First and Last Year in Nursing

  1. I've been an RN for six months. I had a half-a**ed orientation to the SICU that I work in, and have been off orientation for about 2 months. The work load can be ridiculous, the pay stinks, and it gets really tiring working 12-hours shift with a 30min. break (some days, no break). Now, I get to work 12 hour shifts on all of the holidays (actually, did 16 on Thanksgiving so that one of my co-workers wouldn't be mandated). I won't see my family on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. I expected all of this, but now that I'm up to my neck in it, I ask myself, why? I'm going to try another position after the first of the year, but I'm most likely headed out of nursing much quicker than I headed in. I can find other positions that pay more, afford me more time with my loved ones, and take much less of a physical and emotional toll on me. Make no mistake, there is good reason for the nursing "shortage".
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  2. 39 Comments

  3. by   LovebugLPN
    I am sorry to read you are feeling this way but, I understand. It is probably a good idea to look into other areas of nursing. There are plenty and some may pay better and give you more time for your family. I know that I made the choice to leave nursing because I did miss my family and know that family MUST come first. I now miss nursing and would really like to go back. I am hoping to find something part time that will not sacrifice time with my husband and son. They are my first priority. Good luck!
  4. by   RNLisa
    I am so with you. I have so many times wished I would have went to the interview I was offered with a doctor's office. It was less money, BUT, 6 to 8hour days, no weekends, no holidays, and I'd be home in the evenings with my children. I am finding 12 hour shifts very difficult with my feet, legs, back, not to mention my children. I have only been at the hospital I am at for 3 months, but feels longer. I just don't know if it is worth it anymore. I am trying to hang in there for another 9 months to make it a year, then who knows.

    Good luck to you!! I hope you find something that will work out for you.
  5. by   mocaj
    Wow! I am so glad I am not the only one that feels this way. When I graduated in April, I knew I was not going to take a position at a LTC facility because of the pt/nurse ratio is overwhelming. I took a position at a hospital and I completely agree with all that you have said. You all have said everything that I think about now and I am already working on getting out of the system.

    I thought the 12 hour shifts/3 days a week would be wounderful, especially working nights. Boy, was I wrong. I travel 45 minutes to work, depending on traffic and to make sure I am there on time I leave earlier then needed, just in case. so I might see my family for 2 hours on those days. On the 4th and 5th day my body is catching up with the regular routine. plus you have to throw in the training days for certifications and meetings that must be attended. Oh and those 12 hour days don't include the time for me to catch up if i have had a hectic night. Holidays? What holidays?

    I am at my 5th month into nursing and I am just tired of it. I always thought I wanted to be a nurse but now that I am working in the career, I really don't like it. I wanted to feel the pride, honor, satisfaction, gratification, and happiness of saying "I helped to get this person back on their feet, I had a hand in getting them better and back to good health."
    But really, all I feel that I am doing is passing meds, wiping bottoms, changing a few dressings, playing catch up, and a whole lot of documentation. Maybe I should have gone into counseling or something, I just don't feel like I am really doing anything to help my patients, maybe because, once they leave the floor, I don't see the end picture, the benefit that they received from my care.

    Also, since I am an LPN ( I had all intentions of going straight into the RN program) my hospital does not consider us "Nurses." Licensed Practical Nurse :caduceus: .......hmmmmn? When anything is referred to Nursing staff it is the RN's. I really don't know what we are considered in their eyes, but I graduated to understand that I am a Nurse. And I am not the only one that feels this way, so I know that I am not just imagining this. But I really want to get out and when I receive this phone call that says I have the job, I will be out the door. ASAP!!

    Thanks, everyone for listening.
  6. by   MikeyJ
    Have any of you thought about staying in nursing but taking a different route? Perhaps school nursing? What about psych nursing? Most pysch nursing work 8 hour days. What about furthering your education? FNP? What about nursing instructor? After putting in all of that time, effort, and money into pursuing nursing, it would be a shame for you to leave the nursing field altogether.
  7. by   RNLisa
    I have actually given alot of thought about school nursing or psych nursing, unfortunately, there aren't any openings in the area for either. I also have considered office nursing or health department nursing. As far as continuing my education, it took so much for me to go back to nursing school after being out of high school for 17 years, that I don't think I want to go back to school again. I have 3 children and it is so difficult now as it is. I don't want to leave nursing altogether, my dream is to be an OB nurse, but there aren't any openings here either, unless I had years of experience. I guess I am stuck with what I have until I get more experience under my belt, unfortunately, I may be miserable until then. I just hope I don't get burned out before then. I will just muddle through.
  8. by   K98
    I plan on at least trying another position, but wonder if I am just delaying the inevitable. The bottom line is, I don't hear from any nurses that are happy with the job. We have to park miles from the hospital and ride a shuttle (more unpaid time every day), and all you hear on the shuttle is griping. Most of the facilities in Pittsburgh pretty much have a revolving door (continuous staff turnover). Nurses aren't considered people by HR, they are a commodity, a piece of equipment, something to be recruited and used. New physicians and administrators at least get parking at the facility, nurses ride in from miles away. How about some perks for the nursing staff? I have a couple interviews set up for positions outside of healthcare. If I'm offered one of them, I'm done with this. I'll frame my license and chalk it up to experience. Problem with nursing is, you have no idea what it is really like until you are up to your ears in it. Best of luck to the rest of you, I admire your fortitude.
  9. by   dear3535
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Hi there..

    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]I totally understand what you're going through and I'm in the same boat.

    I'm also a new grad and have been a med/surg nurse for six months, but I'm quitting at the end of this month. I'm excited about getting my life BACK, although I won't have much money to live on. (I have to pay back about $ 8,000 for relocation assistance and sign-on bonus)

    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Well, I was fairly healthy woman of 30 years old till I got this night shift position. As a night awl, I thought I would handle working the night shift – yet, working the graveyard shift was not what I imagined. I had share of stress in my life before but not to the extent of ruinning my health. Too much of demand and no support.. Being a new nurse is hard as it is, yet adding the physical stress of staying up all night on my feet for 12.5 hours, sometimes even without a break, certainly wrecked my circadian rhythm. I've been having a hormonal imbalance for six months, insomnia, depression (which I didn't even realize), chronic fatigue, dermatitis, and now I am diagnosed with GERD (Gastroesophageal reflex disease) – none these problems existed before I took the job. Even my attending doctor tells me either to quit the job or switch to a day shift in a less stressful environment.. There's no way I'm going into the day shift in med/surg unit, knowing how stressful it is also.

    I'm taking a few months off and will try to look for a less stressful type of nursing job, maybe doctor's office or outpatient.. (I hope there's such a place..) I'm not sure yet.. I used to be compationate about being a nurse and helping other people.. But now I'm realizing that I can't even take care of myself, let alone my family.. If it continues to be miserable, I'm considering quitting nursing all together.. I really hope something works out for me..

    Good luck to everyone and sending my huggs.
    Last edit by dear3535 on Nov 28, '06
  10. by   rn,lmt
    I think it is so stressful for new grads to start in the critical care units (even if there is a great orientation!). I think you should look at other areas before deciding to get out of the nursing field. Believe me, after 19 years of nursing, there have been many times I have felt the same way! I am in a position now that I love - even though I went through many types of jobs to find my niche, I have finally done so. Try other things (and think of each thing as a learning experience). Remember, everything is temporary, and do what makes you happy!
  11. by   CTRNTOBE
    All I have to say is: What exactly did all of you expect? Flowers and balloons at the beginning of each shift and a foot massage at the end?
  12. by   jjjoy
    Somethings you just can't know until you know. People have different strengths, weaknesses and preferences. Just because someone finds that nursing doesn't suit them doesn't mean that they expected it to be a cakewalk. Being a CNA, shadowing a nurse, even a couple of years of nursing school can't always tell a person how they will feel when working with a full load full time. It seems that the folks on this thread have a least given it try. Perhaps you have some advice for them on how to make the most of where they are at this point.
  13. by   LovebugLPN
    I don't think the point of this thread was to have negative feedback. It seemed to be about someone who was very "let down" by what is going on in nursing and looking for some support and options. It does not help to have someone who is not in there shoes deciding it is his job to judge other people. I see that you are a "student and stay at home dad". You, from what it seems, have time for your family. I think that is great and I believe all that the other posts were saying is that they want time for there families also. Nobody was saying they want foot rubs and flowers. If that is all you can offer it may be more helpful to keep your comments to yourself. If you can offer an intelligent suggestion please post it. Otherwise keep your negative comments to yourself.
  14. by   kellerpatty
    Quote from CTRNTOBE
    All I have to say is: What exactly did all of you expect? Flowers and balloons at the beginning of each shift and a foot massage at the end?

    Give me a break! Of course, most people who become nurses do so because that's the kind of person they are. There are realizations that this profession will be different from many others they might have experienced before, but the few things that I specifically didn't expect were: 14 hours shifts, no time for food of any kind even though they dock your pay 30 minutes every shift for meal time, peeing once a shift because there's just no time, managers messing around with your schedule without asking or even telling you, patient families that threaten you, coworkers that don't show up or show up and do nothing, co-workers that reek of alcohol, co-workers that leave patients in terrible condition and no supplies in the room (at all), no recourse to any of the above because the "bigshots" go home at 17:00, being hit, spit on, kicked, changing unconscious patients' bedding at least twice a night, no techs to help, six critical patients with two "experienced nurses" and one newbie..CRIKEY, who said anybody is asking for anything except a slight degree of understanding, respect and a BREAK! Again, get real...you obviously have NO IDEA...flowers and a foot massage, sheesh...

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