Not really miserable but...

  1. I graduated in May, took the NCLEX June 20th and have been working on a telemetry unit since June 25th. I had a pretty good 8 week orientation and my preceptors said I was doing well and my ANM has not had any complaints. Every day I go to work sort of feeling like, "OK, I can do this." and then around 0600 I start to feel like maybe I can't. Most days after I report off I just feel empty. I can't describe it. Does anyone else feel this way? Can anyone describe it?

    I'm not really passionate about nursing. It's a job. I'm 31 and I was a teacher and I HATED that and was miserable. So I decided to change carreers. I chose nursing becase it's nice to help people. But I also chose it because is is nice to be guaranteed a job pretty much no matter what and it pays pretty well. I'm commited to this job and don't feel that I do a bad job. I've made a few mistakes that have inconvenienced people or been a little embarrasing for me, but I've never harmed a patient. I don't really know what the point of this post is, I guess I just wanted to get my feelings out there and see if anyone had the same thoughts. Thanks if you read this far .
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   deeDawntee
    I think nursing is a lot like life itself in that one is embroiled in the human condition, both the bad and the good of it. I wonder if your sense of emptiness in nursing is also apparent in the rest of your life? Feeling empty is a pretty common human condition in and of itself. It may be depression.... that is the thought I had reading your post... you are able to function, but there is really no joy... is that correct?

    I'm sorry you are feeling this way. Is there an area of nursing where you think you may be happier and could work towards it? Have you thought about talking to a professional? I am a firm believer in therapy and have been personally supported by therapy in my life. Why suffer when there is help available?
  4. by   pirituba
    I graduated in May and Just started working in a community health center in a pediatric unit. I am not shore at this point if I really want to become a pediatric nurse in a community health center. I been having a hard time keeping track of a newborn or an infant apical pulse. Nurse that I work with are from old school of nursing, the nurse that is trainning I think she hates me and told my supervisor that I don't know how to take vital signs (which I do), They knew I new grad and that they would have to train me. That is my story! Thanks for reading!
  5. by   RNSuzq1
    Hi Laura,

    Sorry you're so unhappy in Nursing and don't have a passion for it. You mentioned that you also hated Teaching. This is just my 2 cents for what it's worth. You chose 2 Professions where your job is all about being "dedicated" to the needs of others. Each of these jobs is extremely stressful, can be overwhelming and to me, someone who doesn't have a "Passion" for this type of work wouldn't find it very rewarding (maybe that's why you feel so empty).

    I really admire Teachers - takes someone very special to get through to a classroom full of kids and keep your sanity at the same time (can't imagine putting up with what they do if you didn't like it). Same goes for Nursing - just got home from a rotten night knee deep in poop. There's just no way in the world I'd do what we have to do if my heart wasn't it - I'd go be an Accountant or some job where I wasn't swimming in other peoples body fluids every night (know what I mean???).

    Talk to your hospitals DON, maybe they'll let you float to some different units to find someplace you really enjoy working. Best of luck to you!!!
  6. by   hollyberry678
    Hi, sorry you are feeling this way. The emptiness you feel, could you be expecting the job to fulfill you? One thing I have learned in life is that fulfillment, contentment- whatever you call it, comes from within yourself...
  7. by   DudeNurseRN
    Quote from LauraMT
    I graduated in May, took the NCLEX June 20th and have been working on a telemetry unit since June 25th. I had a pretty good 8 week orientation and my preceptors said I was doing well and my ANM has not had any complaints. Every day I go to work sort of feeling like, "OK, I can do this." and then around 0600 I start to feel like maybe I can't. Most days after I report off I just feel empty. I can't describe it. Does anyone else feel this way? Can anyone describe it?

    I'm not really passionate about nursing. It's a job. I'm 31 and I was a teacher and I HATED that and was miserable. So I decided to change carreers. I chose nursing becase it's nice to help people. But I also chose it because is is nice to be guaranteed a job pretty much no matter what and it pays pretty well. I'm commited to this job and don't feel that I do a bad job. I've made a few mistakes that have inconvenienced people or been a little embarrasing for me, but I've never harmed a patient. I don't really know what the point of this post is, I guess I just wanted to get my feelings out there and see if anyone had the same thoughts. Thanks if you read this far .
    You sound a little sad in your post.

    Sounds like life is stressful right now for you. Sounds to me like you aren't miserable like you were when you were teaching, but you were expecting something else out of the job, maybe a different feeling from the work that you do.

    I think that there is a lot of idealizing out there, that nurses need to be extremely passionate about what they do to be good nurses. I disagree.

    Yes, it is just a job. Just like any other. And you don't have to really be passionate about it, but it does help to pass the time if you happen to be.

    But it is important to be happy, and you don't sound very happy right now. If I were in your shoes I might take stock of the things that are going on in life (apart from the stress of starting a new profession) that are keeping you from feeling happy.

    Hope that things get easier.
  8. by   RainDreamer
    I was the same way when I first started nursing. Actually I was that way even back in nursing school, during clinicals. I seriously doubted what I was doing.

    But I found a unit I love, I found patients/families I love, and I find my job to be extremely rewarding in the end. I just had to find my niche and find something that fits for me.

    There's a big ole world out there as far as nursing goes! It doesn't sound like you totally hate the work, but you just haven't found the passion. Is there any other type of unit or type of nursing that you feel drawn to or that seems like it'd be interesting to you? Like Susan said, maybe see if you can float to some different units or shadow someone for a bit. There's a lot out there!

    Good luck to you
  9. by   LauraMT
    Thanks for the replies. I'm guess I'm just trying to figure out my life. The problem is I really should have been a 50s housewife. Stay home and make cookies for the Wally and the Beaver. I don't have any big ambitions or goals. I have a 2 year old who I love more than anything and a husband who takes a close second.

    I do have a history of depression. I recently started a new medication so I am hoping in a week or so I will be feeling better. One good question my doctor asked me is am I depressed because I am tired or an I tired because I'm depressed?

    I talked to my husband about changing my schedule and cutting back a few hours. The vein in his head got really big and he argued that if I cut back to any less than my 32 that I would basically be paying for daycare and student loans. It would not be quite that dire, but I see his point. Since I already flaked out on one career in my adult life and he's pretty much supported my butt for 12 years so I need to pull my own weight and get some stuff paid off. I am going to speak to my ANM tonight. Every time I make a little mistake or mis-step I just feel terrible and I can't leave it at work and I am not a perfect person so I'm not going to do everything perfect every night. I'm going to ask if there is anything I need to do to improve my performance. I've been trying a few new organization sheets and they're just not really working out. I think I need more of a mentor, but so many of the nurses on the floor either started at the same time as me or after me and it's a ton of new grads. Well, thank you for listening to me. Like I said I can't really talk to it about my husband who is so scared that I will bale on this career too. I have a good friend who started on another floor in the same hospital at the same time and she is really supportive, but other than that I do feel like poop a fair amount of the time. Anyway, thank you for letting me vent. I'm getting some good ideas from reading all the other threads on this boards and it feels good to know I'm not alone. And also, I apologize for being a drama queen. My life is good and I hope that the chemicals in my brain straighten out so I can realize it.
  10. by   RNperdiem
    Do you remember how hard your first year as a parent could be sometimes? How sleep deprived, exhasuted and overwhelming it could be? Well, the first year of nursing is like that. Over time things become more manageable, your emotions stabilize and you can function better.
    A couple of things to look at. 1. Can you switch to a different shift that would get you enough sleep? 2. After your first year, could you go per diem and work fewer hours for the same amount of money. If your husband's job provides a good deal on family health coverage, do a little math and see if it is possible.
  11. by   deeDawntee
    OK, you are now officially my hero. You are amazing! I can't believe how much you are achieving in your life in spite of depression! Look at what you have accomplished?? My goodness girl!! Two careers, a marriage and a child!! (all with fighting depression!) I hope that you are able to give yourself the kind of acknowledgment and recognition that you deserve.

    I don't know the exact statistics...but my niece is 2 years past graduating with her teaching degree in elementary education and still does not have a 'real' teaching job in a school system, she is doing a 2/3 time position with some kind of community early child education. I am telling you, in my part of the country, it is TOUGH getting a decent teaching job. Also, I believe an adult in America can expect to have 3 different careers in their lifetime (statistically). So, that you found a different profession is very common and you found one that paid more money besides having a child and being a wife...so I would be careful not to invalidate that time, just because you weren't working. It sounds like you were very smart and got an education that you could easily be employed. My niece is profoundly disillusioned at this point in her life and it is no fault of her own.

    I know what it feels to go through the motions and to feel the emptiness. I hope the new meds will help you and did you know that talk therapy also changes brain chemistry? :icon_hug:
  12. by   jjjoy
    Quote from LauraMT
    Thanks for the replies. I'm guess I'm just trying to figure out my life. The problem is I really should have been a 50s housewife. Stay home and make cookies for the Wally and the Beaver. I don't have any big ambitions or goals. I have a 2 year old who I love more than anything and a husband who takes a close second.
    It's perfectly okay to not have big ambitions or goals. Is anyone telling you it's not okay? Yourself? Your parents (via your memory or in real life)? Your husband? Your friends?

    Do you HAVE to work? Is it a financial necessity for you to work full-time? Do you or your husband feel you "owe" him for supporting you these past years? Have you felt pressured to pursue a career? It's hard to feel excited about someone else's goals. For me, I'd be a ball of tightly repressed resentment... but that's me... I've had my own struggles so this is just my angle.

    I do have a history of depression. I recently started a new medication so I am hoping in a week or so I will be feeling better. One good question my doctor asked me is am I depressed because I am tired or an I tired because I'm depressed
    Good for you for taking action. Whether or not antidepressants help, keep on trying different things as once you find a way through this darkness, it will be worth the struggle.

    I talked to my husband about changing my schedule and cutting back a few hours. The vein in his head got really big and he argued that if I cut back to any less than my 32 that I would basically be paying for daycare and student loans. It would not be quite that dire, but I see his point. Since I already flaked out on one career in my adult life and he's pretty much supported my butt for 12 years so I need to pull my own weight and get some stuff paid off. I am going to speak to my ANM tonight.
    "flaked out" "supported my butt" "pull my own weight" ... these are some pretty negative descriptions you have about yourself... who is the one who judges what is "flaking out" versus "making a courageous career change" or "supporting your butt" versus "sharing responsibilities and resources" etc? Seeing a counselor or attending a support group might help you find ways to value yourself regardless of your professional successes or failures (redirections? adventures?).

    Every time I make a little mistake or mis-step I just feel terrible and I can't leave it at work and I am not a perfect person so I'm not going to do everything perfect every night. I'm going to ask if there is anything I need to do to improve my performance. I've been trying a few new organization sheets and they're just not really working out. I think I need more of a mentor, but so many of the nurses on the floor either started at the same time as me or after me and it's a ton of new grads. Well, thank you for listening to me. Like I said I can't really talk to it about my husband who is so scared that I will bale on this career too.
    Making mistakes is a major stress point in nursing, especially for newbies. A supportive work environment can really help here. Seek out anyone who can be a cheerleader for you, who gives you good feedback without making you feel bad. If you can't find any in your workplace, it may well be that it's simply not a good fit for you on that unit. New nurses need support - they can't just keep to themselves, keep their head down, and hope no one notices them, as may work in some types of jobs to just get by (teaching is another job where this tactic doesn't work). Your husband may not understand this... but it's more important that YOU understand it.

    Would you want your child to be so miserable as you are? Give yourself a break for not being perfect or following a hoped for trajectory. You are just as important and deserving of acceptance and support in triumph and struggle as your child. Take care of yourself as you would your child. You need to take care of yourself in order to take care of your child. Best wishes to you. I hope the sun comes out soon for you!
    Last edit by jjjoy on Oct 23, '07
  13. by   LauraMT
    I don't know if it's the drugs or the fact that the last couple of nights I won the patient lottery and had super easy patients, but I feel better. And a lot of it is probably because nice strangers listened to me.

    I think my brain will always be a little bit screwed up but I'm mostly intact. I've done talk therapy on and off and I actually don't get much out of it, probably because I'm not ready to do the work yet.

    Anyway, thanks for the kind words. I'm glad I found this board and I will keep checking back to see all the good advice you offer each other and maybe sometimes have some of my own to offer (like when you have a GI bleed put coffee grounds under the bed. It doesn't smell good but it smells a heck of a lot better--that's my good advice for the day).
  14. by   Curious1alwys
    Hey Laura,

    We could be twins! My life story is exactly the same minus the child (we're thinkin' about that now, lol). I was even trying drugs until pregnancy entered the picture as a possibility but for us.... I think yeah, we should look at all we HAVE accomplished and stop feeling "less than" just because we can't seem to make a career work. I am trying this career again for the 2nd time as a new grad but this time I am going in looking at it as a J-O-B and I am finding my real fulfillment in other things. It will be a pleasant surprise if nursing ends up giving me warm fuzzies but I am not counting on it. But...if I can push through the first year..that alone will offer me security to really pursue the things that DO make me happy. That is how I am looking at it now.

    So for me I am making a list of everything working as an RN is going to do for me that is POSITIVE and trying to push out the negative. Maybe you can really try to get your fulfillment elsewhere. I don't think a career has to be your "calling". I don't feel guilty working as an RN even if it isn't my calling because honestly I don't know what my calling is. Maybe this is you too. Maybe we are still waiting for our calling. Maybe your calling is being a Mom. Having more $$ and financial security just helps you be a better Mom. I guess look at it that way. And once you get secure enough you'll be able to really delve into what makes you sing and/or GO PART TIME!:spin:

    But yeah, I feel just like you. Congrats for making it through orientation and the first few months. You do have what it takes!! Pat yourself on the back for that, big time! I hope the meds work out for you!
    Last edit by Curious1alwys on Oct 23, '07

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