I'm Freaking Out and Frantic! Please, Help Me! - page 4
by rn/writer Guide
ďI gave the wrong med, and Iím just sick about it.Ē ďToday at work I dropped a full specimen container. My co-workers think Iím a total idiot.Ē ďI make all kinds of little mistakes. Now I feel so guilty I canít even... Read More
- 0Mar 28, '12 by radgeyHi sounds like your just overwhelmed if your working in a nursing home i can understand why. I have just recently started working homecare and its so much more relaxing and i am actually applying skills and learning new ones along the way. the money is good in a nursing home and i enjoyed the residents...actually they made me laugh but the stress level is something else.more politics and paperwork then anyplace i have ever worked and you barely have two minutes to spend with each resident. you rush around and do treatments as fast as you can because there is always something else that needs to get done before the shift and it is very easy to make a medication error....when dealing with polypharmacy, i totally understand where your coming from. i have never cried but i worried endlessly and would beat myself up. homecare is very different and it takes an adjustment but so far its working out and i have 3 cases working with pediatrics clients with trachs and vents. i have been newly trained with vents so i am still learning and yes its kind of scary but the more you learn and become comfortable with you gain self confidence with your skills. those feeling your having are very normal and will be very difficult to combat. Right now i am trying to study about vents i am alot intimidated....but i have reason its what keeps the child alive. i was told today that before a family can take there family member home from hospital with vent they have to be trained for two weeks, us nurses get two hours I think the crying has to do with your trying to hard and beating yourself up its very easy to do so. I worked as long as i could at this nursing home until i quit or get fired so quit. there was no way i was going to listen to them tell me all about my mistakes and run me down.......that's what there good at and i wasn't goona have it....normally i do not go around qutting jobs but i took the chance and now the good lord has opened another door. I am still trying to get adjusted to this change my now i can actually do some decent charting So dont think its not normal to feel that way or that your not as good as the next nures because that is so far from the truth!
- 0Mar 28, '12 by radgeyHi sounds like your just overwhelmed if your working in a nursing home i can understand why. I have just recently started working homecare and its so much more relaxing and i am actually applying skills and learning new ones along the way. the money is good in a nursing home and i enjoyed the residents...actually they made me laugh but the stress level is something else.more politics and paperwork then anyplace i have ever worked and you barely have two minutes to spend with each resident. you rush around and do treatments as fast as you can because there is always something else that needs to get done before the shift and it is very easy to make a medication error....when dealing with polypharmacy, i totally understand where your coming from. i have never cried but i worried endlessly and would beat myself up. homecare is very different and it takes an adjustment but so far its working out and i have 3 cases working with pediatrics clients with trachs and vents. i have been newly trained with vents so i am still learning and yes its kind of scary but the more you learn and become comfortable with you gain self confidence with your skills. those feeling your having are very normal and will be very difficult to combat as long as your in a nursing home caring for 25 or better residents. I think the crying has to do with your trying to hard and beating yourself because your trying to do the best you can. I worked as long as i could at this nursing home until i quit or else get fired, so i quit before they had the chance to fire me. i do not normally go around qutting jobs but i took the chance and now the good lord has opened another door/avenue of nursing
- 0Apr 1, '12 by sd_nurseThank you so much for this post. I am new to this site and part of the reason I joined was because I am a new grad. I just started working on a surgical unit about 6 months ago, and although I am feeling more confident, I still suffer from anxiety. I know that anxiety is normal for a new grad, but it is very comforting to read posts like this.
- 0Apr 1, '12 by GrnTeaisn't it just a wee bit over the top to equate new-grad-panic disorder to actual ptsd? if i did this with some friends who are recently returned from sandy places and real life-threatening daily routine, they would likely either kill me or laugh themselves hysterical. let's not ruin a perfectly wonderful article on how to get over yourself with any support for this laughable regression.
- 0May 17, '12 by youngolfI am coming into the medical field from corporate insurance (where most all have very good social skills in the workplace). To my surprise, and fascination, most people who work in the medical field have very underdeveloped social skills when it comes to welcoming new people, are very shy, are close to the vest...and do not open up until about 6 months to a year! I find this challenging and also sad. We should welcome new people, help them all we can to assimilate into a new place, and be there for them. We need to change the way medical people act. And model for them to grow up some. The days of silent treatment, 'prove why I should like you', 'I know more than you so I am the go-to person'...are all very immature attitudes. As new people in the medical field, lets set a new standard! We all have to deal with sick and injured everyday - lets not take it out on ourselves.
Quote from rn/writerďI gave the wrong med, and Iím just sick about it.Ē
ďToday at work I dropped a full specimen container. My co-workers think Iím a total idiot.Ē
ďI make all kinds of little mistakes. Now I feel so guilty I canít even sleep.Ē
ďI feel sick to my stomach before every shift.Ē
ďThe only thing Iíve ever wanted to be is a nurse, but I wonder if I should just quit.Ē
Does any of this sound familiar? If so, youíre part of a surprisingly large group called The Freaking Out and Frantic Club. Anyone can gain admission, but the most likely candidates are nursing students, newer nurses, or experienced nurses who are switching jobs, changing specialty areas, or coming back after a long absence. It helps if youíre lacking in confidence or donít have a strong sense of yourself as a person. You get double membership points if youíre a people pleaser. If you also admit to an inability to set healthy boundaries or rein in hysterical thinking you will probably be nominated as a club officer before too long.
Letís take a look at the common denominators.
The first is panic. Then self-absorption, followed by deflated confidence, lack of perspective, desperation, and, finally, over-reaction. This kind of thinking is a cocktail of torture and self-defeat. You can drink the poison, or you can pour it down the drain and replace it with a powerade smoothie.
The first common denominatorópanicóis natureís way of kicking you into high gear to save your life. But fight or flight was never intended to be a long-term strategy. Nor was it meant to be free-floating and vague. If you canít pinpoint a specific and immediate danger and you find yourself in a state of high anxiety most of the time, that's your clue that this internal intensity has taken on a life of its own and itís far more threatening to your well being than any outside pressures. Why? Because the human body shouldn't run on adrenalin for more than a few minutes at a time. Longer than that and you will pay a price, both physically and emotionally.
Self-absorption is next. The list at the beginning of this article is made up entirely of ďIĒ statements. But, donít confuse this with being conceited or selfish. Folks who are living in survival mode narrow their focus to the essentials. They just do. But that can look to classmates or co-workers like youíre a cold fish or a stick in the mud who isnít willing to join in the normal break room give-and-take. They donít understand that in your mind youíre just hunkered down, hoping to make it through the day without falling apart.
Your aloof demeanor can provoke a chilly, snippy or indifferent response from others and suck the remaining air from your already limp balloon of confidence. It can also prevent you from seeing anyone who is trying to reach out to help you.
Such utter deflation can totally rob you of perspective. In this mindset, every oops becomes not only a fire-worthy offense, but one that should get you reported to the BON who will make sure you never work again. Thatís appropriate if you saw your ex-mother-in-law in a room and pumped her IV tubing full of potassium chloride. But not so much if you mixed up labs in report or forgot to call a doc or gave a wrong med that caused no serious harm to the patient. Yes, there may be consequences, but execution at dawn should not be among them.
Which brings us to desperation. Who can stand living under such a black cloud for very long? Suspense in the movies is fun, but in real life, feeling like your body is made out of stomach acid and piano wire is torture. Even if you manage to have a good day now and then, all it takes is a minor mistake and--Whump!--you plummet down to the bottom of the coal chute again.
If you canít find a way out of this bleak and terrible dungeon, you might give in to the temptation to drop out of school, tender your resignation, or quit nursing entirely. But are these over-reactions the only options?
Fortunately, they are not. There is help, but you have to stop letting your imagination slap you around the room like it's a hockey stick and you're the puck. And you have to train yourself to remember that most of this fight is taking place in your head. Once you realize that, youíre on the road to recovery.
The biggest weapon in your arsenal is telling yourself the truth. You may think youíre already doing that, but chances are youíre only coming up with the negative half of the story. You forgot to give a med. Thatís bad. But you called the doc, followed her instructions, called pharmacy, corrected the MAR, wrote out an incident report and took responsibility for your omission. Thatís all good.
Everyone makes mistakes, especially those who are starting a job. Anyone who says otherwise is forgetful or lying. When it's your turn, you do have to own your actions (or lack thereof), but you donít have to fall on your sword and agree to be horsewhipped, banished from the castle or exiled to Alcatraz.
If you insist on thinking that youíre lousy as a nurse and unworthy as a human being, you wonít be able to hear anything except the critical voices in your brain. This will color absolutely everything you think about and everything you do until you stop yourself and consciously decide to change your mind.
Here is the recipe for saving your sanity and maybe your career:
Refuse to panic. You can perk up some when the pressure is on, but panic tosses reason out the window. Tell yourself that you can do this. Take a deep breath. And then do it.
Stay connected to healthy co-workers. Ask for help when you need it. Build others up and hope some of that goodness comes back to you when you need it. Reach out to someone else whoís having a bad day. Itís amazing how that can arrest a downward spiral, in them and in you.
Keep the big picture in mind. Take a step back to ask yourself whatís most important at that moment. Prioritize. Reassess now and then. But whatever you do, keep on keeping on.
Just say no to shutting down. Donít fall apart. Donít drop out. Donít give up. Don't quit.
Even if you have to regroup later, donít do make any major decision in the midst of an emotional meltdown. Just a few minutes (or hours or days) can make a world of difference.
Borrow someone elseís perspective (make sure they're trustworthy and in your corner) when yours is shot. Take time to process your emotions. Learn to set aside worries (write them down, talk to a trusted confidant, pray about them), and turn off the ďendless loopĒ--that litany of all your faults and errors--that prevents you from sleeping or enjoying your time away from the job.
Jettison the tendency to beat yourself upóthat helps no one! Determine that you will treat yourself well, no matter what. Make a nice meal. Take cookies to a neighbor. Cuddle with someone you love. Substitute a calming mantra for the barbed wired accusations of self-condemnation.
Make an action plan for yourself that will improve both your skills and your disposition. Learn the difference between who you are and what you do. Cultivate and show gratitude.
Look at each shift, not as another loop around the noose, but as a fresh start.
Try to connect in healthy ways with your co-workers and give them a chance to draw closer to you. Be aware that while each of your flaws shows up as a permanent aircraft carrier on your radar, other people are most concerned with their own lives and they see your errors as little blips that fall off their screens pretty quickly.
Do not embrace intentional hurt. Hold any criticism at arm's length. Examine the thoughts and extract anything helpful. Give the rest a vigorous toss the way you would a live hand grenade. Thank those who care about you for their concern and input. Thank even your foes for the truth tucked into their harsh words. It confuses them greatly.
At the same time, donít look to your job to validate your existence. Get your strength and personal affirmation from those you love.
This battle takes place in your head and in your heart. But the good news is that you are in charge of deciding who wins. Please, please, please, pick you!
- 0May 17, '12 by maxcatThis article totally hits home for me. I will be a new grad LPN starting in LTC this summer, and am freaking out. I tend to be Type A, am extremely hard on myself, don't rein in anxiety well, and tend to take on other people's issues as my own (as in, "so and so failed their exam/got fired/lost their license, so I probably will too!!!"). I am saving this article to read, when I have my first screw up on the job... Love it!
- 0Jul 1, '12 by thompd01Everyone beats themself up at some point in nursing. It's human nature. We don't like to make mistakes. We definitely don't want to cause harm to anyone.
When I first started nursing I remember going home every night replaying my day, to make sure I didn't forget anything. If I did or if I had made a mistake I took it personally. Nursing involves knowledge but also skills which can be acquired through practice. As one becomes more comfortable being a nurse their stress level will decrease. I just had to train my mind like the article said to forgive myself for the little things and appreciate the good I had done. Everyday in nursing I learn something. When someone feels they know it all is when they need to leave the field.
The article is reality. It is fine to freak out a little but learn from ones experience. Then the next time it occurs, you will be better prepared.
- 0Jul 4, '12 by sandyfeetI am printing this out for myself. I really like how this was written. As a new grad it really speaks to me! Being a perfectionist helped me get great grades and excel in nursing school, but at Hour 9 on the floor perfectionism is like a vampire sucking me dry. I am very hard on myself and I know it can be a barrier to learning. Thank you so much for writing this!