Help!! Burning out and I've just begun

  1. I've been working on an UNBELIEVABLY busy med/surge floor for a few months now and it is completely burning me out! Things are so crazy all the time, my last shift I had something going on with just about every patient (one need blood hung, another had unstable tachy, another needed continuous umteen IV meds, another had infiltrated IV, another going off to OR and needed pre-op tests done, etc. just to name a couple things) I try to keep up but when I get home I just want to cry and find a new job!! Are all nursing jobs like this?? I'm scared that another job will have me in the same boat. I'm almost regretting going into nursing, feeling like I have no time to relate to my patients and trapped in this burnout cycle. Is it unprofessional to leave before I put in six months??? I am counting the days, but they are wearing me down. Any advice is REALLY APPRECIATED!!! Thanks.
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  2. 21 Comments

  3. by   Nursem2003
    I'm still a student but I felt similar to what you are feeling. We do different rotations. We are doing our med/surg rotation now. I really hated to leave from Geriatrics though. Most people will tell you how bad nursing homes are, but I loved it. You really get to know your patients, and they really appreciate you. I got really attached to many of the residents and didn't want to leave. If you have an open mind LTC would be a good place to try. They are in need of good nurses that really care, too. Just a suggestion. Hope things work out for you.
  4. by   renerian
    HOw long have you been practicing? I think if you are in the first year you are suffering from reality shock. They told us about it in the last semester of nursing school. One day, wham it hit me. I remember it vividly. I hear people from med surg units say it is so busy and they are saying what you are.......

    renerian
  5. by   traumaRUs
    Get yourself to your nurse managers office and get a mentor, a buddy that help you get organized and prioritize care!!! It is still very hard and chaotic, but without a clear timetable of what absolutely has to be done and what can wait, its miserable. Good luck and hang in there - it gets better.
  6. by   502Nurse
    Renerian: This is my first job out of school, so I've only been practicing for four months. I know I am still green, but everyone on my floor is also running ragged. Is this the norm for med/surge? What is supposed to happen after reality shock?

    Nursem2003: Your idea about LTC sounds like something I should look into. Getting to know your patients and be appreciated as well? Sounds like an interesting concept. Thanks.
  7. by   VickyRN
    GET OUT!!! Find a decent unit to work on (believe it or not, a few of these STILL exist). With the nursing shortage being as it is, you don't have to settle for this.
  8. by   Pam I Am
    Hang in there. I graduated from nursing school in May 01, started on an IMU floor June, passed state boards July of 01 and have been going through the reality shock ever since. Our hospital provides a preceptor for the first 3 months... I had an experienced nurse to walk me through everything. We had 4 patients between us and as I gained experience, I went from 2 - 3, then all 4 of the IMU patients with her at my side, watching, helping, suggesting... It was very important for me to have this as a new nurse. I went "on my own" in September, and walked through many new situations on my own...but my manager told me, "You know where I am, and you can always get help from your charge nurse, or other experienced nurses near you, so ask". So, I have. Some of the charge nurses were not as supportive as I would think they should have been...but, as the months have passed, I've learned how to "push" for help...and who to ask it of. And, I can report that I made a decision from the beginning not to quit until at least a year. I had to work late many an evening, catching up on charting, but my manager said they expected that from new grads, and not to worry. I was in tears many an evening the first 6 months! It was horrible! I didn't know so many things, how to prioritize, what to let 'ride' until I could find the time. But, with time, and experience, I've gradually begun to "accept" nursing...and have gotten a better handling on everything. Here are some questions that might spur an idea for help:

    1. Physically - Are you in good health? Getting enough sleep, nutrition, stress relief in positive ways? Are you anemic? (I was anemic the whole last year of school and during my whole first year of nursing on the floor and was absolutely EXHAUSTED
    :zzzzz ALL the time. I've got that problem resolved and am a new person!!!

    2. Managers - are they aware of your distress? Tell them. If they do not offer help, you may need to change departments, but don't give up! You can do it! It just takes time! Be sure to tell them in a non-emotional way. Do it on a "good day"... write down your problems and ways you see they could be solved... and talk to them. They need you to stay with them and will do what they can to help. You may need a preceptor like I had. Like all new grads should have.

    Hang in there! At the one year mark, I started noticing that I had a few glimpses of "hey, I like my work". None before that. Realize that it is common to feel overwhelmed. Get help. Get support. Get a wellness check-up. You sound like you are a great nurse...who cares about people... we need more nurses like you...and me... so don't give up.
  9. by   sjoe
    502--to answer your question: Yes, it seems as though MOST, though not all, med-surg positions are similar to yours (along with MOST hospital jobs in general, for that matter). Checking out a few threads on this and other forums will give you a better idea about that, as well as some useful suggestions on how to deal with it, like the useful suggestions provided above. It seems far too early to think about leaving either the job or the nursing field. Give it at least a year before you have enough experience to make a sound judgment.
    And go ahead and cry when you get home. It can do you some good.
    IMHO.
    Last edit by sjoe on Oct 21, '02
  10. by   capgirl
    Wow 502Nurse, I am right there with ya!!!
    I am feeling the same thing about my recent move to the tele floor. I have been an RN for 4 years, acute care for 3.
    I ask my co-workers "Is there someway to better manage my time, prioritize, etc", but they seem also to be in the same boat. We have from 6-8 patients each, today the night shift stayed 4 hours late finishing up her tasks, I stayed 2 hours past my shift. It is totally crazy, and if one of the patients has the audacity to actually code.............YIKES
  11. by   RunninRN
    I have been a nurse for 7 years and I have worked mainly ICU and ER and I know for a fact I could not work MS without killing myself. Maybe you should give it the 6 months (with a preceptor) and then ask for a transfer to another department. There are so many other areas of nursing that are less chaotic. ER is crazy most of the time, but you don't have the same patient for 8 or12 hours, hopefully! There is Endo, OR, ER, ICU, Stepdown, outpatient surgery... even home health. Like they mentioned before there is a shortage and you can usually get what you want. Just find a department that suits your personality and offers a preceptorship. Many hospitals offer a 6-8wk traineeship for new grads that want ICU experience.
    Good luck and hang in there
  12. by   NurseDianne
    Oh I remember those days/nights........feeling like I just couldn't get it all done and overwhelmed! I think it's a little of everything that has been posted. Good to your supervisor, DON, whom ever......just go.........and quickly!! Don't let this burn you out. Don't settle for another job.......if you really enjoy Med-Surg, stick it out........get organized. Everyone at work calls me Anal-retentive. I will not start my shift w/o a plan. Don't give UP! Never give up if your really love nursing!!
  13. by   Go Navy
    It sounds like your a new nurse. Quit whining and suck it up. Once you learn the ropes and you still have to ask total strangers if your stupid for staying then leave, but for now suck it up.
  14. by   sharann
    Originally posted by Go Navy
    It sounds like your a new nurse. Quit whining and suck it up. Once you learn the ropes and you still have to ask total strangers if your stupid for staying then leave, but for now suck it up.



    Not very helpful or kind "advice".
    I think that what you have at your hospital is quite normal 502 nurse (unfortunately). Nurses are run ragged. The GOOD ones (like yourself) are the ones burning out like wild brush on a hot dry summer day. I don't think you are whining either. I think you are going through the "reality shock" thing and it does stink. Can you think of any days you go home and fel like you made a diiference to a patient? If you have none, then perhaps a chnge in specialties is in order. Nothing worse than a miserable nurse when you are the pt.
    Hang in there.

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