How do you "leave it at work?" - page 2

by caughtbuckinoff 3,604 Views | 24 Comments

Hello everyone, I'm currently a nursing student and am seriously reconsidering my choice to be a nurse because I just can't seem to "leave it at work", as they say. Well, leave it at clinicals is more like it. Every time that... Read More


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    You're new to all this. give yourself time to learn to cope with all of it! It will all calm down after the first year of being nurse. You are doing something new and your brain is just trying to find a way to integrate it. I found it took me a couple years in nursing to let it all roll when I left work. I just get in my car and crank the tunes really loud and sing obnoxiously, seems to let off the steam. By the time I"m home it's all gone. I have the same rule as Blue Devil - my home is my castle, no work allowed.
    NurseDirtyBird, tnmarie, and RNperdiem like this.
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    Leaving work at work is a very important skill to learn. At my old job I lived about 7 minutes away from work, so I'd come home and still be stressed out for hours because I never had time to mentally change gears. Now I work 50 miles away from home, and on my drive home in the morning, I listen to podcasts that have absolutely nothing to do with nursing or anything medical, and that really gives my brain time to transition and by the time I get home from work, I'm fully out of work mode and can just relax and go to bed. Obviously this isn't going to work for everyone, but it has really made a huge difference for me.
    tnmarie and macawake like this.
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    I must be very cold hearted.. because I have gotten very good about "disconnecting" myself from the people that I care for. I am there to do my job...and don't get me wrong, I care for my patient, I'm compassionate and caring...but at the end of the day I clock out (physically AND mentally) and return back to MY life. Ok....let me not fool anyone, because I still leave stressed out if I have had a horrible day from time to time...BUT I have gotten much better about it...you have to turn it off somehow. If I have had a REALLY bad day...I talk with my husband about it for about 5 minutes (just to vent) and then LET IT GO. This is just how I deal with things... :-)
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    I purposely do not work at the hospital closest to my home- my commute is how I keep 'home' at home and 'work' at work. And on my drive- I talk to myself about all the things that are bothering me - sometimes praying, sometimes rehearsing things I need to say or write to people. But sometimes, when the weather is just right- I roll down the windows, crank up my 70s music and SING all the way home. Very cathartic.
    GrnTea, macawake, and tachybradyRN like this.
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    The only patients I generally ever "bring home" with me are the ones that frustrate/annoy me. I have a long ride home, so I try to get my mind off of work listening to books or talk radio. If I still can't get something off my mind, I vent to my husband (no identifying details) and then the patients are back in their hospital beds where they belong. I did tell him that I truly had the most awesome patient ever, too.

    If you are depressed about your patients' conditions, I'd think about two things: 1. Maybe you just haven't found he right type of nursing yet. I work cardiac tele, and most of my pts are short-terms stays with excellent prognoses- hardly anything for even the most emotional person to get depressed about. Sub-acute rehab might suit you as people aren't acutely ill and work every day toward a goal of greater Health/independence. 2. Even if you work in the most depressing place ever (for me personally, that would be LTC) you can be the ray of sunshine and hope in your pts' lives. You do that by giving them compassionate, respectful care and by educating them about how to make the best of their health. You can be the change....
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    I like marycarney's reply. My commute is about 35 miles, and I usually listen to an audio book if I'm really tired because it helps keep me awake, or blast some "90s Pop Radio" on Pandora (I'm a 90s child.. born in '87). It helps me disconnect from work, singing along with the radio IS very cathartic, and usually by the time I'm home I'm able to let it all go.
    marycarney and macawake like this.
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    Thank you all for your replies, support, and advice. I really appreciate it! I'm most definitely going to talk with one or two of my professors to gain their insight, thank you for reminding me that they are an excellent resource outside of academics alone. I tend to forget that.

    I think that I'm going to be able to handle it. It is very new to me, but I think that I'll find my niche somewhere and strike a good balance between work and my life. I've been a restaurant server for years and there used to be things that would really get to me here and there but as the time passed I've noticed that nothing really bothers me for more than a couple of minutes, if at all anymore. I really can't even remember the last time that I had a bad day. In fact, I worked all day today and couldn't tell you a darn thing about it, lol. It is amazing how a little experience, maturity, and the passage of time can change things.

    Like many of you, I think that a little distraction right after the hospital will be a great benefit. With a relaxing routine and the right brain training, it should be possible for me to strike that balance that I'm so happy to hear most of you have.

    Thank you all again!
    beckster_01, tnmarie, and macawake like this.
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    It's 24 hour care and we cannot solve the world's problems, no matter how much we might want to.

    I reflect on my day and leave the rest at work. I can't do anything from home. Exercise and a healthy diet keeps me centred. Sometimes I will discuss situations with other nurse friends to de-stress, and this helps too.
    NurseDirtyBird, Tait, and macawake like this.
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    It can really be tough thing to do, one needs to learn to adjust with work. I still have the habit of talking about work when I go home, however, I also train myself not to do it often.
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    One poster suggested the word depression. This may be accurate or not. Certainly overwhelmed is common and can lead to a narrower focus. In some cases it would be clinicals. In others it might be re-reading insignificant parts of the anatomy book so you know every bone rather than much about bone breakage. Our minds are not always linear.

    People have given good suggestions. One I heard when I was young in nursing was "When you take off your cap put your shift in it". I preferred to review the shift on my ride home and think of all the things I did right. I learned early we can beat ourselves up for not being perfect. This kept me from burnout and happy in my chosen career.

    After discussing this with a trusted person keep an eye on your moods. make sure you are taking good care of yourself. Food, fluids, exercise and rest. All things students put aside to make it in school. Your body will rebel without care. You cannot care for others if you do not care for yourself.
    GrnTea likes this.


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