I need advice..... BAD!

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    I graduated my RN program during the spring 2012 semester. Shortly after, I took the NCLEX and got my license! What a proud moment for me to finally be able to call myself an RN. I was then on my path to getting a job. I volunteered at multiple organizations, applied to what seemed like a million job posting, introduced myself to managers, and even landed two interviews - which is pretty tough to get here in California. New grad jobs in California are very rare. They only want "experience"! Well how does one get experience if nobody will hire them. Anyways..... I got off the subject. Sorry. So about 6 months of doing this..... I FINALLY got the call - I was offered my very first Nursing job on a Telemetry unit. I couldn't be more thrilled! All my hard work is finally paying off.

    So I start out on my three month orientation. I worked 5 days a week with a preceptor and I felt as though my time management skills and growth were great! Each and every shift I learned more and did better than the previous days work. I even had some nurses say to me "you never seem stressed out - you seem to just flow with it." Then my orientation was over and I was on my own. At this point, I was not longer having to work 5 days a week, but was able to make my own schedule. First day was NERVE wrecking to say the least, because now it was all on me! I was the sole caregiver to these sick patients. At about 4 months in..... I started to get these feelings of not wanting to go - so I would put myself on the "call off list" with the hopes of being called off work due to census or overstaffed. Some days it worked and when it did I couldn't be more thrilled. Slowly, I started to feel no drive to go to work. I would wake up in the morning and prepare for my day. That consisted of anxiety and crying episodes. But I managed to go to work and make it through the night. As each shift came near and as time went on - I would be mentally and physically sick. Migraines before work that lasted through the night (and only the day I was to go to work).... I had no appetite and would eat very little..... at times I would throw up in the parking lot 30 minutes prior to starting my shift (and then having to put that fake smile like nothing happened)...... panic attacks during my shift..... and then crying spells before and after my shifts.

    This is not what I signed myself up for. I know nursing is stressful and I know this is a huge demanding job. I will put it out there that by no means is this in regards to my patient care. I dont have those bad feeling about taking a patient load and doing my actual nursing duties (so I think). This is me getting physically sick to my stomach at the thought of going to work. I have seeked help from a therapist and I have had one session so far. I just dont know if they realize what Nurses do. I explained EVERYTHING i was saying and she basically said "your depressed... I think you should take some medicine". Well yea - I am depressed and I need to get to the root of this because I am physiologically having symptoms. I also have signed up for stress management and anxiety classes because I feel as though I could use some coping mechanisms. I have taken a leave of absence to find out what the true meaning of all of this is. This is my bodies way of saying something just isn't right. In the mean time, I am reaching out to other nurses for some advice. Have you ever experienced anything like this? Do you know of anyone that has and what did they do about it? I now only have 6 months experience and so I know its not burnout. haha. Maybe in the end - I was not meant to be a floor/tele nurse.

    Thanks for listening and thanks for those that give me advice.
    annie.rn likes this.
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  3. 24 Comments so far...

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    I did have those symptoms, but I had been a nurse for over 15 years and was burned out. Can you make a list of what you like about work and what you don't? It sounds like you have more stressed than what you are telling yourself?

    I know when I get stressed at work, my stomach is the first to rebel.

    Big hugs and I hope you find the trigger.
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    If not about pt care but about work, do you know why you feel this way? The first few months I sometimes felt that way but it went almost cometely away after 6-12 months. It happens sometimes but the reason I dreaded it , had anxiety, nausea, couldn't eat, crying after work was because I felt overwhelmed etc... once I felt more comfortable and some routine at my job those feelings of anxiety and dread decreased greatly . hope you feel better soon
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    You said you are working at night? Have you seen a doctor? I know we are not allowed to give medical advice, but a visit to your doctor might be in order. Your symptoms sound like something I have dealt with. I had endocrine problems. Hope you feel better!
    Nurse_Diane likes this.
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    Thank you for replying!

    I will tell you why I decided to come into nursing first. First and foremost.... I truly have a passion to help people and help them heal. I wanted a career that was rewarding and where I could go home and feel as though I was making a difference. Sounds cliche but its true.

    What I dont like? I don't like the stress of it (I have come to realized that yes I am more stressed that I tell myself which I have realized lately).... the constant circus of running around with your head cut off..... the absolute ridiculous amount of charting you have to do..... not having enough time in a shift to do more patient care. Management sucks - talk crap about nurses to nurses. Dictatorship environment. I don't like floor nursing. I know this is what nurses do on a daily basis. But I hate it. I hate how I feel about going to work. I just didn't think I would have feelings like this at 6 months.

    It isn't my passion to do medsurg/tele and so I am not sure if that is where this is all stemming from. Maybe I need to find my passion as a nurse and go from there.

    I know I am not alone.... but I feel so alone.
    anotherone likes this.
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    I have seen a doctor and all tests were normal. That was what I did first.......
  9. 1
    Hi, I am also a new grad just 4 weeks into orienting on a med/surg/ tele unit. I already feel like I know floor nursing isn't what I want to be doing the rest of my life. I too feel so stressed out from being a nurse, I don't know how people do this for 20+ years!! I am counting on feeling a little more relief by 6 months -1 year. On top of that I am from CA, and went out of state for a job where the pt ratio is higher than CA and I get paid maybe half of what I would make in CA. It has been so disheartening, I can hardly pay my bills and at the same time I am working harder than I have in my life. My body hurts, and I am an anxious stressful mess... I am already looking into other options, and using it as motivation to get through this year... Good luck to you, you are not alone.
    anotherone likes this.
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    I know you said you went to a doctor but how about seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist? I had similar issues with my first nursing job, turns out I was suffering from major depression which was causing my anxiety issues with work. The depression was not work related but that's when it manifested itself. A combination of talk therapy and antidepressants got me through it. That was almost 17 years ago, I am currently working in NICU and have no anxiety issues at all. The depression will never go away but it is manageable. I hope this helps, please don't be affraid to seek out psychiatric help.
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    I know you said you went to a doctor but how about seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist? I had similar issues with my first nursing job, turns out I was suffering from major depression which was causing my anxiety issues with work. The depression was not work related but that's when it manifested itself. A combination of talk therapy and antidepressants got me through it. That was almost 17 years ago, I am currently working in NICU and have no anxiety issues at all. The depression will never go away but it is manageable. I hope this helps, please don't be affraid to seek out psychiatric help.
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    Just my opinion: you, like many others entered nursing when it was/is full ablaze. That's hot!!!!! I came in yesteryear before the popularity of IV drugs/narcs, before the advent of the cellphone or pager, during a time when we were lucky to have ONE computer on each floor and we were in awe just at the thought of such a contraption; before intracaths were made of plastic, during the days of orderlies for male patients only, and during the days when we were sent home if we came to work without our caps, and during the days when there was a nurse assigned just for IV fluids, one for medications other than the IV route and a charge nurse who would bite your head off for calling the doctor as that was her job. Notice I said her. We could count the number of male nurses in the entire hospital. We were in awe of them, too. Lol!

    The introduction of these new gadgets were gradual and the changes in nursing were gradual, the threat of lawsuits didn't exist as we were viewed as sincere people trying to help the sick as opposed to the now insult of being glorified-maids, legalized drug pushers taking care of people who are ALWAYS right. We were allowed to warm up as these changes took place. You poor souls today are thrown into the fire! (Here comes my favorite quote.) Pierce Brosnan, in his role in Dante's Peak, once said, "if you throw a frog into boiling water, he will hop right out. But if you put it in cool water and heat it up gradually, he will SLOWLY boil to death.". We 'experienced' nurses are simmering as we speak!

    I hope you feel better soon. Truly, I do, because new nurses turn into experienced nurses. If you all quit, where will that leave us and who will teach those who are to follow you? You have a role and although you may feel like you're thrown to the wolves, as I do almost every day too, your role is important in the grand scheme of things.

    Take care!

    One more thought: in my 27 years of nursing, I've only held one job in which I worked a couple of miles from my home. Otherwise, the commute has ALWAYS been at least an hour one way. My current drive is 3 1/2 hours in one direction. This allows for preprogramming before the shift and deprogramming afterwards. These are a MUST for me if I am to return to work another day. I guess the older I get, the more therapy I need.
    Last edit by BSNbeDONE on Jun 19, '13
    mitral, Miss Kitty00, KJM-RN, and 3 others like this.


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