Haven't found my "place" in nursing.

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    Hi all! I graduated with my BSN this past May and got a job on a med/surg floor in an area hospital. I have been working here for 4 months now, and while I liked my job when I first started, it has now become a "black hole" in my life as I could say. I don't know if I liked it because I was finally doing what I had spent so much time preparing for, or what .. But I just thoroughly do not enjoy coming to work anymore. I work 12 hour night shifts which I think is part of it. I don't mind working 12-hours, 3-4 days off is nice. But I think I truly only like working nights because of the pay diff. (It definitely makes a difference.)

    I am no longer orienting and am now "on my own" but I just feel like I never do anything right. I am constantly being corrected by my peers and have been burned by docs on several situations because the docs at night are very difficult to work with. I have such high anxiety and stress because I always think I am doing something wrong, or that I am going to miss something in my assessment. And then in morning report I feel like I am missing things as well ... I often wake myself out of sleep because I fear that I did something wrong.

    I am thinking now that a clinic setting or doctor's office may be more my speed. I would have day time hours and could have the night for myself. Now this is very difficult because with working nights I am exhausted all the time .. I sleep in between shifts and then on my off days I am asleep by 7:30. Never have time to see or spend time with my loved ones because I am always dragging. And I may be wrong but to my understanding the patients coming into the clinic/dr. office are not as acute (could code any second). I think a lot of my anxiety comes from not working a long time so I just do not have the experience or wisdom that comes from working as a nurse over time. At the hospital there are just so many protocols and things I am unfamiliar with. I do have a very good support system there and love my managers and co-workers, which is why I have a difficult time looking for something else. However, I don't know how much longer I can stick with the stress of working somewhere that I think I am always making a mistake.

    I apologize if this post seems very random or jumbled, I am attempting to vent and put my thoughts out but I don't know how well it is coming across. If anyone could give me any suggestions, helpful hints, insight as to working in a clinic setting, etc .. it would be very appreciated!!
  2. 7 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    Seriously stop whining it's making me mad , you have so many reasons to be excited going into work everyday. #1 being YOUR A NEW GRAD WITH A HOSPITAL MED SURG JOB. Just suck it up for the greater good of your career, gain a few years experience , save your money, specialize in something down the road and then you can whine about something else but for now just be greatful for your employment and blessings and worry about your place in nursing when you get at least a year experience . I for one graduated in may 12 and still cannot get a hospital job
  4. 0
    Ugh, you aren't alone. I've been on my own for a little over a month and it is scary. I haven't had patients with every type of disease or med that I come across, thus looking it up and having pharmacy on speed dial. I second guess my assessments. Or I do an assessment and later think "crap, I was supposed to look for that?" Or get to busy and forget to look up labs. The other day, I completely forgot to give someone insulin within the time. The docs/PAs/NPs at night can be very, very difficult to work with. Most of them don't want to touch the Attending MD's plan at all. And then when a new grad is working with a MD intern... facepalm. And I'm sure you know it, all of this perpetuates that lovely anxiety friend, which doesn't help our cause!

    What I keep telling myself is similar to you -- I don't have the experience of other nurses. I don't know every policy or procedure. I'm really just trying to give myself some time before throwing in the towel, my education, licensure, and hard work would be such a waste if I didn't try.

    btw -- bTRUE, I am sorry you are having a tough time with landing a job, the economy is not in the best shape right now. It took about 11 months for my RN job, and I still need to vent every other day. being a new RN is HARD.
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    You are not alone. Most new grads hit an emotional slump in the first few months out of orientation. I think of this as the nursing version of post-partum blues.
    It gets better in time when you learn the protocols, figure out things, gain some judgement and eventually become the nurse your peers go to for help.
    You can also look around at what else is out there in nursing. If you don't feel totally trapped in your current position, it helps you feel better.
    In nursing there is always a trade-off. If your patients are less acute, there are more of them. Jobs with office hours that are not bedside often pay less, and I have seen only one or two LPNs in doctors' offices in recent years with MAs doing the majority of the work.
    Perhaps a change of shift might come available?
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    You need to read SO many threads on here about SO many new grads who can't even pay to get a job much less a hospital job. Yes, as a new graduate you have a lot to learn. Maybe you thought you knew a lot when you graduated but you are just now learning how much you still have to learn. Giving up at a few months will not get you there. If you step down to some other less demanding environment you will never have the nerve to step back up.
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    It sounds like you are having a rough time. It does take time, maybe about a year, before you really start to feel somewhat confident in what you do. Also, night shift is very hard on a lot of people. You are living the opposite of the sleep-wake schedule nature intended your body to live. Hormones get out of whack and that can lead to mood disorders, depression, anxiety, etc... Then throw in the stress of having to learn a new job in which people's lives depend upon you.

    I do not work in a clinic but I do know from friends that working in a clinic can be every bit as hectic as working in a hospital. I currently work in a prison. The acuity is usually lower but when things go bad they can go really bad and a rapid response team is nowhere in sight. My rapid response is EMS and it can take a long ten or fifteen minutes to get them there.

    Is there any chance of transferring to a days position on your unit? You may find it easier to handle the challenge of being a new grad on a med surg unit if you are not also trying to adjust to the night shift lifestyle. Having just a few months of nursing experience could make it difficult to find another job in this tight job market. If at all possible try to find a way to hang in there for a few more months. Or maybe look into transferring to another unit in the same hospital.

    I am convinced there is no "easy" nursing job. They all have their own special stresses. You just have to find the area of nursing and the work schedule that is the best fit for you.

    Whatever you decide to do, I wish you well.
  8. 0
    It can be VERY difficult as a new nurse, and all of these things you are experiencing and struggling with are very normal. The hospital is a crazy place, and some doctors and nurses get enjoyment out of making others who are new feel like crap and worthless just so they can feel high and mighty and good about themselves.
    I worked at a nursing home for years, and just recently started at a hospital. When I first started at the nursing home, I felt lost and like I had no idea what was going on. Eventually though that all changed and I became more comfortable. Now that I'm in the hospital, even though I'm not a new nurse, all those feelings have come back and of course many people treat me like I know very little. It's extremely difficult, especially when you're the type of person who's brain just doesn't work the same way as other nurses, like things don't click as easy. But it does get better, I promise. You'll get into your groove. I'd say give it a year and if it's still not for you, move onto something else. That year of medsurg experience can be very valuable to other employers.
    Best of luck :-)
    Last edit by traumaRUs on Feb 10, '13 : Reason: TOS
  9. 0
    When it comes down to it you need to do what is right for you regardless of anyone else. If you know you want to go to a dayshift clinic job then try that out if you dont like it go somewhere else. But I would suggest you do atleast minimum 6 months where you are right now and if you do get a new job try to stay there for longer... it doesnt look good to be a job hopper.


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