New nurse and very depressed

  1. 0
    I graduated in May and got my license in July. It took me until October to find a job due to lack of experience and that I have my ADN. I'm prone to depression/anxiety but its been years since I've had a major episode. I take Prozac and Buspar daily which do not seem to help. I work at a nursing home on night shift (7p-7a). I get two halls, one in Ortho Rehab and the other is long term/hospice. I can have up to 33 pts at full capacity. Since my first night there I've been nothing but a wreck. I've lost 19lbs since Oct 9. I can't sleep and can't eat. I'll come home exhausted with thoughts raving through my head of the night and patients and sleep between 1-2hrs before waking up in a panic and then have a crying spell for up to an hour. I feel completely inadequate as a RN. I wonder what they even taught us in nursing school. My husband has health problems so about 3 years ago we did a role reversal and now he is a stay at home dad. We have a 9 and a 5 year old. I also find it terribly depressing and lonely trying to sleep during the day. Our room is dark and I haves fan and humidifier to mask noises. I wake up sick constantly, either vomiting or just dry heaving. I have a doc apt on Monday to see about my meds. I'm exhausted and feel drained. I can't quit because I'm the only one making money and the job market is terrible. Please tell me it gets easier and not so terrifying. I start on my own Monday night and I want to cry.

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  2. 20 Comments...

  3. 1
    Oh dear... honey I am so sorry that you are going through this.

    A lot of your problem seems to be night shift; it can be murder on
    someone who isn't used to it. Combine working night shift with
    your history of depression, plus the pressure you are under to
    provide for your family... it's no wonder you're a mess.

    I can relate somewhat; I'm the breadwinner in my family and I
    have a lot of pressure to keep us afloat and keep us insured.
    I have a 10 and 5 year old. I have worked night shift for a while;
    I would like to get off of it but I'm "stuck". I tried working day
    shift when I started my current job, but couldn't handle the
    pace, the atmosphere, of day shift... couldn't stand having
    management all around me... so much going on at one time...
    had to go back to night shift.

    Hopefully you can eventually snag a day shift position; I have
    a feeling that would help you immensely. For now, find out
    if your employer has an EAP, and contact them. Also going
    to your doctor and having your meds possibly adjusted is
    an excellent step. Good luck!!!!
    NJnewRN likes this.
  4. 0
    Night shift is very hard on your body and mind. If you can start by changing shifts while you are looking for a new job it will help. I know it took you forever to find a job but it sounds like it is making you miserable. I finally switched jobs after seven years. It's a big step but I am so happy I did it. A doctors office is a great place to work while you get everything together. Good luck to you.
  5. 0
    Yes, night shift may be the issue. If you are willing to move, you may find a day shift position for a new grad in another state.
  6. 0
    I could not do your job. I would be a wreck. Although transitioning to days may help you, also finding a different job might help too. Either inpt or specialty like GI lab, or special procedures. Good luck to you!
  7. 0
    Night shift is tough but this sounds more than just "night shift adjustment". The anxiety is getting to you. Being a new grad is tough the first 6 months. Hopefully your PCP will be able to help. If not, continue to look for other positions that have fewer pt and more support.
  8. 0
    The first couple of years of nursing is indeed hard- it is not just you. I did like the freedom of nights (fewer people, no management, etc) but the sleep part made it so difficult and lonely. Nights is hard on body, mind, and soul. I found PM shift to be really ideal and that was the shift where I slept the best, had the most energy, and also found good nursing role models (ok, I had strong nurse role models on nights, but we were so freeeeking busy that it wasn't like we had any time where I could bask in their knowledge and wisdom, KWIM?)

    ((((hugs)))) I hope you get what you need.
  9. 1
    Oh dear, you sound just like me! I am also a new RN with an ADN. I graduated in June, took nclex in July and waited till after my wedding in September to find a job. I started my first job on October 2nd. I was soo incredibly overwhelmed. I had 6 days of orientation and then was on my own at a LTC facility. I currently have 34 residents that I take care of in the facility and I am the only nurse in the building so i have no one to run to with questions. I came home some nights and just balled my eyes out and wanted to never go back. I felt so inadequate and so unprepared to be a nurse. About a week after I started working there I found out I was 3 weeks pregnant. The morning sickness and emotions only compounded things, on top of having issues with the pregnancy (I hemorrhaged at work three times!) After finding out I was pregnant I knew I needed to go back every day so I could save money for this baby on the way, plus just to pay the bills! My husband works, but is a part time firefighter and works full time at a factory and we cannot pay all of our bills on his paychecks. There were so many nights that I laid awake all night thinking about things I probably did wrong, or I'd wake up in a panic just because I was so stressed about work. It changed my whole home life. My husband and I have an amazing relationship but I came home stressed and a total wreck everyday. I hated it. I have to say though, each day gets better. I no longer stress like I used to, and I haven't cried about work for a while. I learned that writing down every single question I have, whether or not I feel like its a stupid one, is very helpful. I ask them all to the next shift and I write down the answers! I keep that with me at work and have it to look back at answers too. I'm becoming much more confident with my work. There's definitely more to learn, but I'm making progress. I've always heard you WILL feel like this for the first year of nursing, so I'm sticking it out and praying for this first year to fly by! Good luck to you though! I understand some of that stress that you're talking about, and it isn't fun at all!
    Socrates12358 likes this.
  10. 0
    Are you keeping a set schedule on your days off? I find that if I try to reverse my schedule on my days off (I work nights as well) I feel like crap. Do you take your meds according to your schedule? If it says to take before bed, you don't take them at night do you? You should take them before you go to bed. A lot of this sounds like normal new grad stuff combined with working nights when you aren't used to it. GL hopefully you'll get a day shift job. The jobs gets easier with time.
  11. 0
    I'm an ADN from 36 yrs ago. Worked 6 yrs nights, was a total crank, plus manufactured a couple toddlers to take care of. Then went to PM's. Loved that shift. 6 yrs ago switched departments to more of a day schedule, but it includes call days. I work anywhere from 4 hrs to 22 hrs. in a day. Dead tired.
    I worked at least 5 yrs before I thought I knew what I was doing. Worked 10 years before I started telling Doctors off, or writing up incident reports on them. Pills are not the answer. Other than a little Benadryl to sleep during the daytime. You need something else to do other than work, to get your mind completely off work.
    Get a year in, then get your name on a list to switch shifts. Once you've got a couple years experience, you can start looking for other jobs with more reasonable hours than the night shift. One good thing about nights, you have more time to learn things without all the bosses breathing down your neck.

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