Welcome to the wide, wild world of nursing!
Not that you haven't already gotten your feet wet, but the novelty has certainly worn off and you are now dealing with the down-and-dirty realities of this profession.
One thing is for sure, nursing and stress go together like honey and lemon. There is no such thing as a "perfect" nursing job. I thought I had it for over two years, but this one wound up in the dumper like every other job I've ever held. (However, that has more to do with my own issues than nursing itself; I'm pushing 55 and simply don't have the heart for it like I used to.) The pace of nursing IS insane, and the demands on us are growing every year; and what I wonder about is not why nurses leave, but why they stay
That said, I hope you won't give up on nursing just yet. Most of us eventually find a niche where we are happiest and most fulfilled, but it often takes several job changes before we stumble into it. And our priorities change as we do; for example, when I was still raising young children I was all about making the most money I could to furnish them with the lifestyle I wanted for them. Later on, it became more about slowing down a bit and working a little less. THEN.....my husband was forced to retire early due to health issues, my sister moved in with us along with her
medical problems, and suddenly I was the sole support for three aging individuals who needed lots of medications and doctor visits.
So I went back to full-time, Monday-through-Friday, fifty-hour weeks, putting my own physical and psychological health needs on the back burner while trying to juggle responsibilities both at work and at home. The pace was brutal, but I loved what I was doing and planned to make this my 'forever' job---the one I would retire from 10 or 15 years down the road.
Eventually, however, the long hours and the high-stress environment began to catch up with me, and a little over a year ago, the first serious signs of a deeper problem began to surface. It all ended in my termination last Thursday, after a three-week medical leave for what ladies of a bygone era politely called a "nervous breakdown".
The take-home lesson here is, don't be like me and ignore the signals your mind and body are giving you. If you have more bad days than good, if you're feeling stressed and exhausted more often than you feel rewarded, you're in the wrong environment no matter how amazing the facility. Learn to think "outside the box" and look at other opportunities in nursing---even in this era of economic austerity, there are many other kinds of jobs that would utilize your skills in ways you never thought of.
Best wishes to you in whatever you decide to do.