Overwhelmed New RN

  1. 0
    I just want to start by saying that I know how lucky I am to have found a job right out of school and a day shift job to top it all off. But I've started my 1st nursing job on a very busy med surg floor, with high staff to patient ratios (6:1) and sometimes we have no CNA's or very little help on the floor. I knew med surg wasn't what I wanted to do with my nursing career but I feel like there is nothing else out there. All through school I wanted to do L&D and now I've been 2nd guessing nursing all together, I feel overwhelmed all the time and very unhappy. It takes alot out of me to just go to work. I need some advice on where and what to do next.
  2. Get our hottest nursing topics delivered to your inbox.

  3. 11 Comments so far...

  4. 4
    Hi there. Just wanted to let you know that you are not alone. I too am a new grad nurse coming close to my one year mark on a busy floor as well. I also have a 6:1 patient ratio and often times have very little help from CNA' as well just because they are extremely busy and overwhelmed too. I feel like I'm preaching to the choir here because I feel the same exact way as you it seems. I dread work, have immense anxiety, and most days question my career choice as well. I also work day shifts too and know how busy they can be. Have you considered night shifts? They are often times slower and the pace is a little less hectic. I will tell you however that this is not all there is for you out there. Dont ever feel that way!There are lots of different avenues you can take as a nurse. How long have you been on med/surg? Usually after 6 months at a facility you can transfer to a different unit. Maybe a unit that is a little more relaxed may be an option or even jobs outside of the hospital. Ive learned that the hospital is not all there is and after you get some experience in acute care, a lot of doors open. I just recently got an interview for an outpatient clinic and have hardly any experience at all. As for feeling overwhelmed, keep in mind that nursing is a 24 hour job in the hospital. You cannot do it all in just 12 hours!! One day while I was in tears, running around like a wild chicken, and freaking out, a great mentor that I look up to at work said to me "Do you eat an entire pizza at one time, or eat one slice at a time??" One slice at a time!!! DUH! Prioritize your care, and remind yourself that you are only one person and can only do one thing at a time. Also try and find a nurse that you look to who can support you and help you while you are there. Support makes a world of difference. Remind yourself daily while you became a nurse in the first place too. Its hard, and it sucks 90% of the time, but keep on and do the best you can. If you still find yourself miserable, move on. No one said you had to be a bedside nurse and love it. You have a lot of oppurtunities waiting for you. You just have to look, and do some soul searching. Good luck to you and you are not alone!! Keep that in mind :O)
  5. 4
    I really believe that med-surg is one of the hardest nursing jobs out there. Patient ratios are high. Patient turnover is high (discharge, admit, repeat). Patients have a HUGE variety of diagnoses and co-morbidities with which you must be familiar. There are a jillion meds to give, patients coming and going for procedures, teaching to do and psychosocial needs to address (hopefully before they "blow-up").

    You haven't said how long you've been working, but since you refer to yourself as a new grad, i'm assuming it's only a couple/few/several months. The first year of nursing is hard for almost everyone. It's sweet that you are grateful for your job, but it's okay for you to be unhappy. It's very hard AND you're not doing the job you desire.

    Stick it out for that magic year, then get into the specialty area that pleases you. When I found my niche, everything fell into to place and I loved going to work.
    qdiva411, healthstar, elprup, and 1 other like this.
  6. 0
    This sounds like the unit I work on! It's a tele unit, and we have a 6:1 ratio with NO techs on nocs. This job is already making me reconsider my career as a nurse. I find myself looking to apply for jobs at Taco Bell and McDonald's. I'm over it already!
  7. 0
    Quote from Joy06
    Hi there. Just wanted to let you know that you are not alone. I too am a new grad nurse coming close to my one year mark on a busy floor as well. I also have a 6:1 patient ratio and often times have very little help from CNA' as well just because they are extremely busy and overwhelmed too. I feel like I'm preaching to the choir here because I feel the same exact way as you it seems. I dread work, have immense anxiety, and most days question my career choice as well. I also work day shifts too and know how busy they can be. Have you considered night shifts? They are often times slower and the pace is a little less hectic. I will tell you however that this is not all there is for you out there. Dont ever feel that way!There are lots of different avenues you can take as a nurse. How long have you been on med/surg? Usually after 6 months at a facility you can transfer to a different unit. Maybe a unit that is a little more relaxed may be an option or even jobs outside of the hospital. Ive learned that the hospital is not all there is and after you get some experience in acute care, a lot of doors open. I just recently got an interview for an outpatient clinic and have hardly any experience at all. As for feeling overwhelmed, keep in mind that nursing is a 24 hour job in the hospital. You cannot do it all in just 12 hours!! One day while I was in tears, running around like a wild chicken, and freaking out, a great mentor that I look up to at work said to me "Do you eat an entire pizza at one time, or eat one slice at a time??" One slice at a time!!! DUH! Prioritize your care, and remind yourself that you are only one person and can only do one thing at a time. Also try and find a nurse that you look to who can support you and help you while you are there. Support makes a world of difference. Remind yourself daily while you became a nurse in the first place too. Its hard, and it sucks 90% of the time, but keep on and do the best you can. If you still find yourself miserable, move on. No one said you had to be a bedside nurse and love it. You have a lot of oppurtunities waiting for you. You just have to look, and do some soul searching. Good luck to you and you are not alone!! Keep that in mind :O)
    I feel the same way about my job. It gives me a great deal of anxiety and I dread going. I'm a high risk pregnancy, and this job is really taking a toll on my body. I saw 3 different doctors in 1 week for all of the issues I was having, and I feel as though it all stems from work. I just don't feel like I can do it anymore...
  8. 1
    Quote from AnonRNC
    I really believe that med-surg is one of the hardest nursing jobs out there. Patient ratios are high. Patient turnover is high (discharge, admit, repeat). Patients have a HUGE variety of diagnoses and co-morbidities with which you must be familiar. There are a jillion meds to give, patients coming and going for procedures, teaching to do and psychosocial needs to address (hopefully before they "blow-up").You haven't said how long you've been working, but since you refer to yourself as a new grad, i'm assuming it's only a couple/few/several months. The first year of nursing is hard for almost everyone. It's sweet that you are grateful for your job, but it's okay for you to be unhappy. It's very hard AND you're not doing the job you desire.Stick it out for that magic year, then get into the specialty area that pleases you. When I found my niche, everything fell into to place and I loved going to work.
    Awesome advice!!!! <3

    I too am coming up on my first year, but im on a cardiac step-down unit (5:1) and I love it. However, ive been turned on to ICU recently. Funny considering ICU used to terrify me. I did med-surg for years as a CNA. So I avoided it like a plague.

    There are so many other fields! Stick it out and you'll find your home!!
    Last edit by qdiva411 on Feb 4, '13
    AnonRNC likes this.
  9. 0
    I agree, you should consider working night shift if you can, then transfer to L&D if thats where your interest is. I am a new grad on tele and 2nd guessed myself about working there at first. Glad i took the night shift, day shift seems so hectic, it seems like they're always trying to catch up. Night shift can still be busy but i feel like i still have time to learn and work on prioritizing.
  10. 0
    Just to reiterate what everyone else has been saying, you are not alone. Your story is very similar to my own. I work on a med/surg telemetry unit, patient ratio usually 5:1 and there are some nights where I just wish I could drop everything and walk out to go find another career. Those are the nights I have a good long cry on the way home.. last night being one of them. I too want to work in l&d, pretty much is the reason I became a nurse, but I just haven't seemed to have made it there yet. Who's to say that it'll be any better or less stressful there though? I guess there is no way of really knowing. But for me I'm stuck with this career choice because I'm bogged down with student loans that need to be repaid, which makes it even harder and anxiety producing at times. I'm just hoping it gets easier.. for the mean time just the notion that I am not alone is about all I have to hold on to.
  11. 1
    I'm not a new grad anymore, so I feel somewhat comfortable saying - 6:1 with no techs (on days!!! of all times) is ridiculous. Even on nights, that's pushing it.
    mr_goodkat likes this.
  12. 0
    I feel just how you feel.... I work on a ortho/surgical floor with NO cna's/lvn's... nothing. And our ratio is about the same. We are very under staff with the amount of patients we get. I feel very unhappy and feel so nervous that I am going to make a mistake and cost someone, and me, dearly.


Top