Exhausted, frustrated and worried Nursing student!

  1. Long story short, I made the decision to go back to nursing school two years ago. I've been going part-time, while working in my office job, and doing very well - which pleasantly surprised me! I love my classes and my teachers, and am an "A" student.

    It all came crashing down in January, when my boss found out I was going to school, and laid me off. His parting words were "what do you care, you're leaving anyway". This was a job I had held for over five years with good reviews

    Instead of trying to find another office job, I signed up for a local Community College course to be a Personal Support Worker (equivalent of a CNA in the states, I believe). I graduated four weeks ago with honours. I was well-liked in my class, successful with everything, and so pleased when I landed two part-time jobs almost immediately (here in Ontario, Full-time healthcare positions are almost impossible to find. I knew that going in).

    One job is in long term care. The other is Assisted Living. I knew there would be an adjustment period. I knew it would be soooo different from my desk job.

    But I thought I would like it more!

    Right now, between the two jobs, I am lucky if I get one solid day off a week. My LTC job is four hours every single morning, and then I usually work 2-10PM at the other place. I cannot cut down to one job, as I need the money (I took a significant - BIG - pay cut from my office job, although I'll be making more once I'm done Nursing School). Add to this, I still attend school two nights a week.

    I've been having trouble saying no to extra shifts, as I need the money, both to live, plus to replace the $5000 of savings I dipped into to fund the four months I was not working and going to school full time.

    I am a friendly, outgoing person, but the majority of the staff treat me like an idiot, resent my questions, and generally feel I'm a bother. I am run off my feet answering call bells, which puts me behind in my work, and then the other staff get angry because I "should be looking after" MY residents, when I'm standing there assisted "Her" residents because she didn't answer the bell. Then the next day they chastise me for not answering the bells that are not my assigned residents! Two days ago, cleaning up the breakfast dishes, I threw out two bowls of porridge sitting on a table. My co-worker then proceeded to ream me out for throwing out the food she was "saving" for herself and the nurse. Wait a minute, you are getting mad at ME for tossing food you were STEALING (it is certainly against the rules to eat the facility food)?

    I know I am new, but I am NOT young and I've worked in plenty of different environments. I've never come across such animosity.

    My husband just keeps telling me that it will get better, that I will pick it up, and it's only two years til I'm done school and will be only required to have ONE job and a little bit more authority.

    On the upside, the residents seem to like me, I think I give good care (which is what sets me back, time-wise) and I really enjoy caring for them. I just don't enjoy the atmosphere!

    I have made the decision to say "no" to some of the extra shifts, and take my second weekend off. I'll work during the week, but I need those days to myself. I've only been doing it for three weeks, and I feel like I've been working every day for years!

    I hated my office job with a passion, but I've always gotten along with my co-workers and I'm crushed that this is happening.

    Any tips other than "Ha - get used to it?". Tell me that some of you don't experience this. Tell me I'll survive the next two years until I can finish school. Tell me I'll see my husband more than twenty minutes a week at some point in the future....
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   peaceful
    You sound like you are in a tough situation right now. Working 2 jobs plus school has got to be rough. Saying no to extra shifts is a step in the right direction. Be careful of the perfection syndrome, "to be all and do all for everyone." If you are trying to get "A"s in school, be a dynamo on the jobs, leaves little time for yourself and family. Don't forget to nurture your own self. You deserve attention too. Your place of employment are lucky to have someone like you working for them.
  4. by   Todd SPN
    Listen to your husband. He is able to view the situation standing back a little further than you. Make the people you are in charge of a priority. While it's true everyone should answer call lights regardless, there is reality. Some of your co workers could be jeolous that you are bettering yourself. Some of your co workers possess a mentality that is hard to describe--be happy you don't have it, and understand it is not unusual with some of the people that hold those kind of jobs. Above all, don't worry about getting along with them. Just keep your eye on where you are headed and do your job the best you can. You don't have to be liked by them and you don't have to like them.
  5. by   jnette
    ((((((HUGS))))))

    So sorry you're going through this. Try to stay focused on your patients, let the rest go in one ear and out the other. You're not there to please your coworkers.. only your patients. As long as you are completing your duties, the heck with the rest of them !

    Continue on with your schooling... the sooner you're done, the sooner you can be out of that hornet's nest.

    Hang in there. Be kind to yourself at the end of your day.
  6. by   leslie :-D
    you have received some wonderful advice from the other posters.

    don't try to do all, be all to everyone and don't aim for perfection.
    make your own patients the priority.
    hold and keep your head up, chin out. you have proven to yourself what you're made of. as op stated, there's no explaining some's mentality.
    and yes, some day, you will look back on everything you have conquered and give yourself a much deserved pat on the back. that day will come.

    leslie
  7. by   futurenurse2
    Hi,

    I'm not sure that this answer is what you're looking for...and remember...it's only an opinion.......but I worked at an office job through a temp agency while in school.
    It was great, I picked my own hours and the pay was actually quite good.

    I'm sure you're priorities now are school and your family (and cash)...but I hope that your OWN mental health are among them.
    If this job is going to stop you from maintaining your priorities, get out.

    Once you get out of school, your salary will drastically increase and you can worry about paying back your loans then.

    Good luck. You sound undervalued in this job, given your talents. Keep your eye on the prize! You're doing great!
  8. by   Agnus
    I am not in Cannada so I don't know how financial aid works there. If you were in the states I would say go to your financial aid office at school and talk to them.

    You might not have qualified for aid (in the states) because of your income and savinging previously. However, circumstances have changed and they can (again in the states) adjust your financial aid, for this year. This is information they do not volunteer (probably due to the inclination to abuse financial aid) but they CAN and DO make these adjustments all the time.

    They do not want you leaving school, they do not want you flunking out due having to work so much and they do not want you becomming ill from stress. So talk to your school's financial aid person. Things can be done to help you. Maybe a different job or at a different place.

    I would definately talk to my nursing director about what you have been experiencing at work. I am very certain that she would be very interested and is unaware. What is going on is something I hear all too much in nursing homes. These facilities are closed communities. With much of the staff being patient care aids and not nurse there often exist these problems. These are sometimes people (unfortunate but true) who are not particularly skilled at anything and have not goals in thier lives. In a closed enviroment like a nursing home they form a hiarachy and a very tight knit click.

    It is a power and control issue. You come in with ambition (a no no) and a work ethic (heavens!) and honesty (shock!) and you are a threat to the order of things.

    They will try to destroy you as you raise the standard. Raising the standard means they will have to straighten up. They are bullies trying to protect thier territory.

    They have given you a choice. Sink to thier level or suffer until you are destroyed.

    Unfortunately in this enviroment the nurses (in this facility) have sunk to that level as well. Nurses sometimes become complacent in jobs like these.

    Someone will likely attack me for what I have said here. Before you do understand, NOT ALL nursing homes are like this. NOt all NURSING AIDS and NOT all nurses who work in these falcilites are like this. NOT EVEN THE MAJORITY. I do recognize this is the minority. Unfortunately this is a story I hear often on this board and other place.
  9. by   purplemania
    Remember that these people have chosen to STAY in that environment, while you are commited to moving ahead. They probably feel threatened a little by your efforts to improve. When I was in nursing school I chose to be poor and get through school. No vacations, gift buying, new clothes---for two years or more. It was worth it to me.
  10. by   Pretzlgl
    [QUOTE=Agnus]
    It is a power and control issue. You come in with ambition (a no no) and a work ethic (heavens!) and honesty (shock!) and you are a threat to the order of things.

    ]

    Well said Agnus...Unfortunately, I have experienced this too many times since I've been a nurse - in many different situations.

    Anyway - to the OP - definitely learn to say NO to so many extra shifts. You are going to burn out so fast at the rate you are going. Make some cutbacks at home - I too was a poor nursing student and learned to live cheaply....
  11. by   husker-nurse
    jnette, I am glad to see someone put into words "you are there to please your patients and not your coworkers." I have been chastised for being outspoken with the staff at times, but I do try to be civil (mostly) and as friendly as I can be to the staff. BUT, I figure that my patients need and deserve more TLC than my coworkers, after all, we are being PAID to do what we do. My patients recognize that I care for them and are appreciative of the great care they receive.
    ( Let it be known that the rest of the staff are only all smiles when our boss is on the floor). So, I have been "turned in" anonomously by a couple of coworkers, and I have no idea as to who they are or exactly what I have done wrong; only a vague "I have had complaints about your attitude". I was punished at age 5 for tattling, and was taught to approach those who had wronged you to sort things out. After all, we are not in high school, and are supposed to be professional! I do not believe in peer reports for behavior issues, please bring specifics to my attention! So sorry this turned out to be so long, but thanks for letting me vent.......
  12. by   Worthy
    Thank you to all for your thoughtful and helpful replies. I appreciate just getting opinions on my situation.

    Agnus, I truly believe you have hit the nail on the head. Yesterday, I spoke to the DON at one of my facilities, who was truly surprised to hear I wasn't doing well. Apparently she has heard "nothing but excellent things" about me; and told me that I shouldn't be so hard on myself. I really thought that I was doing something wrong, the way everyone treated me - but now I think it's just jealousy, and reluctance to accept me as "new", and a superiority complex! They think that they know everything. Imagine my horror today as a co-worker stuck her pinkie down a resident's ear canal practically to her elbow when I commented he had a lot of wax that needed clearing out. I said it had to be syringed out - she took one look and said "naahhh, I can get that". Lord knows how much of it she shoved practically into his brain!

    Re: financial aid - here in Canada, I do not qualify. At all. My husband makes too much money (not enough for us to live on, mind you, but not at the poverty level you need to be at to qualify for any type of loan here). Plus, I'm already in the hole from being unemployed for the four months I was in school full-time (here in Canada, you are ineligible for unemployment insurance if you are in school. Stupid, stupid stupid. Of course, don't want anyone to BETTER themselves).

    Anyway, I've decided to cut down my shifts by one a week. I need the time both to study and to get my wits about me. My work schedule is affecting my learning, my sanity, and worst of all, my marriage. I am miserable to be around at home - I'm the first to say it! But only because I'm exhausted all the time. And the summer's here and I drive by a public pool and beach on my way to work every afternoon and I see all those stupid kids and people who apparently never work lounging by the lake. Grrrrr :stone

    Thanks for the inspiration, and you are right, this is temporary. I will get through this.

    Gotta run, have a health assessment class. I'm having trouble accurately reading BP's. Ahhh, but that's another thread

    Thanks again!
  13. by   GPatty
    AS you have heard from all the other posters, just hang in there.
    You'll get better as time goes on, and saying no to extra shifts is a great idea.
    Don't let people smash your dreams. Keep going and doing your best.
    I'd love to work with you. I have a CNA I could trade....LOL!
    Best of all to you!
    Hugs~
    Julie

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