"...Iím a young new nurse about a year out of nursing school and I haven been on the ob for about 10 months. During the past 4 months or so I have had increasing anxiety to the point of being physically sick and having to call off work, and now I only have one more absence left until they fire me.
My boss is very strict and unsympathetic. If you try to talk to her she says things like ďwell sometimes life just isnt fair.Ē instead of trying to help you. She holds grudges and has favorites and least favorites, and if you are the latter you know it and feel it in the way she treats you.
About 2 months ago I had two patients pass away on me in a two week period, and since then I have been a complete and total mess. I have been getting dizzy and passing out both at work and at home, I constantly feel like something terrible is about to happen, and I have a constant underlying current of fear and anxiety in my mind and heart. It doesnít help that we have been consistently understaffed and overworked the past several months (I work on a med surg floor in a huge city hospital). Every night I go in Iím terrified of what I might face when I get there. I cry all the time. I canít sleep, I donít eat because I feel nauseated most of the time. Iím also facing stress outside of work, conflict within my family and trying to plan and pay for my wedding coming up in May mostly by myself.
...It came to a head last night when my fiance woke up to me sobbing my eyes out because I stay awake all night to make sure heís still breathing. I have been in denial, I know I have a history of depression and self-mutilation as a teenager, although I was never diagnosed with anything. But now I feel like a train speeding at 100 mph towards a solid concrete wall.
I have appointments this week to see both my PCP and a free counselor service provided through my work... I am going to try and talk to my boss, but I donít see her doing much to help me. I have tried yoga, exercise, meditating, hobbies, etc etc and I still feel this way. Itís like Iím trapped inside myself and inside this job that I am so afraid of. I have also applied for several other nursing jobs in the community, but that was just recently and I havenít heard back from any of them yet.
...I canít talk to anyone at work because it will come across as complaining and if my boss gets wind of it we get written up or fired. I am pretty desperate at this point. I barely have the motivation to get out of bed anymore. Normally Iím a generally happy person. I want to feel happy again."
That was me three weeks ago. Since then, I have sought help in counseling, have started medication through my doctor, applied for several jobs, and have gotten a few job offers. TODAY, I accepted a job offer at an inpatient rehab center at another hospital in my area, where the nurse manager is amazingly kind and the patient's aren't as acute.
Also, I called in to work today and resigned without giving notice. Part of me feels guilty, but another part of me knows it was justified. The job was killing me, emotionally, mentally, and physically. I have plans now to write to my state's Senators and Congressmen regarding having a minimum patient nurse ration implemented statewide.
I have drafted letters to both the nursing administration office of my old job and to the hospital's CEO outlining my story. I hope that through telling my story I might be able to help improve conditions for those fellow nurses I leave behind whom I have come to love and care deeply about.
Don't ever let anyone tell you you are trapped in a job that is hurting you. You cannot take care of your patient's without taking care of yourself.
For the first time in months, I feel hopeful.