overwhelmed, anxious, and not a new grad

  1. I have been on orientation for three months now on med-surg and have had a handful of different preceptors. I have had different feedback from all of them, most of it good but a few that were concerned with me keeping up with the fast pace. I had a terrible day a few weeks ago when a preceptor spoke to me like an errant child because I was running behind. I broke into tears (how embarrassing!)I am trying my hardest but it seems at times I can't work fast enough. I am feeling totally discouraged. I don't seem to be a great fit on this unit. I can "feel" the whispers "why is she still on orientation?" I get that no one want to be associated with the nurse that's just not getting it. I'm embarrassed that I'm not succeeding. I feel overwhelmed and I seem to go into a panic mode where I can't think through situations when I have to multi task, it's like I hit a wall and I can't see past it. To give a little back story, I am coming from a two year maternity leave, but prior to that I worked at a special residential facility for patients with severe Intellectual disabilities for 3 years. That was fine, but they will be closing down due to de-institutionalization. The only problem I had there was how one doctor treated me and the other nurses. (A theme) The treatment of subjugation from the Doc made me anxious and I felt sick every time I had to call her, but the daily routine was not anxiety producing.
    I do have anxiety about coming to work to the point that I have physical symptoms of nausea and diarrhea. (I have anxiety 2nd to ADD). I am thinking about trying night shift so that I am not so overwhelmed. At this point I think it would look terrible if I quit after only three months orientation and after they have invested so much. I would like to be successful but, maybe I'm just not cut our for floor nursing. Do you think night shift would be a better fit? any thoughts and ideas on coming out of this gracefully and tactfully?
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  2. 5 Comments

  3. by   Lil Nel
    First, if you haven't received professional counseling regarding you anxiety level, you should. Immediately. You can't function at work if you experiencing nausea and diarrhea due to stress.

    Secondly, what do you want from this situation? Do you want to leave the unit, or do you want to try and stay on?

    If the latter, then I would definitely switch to night shift. The pace will be slower, and maybe that will be enough to help you gain some confidence and improve your time management skills.

    I highly doubt that you aren't cut out for floor nursing. It is more likely that once your confidence was shaken, and you had a few bad days, it became more and more difficult to regain ground and hence, your anxiety increased. It then becomes a vicious cycle. You need to find a way to break the cycle.

    It can be difficult after a busy shift to take the time to think about what you did, and what you learned during the shift. But I would advise you to do so. Try writing it down in a journal. That will help you recall things, and maybe see patterns in weak areas.

    We all get overwhelmed at times during times of stress, and it can be hard to remember to breathe and THINK. It is a learned behavior. But you can do it! It can also be hard to overlook the whispers and stares of co-workers. But you must, if you are to succeed on this unit.

    If you don't want to remain on the unit, I would be honest with your NM and work out a graceful exit as soon as possible. I left a job during my three-month orientation, and it was the best decision. No regrets.

    Good luck.
  4. by   Funsize BSN, RN
    I'm sorry to hear that you are having such a miserable experience Bunnyears. I have had similar experiences to yours at my own workplace. It seems that some nurses just aren't very patient with newer nurses and do not have much compassion and empathy for what you might be going through. These seasoned nurses need to realize that bullying new nurses is not an effective strategy in creating the competent nurses that they are looking for.

    I also suffer from ADD and anxiety. I work the night shift on a med-surg floor and I feel that being on the night shift definitely helps. I can't stand the busy hustle and bustle in the morning. I don't like having to share my patients with the doctors, PT, family members, etc. That chaotic environment just aggravates my anxiety and easily overwhelms me not allowing me to think clearly.

    I agree with Lil Nel's list of advice as I've had the unfortunate experience of having my own confidence shaken by a few bad days and ended up in that vicious cycle where it felt impossible for me to bounce back. I'm a newish nurse with about 1.5 yrs of experience. There were plenty of times where I wanted to quit and move on but I did not want to give up without a fight. I discovered that it was vital for me to forgive myself when I made mistakes and practice self-compassion.

    I think you should follow through on trying out the night shift before you give up on floor nursing. I understand your feelings of guilt for quitting after they've invested the time and resources to train you but you have to do what's best for you and your health. They can cut their losses and move on. Because trust me, they do not feel guilty for us nurses when they impose dangerous nurse-patient ratios in order to save money.

    As for the whispers and gossip, I promise you even if you started off as a super skilled nurse the gossipers would still find something to whisper about. It's just part of the culture.

    I wish you all the best of luck and hope that you find an area of nursing that you may fall in love with...but don't forget to love yourself as well in the process.
  5. by   LovegelatoRN
    Sorry you are going through this!

    It's an overwhelming job due to the nature of the responsibility and usually floor nurses are given loads that are too high (which of course creates anxiety). Many nurses have work related anxiety who work in acute care.

    So...I would say if you were happy in your former position and didn't feel anxious other times, apply for others similar to it now while maybe asking to go on nights at this job. Then...when you do get an outpatient job, be sure to resign this one on good terms and give this place 1 month notice. People will tell you...it gets better, and it does to a certain degree, and then many people burn out due to the long shifts, demands, etc...its just fact. But...it's just not worth your health. There are studies out there that say that nurses that are unhappy at work long term are more likely to get diabetes, cancer, etc etc down the road.

    I would normally say stick out any job for a year....but I'm of the mindset that no job is worth your health....but only you know what you can handle. If you think you will enjoy the unit once you get the hang of it, possibly stick around. But, it's not for everyone, and that's okay. Best of luck!!
  6. by   Irish_Mist
    I had an extended orientation. I felt the same feelings you were feeling. Guess what? I made it through and you can, too. If you've made it three months, the potential is obviously there. Trust me, they could have gotten rid of you a long time ago if they really wanted to. As far as the whispering, are you sure you aren't projecting your thoughts onto other people? I thought people whispered about my orientation being extended but that wasn't the case at all. Everyone was very supportive but I had convinced myself that I was inferior, therefore people were talking about me. Even if they are talking, who cares? You're not there to win Miss Popularity. You're there to do a job. Repeat that to yourself and walk with confidence.

    Go see someone for your anxiety. I did and I feel a lot better.
  7. by   LovegelatoRN
    What did you decide, OP? Hope you feel at peace with your decision.

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