So overwhelmed! I can't do this

  1. I'm a new grad RN, and am 2 weeks into orientation to my unit, a step-down ICU. Will have 4 pts. No CNA's, pass all meals, beds, baths, etc. Great preceptors, but I feel so incompetent! I have forgotten nearly everything i learned in school and am constantly worried that something will happen to one of my patients, an I won't know what to do or have seen it coming. I am struggling with everything, meds, machines, assessments. I feel like I just can't handle the stress, and fear I can't catch up in time! And I want to talk to my boss about it, but am unsure if I should. I do have anxiety that leaves me unable to focus. Over the weekend (not working) my bp shot up to 147/94... my day off when I was trying to relax! I usually run absolutely normal if not lower. All day I could feel pulsations in my head like a vessel is about to blow. I think my body is telling me to quit... And we tell our patients to avoid stress

    I think I need to change careers, but I dont know where to start. Right now, I don't look forward to going to work AT ALL! I hated nursing school, thought it would "Get better" in the real world. I feel like I've aged 10 years in the past 2.

    Is there anything else that I can switch over to as an unexperienced nurse that is less stressful?
    Thanks, and sorry for whining!!
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  2. 24 Comments

  3. by   Avelinne
    Nursing is more than a career choice, its a calling. It's not for everyone. Don't feel bad if you feel it is not for you. But here is something to think about. I have said it before, there are many paths that nurses can take. They can work in schools, assisted living centers, clinics, outpatient surgery centers,etc. You have many choices not just working in a hospital. Maybe you need to step back right now. Take some time to think, talk to someone you trust. Good Luck!
  4. by   chelli73
    Please slow down and take care of yourself!!! See your doctor about your BP ASAP! Try to switch to a slower paced unit--I don't care if I get flamed on this, but new grads should start off sloooowwwwly and not in a unit like ICU, MICU, NICU, etc. I pray that you can get it together soon, and please don't push yourself too hard! Good luck in your future, and don't feel bad if you end up leaving nursing. That degree can lead to other less stressful avenues in life, such as: doctor's office, informatics, insurance verification, check it out before you give up!
  5. by   wonderbee
    Quote from chelli73
    Please slow down and take care of yourself!!! See your doctor about your BP ASAP! Try to switch to a slower paced unit--I don't care if I get flamed on this, but new grads should start off sloooowwwwly and not in a unit like ICU, MICU, NICU, etc.
    I couldn't agree more. I'm one of the casualties of too much too soon. I was fried and toasted by the end of my first week of clinical orientation on an ICU. There are so many options in nursing. Before you chuck the whole idea, look at all the opportunities out there. I hear that rehab nursing is a good place for a new grad to start if you've got the back for it. Get your year in and the nursing world starts opening up for you.

    Good luck!
  6. by   NaomieRN
    This area of nursing may not be for you. Try a different floor or a clinic. Good luck to you.
  7. by   Tweety
    Most people have similar reactions their first few weeks, so switching units probably isn't the answer right now, especially since you hated nursing schoo and it's only been two weeksl. You're more than likely going to hate it somewhere else. Step down units like you describe though are extremely stressful, and that aspect isn't going to change, but how you react to it is could be improved. I would try to hang in there a little longer, but seek out some stress/coping relief skills, that might include some professional meidcal guidance for bp/anxiety.
    Last edit by Tweety on Oct 26, '06
  8. by   analee23
    So sorry life is so stressful. I know there are certain areas of nursing I couldn't do and cardiac is one of them. You just need to find your niche. Give the stepdown unit a lil time, and if you're still stressed out of your mind, find something that suits you better. There are SOO many options. I had a friend that just recently went from ER to answering questions for elderly patients via phone, I think she's working for a drug company. Keep your chin up and stick it out (at least for a bit) before moving on.

    Also, find a way to release your stress. You could join an exercise class, do pottery, or sooo many other things. Just find something that helps you! (I have a horse I ride, very relaxing.)

    Best of luck and we all hope things get better!
  9. by   Bluestem
    Thanks for all your relplies!!! I talked to my boss about how i'm feeling, and I can't switch floors yet, I have to give it at least a few weeks. It makes sense. I was assured that I have through January with a preceptor, and a class at the end that should help. The beginning of the week was intimidating but it did get better.

    My major frustration in school seemed to be due to switching hospitals every 8 weeks or so. Not enough time to feel comfortable! In school I only had 2 days with a preceptor, I will stick with it, and try not to expect to be an expert right away.

    Yes, I do have anxiety and history of occasional panic attacks. My Primary doc threw a temp prescription at me and that was it. I'm setting an appointment today! I knew I needed to take care of this, but I just moved and am between insurances right now. Thanks for the encouragement!!! It seriously helps
  10. by   Tweety
    Nice to hear from you again. Good luck.
  11. by   Cherish
    I hope everything goes well for you. Good Luck.
  12. by   debizrn
    Hi... Don't give up ..nursing school sets the foundation and now you have to grow.... every day is a learning experience for all of us. I have been doing this for over 15 years and each new job brings the same anxieties but also the same rewards.... take one day at a time .... talk with your supervisor and let her/him know of your fear (which is normal) and perhaps he/she will drop your pt load until you are more confident with your skills and in yourself..... You can do this you passed boards and if you remember safety first it will come GOOD Luck Debi:spin:
  13. by   LaurynRN
    I just wanted to say that I am not a new grad but just went from an expert to novice in 2.5 seconds when I switched from oncology/organ transplant to ICU. I have the same feelings as you. Ithink I have done about 6 shifts so far on the floor. I remember feeling like this at my first job as well. It happens to everyone and if you were too comfortable at first it would be scary! I agree with the others that taking care of yourself is priority number 1 but we all feel like complete idiots when starting something new!
    Give it a couple months until you feel a little better. I was told that it takes a good year before you are comfortable...I think it is even longer
    Good luck!
  14. by   DeLana_RN
    Quote from Bluestem
    I'm a new grad RN, and am 2 weeks into orientation to my unit, a step-down ICU. Will have 4 pts. No CNA's, pass all meals, beds, baths, etc.
    That's a very heavy load, even for an experienced PCU nurse. For a new grad, it would be overwhelming. I've worked cardiac step-down as a new grad and I know.

    That said, I think it's way too early to draw the conclusion that nursing is not for you. I hated many aspects of nursing school too, BTW, and this doesn't mean I wasn't supposed to become a nurse. From what you write, it sounds like the unit is too intense for you. But you did the right thing - talked to management. They are now aware of your concerns and should look out for your best interest - e.g., give you more time with a close preceptor or a smaller patient load. And when the time is up and you still feel like this isn't right for you (you may change your mind!) they will probably help you make a transfer to another unit.

    Good luck to you, don't give up!

    DeLana

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