Need advice regarding reducing work hours due to anxiety please.
1Feb 19, '13 by sistasoulHi all,
I dread going into my job due to the stress level I have when I am there. Even just walking on to the floor with all of the call lights, telemetry boxes beeping, occasional yelling out from our little old confused peeps, and just the general noise level at the nurses station creates a high level of stress for me. All of this without even seeing what my assignement will be. Then I have an admission rolling on to the floor at change of shift and another waitng for discharge. Not to mention our little old combative people who like to swing and kick us as well as the detoxers. We are a neuro/ortho floor so we get all of the confused and demented as well.
I have tried 6 different types of medication to help with this and I could never tolerate the side effects. I even got sent home one day because the medication made me unfit to work with patients. I always knew I did not want to work in a hospital due to the craziness I had witnessed as a nursing assistant but felt I needed to get acute care experience. I have been at this job for 4 years and I work 32 hours a week. I can support myself on 24 hours a week and would love to cut down to 3 days so I can still have benefits as I am a single person. How do I tactfully tell my nurse manager that I would like to cut down to 3 shifts a week without her thinking that I can't handle the position?
I have been actively looking for other employment and would most likely work as a waitress to supplement my income until I could obtain a full time nursing position in some type of outpatient facility. I love the hands on care of patients I just can't handle the other stuff that comes along with it.
Any advice or suggestions regarding a good way to bring a way to tell my supervisor about wanting to reduce my hours would be greatly appreciated.
7Feb 19, '13 by VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN Guide(((((sistasoul)))))
Seven years ago, I was in a similar position---working 32 hrs/week on a busy Med/Surg floor and going out of my skull with anxiety. I dreaded every. single. shift. I was anxious, depressed, scared, jumpy, paranoid, and more than a little afraid for my license. Funnily enough, I was also ill for much of the last year I worked there; I got MRSA, C.diff, myocarditis, bronchitis, pneumonia, cholecystitis, and kidney stones. Stressed much?
One day, I broke. I got called into the CNO's office for the umpteenth time and was reamed about some minor infraction, and I just lost it....had a nervous breakdown right there in the office. Suddenly I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that I could not work one more day, not one more shift, not one more hour on that floor. I wrote a quick resignation letter and handed it to the CNO, who told me I could use my last two weeks' earned leave as my notice. She also told me to file for unemployment, as she knew I was under extreme stress and could probably draw benefits due to the unusual circumstances. I did, and had a blessed two months off to find another less demanding job.
Now. You can be smarter than the stress and research other jobs while you reduce your hours in this one, or you can do what I did and have a public meltdown. I think you can see it coming, and that's a big advantage right there. Just don't make the mistake of thinking it's going to get better, because these things never do on their own.
Your anxiety and pain are palpable, my friend. I wish I could help you, because I know all too well what you're feeling and have stood in your NurseMates. But I think each of us goes through this 'dark night of the soul' in our careers, and if we're smart and if we're lucky, we come out on the other side much wiser and stronger than when we first entered it.
Best of luck to you.
2Feb 20, '13 by sistasoulThank you Viva,
I have read many of your posts and enjoy your writing talents. I know it will not get any better. I am surprised I have lasted 4 years. Did not think I would last a year with this craziness. What type of nursing are you doing now?
1Feb 20, '13 by VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN GuideI'm the director of health services (equivalent to a DON) for a 95-bed assisted living facility, AKA Alzheimer's unit, AKA psych ward, AKA nursing home lite. I love it for the most part, and have been there for 2 1/2 years.......almost the longest I've ever stayed with the same job in my life.
It's stressful too in its own way. I spend about 98% of my work day on shuffling paper of one sort or another, training staff, seeing residents who are on alert monitoring. And believe me, dealing with demanding families is the WORST! But these folks can be a lot of fun, and God willing I'm going to stay with this job unless a) my administrator leaves, b) I get fired, or c) it's time to move in. Although I've got so many medical problems, I probably wouldn't even be admitted to my own facility! LOL
The job is NOT one for new grads or the faint of heart......neither of which describes you, from the tone of your post. You need excellent psychosocial assessment skills as well as the ability to stay cool under pressure (not my strong suit), and fight for your residents when the ER wants to turn them loose and send 'em home with the IV still in, or they're semiconscious and need neuro checks Q 1 hour. You also have to be something of a CSI, which strangely is the part of the job I think I enjoy the most---I love investigating incidents, getting the backstory, doing the detective work and solving the mystery of WHY someone keeps falling or going postal on the staff every night at bedtime.
The perks aren't great, but the money is decent and if you don't have to be on-call 24/7, that's even better.
1Feb 20, '13 by sistasoulSounds fun,
I love the elderly. I would much rather take care of a 90 year old than a 40 year old. Different generation, different demeanor and less demanding. I worked in LTC for the first 6 months of my career and then felt I needed to get acute care experience. We get mostly old people in the hospital and that is who the charge nurse usually tries to give me. I ultimately want to end up working with the elderly in some capacity- just not in LTC- too much running- I am pushing 50 and I feel so bad when I can't give them the attention they deserve.
How many patients (residents) does a nurse get at your facility? There is an assisted living facility where I live and I heard from a nursing assistant who worked there that the nurse had 65 residents to pass meds to. That sounds unreal and who knows if it was true or not. Assisted living facilities are not easy to work at contrary to what some may believe.
0Feb 20, '13 by VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN GuideI don't pass meds or do direct care; we have caregivers and medication aides for that. There are times I wish I could have an LPN working with me though, because the clinical piece of running an ALF is HUGE and the state surveyors love nothing more than to pick it apart, and besides, 82 residents are a lot for one nurse to manage. You've got diabetics, wounds, catheters, dementia, psych issues, incontinence, frequent fallers.......it's not easy.
1Feb 20, '13 by crappydog fanSistasoul,
I have worked on a telemetry floor for the last 23 years and it became too stressful. I might add that I went from full time to 32 hours a week since 2001. I felt burnt out and did not like the nurse that I was. This worked for many years, but eventually I had family personal issues that demanded my attention. I was so stressed out, even with the 32 hours a week. I ended up having depression and had to take time off. It was so needed and it gives you time to really think what is it you want. You also get to rest and that is needed. I am going back to full time in March and the change that I am making is working the night shift. It will be work, but it is a different kind of work flow. I am trying travel nursing for the first time in my career because I was always curious. My first travel assignment is somewhat local because this is something new. Perhaps some sort of change that you can decide on your terms will be helpful for you. Be open to new ideas and I am sure you will find something because there are so many types of nursing jobs out there. Tell your supervisor that you need some time off to take care of yourself. You need this;take the time and good luck to you.
2Feb 20, '13 by prnqday, BSN, RNI've only been a RN for a year and was a LPN for 3 years. I also suffer from anxiety and stress related to work and I decided that until I get my BSN and bedside exeperience I will only work 2 days a week, PT. I can't handle working in the hospital full time. It makes me miserable.
1Feb 20, '13 by anotheronei work night shift which helps alot . i do almost no ot now and do not care about any comments i get about that(sometimes) . can you say, "i am pursuing other non work/ nursing endeavors and would like to go to 24 hrs when possible?" i wouldn't attribute it because of stress or anything like that. if asked for more details i would allude to personal reasons or " would like to spend more time with my family" . ..... something like that. can you look for a 24 hr position in your system? even if it is on another floor? sometimes i think or am doing ok for months then the thought of one shift feels me up with so much dread .