Depressed first year nurse.

  1. 1
    Hey there nurses,
    I am not a nurse but my wife is. I am seeking advice to maybe help her out.
    The problem is she says she hates her job. I am pretty sure its not the taking care of people she hates but the fact that the nurses on the shift before her do not do their job correctly. She is always telling me how they didn't do this and they didn't do that, etc.
    So it seems every night before her next day at work (she's on mid nights and I kind of think the shift might have something to do with this a little) she gets all depressed knowing the following night she has to go into work. The the following day before she leaves she gets more depressed. Now I know how my wife is and I know when she is there at the hospital she is all smiles and does an excellent job. She gets lots of bravo awards (these are things patience turn in to show their appreciation for a particular nurse). Once she gets home goes to sleep and wakes up again the depression sits in again. Once she is done for the week or a couple of days she seems to go back to normal.
    Now I have told her to start looking for a new job if she hates it that much. Due to the fact that we have alot of bills added to our life with those always great student loans, a new car (hey you don't go to college to drive a clunker) and let me not lie, enjoying to finally be able to go out and have a little fun finally. (had to put alot of fun off due to her not working much while in school) We have decided that there is a limit of how much less she should accept in pay at a new job. She makes quite a bit more than most first year nurses, mainly because she does not except benifits (we use mine) and her shift premium. She did find one new position at another hospital but they offered her $10/hr less than what she makes.
    I am really don't know what to do. I hate seeing her get so depressed over work. She worked for an optrician for 11 years before and while in college so I know she wasn't to thrown off with the job of being a nurse.
    Any advice?
    Davey Do likes this.

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  2. 0
    How loving of you to seek feedback from like minds on your wife's behalf, bucksnbows! I commend you for that.

    My first job out of LPN School was a MN shift at a LTC Facility (Nursing Home). I suffered from the same sort of symptoms that you described our wife as having depression and TERRIBLE night(day)mares! I was in my 20's at the time. Part of the stress was due to the fact that I tried to keep a day schedule on my days off. Sleep really need to be kept on a regular schedule. That's what I do now- stay on a MN schedule and I sleep fine!

    In my situation, my next job was 3 months later working at a Hospital on a day/evening rotation; a better schedule for sleeping. My symptoms disappeared!

    There are lots of threads on AN.com regarding similar problems that your wife is experiencing. Put some key words into the search machine and see what pops up.

    In addition, I'm relatively sure others will chime in with more information and ideas.

    Good luck and the best to you and your wife.

    Dave
  3. 0
    Night shift and sleep disruption has done a number on me too. The melatonin/serotonin messengers are all mixed up and lack of sleep inhibits the good messengers in your brain, which causes anxiety and depression. The adrenaline secreted in your body from the stress of being a nurse and working nights causes a depression response. And there are meds and cognitive therapy that can help. I've been on nights for 20 years and I'm investigating some of these avenues, so far have not seen a doc yet but am planning on doing it.

    Can she talk to a specialist or doctor?

    And I TOTALLY disagree that you "don't go to college to drive a clunker". That way of thinking is designed to make you fail in life. Nicer cars break down just like clunkers do, and I've never EVER driven a car that I paid more than $7000 for.
  4. 0
    Archibald Hart has fantastic books on adrenaline stress/seratonin response, I've read several of his books to help me understand how my brain works and why I'm having the troubles I am having and what I can do to help.
  5. 0
    How long has she been in that job? It's quite common for new nurses to go through a difficult period of adjustment as they see that life in the "real world" does not live up to their fantasies about a nursing career. In school, nurses learn the "ideal way" of doing things ... but in real life, a lot of compromised get made. The phenomenon even has a name, "Reality Shock." I've also heard it referred to as "Transition Shock."

    Classic reality shock usually occurs sometime within the first year of practice as the new nurse confronts the fact that everything at work is not as wonderful as she imagined it be -- and that her ability to fix everything is less than she would like it be. It feels bad -- and it causes some nurses to jump from job to job (in search of near-perfection) or to leave nursing entirely. Has your wife met anyone at work who she can talk to about her concerns? Perhaps some more experienced nurse who can give her tips on how to work successfully within that work environment ... how to cope with each problem? It's usually best to approach each issue/problem individually rather than all together, because alltogether, they can seem overwhelming.

    Could it be that your wife is suffering from reality shock ... combined with the physical stress of working nights?

    The good news about reality shock is that it often resolves in a few months with just a few strategies. Tackling each work issue one by one -- and establishing a few friendships with co-workers -- are good strategies for dealing with reality shock. Another strategy is to focus on maintaining a balanced view of both the positive and negative aspects of the situation. I encourage new nurses to litterally take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle, listing the positives on one side and the negatives on the other. Positives can include things like a paycheck, the opportunity to help people, meet nice people at work, multiple days off per week, learning new skills, etc.

    Sometimes, leaving is the best option -- but don't jump to that conclusion without first considering the reality shock possibility. You don't want to give up a good job just to go to another job that is equally dissatisfying because NO job can live up to unrealistically high expectations. Help her be sure that the flaws she is finding are not the same flaws she will find almost everywhere -- and that she just doesn't just have to endure a period of adjustment and grieving for her lost fantasies.

    Good luck to you both.
  6. 0
    I hope that when I become a new nurse that I see the nursing world in a positive manor. Try a new perspective, anything the previous shift has conveniently forgotten to do is an opportunity for a new nurse to practice.


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