burned out and fed up - page 3

I've been hitting the allnurses discussions quite a bit in the last few weeks. Not only do I feel burned out and fed up, but I'm also reading a lot of posts from others feeling the same way. ... Read More

  1. by   Youda
    I just posted this on another thread. So if you read both of them, forgive the repeat, but I think this needs to be said here, too. It's a lifeline.

    Six weeks ago, I was having panic attacks everyday on my way to work. It finally occurred to me that I was becoming unsafe to myself and was no longer functioning at my best at my job.

    So, I prayed about it and felt that taking a leave of absence was the right thing to do. And, it has been a life saver to me.

    Anyone who has been at their job for at least a year, has worked at least 1250 hours during that year, AND their employer has at least 50 employees at all facilities combined within a 50 mile radius of your worksite, then you can take a Family and Medical Leave for nurse burnout. The law provides that you can use your accrued sick AND vacation time (so it turns out not to be an unpaid leave if you have any benefits accrued). You don't have to tell them why you're on leave. You don't have to give them anymore notice than you are able to give. They can't refuse or deny it.

    FMLA can be used for nurse burnout, according to the definitions in the law. It says any "serious mental or physical condition." And burnout definitely qualifies for that!

    Some employers also allow a personal leave. But, the FMLA protects you in every possible way. They can't even count it as an "absence!"

    I walked in, filled out their stupid FMLA form and walked away for 6 weeks. I talk to the other nurses from time to time, and they are doing just fine. Yeah, they had to jiggle the schedule. So what? I made ME the most important person in the universe for a change, and decided whatever I needed to do to feel better, that's what was going to happen.

    Going FMLA doesn't solve the problems of nursing. But, it can give you some time to regroup, get some help, talk with your doctor, look for another job, take walks outside, and learn to enjoy life again.

    Please don't continue to suffer under burnout! There are ways to deal with it. I've found them, and so can you. Maybe you don't believe in God, but I do. I talked to Him a lot to guide me, and I really feel like this last six weeks gave me a new lease on life and my nursing. Step back and take a breather. Be happy! Don't do like I did and keep going until you were in as bad of shape as I was! Please don't do that to yourself. Go on a leave. Use your hard earned sick and vacation time on yourself! Go FMLA!
    Last edit by Youda on Oct 6, '02
  2. by   mario_ragucci
    Heh - when I consider burning out, I also LISTEN to Neil Young. He has a cool perspective on burning out. He said, "It's better to burn out, than to fade away, My My, Hey Hey"

    He also said, "once your gone, you can't come back, when your out of the blue, and into the black." What this means is that: If you burn yourself out mentally, and destroy your own neuro connections, the damage is forever. So if your getting old, go right ahead and burn out, and don't go quietly into the night.
  3. by   Alley Cat
    Yes, this sounds familiar Our facility has been doing on-going QWL surveys the last few years; every time I take it, I've just switched positions and never know for sure how to fill it out, usually go with the previous job. My burnout score has been high on all 3; haven't figured out whether it's the facility (hospital-based) or nursing itself. (I'm thinking it's the former, I've worked too hard too many years to give up nursing!)

    Don't give up on finding your niche, but also keep in mind that if management/administration is the source of your grief, you're going to find the same problems elsewhere. Methinks administrators take classes on how to torment the masses

    I love how you analyze your problem; it gives me food for thought in my situation. Thank you for sharing!

    Hey Cheerfuldoer--good to see you! I've wondered before if you were an instructor; remembering the ones I've had that were excellent, it fits!
  4. by   BBFRN
    Originally posted by sjoe
    for myself I can tell when I am quite burned out because I completely lose any shred of compassion I might ever have had.

    I think I am starting to lose my sense of compassion myself, although, I am trying REALLY HARD not to. Like Mario, I work in a Trauma hospital, and I am getting quite tired of the drunk drivers and smart-a$$ gang-bangers. About 1/3 of our Pt's go through DT's during their stay on our floor, and they can be rough to handle. More and more, unit Pt's are being sent to us because of bed shortages. We could handle these Pt's if we weren't already taking 7 and 8 Pt's already. The tough thing is that I am a Trauma nurse to the core. I left the job for a year and a half and went agency before, but I missed the place. In the next few months, we are transitioning into a step-down unit (like we haven't been doing that already!) I'm hoping that officially being deemed a step-down unit will mean a lighter Pt. load, but I don't see where they will get the staff to achieve this. I used to have a great attitude and a good sense of humor and teamwork on the job, but now it's getting harder to keep focus. Part of this is an overwhelming feeling at times that I am not performing at peak level. And I, too am suffering from headaches and upset stomach as well as panic attacks at times when I have to go in. I'm thinking of getting a degree in Biology and working in research or something- anything but Pt care, and this is distressing to me, because I had wanted to be a nurse since I was a little girl. What do you guys suggest? I am currently PRN at the time because of school, but I've been working full time hours.
  5. by   nimbex
    I've had "BURN OUT" twice. The first time, we moved 700 miles and I changed from a MICU type unit to CCU.

    It's now taken almost 6 years!!! and again I have burn out. I kept saying "I love my job, it's just the..............", No, I love my job it's just the....."

    I came to realize... I loved the FAMILIARITY of my job and the comfort of knowing what to expect no matter how crappy it is. Facility is wonderful, need a change.

    Big difference.!!!! If you have burn out from your job, your JOB IS THE PROBLEM, PERIOD. THe idea of change..... very scary at times.

    Some days you just have to take the plunge into dark waters...and hope to find the fountain of youth!!!

    Spoken by a 6 year CCU nurse, now interviewing at NICU, scared sh**less of the change, but just plain ........DONE.

    Sorry it's strongly opinionated, just feeling strongly.
  6. by   nimbex
    PS, isn't nursing so WONDERFUL and diverse that one can do home health, education, hospice, surgery, MD office, floor nursing , management , administration, ER, ICU, PACU, and even birth babies.....

    With so much ahead of us, why stay where you are burnt out?
  7. by   Youda
    Originally posted by nimbex
    I came to realize... I loved the FAMILIARITY of my job and the comfort of knowing what to expect no matter how crappy it is. Facility is wonderful, need a change.

    Big difference.!!!! If you have burn out from your job, your JOB IS THE PROBLEM, PERIOD. THe idea of change..... very scary at times.
    nimbex, thank you! Every now and then, there's a post that just hits home and puts into words something that hadn't gotten into my conscious mind yet. That sure says it! "Better the devil you know than the one you don't"

    I think I'm close to making a decision about keeping my job (NOT!). And, you're right, it's scary!
  8. by   live4today
    Originally posted by Alley Cat
    .............................
    Hey Cheerfuldoer--good to see you! I've wondered before if you were an instructor; remembering the ones I've had that were excellent, it fits!
    Awwwww....Alley Cat......how very tweet of you! :blushkiss
  9. by   Dave Frederick
    Taking back our power might help. May I suggest a solution.

    I think we can corrent all of the major problems in nursing by simply having all of us take the same day off. Let's say February 11th, 2003, all nurses on duty go home and no, I repeat no nurse comes into work that day. This would include all LPNS, RNs, ADNs, BSNs, MSNs, and RN/Phds. Exactly 24 hours later we return to work and see have some meaningful discussion with the powers in charge.
  10. by   rebelwaclause
    Originally posted by mario_ragucci
    Heh - when I consider burning out, I also LISTEN to Neil Young. He has a cool perspective on burning out. He said, "It's better to burn out, than to fade away, My My, Hey Hey"

    He also said, "once your gone, you can't come back, when your out of the blue, and into the black." What this means is that: If you burn yourself out mentally, and destroy your own neuro connections, the damage is forever. So if your getting old, go right ahead and burn out, and don't go quietly into the night.
  11. by   mario_ragucci
    Ainchew heard of Neil Young? He's a musician with long hair and plays guitar. In the song, "hey hey my my" I think he is talking about burnout, so I referenced the song in my own way. If you don't know the song, i guess it's silly, but this is the internet, and we can all assert
  12. by   ktwlpn
    Originally posted by rebelwaclause
    I guess that post just means-your nursing career means nothing---go ahead and enjoy that burn.......Not me-nursing is all I have ever wanted to do-and I have come very close to burn out twice-both times personal circumstances were tipping the scale and work was actually my refuge...until the smoke cleared and then I just could not do it any longer...A job change works wonders-our field is full of unique situations and new experiences...Sure-many of the same frustrations will trip us up but it is nice to feel as though you are making a "fresh start" .If you truly love nursing you owe it to yourself to take care of yourself....
  13. by   rncountry
    I believe I have decided that I will be leaving nursing. It won't be right away, because I can't afford that. However this weekend I came to the decision that it is my profession that is killing me. I have been doing wound and infection control in my facility for a bit more than a year now, and no matter what I do some nurses ignore everything in these two areas that they are supposed to do, my boss does not make it clear that there are certain guidelines that must be adhered to, and I am tired of beating my head against the wall.
    On Thursday and Friday last week we had a state inspector show up in my facility. I had taken part of the day off so I could go to my youngest childs field trip. I had over 8 hours of overtime already, and knew I would be accuring more, so I asked for 6 hours off to go. It was given to me and while I am on a school bus more than an hour away from the facility I got a call on my cell phone telling me I was needed back at the facility right away, there was a state inspector. Since I work in a hospital I thought the person calling had misspoke herself, but no she meant a state inspector. So I tell her I am on a school bus and have no way to get back until the time I had originally said I would be there. When I do get back I caught hell for taking the time off. HELLO, didn't you give me the time off? There had been a complaint that was for a patient that had been with us nearly a year ago, and the complaint was that a staff member had picked up a washcloth off the window sill and washed the broken blisters on the patients back. First I have repeatedly said we cannot be laying linen on the window sill, and of course like most places we don't have enough room, so people do it anyway. For over a year I have been saying this with nothing done, no staff told not to do it except for me saying it to them, and since I carry no real authority I am really nothing more than a pain in their backside. The state woman goes through nearly a full inspection process like she was surveying a nursing home, since I worked LTC I recognize everything she is doing. My boss keeps telling her we are not a nursing home and therefore don't have similar policies. We are long term acute care, we have patients for extended periods of time, but have very acute patients. Our acuity level is like that of a step down unit. Yet, because we are long term I had sent out at least three memos over the last 6 months noting that we need to be prepared to deal with long term care issues and that we were not. People don't get turned properly, nurses will slap any ole treatment on people with open areas and not tell me or get an order, and guess what? While the inspector was there she found a patient where this had happened with. She started questioning me and I didn't have a clue the patient had any open areas at all. I was angry and embarrassed. She notes that the only person documenting wound care is myself, the nurses who do it while I am not working do not chart it done, what it looked like etc... All of these things I have repeatedly brought to the attention of management. Fat lot of good it did.
    So over the weekend I pondered what I wanted to do. I am tired of feeling like I am swimming upstream. I thought about going back to agency, but then I can't be sure that I will make a full paycheck, could go back to the floor but with 12 hour shifts I see my youngest child for less than an hour before he needs to go to bed to be ready for school the next day on the days I would work. Plus with my husband taking classes it means that my 15 year old is responsible for getting dinner etc.. for herself and her brother on the nights I work, while still making sure she gets her homework done. So the hours of M-F work for me. I rarely get out of work on time, but at least I get home sooner than 8p. I could go elsewhere, but know every facility around me used mandatory overtime on a regular basis. I have not certified yet into infection control or I would look for that specifically. Ultimately I felt it better to stick to what I am doing until I have some education into something else. I would like to be able to do something where I can freelance. Thought about photography but am not sure. I just know for certain that I have decided that I am going to leave this career field behind. I am tired of looking at naked bodies, and wearing scrubs most of the time. I am tired of other staff members who simply won't follow policy, all of which is based on guidelines of current practice, and most of all tired of a boss who won't make these people do what they are supposed to be doing to begin with.
    I actually like doing wound care, it is satisfying to be able to heal someone, and I know I am good at it. I didn't expect to find infection control interesting but found I actually enjoy that too. I have excellant working relationships with the physicians, and have some nurses that I work with that are very good. I'm just tired of feeling like I have to fight all the time to get done what needs to be done. And because of that I have simply made the decision that I have to find something else that I will not only make a decent wage from, but that I feel like I can have a life with also. I don't want to be so tired that I don't want to go outside and enjoy working in my garden. So tired I don't even want to go outside and go swimming in the pool that is in my own backyard. So tired I don't care if my house is clean or not. So there's my care plan, leave nursing. I am hoping to make that move in two years, three at the most. Maybe later I will feel differently, but somehow I doubt it.
    I have people tell me I am too much of a perfectionist and that is my problem. But these are the same people who can't manage three lines in a chart to note they changed a dressing and what the wound looked like. Hell, I'd be glad if they simply charted they did it at least.
    After being a ***** through Thursday and Friday my boss was trying to be ultra nice and up my ass today. What can I do for you? Would you like to go outside and take a break with me. Of all the people I work with she was the last person I wanted to break with. Comes over and rubs my shoulders, "It's going to get better, SMILE." I wanted to punch her, instead I simply said "Please do not touch me." She wanted to "talk" with me. I flat refused. I have too much to do to go have a heart to heart with someone who can't really listen to me, hear yes, listen no. FMLA is not a possiblity I do not have enough PTO to do it. So instead I will go to work everyday, do my job and do it well and make my escape plans. I don't believe I will regret it.

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