Here is my story. I worked in a hospital for 20 years in various capacities which eventually lead to nursing school. I obtained my BSN in 1993 and worked in the SICU for 7 years which was the unit I was the unit secretary for for 3 years while I went to school. I was very familiar and comfortable in this hospital and setting. I had to go on total bedrest when I was pregnant with my son on year 7 of nursing. Prior to my forced break from nursing, I was feeling anxiety, burn out and would replay my bad days in my head far too long. If my patients did poorly, I literally blamed myself in ways that may or may not have made a difference. Long story short, I ended up taking a break from nursing for a total of 5 years. Last year, We moved to another state and I got my license in our new home state. I got the fever to go back to ICU nursing and forgot the anxiety, burn out feelings I had felt prior to the forced leave 5 years ago.
I have been at my new job for a couple months and I am reliving the stress all over again. It feel more pronounced now because the patients are sicker and I do not know this hospital nearly as well as I did when I first entered ICU out of nursing school. My preceptors have all said I am ready but my first day on my own was H*ll. I can barely keep up! We have limited ancillary staff. The nurses are many times their own secretary, transport person and CNA because they are provided only during the day hours but after 3 is when I drown especially if I get new admissions or my patient crashes. I know there are others feeling my pain somewhat. I still have to ask constant questions or need things clarified because I want to be sure. I am so focused at work, I don't eat many times and when I get home I can't sleep at times. There are times I have froze up in crisis situations and you can't do that in ICU!!!
I think nursing is killing me!! Why did I do this? I hate med/surgery or any floor nursing. Five years has proved to me that nursing is even rougher now. Any advice!? I know I need to get out of this situation. The problem is I just started this job and do not want this to be viewed as a failed attempt back into my field. I am very unhappy and unconfident right now. Sorry so long and winey,......Thanks for any words of wisdom......
Dec 17, '07
Hi - I will let experienced nurses respond with their views (I'm only a nursing student).
But, I just wanted to say that, from reading the threads on this site and other Web sites, your story seems all too common. It's not you - it's the system. What you're feeling is likely what is driving the nursing shortage (i.e., other nurses are feeling the same kind of burnout and experiencing the same kinds of working conditions, and are leaving).
It seems as though times have changed in nursing - managed care took over, and now patients are sicker, yet fewer nurses are hired to take care of more & sicker patients, more documentation is needed, and, as a result fewer nurses are willing to do bedside nursing due to the working conditions (since - surprise! - they are only human, not superhuman - their bladders, not to mention their minds and rest of their body, need a break at some point...)
Anyway, just know you are not alone. You may also want to read over the threads in "First Year of Nursing" (since my bet is they reflect not only the "reality shock" of new grads - not applicable to you, really - but also the more recent conditions in nursing, reflective of the current effects of implementing a cost-containment approach in health care) and "Career Advice".
Last edit by marie-francoise on Dec 17, '07
: Reason: added text
have you tried rehab? - spinal cord injuries, strokes, paraplegia, amputees, prosthetic devices - you can find great teams with physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers, physiatrists and rehab nurses
you might find LTC has a different kind of environment with a different pace
home visiting, private duty
there must be other areas for you to try
all the best
Last edit by GingerSue on Dec 17, '07