Only been a nurse for 4 months

  1. Hi All!,
    I know there are a lot of posts like mine, with people saying they're burnt out, etc., but I've only been a nurse for 4 months, and I already feel this way.
    I work on med-surg, but we are more like a ICU step down really. We have some complex pt's that demand a lot of care, but the nurse to pt. ratio is usually ok.
    I just feel REALLY stressed out, ALL the time. I come home, with no one to talk to, when I tell my husband or my mom the response is mostly "it'll get better, you're doing fine" or something to that effect, constantly. I feel like they don't take me seriously when I tell them I don't know if I can handle nursing.
    I feel like I was not cut out to be a nurse at all, and I want to go back to school for a different major. Whenever I tell my husband or mom this, I get a lot of flack about needing to stay a nurse.
    I find myself crying when I get home because I'm so unhappy, I feel like I'm in the worst health of my life(i work nights)- whacky sleep patterns, unhealthy eating, fights with my husband(we never fought before, now I blow up over small things), I smoke more than I ever have, I quit exercising, my stress level is through the roof, no time for my friends, etc.
    I'm so tired of having these mini-emotional-breakdowns when I get home from work. I just don't know what to do. Maybe I'm just looking for people who've been in my shoes, or have a word of advice, or just took the time to read this. Thank you!
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  2. 26 Comments

  3. by   meownsmile
    Well i hate to sound like hubby and mom but IT WILL. As you have read on some of these posts already, it takes a good year for a new grad nurse to really become comfortable with their new role. Be patient,, remember you can only do one thing at a time, and dont be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Sometimes just thinking about going into work can cause a major stress. But keep going,, and when in doubt ask ask ask.

    OH and youve come to the right place. You can vent here all you want and know there is someone out here that has been where you are going through the same thing at one point or another.
  4. by   ncriverrat
    Hi,
    Thanks for the reply!
    I think I'm just not happy nursing. I don't know if I can take it for 8 more months just to see if I start to like it. I'm constantly telling myself that I made the wrong career choice.
    I am wondering if nursing is just too high-stress for me(I'm probably the most laid-back person you could ever meet).
    Thanks for taking the time to read my post and the words of advice, they're appreciated!
  5. by   barbyann
    Have you considered cutting back your hours? Hospital nursing is valuable experience to a new grad. but it is STRESSFUL! Maybe work 2 days in hospital and three days in MD office? Just a thought. I don't think any job is worth getting sick over though.
  6. by   tulip928
    I don't know what to say . . . regretfully I gave it 19 months, the stress level got worse for me along with increasing short staffing - to the point I developed chest pains. Coincidentally, I was diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse, which sort of explained the anxiety I was experiencing. It was a real physical reaction to the stress. I still have my license, but I'm no longer working as a RN. Trust your gut - there may be something more fulfilling for you out there.
  7. by   NURSEB4BIRTH
    It is a lot to absorb in the beginning, and we all know that floor nursing is very difficult. The experience you recieve here however is very valuable. Keep in mind, floor nursing is only one part of nursing. There are MANY different avenues you are able to pursue. Nursing may be your ticket to see the world. The wonderful thing about nursing is you can make many moves. I'm sorry that you cannot vent to your family. I understand this. My am an ER nurse in a level 1 trauma center. My husband still thinks that I sit around all day and twiddle my thumbs. Talk to some other people who have been at it for a while. But the bottom line is you NEED to do what makes YOU feel good! Prayer has helped me!!
  8. by   SCRN1
    Hugs!

    I understand how you're feeling. Each time I've worked in a new area of nursing at a hospital (3 times), I felt overwhelmed for the first 3-6 months until I became more familiar with the different protocols, computer programs for charting, etc. It's never really gotten "easy" after that and there's always some bad nights, as well as good ones. But it did get to the point where I didn't feel quite as stressed out as I did in the beginning.

    You've got to figure out which routine works best for you as far as getting enough sleep. For myself, I'm still working on it, LOL. I try to keep all my nights together in a row so that I'm not back and forth in sleep patterns all the time. On my first night back each week, I usually get up real early in the morning so I can take a nap that afternoon. My last night on, I try not to sleep as long when I get home so I can sleep that night. I know some nurses who just keep the same sleep schedule whether they're working that night or not. Personally, that wouldn't work for me.

    If you're working in a place that has great staffing, I'd try to stick it out awhile longer and see if things get better for you. If it doesn't, you may want to try an office. But I've worked in one before and they aren't always 8am - 5pm jobs like you'd think. If the doctor(s) get behind, everyone is late getting off. During the flu season, there can really be some long hours. But it is a slower pace than in a hospital.
  9. by   ncriverrat
    Thank you both for the replies!
    I live in a small town, and there aren't really a lot of options here besides the hospital- esp. for a new grad(most places here mean it when they say "experience required")

    but honestly, I think nursing just isn't for me. And I really hate to say if, after the years of school and effort put into it.
    I want to go back to school for Parks and Rec. and give up nursing in general. I feel like I've learned a lot that will always stick with me, and I don't feel like I need to be "stuck" in a career where I'm not happy. However, no one else sees it this way. I feel like everyone around me will be disappointed if I give it up, and in a way I feel guilty because my mom paid for my school, and tells me I "can't quit a job I just started". I feel like when I tell my husband or mom how stressed and unhappy I am, they don't take me seriously, and just think I had a bad night.
  10. by   tulip928
    Trust your gut and your heart . . . and remember that your education is not wasted - it is a good foundation and will lead to better things for you no matter what you decide.
  11. by   rita359
    You also have to consider that your body is still adapting to being awake at night, its the circadian rhythm thing. Beside all the stress of being a new nurse being awake at night is also a stressor. I really think you should give nursing more than 4 months. For the most part it really does get easier and is very rewarding. Can never see parks and rec being so rewarding.
  12. by   lauralassie
    Hang in there. It will get better. Just put one foot in front of the other and try to go in with a positive attitude. Try not to go in thinking your going to save the world. Some days if you can just let a patient know you care about them, then you've done a good job for that day. I feel nursing will always be stressfull no matter how long your in it, but you realy do learn to manage those feelings. Venting to other nurses is a good start.
  13. by   nurseangel47
    Perhaps seeing a professional, does your hospital offer a counseling referral service for their employees? That would be a good first step. You have our sympathetic ears here, that's a given. Anytime you want/need to come and rant or vent like most of the rest of us, sign on and let the flames fly from the keyboard! LOL ... I, too, have been thru the wringer in nursing. Hang in, though, like a lot of the other posts said, it definitely takes a year or so, sometimes less, as in 6-9 months maybe, to feel more like you're comfortably ensconced in your role. You DO gain confidence and your own "routine" plus develop a sixth sense about things that are about to happen and the interventions come without much thought after a while, if that makes any sense. It takes time, it's an ongoing gathering of knowledge in the nursing world. Don't let the initial feeling of being overwhelmed/stressed get to you just yet. You need to cut yourself a break, seek counseling to have an objective perspective on your situation, and hang on to this opportunity to grow...as a person and as a professional.
    Good luck. Let us know how you are doing.
  14. by   CaLLaCoDe
    [font=book antiqua]perhaps give yourself a year of this working on nights with high acuity patients and mood swings and heaven forbid divorce lol :+(

    [font=book antiqua]but i would not recommend it!

    [font=book antiqua]i suggest looking for a day position at another hospital or a specialty like
    [font=book antiqua]recovery, gi lab, med surge days position...before quitting nursing all togethor...even home health..discharge plannning..list goes on and on!

    [font=book antiqua]you have many options...listen to yourself...do what feels right.

    [font=book antiqua]my first year on telemetry was a struggle, but now i, since our staff is incredible< i'm able to relax and enjoy being a happy night nurse.

    [font=book antiqua]i cannot garauntee this will be the same for you...you are your best judge of that!

    [font=book antiqua]thank goodness there's a nursing shortage and plenty of options out there
    [font=book antiqua]keep a positive outlook and look and you might find...!!!
    Last edit by CaLLaCoDe on Jan 16, '07

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