Is It "Reality Shock" or am I in the Wrong Area?

  1. Need advise..... This is my last week of orientation in a very busy L&D unit. I am a new grad (December) at age 40 with several years experience working in offices in many capacities (HR, office management, etc) prior to going to nursing school. I have always loved my jobs in the past and looked forward to working. This nursing job is making me physically ill! I feel sick each day before I work (I'm taking my own patient now, with a preceptor available if needed). Is this normal for a new nurse or do I need to look for a job in a medical office, or a different area?
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  2. 20 Comments

  3. by   CEN35
    I think everybody gets this way to an extent. You have just started this, and you probably feel like there is so much to learn, and so much to do.
    When I started as a new grad, I felt the same way quite a few times. I think it's just nerves. At one point I thought maybe I was not cut out for it also. I contemplated leaving work, after 3 months. Then I thought about it. I decided if I quit, I won't get anywhere and always hated quitting.
    Things improved immensly over the 1st 6 months.
    Just remember nursing school is only part of the whole picture. There is so much more to learn after your out. experience is a huge plus. I bet if you stick it out for 6 months to a year, you will love it.

  4. by   fiestynurse
    You have many variables here that are making this happen. First of all, you are a new grad. My first year out of nursing school was one of my most stressful times in nursing. It was hard getting use to the work routine and the hours. Secondly, you chose a very intense speciality to go into right after school. There is so much to learn, your brain must be about ready to explode! Thirdly, you are 40 years old and nursing is a physically demanding job that puts a lot of wear and tear on your body, which you may not be use to.
    You must take care of yourself! Talk to your nurse manager about what you are experiencing. Maybe you need some additional time in orientation or maybe you need to rethink your chose of areas to practice in right out of school.
    Other nurses on your unit may be of some support to you also. Of course, you may have something physically wrong that requires medical attention. See a doctor!
    Hang in there!! Things will get better!!
  5. by   iamme457
    This sounds pretty normal to me. It will take you about 2 years to feel comfortable in any critical care area. The pace is fast and you have to make a lot of quick life and death decisions. Just as soon as you learn a medication and its side effects they come up with a new one. Policy and procedures change often too especially if you are in a teaching facility. Non teaching facilities dont always have Dr's on staff around the clock so you have even more responsibility of knowing when and what to make that phone call for.
    I would stick it out for a couple months and see if you are really not feeling more comfortable.
    I am clinical coordinator in a large facility (310 beds) and worked this past weekend with an RN that is new to nursing and was on her first weekend by herself after orientation. Myself and a few other staff members helped her out, she was really nervous on Saturday and just nervous on Sunday, but now that she made it through the first weekend she feels more comfortable.
    Time and experience will answer this question for you, with good support staff I am sure you will do well. Acknowledging these second thoughts and fears and thinking out the possibilities shows the kind of critical thinking needed to be a wonderful nurse.
  6. by   crnasomeday
    Just a question iamme...L&D is a critical care area?
  7. by   oramar
    These post demonstrate what only people who have been nurses at the bedside can understand. Nursing, especially at the bedside, is brutally difficult in a way that only a person who has recently been there and done that can understand. Even the most savy new grad realize after a few months that they did not comprehend what they were getting themselves into. People who formely were aids and medical secretaries then RNs tell me nothing could prepare them for the realiity shock of nursing deathly ill persons and being so completely responsible for their fate. PeggyOhio, I felt something change in the mid '90s also, the warning flags were up earlier but it wasn't until around 96 that I started really feeling overwhelmed. By '98, '99 I found my self taking care of more and more sicker and sicker patients with less and less auxiliary staff. Early in 2000 I cracked. I guess the fact that I turned 50 in '98 did not help.
  8. by   PhantomRN
    what you are decribing is pretty normal for the first year out. That is nursing.
    I had a wise nurse tell me once "Just remember most people will despite what you do to them. The body is very tough."

    L&D is not a critical care area, It is a speciality area.
  9. by   Mijourney
    Hi. I agree with all of the above.
  10. by   caroleann
    I decided if I quit, I won't get anywhere and always hated quitting.

    This is how I feel too, I'm just wondering how long it will be before I feel better. I've just got that "sick to your stomach" feeling about working.
    iamme457, I do work at a teaching hospital with 3 different residency programs. We also have 2 different sets of privates that all want you to call them at different times. Just learning who, what and when has been pretty daunting. I'm lucky to get good hours and work only part time, although even with only 24 hours/week I'm exhausted after 12 hours of constant running! Thanks to all of you for your words of advise and support. I'll let you know how it goes........hopefully I'll be loving it after 6 months like CEN35 suggested
  11. by   PeggyOhio
    caroleann,

    Ahh the memories come wafting back to me!
    I too went directly into L&D out of nursing school at the busiest community hospital in the city. What an eye opener for a sheltered kid from catholic schools in the suburbs! That was back in 1972.

    I had nightmares for months! One so vivid I still remember it almost thirty years later! But I stuck it out, and it did get easier.

    Then in 1991 I decided to put my nursing shoes on again, after an eight year sabbatical raising my kids.

    I no longer was interested in L&D. Of course had to "refresh", then got a job on a cardiac step-down 22 bed telemetry unit. Again with the nightmares! I'm there 10 years now.

    I will say this. Things changed dramatically on our unit around 1995-96(?). I honestly do not think I would have been able to handle starting out at that point because the pace became so brutal.

    Hope you hang in!

    [ May 21, 2001: Message edited by: PeggyOhio ]
  12. by   huladoula1
    L&D is MOST definitely a "critical care area"!
  13. by   PhantomRN
    I do not think a laboring woman is considered "CRITICALLY ILL."
  14. by   PeggyOhio
    Phantom
    Ever been the one to loose the fetal heart rate?
    Ever been around when a uterus ruptures?
    Ever had a cord prolapse?
    Ever deliver a baby with spina bifada?
    Ever had a placenta previa?
    Ever had a pre-eclamptic mother seize on you?

    I could go on but you probably wouldn't agree anyway. Free country.

    [ May 22, 2001: Message edited by: PeggyOhio ]

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