Will I ever be the nurse I WANT to be? New grad.... really really struggling emotionally

  1. Hello! I'm new to the forum, but have read posts on this site for literally years!
    I'm a new grad RN and I've been an LPN for 10 years prior to going after RN. I've worked LTC, home health, and clinic in my past LPN life. I truly love geriatrics, but I felt that with my new license and scope of practice, that a few years on a post surgical unit would serve me well.
    So.. Here I am. I'm on days at my local hospital on the second floor. I'm in a residency program and was fortunate enough to have 12 weeks of orientation before being booted out on my own. Yesterday was day two on my own.
    I'm just dumb struck! I literally sat down to chart for about 20 minutes over my entire 12 hour shift. I've made a great brain and have gotten better at time management.... But I feel empty. I walk out of that building feeling like I did NOTHING. The residency program says to make sure I reflect over my day and journal about it... But I honestly couldn't say that I even remember what the hell I did, what order I did it, and how I would do it differently. I'm the type of nurse who feels strongly about being an advocate for the feelings of the patient. I want them to feel that I am truly interested in them as a person and not just a room number. I've had patients who are "frequent flyers" ( because of chronic health conditions- most commonly cancer) tell me that my kindness is rare and I've already been nominated by two patients for our facilities "outstanding employee" award. This is AWESOME to me. I feel so incredibly honored to be able to make a positive impact for people who are suffering so greatly....
    But I don't have time. I went home crying yesterday because one patient who was CLEARLY suffering emotionally after finding out they'd never be able to go home to their cats, house, etc... That they'd probably die in the hospital, or go to nursing home. My patient was hurting, but nothing that pain meds could handle. They needed ME. They didn't have kids, spouse, or anything kind of real support... Just their cats. I developed a wonderful rapport with them, and I was too busy to be there for them I'm so disheartened. I feel like a failure. I may have had all my assessments charted, meds passed and hourly rounds charted.... But I felt like the worst nurse ever.
    Will I ever be able to be the nurse I WANT to be on a med surg unit???
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   JBMmom
    You're setting a really high bar for yourself, give yourself credit for what you have done so early in your career. You sound like you're doing your best, and you're getting your feet under you. You've already been recognized for some of your caring ways, but working days on a busy floor is going to limit some of the time you have for "extras". I work nights and find that I have some time available to spend with patients that could use some extra support, because the pace of the floor is different at night. Don't be disheartened, you're going to find a way to do what's important to you, and until you can fit it in try not to beat yourself up. You can't be everything to every patient, but you're doing your best.
  4. by   tree-huggin'RN
    Yes, I suppose you're right. I guess I'm just looking for some glimmer of hope that with time, I'll get good enough to be able to have time for that. I know that the hospital setting is NOT conducive for holistic nursing... But I'd like to incorporate it into MY practice in all settings. You're right, time is probably the answer in this situation.... This job is hard. The hardest thing I've done, besides nursing school. I think I'm just shot. Thank god I've got the next four days off. I sleep with the sounds of call lights haunting my dreams...lol... But seriously I'm overwhelmed and over stimulated. I'm used to routine and structure... And this is DEFINITELY not that.....
  5. by   zoidberg
    I second the possibility of night shift lending itself more to longer conversations. I am a days only person, but I like the crazy of days. While nights has its own challenges, if you think its something you could do, I would give it a try.
  6. by   llg
    It sounds to me as if you are doing great -- you just need to recognize that the type of unit you are working on is not meant to provide long-term care. It is an acute care unit and your expectations for relationships with the patients are not totally realistic. It will get a bit better over time - but your relationships with the patients and your ability to spend lots of time with them providing emotional support will never be what they can be in a longer term care facility. Eventually, you are going to have to decide what type of care you want to spend your time doing -- and then choose a job that gives you the best opportunity to do that type of care.

    Give your current job at least a year (preferably 2) before running back to your previous environment. Get those acute care skills down and get sufficiently competent there to give it a fair chance.

    Good luck!

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