med-surg has burned you out. Take that hard-won degree and all that knowledge you've earned during this dark time and carve out a job that you do love. Good luck!
  6. 2
    After almost three years of being a nurse I really can't give you any encouragement because I feel the same way. I often walk out of patients rooms thinking to myself "What have I gotten myself into?" It's definately not a job for everyone.
    anotherone and IloveNursing2214 like this.
  7. 0
    There are so many different options available for careers in nursing. I graduated with a couple of nurses the learned during clinicals how uncomfortable being in a stranger's personal space made them. Because of this, they skipped the 'traditional' new grad route (med-surg) and opted for an MD office. It didn't pay as much, but there was far less stress for them so it was where they needed to be. Brainstorm - try to think of some of the non-hospital options available to you. Before you give up on the career entirely, see if you just haven't found your nitch yet:

    - correction facilities
    - dialysis centers
    - outpatient infusion centers
    - wound care/ostomy nursing
    - assisted living
    - home health
    - pharm rep
    - public school nursing
    - insurance companies
    - MD office
    - healthcare recruiting
    - hospice care
    - plasma center
    - public health nurse

    I hope you're able to find something you're happy with.
  8. 0
    OP - maybe I'm reading too much into your post, but it seems like everything was going great until they changed the structure & leadership of your department. Then, it became a very negative place for you. Since this was your first job, you may not have enough perspective to understand that this is a very normal reaction to change. Even the best-planned organizational changes always result in a 'worse' situation until things start to improve. If there is inadequate leadership/management, the "worse" may last a long time.

    "Nurse-speak" can be helpful in this case. Loss (of any kind) produces grief/sadness. When you have a major change, you are losing things (routines, relationships, support systems) that you liked. This is usually worse for anyone who does not have a lot of internal resources to call on, such as a new grad. Effective leaders are smart enough to recognize and address this issue as part of the change process.

    This does not make the current situation better. You are making the right decision to change jobs into a more positive working environment. But I want to make sure that you realize that feeling bad is normal. This is going to happen again in the future. It will help if you can anticipate what is going to happen & prepare your emotional defenses.


Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and Create Job Alerts, Manage Your Resume, and Apply for Jobs.

A Big Thank You To Our Sponsors
Top