Not Happy - Nurse with MS

  1. I know this has been written about tons of times before but I really need some advice. I am 6 weeks into a 12-week orientation and I am miserable. I work 12-hour days on a med-surg. cardiovascular floor in one of the biggest hospitals in my city. Both of my preceptors are very nice, my manager is very nice, all of the nurses are very nice on this floor, but the work is miserable. The patients we get are extremely ill. They are all on about 25 medications. They have constatant tests, new orders being written, and doctors are always in your face. Many days I run around for 12.5 or more hours and barely get a 30-minute break for lunch. I am exhausted. I am scared because I have multiple sclerosis. I am very mild now and have had no symptoms for 5 years but this stress and exhaustion is going to put me into an exacerbation and then I will be no good to anyone. I have been basically ignoring my family because I work 12-hour days and am completely exhausted on my days off. (I have 2 daughters - 6 and 9).

    I am thinking about resigning. This is a second career for me. I am almost 40 and have a major in journalism - so perhaps I can do medical writing. I know everyone gives the advice to stick it out for a while, it does get better, but this is not good for my health. I am too old to be this miserable everyday. I feel so guilty because I have received such quality training and I would be bailing on them. I guess I am wondering if I should stick this out anymore. Am I a terrible person?

    I am keeping my feelings from my husband right now because he is so happy that I am earning an income. He makes great money but we have a lot of debt to pay off.

    I am very confused.
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   FireStarterRN
    If the job is a threat to your health, you'd better resign. Our health is one of our most precious earthly possessions, worth more than silver and gold.
  4. by   UM Review RN
    I understand.

    I also had trouble with 12-hour shifts. It was just too long for me to handle. Even though I got out on time, took my breaks, and we generally had doable patient assignments, it was the shift length that finally did it for me.

    I switched over to 8 hour shifts and I've been much happier.

    Would it be possible for you to change your hours? Work part-time? Do 8-hour shifts? Work in a less stressful area?

    My advice would be this: While your plans are in process, figure out a way to make sure you take your lunch break. It might make the difference.

    I will often say to everyone within hearing, "I plan on taking my break at 1800," and I start sizing up my covering nurse and tech as soon as I get Report.

    Please make sure you take your break. It might make a little bit of a difference and you need that right now.
  5. by   Virgo_RN
    What about working in a doctor's office or clinic?
  6. by   Indy
    How many days a week do you work? I would suggest either do nights, as in a 3-night week (all together so your days off are all together) or try to cut back to a two-day week.

    Two days in a row, followed by 5 days off, might be something you could do better with. The reason I suggested nights is that the work is a little less hectic, but still steady. All the docs don't round on nights and screw up your shift; you work harder at the beginning to make sure all the patients get settled but for the most part the order set that you start with is what you end with. You don't go sending pt's all over the hospital for tests. Nights isn't all fun and roses but there are some things about it that are easier to handle, if you can handle the flipover in your sleep schedule. If screwing up your sleep will also cause an exacerbation then don't do it.

    Consider PRN work where you go in one or two days a week when they need you, it'll bring in a paycheck and you might feel less pressured. Consider other units in the hospital if your unit can't work you with a one to two day work week; maybe medsurg could use a hand instead of tele, etc. Nothing says you have to work the exact same unit for X amount of time after graduation.
  7. by   llg
    Hospital nursing is both physically and mentally demanding. There is no getting around that fact. I recommend talking with your doctor to help you decide how much stress you can handle with your MS. It might be that you need a less demanding job in order to preserve your health.

    At least you have another degree that might give you some interesting options to choose from.
  8. by   Tait
    Quote from llg
    Hospital nursing is both physically and mentally demanding. There is no getting around that fact. I recommend talking with your doctor to help you decide how much stress you can handle with your MS. It might be that you need a less demanding job in order to preserve your health.

    At least you have another degree that might give you some interesting options to choose from.
    I agree, talk to your doc, talk to your family, nursing has a wonderful variety of options out there!
  9. by   beck_79
    If you need a break from floor nursing, what about working at a call center help line- many health insurance companies have 24 hour help lines staffed by RNs.
  10. by   pagandeva2000
    I would consider community nursing, as mentioned by someone else. Either way, you can't sacrifice your health for any job.
  11. by   LesMonsterRN
    You guys have a lot of good suggestions! Daughtermom, you can't be a good nurse if you're not able to take care of your health, so hopefully you can find something that fulfills you as a nurse and also allow you to safeguard yourself.
  12. by   santhony44
    I would talk to the manager and see if there are some other shift options possible for you. As Angie suggested, shorter shifts of working part-time might be do-able. Tell her that otherwise, you'll have to leave the job.

    12 hour shifts can be hard enough for those without health issues. Don't sacrifice your health for this job.
  13. by   markyleo
    I have the same problem w/ my wife, she's on her fourties and working in MS and she got sick a lot. I understand how difficult it is coz im a nurse too. I wanted her to stop working but she refused, got tons of bills to pay she said. Gosh! I wish i know what tell you. And by the way she also got a journ degree....Isn't that coincidence? You've got to talk to her sometimes...you guys got a lot in common.
  14. by   Daughtermom
    Thanks so much for everyone's suggestions and advice. I guess I have to really look at what is available to me and make some decisions. Everyone I work with is very nice so hopefully they will accomodate me. I do work very hard and I don't want to let them down but my health is the most important thing - especially because I have young children also. Thanks again.

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