Job related Stress and Anxiety

  1. I have been a nurse for 9 years. I have had nothing but positive feedback on all of my performance appraisals. I have the respect of many of my coworkers. I was top in my class in nursing school. Patients and families tell me that I am very caring and compassionate. SO.....why do I feel like a complete failure and that I have no business trying to be a nurse?
    I have had issues with anxiety since the day I started work. I have spent many a sleepless night completely convinced I made a mistake, only to return to work the next day and find everything as it sould be.
    The anxiety is so distressing. There are times when I am so scared; I am so afraid that I will make a mistake and loose everything I worked so hard for. My license, my job; if I can't work as a RN I won't make enough money, I'll loose the house...I worry myself into a tizzy. What's worse is, I understand that it is just the anxiety talking! I understand that I am not really in any danger. (It sucks to be informed!:chuckle)
    I have worked in multiple clinical jobs and quit because of this. I just couldn't take the stress, so I ran. Each time I told my boss that "this just isn't for me", they were shocked because " You were a perfect fit for the unit" or "I can't believe it, you were doing a great job" or "We'd love to have you back...".
    I do not want to work in a desk job doing chart reviews and QA. Sure I am good at it, being as perfectionistic--to a fault-- as I am . It's boring. I get fat sitting around. Most of all---
    I don't want to run anymore! I want to do and succeed at what I went to school for: to take care of people!
    I have tried many different techniques and am currently in counseling. It just seems to never get better.
    I would just like to know that I am not alone.
    Can any of you relate to this? Can any of you share your experiences with me?
    I would appreciate it!
    Sharon
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  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   caliotter3
    You need to see a doctor that you can build an adequate pt/doctor relationship with. This is extremely difficult since you are a nurse; this usually works to a nurse's disadvantage. You may require a minor psychotropic for anxiety PRN or short term or even long term, or an antidepressant, plus counseling. However, we can not make statements along these lines b/c we would be violating TOS on giving medical advice. You need to find your own doctor, one who listens to you, and advocates for you. Your employer need never know. Other than that: the best help yourself advice that alleviates, if not giving a complete cure: exercise, exercise, exercise; followed by a healthy diet, and good sleep/rest habits. In other words start with a healthy lifestyle. Good luck.
  4. by   lannisz
    Sharon - You are not alone! I can completely identify with you...In fact, I just posted a thread yesterday "what's wrong with me" about my struggles with anxiety and my job. I have been a nurse for almost 3 years now - not as long as you. I have job hopped a lot because I just feel I have to run away or it's going to kill me. I've also gotten so much positive feedback from employers, and shock when I tell them I'm leaving. My husband doesn't understand why I tolerate the work environment I do, but sadly, I thinks it's ME. Every place (even a clinic setting) was too stressful for me. Try posting this in the general nurses forum and you may get more replies.
    Last edit by lannisz on Feb 22, '07
  5. by   summer07
    Been there done that. It's really an awful thing. I feel like I've been running away from clinical nursing for soo long. I've been a nurse now for 15 years. I've always receive above average evals from employers. My patients always trusted me. It was me who didn't trust myself. I'd be up at night thinking I did this wrong or I missed this. Well guess what I didn't miss anything. I am too much of a perfectionist to allow that. I've come to a cross roads now trying to break through this fear. I am getting ready to graduate with my MSN in nsg education. I've been out of the clinical arena for about 2 years and have a really nice non clinical job. My question though is am I missing out on a great career b/c of my anxiety. I'm even at the point now that I don't know if I can teach nursing students. Who wants a teacher who is unsure of her skills? I know I can do this but do I want to put myself through it all over again. So as you can see I totally understand and feel for you. I think it's time to resolve this ongoing issue or just give up on clinical nursing all together (that's the easy route). We all know that the easy route is usually the wrong route. Any advice out there???
  6. by   limestone
    I know where you're coming from. I'm almost 60, with 35 years mental health nursing experience. ALways worked in the community or in private practiced where I had lots of time with my patients. When I moved I had to take a job in acute care psychiatry--never worked in acute care before. I have the same feelings as you do--wake up in the night remembering things I forgot to mention on shift change report, am out for lunch with my husband and suddenly wonder if I forgot to do something at work the day before. Have made tick sheets for each shift's duties, and report sheets etc but still worry. I don't have to work (would be poor but stress-free) but think with all this experience and a nursing degree it would be shameful to leave. My plan is: 1. use my tick sheets faithfully 2. talk to colleagues about their systems for accuracy and also whether they have these experiences too and if so, how they handle them 3. talk to my boss about ways to deal with this 4. give myself 3 months to see if I can improve it and if not, leave and find a low-paying but stres-free job

    Good luck to all of you who wrote about this issue
  7. by   summer07
    At times I wonder if the stress is really worth it. When I am in a non clinical job I feel great. Stress is still there but it is different. You don't have anyone's life in your hands. I just read the article about the nursing student in the Philipines who killed a baby by injecting K. It is such a huge responsibility to be a nurse. I think you either feel comfortable or you don't. I still love teaching. Doesn't mean I have to do it in acute care settings. Think I'll stick with my fundamentals and skills lab. I'm sure I'll have plenty more things that I could teach while staying out of acute care. The stress is not worth it to me. Take care all!!
  8. by   RN BSN 2009
    Maybe some prescription drugs and counseling will help... It's normal to have a bit of anxiety because your job is so important, but not so much as you feel like you can't function at all! A tiny bit of anxiety keeps you alert and on your feet and not so "familiar with things" that you'll make a mistake! Hope you feel better soon
  9. by   summer07
    I just keep pushing my way through the fear. I realize now that my anxieties were coming from fear of the unkown. I never started in a hospital setting when I first came out of school. I think this was a big piece for me. I was always on my own with homecare nursing hoping I was doing it right. Not having hospital experience has been a big obstacle for me. I am ready now to prove to myself that I can do clinical nursing without always worrying. Worrying of course for me is due to the low confidence. So off I go to take a nurse refresher course and prove once and for all to myself that I am a very competent nurse who is going to make a good nursing instructor. How's that for positive self talk? (counseling never hurts )
  10. by   nurseangel47
    I, too, could have written any of these posts regarding clinical anxiety. For twenty years I have fought this demon and still do. I am giving myself a much needed break and doing a non-nursing job at the moment doing something I absolutely love but that, if not for hubby's income, would be impossible to live on. Regrouping, trying not to beat up on myself too much for a change. Good luck to all of us! My heart goes out to you guys/girls...I DO feel your pain and angst. God bless us!:angel2:
  11. by   venus2262
    Quote from sharonorn
    I have been a nurse for 9 years. I have had nothing but positive feedback on all of my performance appraisals. I have the respect of many of my coworkers. I was top in my class in nursing school. Patients and families tell me that I am very caring and compassionate. SO.....why do I feel like a complete failure and that I have no business trying to be a nurse?
    I have had issues with anxiety since the day I started work. I have spent many a sleepless night completely convinced I made a mistake, only to return to work the next day and find everything as it sould be.
    The anxiety is so distressing. There are times when I am so scared; I am so afraid that I will make a mistake and loose everything I worked so hard for. My license, my job; if I can't work as a RN I won't make enough money, I'll loose the house...I worry myself into a tizzy. What's worse is, I understand that it is just the anxiety talking! I understand that I am not really in any danger. (It sucks to be informed!:chuckle)
    I have worked in multiple clinical jobs and quit because of this. I just couldn't take the stress, so I ran. Each time I told my boss that "this just isn't for me", they were shocked because " You were a perfect fit for the unit" or "I can't believe it, you were doing a great job" or "We'd love to have you back...".
    I do not want to work in a desk job doing chart reviews and QA. Sure I am good at it, being as perfectionistic--to a fault-- as I am . It's boring. I get fat sitting around. Most of all---
    I don't want to run anymore! I want to do and succeed at what I went to school for: to take care of people!
    I have tried many different techniques and am currently in counseling. It just seems to never get better.
    I would just like to know that I am not alone.
    Can any of you relate to this? Can any of you share your experiences with me?
    I would appreciate it!
    Sharon
    Sharonnorn,
    Why to have an anxiety or stress out your self? As long as you are doing your Job right you have nothing to worry about... Remember even if you commit mistakes, you have nothing to worry, it just shows that you are HUMAN, Just to remind you, that nobody is perfect, you have no control of everything, leave the rest from above.... Because it is only him is Perfect! Our Plan is different from our destiny so Cheer up and keep up the good work, you dont need any meds or doctor to be well, you need only to trust
    your creator that in times of trouble he will not leave you.

    Just a though!!!!!!
  12. by   lannisz
    I am sorry, I have to disagree. After years of anxiety and trying prayer, meditation, counseling...I am finally ready to try medication. I know you mean well, but for someone who may truly have an anxiety disorder that is biochemical, your advice doesn't help. It just makes us feel guilty that we aren't trusting God enough - and then we'll be anxious about that! I pray before every shift that God will ease my fear and help me focus on helping others...some days I do well, others I have panic attacks, fall apart. go home sick. It's happening more and more often. I am finally ready to try medication. I can't keep running away.
  13. by   venus2262
    Well then....good luck,
  14. by   CyndieRN2007
    Quote from sharonorn
    I have had issues with anxiety since the day I started work. I have spent many a sleepless night completely convinced I made a mistake, only to return to work the next day and find everything as it sould be.
    The anxiety is so distressing. There are times when I am so scared; I am so afraid that I will make a mistake and loose everything I worked so hard for. My license, my job; if I can't work as a RN I won't make enough money, I'll loose the house...I worry myself into a tizzy. What's worse is, I understand that it is just the anxiety talking! I understand that I am not really in any danger. (It sucks to be informed!:chuckle)
    I feel the same way except not as extreme. I always just thought I was a worry wart. I was an LVN working acute care, I was sooo afraid I would make a mistake that I would recheck, recheck, retrace and retrace my steps. I know a good nurse always is thorough but I was extreme. I did not have self confidence in my self. If I made a minor mistake, I would literally lose sleep about it.
    Im not in clinical nursing right now for that reason. I crave the challenge, but when I work in the clinical setting, the worrying about mistakes kills me.

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