New nurse feeling overwhelmed and miserable!

  1. 1 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.
  2. Enjoy this?

    Join thousands and get our weekly Nursing Insights newsletter with the hottest discussions, articles, and toons.

  3. Visit  RN2012Newbie profile page

    About RN2012Newbie

    Joined Sep '12; Posts: 20; Likes: 6.

    34 Comments so far...

  4. Visit  eatmysoxRN profile page
    2
    Nursing is hard on new grads no matter what shift or where you work. I used to feel the same way. My job really was ridiculous but so many posts here make me know that nearly everyone does this. Make sure you try to leave work at work. Once you leave there is nothing more you can do. Learn all you can. Ask questions. Eat nutritious food and stay hydrated. Nights are typically better for new nurses I suppose but try to switch if you absolutely cannoy adjust. Make sure your room is dark and cool. I literally make my mind think 7a is 7p so I can sleep. Good luck.
    visionary123 and anotherone like this.
  5. Visit  dirtyhippiegirl profile page
    4
    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.
    visionary123, Rebekah1882, mitral, and 1 other like this.
  6. Visit  natalie877 profile page
    2
    I have the same feelings. I am a new RN, I am on day shift but I am feeling the same exact way. The overwhelming anxiety, dread if going into work, and wondering if you did things right. I am 5 weeks in my orientation and dreading being on my own. I still have 6 more weeks but am constantly anxious if I am ready or not. I have constant anxiety about it, and like you said I am ok for the most part on my days off but the night before I work I get that anxious feeling once again. I am a little relieved that there are other people out there that feel the same but I know it's so horrible feeling as anxious as we do now . I just can't wait til I feel confident and not anxious going into work. Hope this is a normal reaction . Thanks for posting.
    visionary123 and BrendaH84 like this.
  7. Visit  not.done.yet profile page
    1
    I felt EXACTLY the same way. Night shift was super hard for me. I am a morning/day type person. I was raised by farmers and naps were the actions of a lazy person, so I was well trained to never sleep during the daytime. Thus even when exhausted my body just would not let me sleep! I resorted to Benadryl and melatonin and with those could get about four hours in a row. I too had the panic about whether I would sleep, would it be enough, how hard would the next shift be and could I cope - these thoughts played through my mind constantly.

    When I started having PVCs my doctor told me to get off night shift and doing so helped me a lot. Yes, days are far more hectic than nights were, but the tasks were basically the kinds of stuff I had been doing in my preceptorship. The anxiety just kind of started to gradually fade away until last week (I am 8 months in now) I realized I don't feel absolute dread when I go to work anymore. I think getting enough sleep combined with finally being far enough in to be managing my time well and forming relationships with my coworkers has done wonders.

    You aren't alone. The anxiety gets better with time, but I truly believe not everyone can and should work nights. If you are one of those people, get on the list to transfer to days asap. I hope this gets much much better for you!
    BrendaH84 likes this.
  8. Visit  NikkiC213 profile page
    3
    You are not alone! I've been in my new grad program working on the floor for almost a month now. However, I always feel like a nervous wreck. My preceptor always dings me on my charting and how my time management skills are. But what can I do? I'm new! She knows that but I'm starting to feel so discouraged. Maybe I'm being too hard on myself but I'm also trying to pick up the pace on my tasks. Last night after my shift, I cried before going to bed thinking maybe nursing isn't for me and I get scared that some of my coworkers think I'm incompetent when I'm really not. I have about 5-6 weeks before I finish my program but I'm starting to dread going into work. Help how do you guys work on your time management? I'm awful at discharges and admits but more on the admits since it takes forever. My preceptor even pointed that out and it kinda hurt but I am trying my best
    littlenurse21, Anne36, and BrendaH84 like this.
  9. Visit  mom35 profile page
    1
    I am an anxious individual to begin with, and the anxiety when I started was tremendous! Somewhere around my fifth or six month I stopped getting nauseated and the terror prior to my shift began to lessen. Now it will be one year on Nov. 17th and I have so much more confidence and have even received some acolades (spelling?) at work for doing a good job! I love my patients and even though most of them speak spanish and I speak very little, I am able to relate to them how much they mean to me and I let them know that I will do the best I can to take great care of them. I sit in the hall at a computer on wheels so that when my pts. light goes off I can hot-tail it in there and they appreciate not having to wait five minutes for their calls to get a response! When you are at work, put your heart and soul into it. Live it, breath it! I think if you are fully present not just physically but mentally and emotionally it really helps! It will get better!!
    BrendaH84 likes this.
  10. Visit  NikkiC213 profile page
    1
    @mom35 thank you for your kind words and encouragement! It's really nice to know that I'm not alone! Everyday I'm just trying to stay positive and show compassion to my patients. I still get anxious the night before my shift but when I'm actually working on the floor, it's not that bad.
    BrendaH84 likes this.
  11. Visit  RN2012Newbie profile page
    0
    Thank you all for posting and sharing your experience and advice. Im still having the anxiety before shifts and its still very frustrating. The shifts themselves are getting better... & I can see how much ive already progressed as a 4week-independent RN, already. I'm just praying this pre-work anxiety will be diminished in the upcoming weeks.
  12. Visit  Larry3373 profile page
    0
    Quote from RN2012Newbie
    Thank you all for posting and sharing your experience and advice. Im still having the anxiety before shifts and its still very frustrating. The shifts themselves are getting better... & I can see how much ive already progressed as a 4week-independent RN, already. I'm just praying this pre-work anxiety will be diminished in the upcoming weeks.
    I'm in my 3rd month working on a med surg floor. I don't feel quite as anxious anymore since I have gotten more organized. Thankfully my last 3 weeks of orientation, I had a good preceptor who showed me every little detail of what and when to do it throughout the shift, even when I didn't ask her. By the way, I made some mistakes at 1st and my boss was basically threatening to let me go if I didn't improve for a while, but now I'm doing much better and feeling more confident with my job. For me chart checks and other stuff like that was slowing me down and causing me to rush while passing meds. I've heard from a lot of people that after 6 months or so people start to feel confident. Keep this in mind ( my manager told me this too) nursing is hard!
  13. Visit  not.done.yet profile page
    2
    Yup. Around month 8 I realized that I was no longer losing sleep over work. I still get a tad anxious when I have to work the next day but it is miniscule compared to the first few months.
    anotherone and Anne36 like this.
  14. Visit  BrendaH84 profile page
    1
    Quote from not.done.yet
    I felt EXACTLY the same way. ....
    You aren't alone. The anxiety gets better with time, but I truly believe not everyone can and should work nights. If you are one of those people, get on the list to transfer to days asap. I hope this gets much much better for you!
    I agree with what EVERYONE has said, but I really agree with the above statement, I go so long with not enough sleep that I feel sick. my heart feels bad! my adrenal glands kick in every few minutes to "wake me up" then I get sleepy again, till finally my chest hurts-I feel sick, and I take a Benadryl and sleep---as much as12-13 hours..several times this has happened and I feel like my old self after all of that sleep, then the cycle begins again. Add the stress of being a new nurse, the preceptors are not always nice, and the fear of "how WILL i know all of this stuff in a few months when i am on my own", and I just keep wondering, aren't there jobs where a new grad-or ANY nurse can go, where I don't have so many patients at once and so much paperwork?
    plus I've heard through the grapevine that my preceptor talks bad about me all the time (she's really odd, nuff said about that, i actually don't take it personally, but I don't want her ruining my brand new reputation!)
    just venting! lol lol
    Anne36 likes this.
  15. Visit  Catzilla profile page
    9
    Dude. People say that the first year will be tough. That nursing school and working in the hospital are worlds apart. For the most part, I think we listened. But in no way could we have understood. No way could we have really known what we were in for.
    I did not think I'd be THAT new grad. You know- the one who is painfully anxious, nervous, awkward, and blows at time management. But I AM. But you know, so what. They gave us a chance-we got the job. We're going to be wobbly on our legs at first. Not gonna quit. I Look forward to the Fall of 2013.
    When I'm a more confident, less spastic, new-ISH nurse who survived their first year.

    Here's to the future!!!:***:
    Rebekah1882, IBleedGreen, owlRN01, and 6 others like this.


Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and find your dream job.

Top