Severe anxiety at work

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    I am a new grad nurse and have been on my own for less then a month after about a month and a half of orientation on a busy medical-surgical unit. My first few weeks went okay, with a few bumps in the road. But today was horrible. I recieved a new admit and the patient was pretty unstable. I'm questioning how I managed the situation, and the nurse I gave report to also questioned some of my decisions. During the shift I have several "freezing up" moments. I asked for a lot of help. The patient was okay when I left my shift. But when I got home I finally broke down. Very upset and anxious. I am second-guessing myself as a nurse. I want to get out while I can, or find something different to do. I get this sick to my stomach feeling during report. I am thinking of holding out for a year and then moving to something different. But I don't know if I can make it for a year. My biggest fear is harming a patient.
  2. 7 Comments so far...

  3. 2
    I'm also a new grad on a busy med-surg unit, also very recently off of orientation. I have been having some anxiety (I'm a very not-anxious person) and I spoke with my manager about it. Her exact words: "Did you leave your shift with the patient breathing and perfusing? Yes? Okay." She also commonly says, "nursing is a 24 hour job" and "I'd be scared if you weren't scared." Not sure if this helps but I've had the same feelings!
    *4!#6 and BSwasBS like this.
  4. 0
    Thanks for relating to me. I know this is common for new grads. I tend to be a very cautious and nervous person to begin with. I appreciate what your manager says. And sometimes it isn't our fault it they aren't doing well. I've had to transfer several patients out to a higher level of care. I have made some good observations and judgement calls in the past. I have a pretty good "sixth sense" and tend to get a little on edge when I feel something isn't quite right with a patient. I just wasn't sure what to do with this patient. Now that I look back, my sixth sense was screaming at me. I need to learn to listen to that "sixth sense" and not second guess myself anymore.

    For example, on another day, I had a patient in pain. I went to check her MAR to see what they had available and what they was receiving. I noticed that they had been getting a fairly high dose of an IV pain medication for someone their age and with their history. However, they had been recieving this dose for the past few shifts and their pain was fairly high. So instead of listening to that little nagging voice, I went ahead and gave the dose. Sure enough the patient was gorked out. Did not need Narcan but felt terrible. Alerted the MD and had the dose changed.
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    Quote from sagremus
    Thanks for relating to me. I know this is common for new grads. I tend to be a very cautious and nervous person to begin with. I appreciate what your manager says. And sometimes it isn't our fault it they aren't doing well. I've had to transfer several patients out to a higher level of care. I have made some good observations and judgement calls in the past. I have a pretty good "sixth sense" and tend to get a little on edge when I feel something isn't quite right with a patient. I just wasn't sure what to do with this patient. Now that I look back, my sixth sense was screaming at me. I need to learn to listen to that "sixth sense" and not second guess myself anymore.
    This is what you need to tell yourself every morning and every evening! Caution and being alert is good! You asked for help! You took a moment if you needed it! You will do fine! Nurses aren't born over night and it sounds like your team is behind you 100%! You are lucky from what I've read here!
    NoonieRN likes this.
  6. 0
    It is clear that you really WANT to provide the best care possible for your patients, and even though its very difficult and stressful sometimes, you are doing the best you can- and as one poster said- as long as your patient is alive when you leave then it will all be okay. Over time that confidence will build. The next time you have an unstable patient like this one- you will know what to do better. I am also a new graduate and feeling the same stresses. It helps to have a supportive team of coworkers. I have heard from many nurses that their first year was a nightmare. Even though that SUCKS- everyone seems to pull through and really enjoy their jobs in the end.
  7. 0
    Good evening--

    I don't normally do something like this, but it will save my sore fingers (let's just say that operating tables are freaking heavy and leave it at that) some legwork.

    Please reference the following link for what I have to say to your situation:

    http://allnurses.com/general-nursing-discussion/five-little-words-756395.html

    Chin up, my friend.

    This too shall pass.

    Kindest regards,

    ~~CP~~
  8. 0
    Thank you for your awesome article CheesePotato. I actually read it when you originally posted it. It reminds me of what one of my residents said at my previous place of employment. She was in her 90's and liked to pass on wisdom to others. I asked her one day if she had one piece of advice for me about life and she said: "You will be okay."

    Today I decided to listen to my instinct. One patient was acting a little off and so I checked a quick pulse ox (seen confusion with hypoxia many times) and got in the high 70's! Also got some critical lab values back soon after that. Needless to say on-call was paged after I had her sats better.
  9. 0
    I feel the exact same way, you are not alone. I've had 3 weeks on my own and I still get soooo anxious before my work week begins. Everyone I've talked to says its normal, but im hoping it passes soon because I feel overwhelmed and miserable before going and when I get home. Its truly hard to leave work at work like everyone advises me to do. I always worry I missed something or did something wrong! We must keep our heads up and push along... Only time and experience will help us! Goodluck


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