New RN, and hate nursing already

  1. Nursing is nothing like what they taught us in school.

    After graduating and passing NCLEX, it was very difficult for me to find a job in a hospital right away, because everyone wanted golden 1 year of med surg. And I needed to pay bills. So my first job was in pediatric home care agency. It was scary at first, because I have 0 experience, and I'll be 1 on 1 with a pt right away. But they knew that, so I thought they'd start me off with an easy stable pt at first, and later give me more difficult pts. Which makes sense, right, why would they assign someone who has 0 experience with unstable difficult pt? Well, that's what they did. My first pt had a cerebral palsy, unstable, moaning and screaming from the top of his lungs (literally), most of the day, everyday. Sometimes because he needed gtube vented, sometimes for attention. And since I was new, I constantly had a thought that it was something that I did. Not to mention that pt was big, and family didn't have a Hoyer lift, so they wanted me to help them lift him up manually to transfer to bathchair, wheelchair or bed. When was asked why they don't have a Hoyer lift, family said "I know, but it takes too much space, and it's just faster this way". It was the most emotionally exhausting experience I've ever had in my life. I had this pt 4 days a week 12-8. And they paid me $17/hour for this!!! Once in blue moon they gave me a pt who is super easy, stable, and it felt more like babysitting. So I knew that not every patient is as difficult and unstable as mine. It made me so pissed off and disappointed that they gave a new grad with 0 experience difficult patient that nobody else wanted. And I didn't want to tell them to switch me because I didn't want to seem incompetent, like I can't handle the job. I wanted to make a good impression.

    Anyway, after working with this pt for 4 months, I was able to find a job in a hospital on med surg unit. I knew that it would be difficult because I still need to learn how to organize myself, time management and prioritization, which comes with experience. But I never thought it would be what it is. First of all, I feel like my job is about completing tasks rather than about patient care. Completing tasks (documentation), maid services, and passing meds. I feel like that's all that there is. We get a lot of homeless pts who get dilaudad like candy. And god forbid you are 1 minute late with your pain med. We also get a lot of patients who are verbally abusive, manipulative, pts who yell, and threat to sue the hospital because I was 5 minutes late with dilaudad. And management knows about everything, and defends the pt. They said "call code grey if someone is cussing you out". Really? You want me to call code grey everytime I walk into some pts room? Because some pts cuss me out everytime I enter the room to give meds to check blood sugar. Management does nothing to defend us and kisses pts ass instead. They just don't care. I feel like a blue collar worker, a working ant, who is unappreciated and always yelled at. Everything is always our fault. What happened to nursing being a highly respected profession? Labs not done because pt didn't want to get stuck and refused? Nurses fault, we get yelled by doctors for that. Pt refused medication? Get yelled by doctors for that too. Nurses give such crappy reports from previous shifts, and don't do half of the things they're supposed to do, leaving it on my shift. But god forbid I don't mention the smallest details on my report or forget to do something during my shift. "You were supposed to get that done", "oh pt came in 15 minutes before shift change and you didn't attempt to get an IV in? What? Why not??". Ugh.

    Did anyone ever had a similar experience? Is this ever going to get better? I have strong thoughts about quitting nursing all together, but I don't know what else id do. I love helping people, as long as they don't manipulate and verbally abuse me. I didn't go to 4 year college to be verbally abused. I'm so lost right now. I just know for sure I don't want to be working like this and feel like this for the rest of my life
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   Emergent
    I have not had an experience like that. Either you are feeding into these behaviors in some way without realizing it, or the hospital you work for is truly bottom of the barrel.

    I did 2 cases for homecare years ago and learned it wasn't my thing. You are on their turf, in the midst of all their family dynamics. Ugh, not for me!

    As far as dealing with lowlifes, stay detached and treat everyone with dignity. Try to find out something about their lives. Don't wait for them to get demanding but give small gestures of TLC and consideration without catering to them. Remind them that you need to check on your other patients but will be back.

    As far as your remark about blue collar workers, that was uncalled for. One of my son's is an HVAC guy, very intelligent, skilled, frugal, and prosperous. He has a wonderful wife and daughter and just bought a house.
  4. by   JBMmom
    Well, it certainly sounds like you've had a rough start. However, I think you may also be looking at your experience through crap colored glasses.I agree with part of your assessment of the med-surg environment that the job can be very task oriented and not allow for the quality of care that you would like to provide. Have you really not had a single positive experience with the patients you've cared for? Certainly someone must have expressed a small amount gratitude for quality care. But even if they didn't, did you get into nursing so people would express gratitude to you, or did you get into nursing to provide the best care you can for patients that need it? Your homeless patients that constantly want dilaudid- maybe they have chronic (and acute) pain from a hard life lived on the streets. If people are really yelling at you for every interaction, like checking blood sugars, is it possible that you have adopted an antagonistic attitude that's inviting conflict? And do you really have that many patients refusing blood draws? I can think of maybe two that I've had in recent months, maybe your lab people need to be more persistent? Maybe you're just miserable and only the bad experiences are standing out in your mind. In that case, maybe you should find something else to do. I've certainly had patients that were very frustrating, but the ratio of those to patients that I felt I really helped is pretty small. Not many have expressed gratitude, but that's not why I'm there. If I get to the end of my shift and I know for myself that my parents were cared for to the best of my ability I'm happy enough.

    There are going to be positive and negative aspects to every job in the world. If you can't find the positive in yours, that's probably a clue you want to move on. But if you can reframe your experience in a more positive way, you might find that you don't really hate it as much as you think you do. Only you can really make that call. Good luck.
  5. by   dream'n
    Welcome to Nursing 2017! The agency doesn't care who they assigned you, they don't care you are a new grad. All they are interested in is that you are a RN and that you need to 'make it work'. Working in the hospital almost everything will be your fault and you will be blamed for most things that go wrong. Again, welcome to the nursing profession
  6. by   HyzenthlayLPN
    Both of the positions you have had sound awful.

    FWIW private duty home health was one of my favorite nursing jobs. I had wonderful families and patients (well, there was ONE that the family was UGH...but that wasn't the norm). I also had an AWESOME staffer who was gifted at matching nurses to families and supervising nurses who were VERY supportive and always available. I am really sorry that you have had a bad experience.

    I encourage you to not give up.
    Last edit by HyzenthlayLPN on Nov 14 : Reason: realized I was off on an irrelevant tangent
  7. by   Lil Nel
    Wow.

    First, I really want to tell you that I am sorry for your bad experiences. Don't misunderstand me, I am a fairly new nurse too (graduated May 2016), and I have had my share of crappy patients and crappy co-workers.

    I am constantly in a state of disillusionment regarding healthcare in this country. But hopefully, you can find a few co-workers you can lean on and count on, when the going gets rough.

    Stick close to these folks. They will make the bad times bearable.

    And perhaps you should consider moving to another part of the country. If you move to an area where nursing jobs are plentiful, you might find better opportunities. It is just a thought.

    Believe me, I think about leaving nursing all the time, and so do many of the other nurses that I know. You aren't alone.

    Visit this forum and you will understand you aren't alone.

    Again, seek out dependable and sympathetic coworkers.

    Good luck!
  8. by   daytoday
    In my opinion, some people thrive as nurses in the hospital setting, but for others it will crush. your. soul. I did almost three years in hospital setting, oncology and heme/onc. I learned so, so much, it was invaluable training for a new grad. But by only 2.5 years I knew I had to leave the bedside, or leave the profession altogether. I'm a good nurse, and I worked in excellent hospitals and had many positive experiences alongside the bad - I appeared to thrive. But I felt I was dying on the inside, the setting was definitely not for me. I found a way to leave the bedside and I am so much happier, still working as an RN and using my knowledge in a different setting. I recommend getting as much bedside experience as you can handle because of the excellent teacher that experience is, and then looking into other options.
  9. by   ruby_jane
    Quote from ally1991
    Nursing is nothing like what they taught us in school.

    I'm so lost right now. I just know for sure I don't want to be working like this and feel like this for the rest of my life
    You're right, and most of us have had days where we question why we're doing this. It may be that hospital nursing is not for you. I had a similar start - I took the first job I could get on an ICU step-down (HA!) and my preceptor said about three days in... "Not everyone makes it in the ICU." But that's true. And hey, there's no shame in saying that. I don't want to have days like you're describing.

    I made it in public and community health and most days I like my job. On the days I don't, I still leave at 3:15. Hospital nursing isn't the only kind of nursing. Before you completely give up, consider getting 6 months experience and then going to a non-hospital gig (or...if you really want to work in a hospital, keep that job for a year and count down on a calendar).

    Good luck!
  10. by   ally1991
    Quote from JBMmom
    If people are really yelling at you for every interaction, like checking blood sugars, is it possible that you have adopted an antagonistic attitude that's inviting conflict? And do you really have that many patients refusing blood draws? I can think of maybe two that I've had in recent months, maybe your lab people need to be more persistent?
    I probably didn't word it correctly, I don't have many patients who yell for trying to give meds or draw blood. There are currently 2 patients like that on the floor. They've been with us for a while now because they're homeless, and they've got nowhere to go, no shelter wants them. I get one of them almost every time I work, he requests me because I'm on time with pain meds (I don't want any trouble from that guy, so I work my day around and try my best to be on time with his Q3 pain med). Staff is happy to go with his request because no one wants to be his nurse. It doesn't stop him from saying all the terrible things to me. And it's okay if i got pts like that once in a while, that's fine, I can handle that. But every other time I work. On days that I don't have him, coworkers will ask me to help them out with him like "can you give med to this guy please?". And I go in, and I deal with him. The reason I don't ask for help is because my coworkers are busy, and won't go to the room right away, they'll go in 10-15mins whenever they're available. And who pt will be calling complaining and yelling that the nurse is late with his care(pain med primarily)? Me! So it's faster to do things by myself. So that's the story with that. I do get good amount of good patients as well, but this one just sucks all the positivity, self esteem and work enthusiasm out of me
  11. by   JBMmom
    Quote from ally1991
    I probably didn't word it correctly, I don't have many patients who yell for trying to give meds or draw blood. There are currently 2 patients like that on the floor. They've been with us for a while now because they're homeless, and they've got nowhere to go, no shelter wants them. I get one of them almost every time I work, he requests me because I'm on time with pain meds (I don't want any trouble from that guy, so I work my day around and try my best to be on time with his Q3 pain med). Staff is happy to go with his request because no one wants to be his nurse. It doesn't stop him from saying all the terrible things to me. And it's okay if i got pts like that once in a while, that's fine, I can handle that. But every other time I work. On days that I don't have him, coworkers will ask me to help them out with him like "can you give med to this guy please?". And I go in, and I deal with him. The reason I don't ask for help is because my coworkers are busy, and won't go to the room right away, they'll go in 10-15mins whenever they're available. And who pt will be calling complaining and yelling that the nurse is late with his care(pain med primarily)? Me! So it's faster to do things by myself. So that's the story with that. I do get good amount of good patients as well, but this one just sucks all the positivity, self esteem and work enthusiasm out of me
    Ah, well a particularly demanding patient can definitely suck the joy out of any day. Try not to let it become the focus of all your experiences. Hopefully this patient will move on from your floor soon and will no longer monopolize your time. Until then you should feel free to set some boundaries. I've had patients to whom I have stated "I will be happy to provide your pain meds as soon as I am able, however, you have no right to speak to me in a disrespectful manner, and if that continues I will call security and they will have to come up here." Some don't care if security is called, some are still tough, but others settle when they realize I'm not going to put up with yelling and/or abuse. Sounds like you've already shown a pattern of conscientious behavior in responding quickly, now set the boundaries for what's expected of a patient. And someone must be working to get him out of there, case management? You can't keep someone forever without a medical need. Good luck, and don't let one bad patient get you down.

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