I've been an RN for approximately 11 months and am not sure that I want to keep doing this. I'm a good nurse. My manager and coworkers keep telling me that I'm doing a great job. But the day to day stress of working a Med Surg floor is really getting to me.
The hospital where I work has increased the amount of documentation required for each patient several times since I was hired. Another new assessment was added just last week. What they don't seem to realize is that every extra form or documentation they require takes away more time from our patients. I feel guilty while I'm charting because it feels like I'm neglecting my patients. We are staffed by the numbers instead of acuity, and the assignments seem to be getting heavier all the time.
I feel like I'm always running behind. Our unit has become a revolving door lately. I can start with 7 patients, discharge or transfer 5 of them, and get 5 admits before I leave that night. I dread taking report from the night shift, because I know I'm going to keep hearing "Mr So-and-So is going home today" or "Mrs Whatsit is transferring to Rehab as soon as a room is ready, so get her paperwork done ASAP!" Every one of those admissions and discharges means more charting, more paperwork, and more time from patient care. Throw in a couple of patients on tube feeds, one in restraints, two that are MR with "sitters" at the bedside who do nothing, one who is about to die, and another who just arrived to the floor in respiratory distress-requiring a call to the Dr for orders to transfer to ICU-and you have my typical day. It's the same thing, with slight variations, every single shift lately. Oh, I forgot the direct admit who decided to show up at 1830, which means I have to do the admission assessment, several other extra assessments, call the Dr for orders, start the IV, insert the Foley, get their med list (and they have no idea what they take) faxed to pharmacy, print and check the MAR, give them the meds they should have already taken today, and then somehow manage to finish charting on all of my other patients and still get out on time. Yeah, right.
Most days, I drive home exhausted. I get home in time to eat my supper at 8:00 pm and then fall into bed around 9:00 so that I can get up at 0500 and start all over again. My days off are spent doing very little. I don't have the energy now to the things I love to do, let alone clean my house or cook a meal. I feel like I'm not really living. I'm surviving work and then merely existing the rest of the time.
Don't get me wrong. The people on my unit are fantastic. We all help each other, from the manager on down. I've figured out the doctors fairly well by now, so the stress of calling them has almost disappeared (there are one or two who are still tough to deal with, but that's life and I don't lose sleep over them). It's not the place where I work, it's just the nature of the job I guess. I've pretty much concluded that floor nursing is not conducive to a healthy lifestyle. I've had more IBS attacks recently than I did even in nursing school
. I'm growing depressed and hopeless about my life. I'm not going to be able to do this kind of work long term.
So, I have some decisions to make. I'm working on my BSN so that I can go on to an MSN and possibly teach. (My nursing instructors always said I was a born teacher). Maybe I'll do home health or hospice for awhile (I know this may seem odd, but I enjoy caring for my terminal patients). I may look into massage therapy or aesthetician training, with the possibility of working in a wellness spa setting eventually. Maybe I'll go to work in a clinic. I don't know for certain where I'm supposed to end up, but I know it's not the hospital floor.
I'm hoping that life can be better than it is right now. I'd like to have the energy to enjoy my personal life again. I don't know if that's something that will come with more time, but I'm not really willing to stick around and find out. My one year commitment to this place is up in 2 months. After that, I'm a free agent.
May 15, '09
Indeed, it's rough out there-
You are experiencing the real reason for the so-called shortage- it's just too much work, too much stress, too much paperwork, and nurses are leaving.
Nursing itself is a revolving door.
Eager students desperate to get into a nursing program turn into bright-eyed new grads. Many of them evolve into tired nurses who don't have the time or energy for a life- and many get out.
Then, the media, and clueless hospital administrators, and out-of-touch educators start hollering "Nursing shortage! Tons of jobs! A great career! More nursing programs
And the cycle keeps going.
Last edit by Valerie Salva on May 16, '09