Does it get better?

  1. Hi all. Frustrated new nurse here, just looking for some input, and maybe some words of encouragement.

    I'm a brand new nurse. I just graduated in May, passed the NCLEX, and started working in June. I work on a neuro step-down unit. I did my preceptorship for nursing school on this floor, so I was pretty familiar with it when I got hired. I love neuro & I have great coworkers, but I find myself exhausted & with a short fuse recently. I get frustrated with confused and combative patients and feel myself being less empathetic than I used to be. I'm on my nightshift rotation, so during my days off, all I want to do is sleep. I get very good feedback from my preceptors, but I just feel like I don't belong, or like I'm not the nurse I want to be.

    I know I'm still new, but does it get better?
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  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   Racer15
    It does get better. I was a brand new nurse with no healthcare experience at all. I used to call my mom crying on my way home from work because I was convinced I was going to be let go before my orientation was over. My preceptor made me feel like an idiot and I consistently felt like I knew nothing. Almost five years in and I still regularly feel like I don't know all that much, but I'm still around. And what I find even scarier than being a new nurse is that my bosses now refer to me as a "seasoned" nurse in my department. THAT scares me more really! At least when I was new it didn't surprise anyone when I didn't know what the heck I was doing, lol.
  4. by   NightNerd
    Yes, it gets better. Night shift can be hard to get used to, and when it feels like your only time off is spent recovering from work, it makes you a little cranky. Give it time, try different ways of getting your sleep, and take care of your physical and mental health. It sucks when you feel yourself getting frustrated with your patients without meaning to. Do your best to have compassion and empathy. It is okay to be annoyed inside sometimes, we all feel it; what counts is that you show your patients your good side. Based on the feedback you've gotten, it sounds like you are doing well.

    Good luck!
  5. by   Scottishtape
    The first year is the worst. I struggled through my whole first year, thinking I would never make it. But, I did! 12 years later, here I am, still loving *most* of it.

    It's so important that you block out some self care time during this first year to 2 years. That will help with the building frustrations and what you perceive as emerging lack of empathy.

    It's still there, it's just being hidden under your frustrations. You can't take care of others if you're not taking care of yourself.

    You will make it through this. Keep plugging along, and you'll find that it's getting easier, you're not as exhausted, and the frustration isn't quite as bad.

    Good luck, you got this!
  6. by   NurseSpeedy
    Quote from Scottishtape
    It's so important that you block out some self care time during this first year to 2 years. That will help with the building frustrations and what you perceive as emerging lack of empathy.

    It's still there, it's just being hidden under your frustrations. You can't take care of others if you're not taking care of yourself.

    You will make it through this. Keep plugging along, and you'll find that it's getting easier, you're not as exhausted, and the frustration isn't quite as bad.

    Good luck, you got this!
    OP, this is very important advice that I wish someone had told me many years ago. Nursing is a caregiver position if you work at the bedside and even if you LOVE your job, it can be physically exhausting, especially if you don't take any time to yourself. When you feel this way it's even harder to feel compassion and empathy that you normally would if you were not overwhelmed. The important thing is to not let the patient see your inner struggle at times when this happens.

    I started out as a new hospital floor nurse at a chronically short staffed facility. My first year I learned a lot, got comfortable with my new career, and then did what I see so many new nurses do not realizing what it would later do to me. I didn't know how to say "no" to picking up more work. My body was tired but I wanted to help. The bonuses and overtime really helped with the bills too...but 8 years into it I had rarely taken any time off and I was fried. I have only recently re-entered this role of nursing and I make sure to not overdo it. I love what I do but there can be too much of a good thing and it's important to avoid burnout.
  7. by   Zyprexa
    For me, it hasn't gotten better. I've lost all empathy for *most* of my patients. Entitled drug addicts are my kryptonite, and that's 90% of my patient population.
  8. by   HaleyRoseRN
    Quote from Zyprexa
    For me, it hasn't gotten better. I've lost all empathy for *most* of my patients. Entitled drug addicts are my kryptonite, and that's 90% of my patient population.
    How do you deal with it? I see these patients a lot too, as well as alcohol withdrawals that are entitled too and VERY mean. These are the ones I tend to feel myself getting frustrated with and losing compassion for.
  9. by   ILUVERNSG
    Give it time my dear...It sounds here like some self care is needed. As nurses, we tend to take care of everything and everyone and ourselves last!

    If you're feeling edgy and aggravated take some time alone to think and get some perspective.
    Maybe talk about this with your manager so that you can work out your schedule to get a stretch of days off. A mini holiday!

    As for mean and alcoholic patients, yes they can be a big pain, however, there but for the grace of God go you or I or a brother or sister.
    Yes, they can be mean and manipulative but, maintain a professional demeanor and don't take anything personally and SET BOUNDARIES.
    If a patient is rude you can calmly tell them that they cannot speak to you that way, etc. Be nice to nice patients and more neutral with mean ones.
    Don't let those bad apples spoil the accomplishments you have made so far. Hang it there baby. It gets better, it really does.

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