Quote from RN2012Newbie
First off, I would like to state that I know I am extremely blessed to have landed a job in an acute care hospital very close to graduation. I know there are many new grads that look for jobs for months before they find something. With that being said, i'm still having these emotions that I'll explain below.
I have felt miserable ever since I started working. My coworkers for the most part are nice and answer questions when I ask. The doctors, well you know how it goes when there are some good and some bad in regards to contacting them for patient needs...
But my emotions are constantly on a roller-coaster going down. I work 12 hour night shift and it is really hard on my body. During the day I try my best to sleep, but If I don't use a sleeping aid like melatonin I'm lucky if I get a 2hr nap in. When I do use melatonin, I feel drowsy the first 4ish hours after waking up.
Thoughts are always racing through my mind worrying about how things might go wrong on the upcoming shift, or what I might have done wrong during the previous night. These thoughts have become so debilitating. I feel like crying every time before I go to work. I know that people say it's normal for new grads to feel scared and overwhelmed in the beginning, but how do you know when your level of being "overwhelmed" is normal. I cant pin point out what exactly I'm so scared about or what makes the thoughts race through my head, besides being worried about having missed something or doing something wrong on the previous shift. On my days off i'm fine and can take my mind off of work for the most part, but the day leading up to my first night and the days between my shifts I go crazy.
I do not mean to rant and vent so much, however I feel so alone in this process. I have a great boyfriend who is a great supporter, but I still feel so miserable. Could it be the change in hours that have done this to me? Would that really cause so much stress, anxiety, and being so miserable. I know the majority of new nurses start on night shift, so why is it so hard on me?
Thank you so much for reading my post, I hope you have something to share.
I'm not exaggerating in the slightest when I write that I could have written this post, word-for-word, about six months ago. Everything from the overwhelming anxiety, the absolute dread of going into work, and even the tough time initially adjusting to night shift.
First off, keep in mind that night shift may simply not be for you. Of the three other new grads who were hired to work night shift with me in December, I am the only one still on night shift. Initially, I know that I had a lot of anxiety around sleeping during the day. What if I didn't get my sleep in? I wasn't able to sleep -- will I be able to make it through the night? Was I always going to be this tired? The pressure to sleep during the day was making it even harder to sleep, if that makes any sense. I also found that flipping sleep schedules on my days off just really effed everything up. I eventually found some serenity in just radically accepting that I will sleep when I can sleep, I will not be working night shift forever, and I will not feel guilty about missing out on things because I was sleeping.
Time was what eventually healed that other anxiety. Like, I still get anxious, but more appropriately. Almost exactly at that magical six month mark -- even my coworkers commented that I seemed more at ease, etc. I had several meetings with my nurse manager in that interim which also helped assuage my fears that I was doing a poor job or was somehow screwing up majorly. (And I did make mistakes -- and still do.) I think having that time, plus the input from my nurse manager and other experienced nurses on my unit, put everything into perspective: everyone makes mistakes, your mistakes probably aren't going to cause damage or kill a patient or get you fired.