Disciplined for Anxiety

  1. Hello all. Writing this for ideas/opinions. I have been a nurse for 8 years with the majority of my experience in long term care and clinic work. I live in a rural area and have always had to travel for my work, I have young children, and my backup was my husband and parents when I was away sometimes for several days at a time. Within a short while I became adept at both clinic and long term care work. However at the job previous to my current the pressures of being a charge nurse on a chronically short staffed dementia unit became too much. Nurse after nurse left and we were staffed mostly by travelers. Out of the blue I was recruited to work in a rural critical access hospital 17 bed with ER attached. I was grateful to have a chance at hospital nursing, and the pay was the best of my career. Obviously after years away from school, I felt out of my depth especially in the ER. From my first day of orientation, I was warned about a particular physician who had an explosive temper. This physician was also known for making nursing staff's life miserable for fun. Being a rural, rural place, his behavior was and will continue to be unchecked. I also suffer from bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder. This new challenge sent my anxiety through the roof. The above mentioned Dr. began to focus on me, making my nervousness in worse and I would shake in his presence and get tongue tied. Knowing my limitations I have been hyper vigilant with meds, lab values, and the like in order to ensure patient safety. After about six months into this job, I discover that my husband had begun to drink very heavily and had been neglecting the children, driving them drunk, and had even begun not to feed them on a regular basis. Finally this all came out and a separation ensued followed by a divorce that was finally final this April. I felt that it was wise to let my nursing supervisors know the drastic change in my life. After speaking with a patient about end of life issues, the patient became very agitated and said terrifying Doctor came in to speak to the patient and came to realize that the patient was not dying but being extremely overdosed with pain medication, which may have led to her death. Regardless of this problem being discovered this physician did begin to grill me as to what was wrong as he had noticed my weight loss and haggard appearance, as well as my continued anxiety and I admitted to him what had happened at home. Needless to say that was a poor decision as it became known in the facility in short order. And his near harassment of me continued, if not intensified. Despite all of this, I never missed a shift or had a med error. Finally in desperation in order to make him stop, I tried to explain my anxiety disorder, hoping as a physician he might relent. As time has gone along I felt that my anxiety had decreased and that said physician and myself had come to an understanding, and I had earned a grudging respect, and even a good job from time to time. My fellow nurses came to understand that my baseline state is and always has been somewhat tight wound. My homelike has continued to be stressful, my 11 year old with suicidal ideation, and my youngest oppositional defiant and occasional violent. Now getting to the heart of the matter, I was called into the office before my night shift this week, my DON, the assistant DON, and HR were waiting for me. They confronted me, stating that several of my nursing colleagues, and several providers had brought concerns about my anxiety. I was not allowed to know situations, or the names of my accusers. I have felt that I was generally well liked by nursing staff. Everything was explained as we care and are worried about you. I was assured that this was not a disciplinary action, but implied I have choices to make. It was suggested that I move to the nursing home (our hospital is attached to a 30 bed nursing home.)or Work dayshift in the hospital and nursing home at night. I was assured that they wished me to continue to have a place in their organization. I was not allowed to work my scheduled shift. Again all this was worded in words of caring but I feel completly persecuted. I cannot leave this job at this moment under a cloud. I am the main breadwinner of my family. I feel I have no choice to take the option of dayshifts hospital and night shift nursing home. There will be more backup for the ER which causes me the most fear, but I will be under ever more of a microscope. I am trying to see the positive, but I have no idea who to trust, and this has sky rocketed my anxiety. I don't really even want to be a nurse anymore, but I have to support my family with money barely going around as it is. I have been called on the carpet before for being curt on the phone in a previous job, never for being anxious. I am under the care of the best psychiatrist in the region as well as a very competent therapist. I have tried desperatly to hide my fear and provide excellent patient care. I guess I wasn't hiding it well enough. I wonder if there are any others who have walked in my shoes?
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  2. 2 Comments

  3. by   Davey Do
    Welcome to AN.com, winnietheblue!

    It sounds as though you're dealing with quite a lot. I can appreciate your situation and admire that fact you're seeking services from a Psychiatrist and Therapist.

    When we are in the middle of an emotional situation, it is difficult to discern things logically, let alone try "to see the positive".

    When I was gong through my first divorce, I was called into the Chemical Dependency treatment Director's office and he relayed that he and my colleagues were concerned about the stress I was under. I was also in the last semester of my RN program.

    Initially, I took this as a criticism of my work performance and broke down and cried. However, with continued conversation, I realized the Director and my colleagues were truly concerned and wanted to be supportive.

    Here's to hoping that time and therapy will help you deal with your situation and anxiety. We'll surely do the best we can as virtual supporters.

    The very best to you, winnietheblue!
  4. by   TheMoonisMyLantern
    I'm so sorry that you're having a hard time, it sounds like you've been through hell and back. Even though being sent to a different unit may feel like defeat perhaps it's a blessing in disguise, after all this physician sounds like he's been a great source of your anxiety and perhaps having some distance from him will help you. Have you and your therapist discussed various coping skills for managing your anxiety while you're at work? If not it may be worth a try to bring it up with your therapist.

    I really hope things get better for you, hang in there.

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