New grad RN on floor, night shift, am I depressed or am I normal...

  1. 1
    I am a new grad RN - got a job before I graduated on a high-acuity, fast-paced medicine floor at a top 5 (inner city) hospital, where everyone is super sick (or super MEAN).

    I've got a lot of common sense and am a well-educated and emotionally mature gal for my age, so I feel like everything I'm feeling is normal and okay to feel...but...I'm really more concerned with what is happening in my mind on my time off. I'm nine weeks into my orientation and next week is my last week before I'm on my own, just to give an idea of where I am at.

    I feel pretty confident in what I'm doing, I know when to get help and ask questions, and most of staff is pretty supportive. Most other nurses tell me I'm even ahead of the game and doing really well, esp. with time management. BUT, on my days/nights off, I feel like a different person now. I feel much more emotional, irritated, easily upset, all I want to do is sleep (my schedule gets really messed up on my nights off...), or sit around and sulk and drink wine. I think about work often too. It's very roller-coaster too, from "I can do better and will next time" to "I don't really care and let's just do what I can do minimally to get by before I start applying for other non-bedside/floor jobs after a year). Even on shift, I feel this way starting around 3am...coworkers, patients, everyone starts to **** me off and I dread the thought of having to give report.

    ANYONE else feeling this way? I ask because I've been in the city that I'm living in alone for awhile now. My boyfriend is time zones away, and my sister and brother are as well. Not a single family member or anything here, I moved to where I am because the cost of living is cheaper and the job prospect was much more promising. I'm wondering if I should hang on for a year, or plan on maybe making a change more or less for the sake of my personal life. I have good support at my job, and I'd feel quite unethical and unprofessional if I left before 12 months. It's not even THAT bad, just...not great. Not great at all. Would love to hear some thoughts.
    Last edit by Joe V on Aug 18, '12 : Reason: spacing
    Joe V likes this.
  2. 19 Comments so far...

  3. 4
    I know how you feel.

    It's tough, and you are only 9 weeks into it. I will tell you that I have found that adjusting to a new position really takes about 6 months. It will get better.

    Look at it this way: once you get that magical 12 mos. med-surg experience, all sorts of things will open up to you. But if you leave, it MAY be a little harder. And you are already more than two months into it! I encourage you to hang in there another 7 months. Then, if you still feel the same way, begin applying to other positions.

    Consider spending the next few months really looking into what area of nursing you think would suit you, as far as interests, hours, pay, etc. Don't jump ship til you've got another plan (and job!).

    Your emotional lability is NORMAL. Just ride the wave. Starting any new job is stressful. You will find your path. Give it some time, thought, and be pro-active.

    If you are absolutley miserable after 6 months, start looking for another position. (only four months to go! And it will be easier every day, b/c you'll just get more proficient/comfortable. You've ALREADY done the hardest part, trust me.)

    Good luck, and ((((HUGS)))). I'm orienting right now, too. This was as much a pep talk to myself as it was to you!
    j5676c, Meep,RN, CrufflerJJ, and 1 other like this.
  4. 1
    Considering all the stresses you are going through, it sounds like you are holding up pretty well. New job, big move, living away from social support. You might find help talking through stuff with a counselor, though.
    Best wishes.
    turnforthenurseRN likes this.
  5. 1
    You guys rock - thanks. ;D
    elprup likes this.
  6. 2
    What you are feeling is very normal. It is good to come to a site like this and share that. After 25 years in healthcare (18 as a RN), I can tell you that a lot has changed in the profession.

    Patients and families expect more, and have less appreciation. Years ago, families respected visiting hours, visitor limits, age limits, and quiet times for patients. Patients seemed to appreciate what you did for them. Nursing is often a thankless job, but occasionally you left after a positive interaction with a patient and felt good. With the barrage of news articles about risks of being hospitalized, hospital negligence, and the recent patient as a customer campaigns, and the internet, there is a much higher degree of uncertainty, and much more paranoia in the patient/family population. It has also created an atmosphere in which patients and families aren't afraid to ask for anything, and expect it. Open visiting, as a result of attempts to improve patient satisfaction, have created conflicting abilities to take care of the sick.

    Recently, I had a teenage girl show up to the ICU with a baby (3 months maybe), and lay the baby on the bed with grandma, who was on isolation for VRE. I tried to give a quick education on why this wasn't a good idea, knowing that we can no longer ban children from the ICU like we used to. The girl looked straight at me and said "can you get me a couple of diapers for my baby? The other nurse did."

    So what is my point?

    Don't let them get to you. You can't live their lives, and you didn't make them the way they are. A healthy detachment is, well....healthy. It used to be much better work than it is now. I wish I could tell you differently, but I just can't.

    Take care of yourself.

    Scott
    anotherone and hakunamatataRN like this.
  7. 3
    Sounds like a few new friends wouldn't be bad either. You need some balance, support, sounding boards.
    Why not make a post, "new grad in city x looking for new friends of a simmilar background".
    I would be down, i could always use a new friend going throught the same stuff as me.
    SHGR, Jammin' RN, and mlykateRN like this.
  8. 2
    Switching back and forth from nights to days makes me a little loopy/teary/crazy too.
    Exercise helps. Taking vitamin D helps tons. I'm on the fence about Melatonin.

    It sounds like if you got engaged/distracted by a community outside your job that might be helpful. Can you find something through meetup, couchsurfing, your gym... or whatever you're into to break you out of your shell. I get lazy with switching schedules and then sometimes hang out watching Glee reruns and always feel worse. blah. But, if I get out and do cool things I feel better, even if I'm tired.

    It sounds like your job is less your problem and you lifestyle more is. Maybe stick it out a little longer and see if you can get a little more settled into your city. It's hard, but possible.

    good luck!
    anotherone and SHGR like this.
  9. 0
    [QUOTE=casias12;6835705]What you are feeling is very normal. It is good to come to a site like this and share that. After 25 years in healthcare (18 as a RN), I can tell you that a lot has changed in the profession.

    Patients and families expect more, and have less appreciation. Years ago, families respected visiting hours, visitor limits, age limits, and quiet times for patients. Patients seemed to appreciate what you did for them. Nursing is often a thankless job, but occasionally you left after a positive interaction with a patient and felt good. With the barrage of news articles about risks of being hospitalized, hospital negligence, and the recent patient as a customer campaigns, and the internet, there is a much higher degree of uncertainty, and much more paranoia in the patient/family population. It has also created an atmosphere in which patients and families aren't afraid to ask for anything, and expect it. Open visiting, as a result of attempts to improve patient satisfaction, have created conflicting abilities to take care of the sick.

    Recently, I had a teenage girl show up to the ICU with a baby (3 months maybe), and lay the baby on the bed with grandma, who was on isolation for VRE. I tried to give a quick education on why this wasn't a good idea, knowing that we can no longer ban children from the ICU like we used to. The girl looked straight at me and said "can you get me a couple of diapers for my baby? The other nurse did."

    So what is my point?

    Don't let them get to you. You can't live their lives, and you didn't make them the way they are. A healthy detachment is, well....healthy. It used to be much better work than it is now. I wish I could tell you differently, but I just can't.

    Take care of yourself.SCOTT/QUOTE



    To casias12:

    It was interesting to hear you say that after 18 years as an RN a lot has changed in the profession. I would like to offer my experience as a family member and a nurse. My experience is different from yours. I have been an RN for 17 years. I do not currently work as a nurse, but close family members have been hospitalized multiple times over that time period, including very recently, and I have camped out at the bedside or in the hospital lounge and have witnessed the care given and compared it and the hospital environment that I observed around me to when I was a new nurse. One hospital in particular (where I did some of my training) used to allow a visitor to stay the night on a cot 17 years ago; 12 years ago this was still the practice; only this year they announced the end of visiting hours in the late evening - my husband was hospitalized with sepsis and acute renal failure and I had to plead to stay with him overnight (the charge nurse was very accommodating). Perhaps the people you refer to who are requesting open visiting are just trying to take care of their loved ones. I was afraid my husband would die before the doctor saw him. As family members we know the staffing is short and that if we do not stay to help and advocate for our family members they are very likely to receive poorer care as a result - this has been borne out in all of my family members hospitalizations.

    I think you are right about the negative news about the risk of hospitalizations/hospital negligence having an effect on the public, but these are not myths, they are realities, and the public knows this and is responding to what they perceive as a threat. As far as causing paranoia, I would also say that I think HIPAA, for all it's good intentions, has not helped bridge relationships between family members and nursing staff. When my husband was being admitted, the floor nurse asked him if she should let me stay or throw me out (verbatim). But apart from HIPAA in the main, everything else I have seen and experienced regarding staffing, sufficiency of working equipment, politeness of visitors, visitor expectations, seems to be about the same as it was 17 years ago. Both I and my family members are very respectful and appreciative when we are patients; however we have experienced some poor quality nursing (not the majority), and some very poor attitudes from nurses (again, not the majority).
  10. 0
    My advice get a hobby and leave work at the door. good luck I worked an externship in the OR suite at a local hospital when i clocked out work was turned off. just my opinion of coarse.
  11. 2
    I can relate. I started as a new grad on nights, and I moved miles away from a big city to a small town. That was 2 years ago. I don't mind my job, but I'm alone out here, not enjoying small town life. Sometimes you do what is necessary to get ahead. Perhaps nights do not agree with you? I prefer nights, but many people don't. Make sure you are eating, sleeping and exercising regularly. This will help immensely. And once you have at least a year or two in, you can look for work elsewhere. Hang in there
    anotherone and ygonzales like this.


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