geez, these stories freak me out!!

  1. i'm in my last semester of pre-req's and will likely sit out a couple semesters before a program picks me up (2yr-RN).
    i spent a lot of years in the construction business as a project manager, got out of it due to stress. too much head-knocking and greed for my blood. most of it was industrial, in the refineries, big jobs in the city, tough schedules and all... but i'm sensing that nursing can REALLY be a tough way to earn a living.
    am i being unrealistic in my assessment of the levels of stress that RN's experience?
    are there occupations in nursing w/o the major stress and conflict i'm witnessing here?
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    Yes, nursing is a very hard way to make a living. Lots of people read about the nursing "shortage" and think it would be great to get into nursing. What they don't tell you is that one of the major reasons for the "shortage" is nurses leaving nursing due to job stress, dissatisfaction and burn out. Read the "First year in nursing" forum here to get an idea.

    Here are some excerpts from a study I posted in another thread. It's about the effects of job stress on med-surg and home care nurses, but I think it applies to all areas of nursing.

    Nursing can be rewarding, but go in with open eyes. It is a rough career.

    Job Stress and General Well-Being: A Comparative Study of Medical- Surgical and Home Care Nurses

    By Salmond, Susan; Ropis, Patricia E The purposes of this study were to examine job stress among medical-surgical and home care nurses, and determine if high job stress predicted general well-being. A comparative, descriptive design was used.

    "Even more alarming, Metules and Bolanger (2000) reported that suicide is among the top five causes of death among nurses - a much higher rate than the general population.


    High stress leads to negative work environments that rob nurses of their spirit and passion about their job. Low job satisfaction in nurses is linked empirically to chronic absenteeism, decreased morale, reduced job performance, burnout, increased tardiness, high turnover, and substance abuse (Lancero & Gerber, 1995; Laschinger, Wong, McMahon, & Kaufmann, 1999; Lobb & Reid, 1987). Moreover, high stress affects overall quality of care. Loss of compassion for patients, and increased incidences of mistakes and on-the-job injuries are consequences of high stress levels (Aiken, Clarke, Sloane, Sochalski, & Silber, 2002; Laschinger et al., 1999; Laschinger, Finegan, Shamian, & Wilk, 2001; Lusk, 1997).

    Some authors have attempted to estimate the impact of stress in terms of economic consequences. Stress has been estimated to cause half of workplace absenteeism and 40% of turnover, which is projected to cost the U.S. economy $200 - $500 billion annually (Department of Health and Human Services [DHHS], 1999; Matteson & Ivancevich, 1987; Maxon, 1999). Discussing the negative impact of psychological stress resulting from downsizing, Wright and Smye (1996) quoted an earlier estimate by Spielberger and Vagg (1991) projection the overall costs to business and industry of burned out or dispirited employees at $150 - $180 billion a year.

    Job stress combined with the stress from everyday life can lead to detrimental physical and emotional outcomes for nurses and their families. This awareness has been responsible for growing attention to employee well-being. There are two common components to well- being: the actual physical health of workers and the mental, psychological, or emotional aspects of workers (Budge, Carryer, & Wood, 2003; Geiger-Brown et al., 2004; Pomaki, Maes, & Ter Doest, 2004). Well-being comprises the various work/job-related satisfactions (for example, satisfaction and/or dissatisfaction with pay, the job itself, co-workers, and supervision), as well as life/ non-work satisfaction enjoyed by individuals. There are personal and organizational consequences of well-being. Nurses' and other health care providers' experience of constant stress may affect their well- being and lead to disengagement, poor judgment, distress, and burnout. Stress and concomitant decreased well-being are contributing factors to organization inefficiency, high staff turnover, absenteeism because of sickness, decreased quality and quantity of care, increased costs of health care, and decreased job satisfaction (Abu Al Rub, 2004)


    Entire article can be read here:http://www.rednova.com/news/health/2...ource=r_health

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  4. by   Tweety
    Welcome.

    Remember this is a sounding board for us to vent our stress and our frustrations.

    But no doubt about it, nursing school and nursing is a high stress undertaking.
  5. by   prmenrs
    That doesn't mean that it can't be a rewarding and satisfying way to make a living. You will still see corporate greed and politics. You can choose how to respond to the stress. You can make the most out of your job/career and, very importantly, your free time.

    While you're waiting, do some volunteering, shadow some nurses (go to different hospitals, too) so that you have as much info as possible on which to base any decisions.
  6. by   Jessy_RN
    Quote from baker90803
    i'm in my last semester of pre-req's and will likely sit out a couple semesters before a program picks me up (2yr-RN).
    i spent a lot of years in the construction business as a project manager, got out of it due to stress. too much head-knocking and greed for my blood. most of it was industrial, in the refineries, big jobs in the city, tough schedules and all... but i'm sensing that nursing can REALLY be a tough way to earn a living.
    am i being unrealistic in my assessment of the levels of stress that RN's experience?
    are there occupations in nursing w/o the major stress and conflict i'm witnessing here?
    Welcome to the site. I know what you mean about your previous job. My husband does just that and I feel terrible for him.

    Good luck to you
  7. by   abrenrn
    One thing about nursing - reason I chose it when I changed careers - are all the different opportunities there are. Some are exceptionally high stress (physically and emotionally), some are much less so. Some depends on you and what you like, some depends on the environment.

    For me, hospital nursing was always most stressful. Often physically demanding with too much work, too little time, ... Of all the hospital nursing I did, the least stressful was a semi-critical care environment (bone marrow transplant) cause I only had to worry about a couple of patients - extremely busy but not dividing myself among many ill patients. I also enjoyed working spinal cord rehab (it was an excellent hospital, a good deal of specialized knowledge needed but acuity not a major problem) - though physically demanding.

    Don't forget there is work outside of the hospital and some of these jobs are much less stressful. School nursing was fun.

    Good luck. Think through what you like, what you can handle physically and time/stress wise, what types of opportunities there are where you are - maybe it will be right for you, maybe it won't.

    The advise above about shadowing is a good one - but look at non hospital settings as well.
    Last edit by abrenrn on Oct 26, '05
  8. by   baker90803
    thank you everyone for your insight and wisdom. choosing a new career can be a tough go...at times. i really think i'd like nursing because i'm very interested in people. my mom was a nurse for many years and really loved all aspects of it. i like the idea of the traveling nurse, or to work in the er or icu. isn't it true one needs loads of experience to survive as a travel nurse? my understanding is the client "expects" (demands) top quality for what they're paying for...

    my only real issue is will the position be too stressful for me. i tend to run a little "hot", not all the time, and i manage it pretty well...but i worry that being an RN may be an overwhelming task. again thanks
  9. by   Esme12
    Quote from Future_RN_Jess
    Welcome to the site. I know what you mean about your previous job. My husband does just that and I feel terrible for him.

    Good luck to you
    The stress is there but the rewards are emense!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! boston
  10. by   JentheRN05
    Here's a good example. School was difficult. I struggled soooooo much. In fact I almost quit in my first year due to stress. BUT I had a very supportive instructor who kicked me in the arse and told me, YOU CAN AND WILL DO IT! Guess what I did. I graduated with honors.
    Here's where the payoff begins. Today while finishing up last minute meds and business for the shift, getting ready to go home. I turned around to a tap on my shoulder. I was met with a patients wife whom I took care of last week. He was informed of a dire future (inoperable metastic cancer). When I took care of him, he was sooooooo angry. Not at me, not at anyone, but at the disease. He was taking it out on his very loving wife. The one who he would call several times a day when she was visiting family in another country, just to tell her he loved her. Well - knowing the days events. I took it upon myself to talk to the wife. The patient was out of my reach (due to his frustration and denial). I told his wife to remember, it's not her he's mad at, it's the disease. The changes in personality could even be due to the disease (because it was metastic to the brain). I told him to remember him as the loving man he was. I hugged her. I held her. She cried on my shoulder. I later went into the room and told the patient "I will be here all day if you need someone to talk to, and remember your wife is here, and she would love to talk to you, and I'm sure she would love to listen. Just remember your in this together. To get through this, you need to talk" The wife had tears in her eyes as she mouthed "thank you"
    This woman came up to me today and just hugged me. Wanted to let me know that they are going home tomorrow. That she appreciated all I did for her and her husband. She said he is still angry. But "is he talking about it, is he talking to you?" with tears in her eyes, she hugged me again and said "yes, he is talking to me"
    That is the reward of your hard work. Someone I haven't taken care of in a week came up to me to let me know I made a difference. That could be you.
    Yes, there are bad days, but then there are some very good ones. When you become a nurse, the payoff is so much better than all the work you put into it, especially if your heart is truly in it.
    ~Jen
  11. by   nurse4theplanet
    Nursing is highly demanding and stressful, but I have found this board to be a great way to unleash vented frustrations, share stories, laugh at myself and others mistakes and brainless moments, and in the end I am glad that I chose this path.:kiss

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