New nurse and I don't know what to do?

  1. Hi all,

    Let me give a little background. I am a new nurse graduated in May, passed NCLEX in August. I am currently working 32 hrs night shift (11p-730a) on a very busy Ortho/Surgical unit and I hate it. I started in November, working days with my preceptor. I am now on my own working nights (this is when everything started). I work with great people, I just hate the shift and am starting to wonder if nursing is really what I want to do. I am in my 30's married with 2 kids, so going back to school is not an option. I find myself riddled with anxiety and I think it is starting to turn into depression.

    I have tried to talk to my husband about this, but he has a "suck it up" mentality. This is my 2nd career and to be honest, he guided me towards bc of the job stability and the demand for nurses. At this point, I feel that this is starting to affect my family. I am tired all of the time. I feel all I do is sleep and work and I am always in a bad mood. Is this normal for new nurses? I feel like I am always on the brink of an axiety attack and like I just want to run away.
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   Rose_Queen
    You're only a few months in, so it could be the reality shock of nursing school vs. nursing reality. It could also be the change in shift- your body is going to need to adjust to that. How long have you been on night shift? Have you searched here for other posts with tips for night shifters? I know there's several.
  4. by   MrsJt
    Thank you for your reply. I have searched other posts here and other sites. A lot of what I have read is others experiencing what I am going through. However, a lot of what others have posted is that nights are rough in general and do not get easier. You just learn to adapt. I haven't been on nights long, but have worked nights in the past and felt the same way. I just dont feel my support system is that great right now. My husband is a shift worker, so he offers no empathy for me. It's hard veing a mom and being tired all the time. Plus, the stress of being a new nurse, idk how much more I can take.
  5. by   Double-Helix
    It can take six+ months to adjust to night shift and a full 1-2 years to feel comfortable practicing independently. I don’t think it’s nursing that you hate- just the change of shift and being out of your comfort zone. I agree with your husband that it’s best for your career to stay in your first job for at least a year. But your health and family is also important. There are hundreds of options for professions within nursing. If you don’t see your situation improving as you adjust to the job, start looking for other positions that may better suit your needs.
  6. by   traumaRUs
    Moved to First Year after Nursing Licensure forum
  7. by   ElizabethAnsley
    Hey there! Don't get too down yet. I'm a new nurse, too! I think adjusting to the stress and rigors of the job at first made me grumpy and exhausted on my off days, too, especially when I was adjusting to the unit I work in. I'm 6 months in now and am starting to "get a grip" per-say and be able to rebound from shifts more quickly. At first I would always have bad headaches and exhaustion on my days off. Just remember to drink water while you work and stay in a routine while you're not at work, and you'll definitely adjust!
  8. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from MrsJt
    Hi all,

    Let me give a little background. I am a new nurse graduated in May, passed NCLEX in August. I am currently working 32 hrs night shift (11p-730a) on a very busy Ortho/Surgical unit and I hate it. I started in November, working days with my preceptor. I am now on my own working nights (this is when everything started). I work with great people, I just hate the shift and am starting to wonder if nursing is really what I want to do. I am in my 30's married with 2 kids, so going back to school is not an option. I find myself riddled with anxiety and I think it is starting to turn into depression.

    I have tried to talk to my husband about this, but he has a "suck it up" mentality. This is my 2nd career and to be honest, he guided me towards bc of the job stability and the demand for nurses. At this point, I feel that this is starting to affect my family. I am tired all of the time. I feel all I do is sleep and work and I am always in a bad mood. Is this normal for new nurses? I feel like I am always on the brink of an axiety attack and like I just want to run away.
    You're only a few months in; it sounds like what we used to call "reality shock." Nursing isn't what you thought it was going to be, the responsibility is overwhelming and the hours, while flexible, are something you have not yet become accustomed to. It's not unusual to hate your first job, be riddled with anxiety, become depressed, feel tired all the time and be in a bad mood. That's all pretty normal.
    8 hour nights are great for family life if you cannot get 12s. Your husband is there with the kids all night, you can be home for breakfast, home for dinner and spend the evening with the family.

    A lot of adjusting to night shift is in your attitude. You're working with great people, you have a good job and you just need to get used to it. Here's a thread that might help you get used to the night sift.

    Night Shift For Newbies

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