When I was in nursing school I think the phrase I remember hearing/saying the most was "I will NEVER be like that" after seeing all the shortcuts nurses make in their practice. The medsurg clinical was worst, and it seemed every nurse I precepted with was doing everything sloppily and quick. I told myself I would continue to do things very clean and at the very least, do them the best I could in the time I had...which would still mean I was doing them well, right?
Here I am, only one year into my being a practicing RN and I find myself doing all of these things daily. Taking shortcuts, snapping at patients and families, crying at work and the day prior to having to go into work, and strongly disliking my job. I took a position in medsurg because, let's be honest, it was the only one where there was a manager who didn't puke after reading "new-grad" on my resume. I told myself it'd be six months max, but my coworkers and maybe a bit of fear are keeping me there for the time being. My issue is that I am beginning to question why I got into nursing at all. It makes me nauseous when I think of some of the things I say at work to people and how consumed I am with the idea of not working any longer. I've always been a hard-worker and very passionate, constantly happy to help people and be around them but lately I just want to call in sick or disappear completely.
I have plans to go on to grad school, and would like to eventually be in ICU to get more varied experience before continuing my education, but am just feeling stagnant and lacking motivation to do much of anything. Someone tell me I'm not crazy and shouldn't quit this career I've spent the past 6 years of my life preparing for.
Oct 4, '11
Hang in there,
I was the same way. For almost an entire year I said to my hubbie "What have I done? Why did I become a nurse?" and "this sucks...can I quit soon?" I had to really sit down and think about why I changed careers so late in the game. For me, it all came down to having a steady secure job. I didn't enter nursing because this is something I always wanted to do. I did it because I wanted some type of job security and a good paycheck too, things I didn't necessarily have in the past. With my job I can now afford a nice house, have money in the bank, can go on nice vacations. I will have a secure retirement and I know I can get a job just about anywhere even in this recession. For all the crap I put up with, I get that piece of mind. To me, its an acceptable trade off. Do I intend on doing bedside nursing the rest of my life? No. But for now, its a means to an end. Something I have to do in order to get to my end goal.
I wish you luck. My only advice is to look at your future goals and decide how best to get there. Sometimes having a time frame makes it easier.
Oct 8, '11
what is your patient to nurse ratio? Are you days or nights? I can't say I felt that way my 1st year on med/surg, I am dayshift and always start with 6 patients. We do oncology/hospice as well on my unit and I have bad days but I don't snap at patients. I have found that if you have really good time management skills you can get everything done. Maybe your unit is just very under staffed, I wish you the best.
Oct 14, '11
I totally understand! I have been a RN for 9 months, I hate my job. (I have been in the medical field for a long time though, I have been a Paramedic since 2003 and been working in a hospital since 2007) I have worked Med/Surg (as a tech), ER (as Paramedic) and now a Cardiac Step Down as a RN. I wanted to do bedside nursing because, I wanted to understand, and actually care for patients. It is impossible to do that in the ER (I have a lot of respect for ER, but it is a different world of Nursing) I love the people I work with, but I despise the whole hospital system. I feel like I am hindering care to patients, and that I do not have time to actually spend with them. I never know what my patients story is, and I spend more time doing mundane tasks than being a nurse. I do not mind charting...you have to do that, I am essentially a "pill pusher". Regardless it is about "the bottom line" for the hospital. I switched to nights, thinking that it would be better, and it is in a lot of ways. However I still feel "unsatisfied" with my job.
It is just so frustrating! I am trying to figure out what to do.
Nov 2, '11
I understand what you mean working med/surg you spend all your time gettinf your must does done and you all yout paperwork done you never really know your pts. I have been a working floor rn for a year and a half and I have used my maternity leave to rework my career plan. Personally I have always wantrd to work in the er so.thats what I am going to do. If you want to go to the icu do it. You still are better.than those nurses you saw during nursing school. You recognize the short cuts and it bothers you. Change jobs before it stops bothering you.
Nov 14, '11
Sounds like you need a change before you truly get "Burnt Out" and you are showing signs of it. you aren't Crazy for thinking that way. Find another job doing something different in nursing.
I went from CVICU to dialysis and do not regret the change. It's not as stressful.
Nov 14, '11
People can get burned out during any stage of their career. It's actually common for newbies to feel overwhelmed, stressed, etc. as they struggle to step up their level of practice quickly as they go from being a student to a professional.
Learning to take care of yourself takes some time and experience. Are you taking enough time off? Are you using your time off for true rest and relaxation -- or are you filling your time off with distractions that wear you out even more? etc. etc. etc.
Before doing anything drastic, take a good look at your work situation and lifestyle. Can you do anything to take better care of yourself? Can you set some goals to work towards that will give you something in the future to look forward to? Sometimes, even just exploring your options helps you to feel a little better.
Also ... are there particular problems at work you need to address with someone on the scene who can give you practical tips on how to handle them. Sometimes we tolerate problems rather than confronting them straight on, thinking that we are reducing our stress by keeping things calm. But sometimes, tolerating something bad long term eats away at us and makes us even more stressed than we would be if we simpley fixed the problem to begin with. Is there someone at work you trust who can help you improve some of the things at work that are stressing you out?
Jan 4, '12
I agree with a lot of things said here, and I'm sorry you've been feeling burnt out - I feel the same way. I've been a nurse for just over 6 months, starting in an ICU. I thought it would be so exciting being in the middle of such chaos, but it's made me realize that it's not the nursing I want to do. Someone else said how much they despise the hospital system, and I agree completely. I want to help people, but to me that doesn't mean giving people meds or coming into the room and pushing buttons on a monitor. I've been thinking a lot lately about where I actually want my career to go. Grad school eventually, but it's too early for that. Anyone else thought of the Peace Corps? Unfortunately, can't use a nursing degree there but can still do work in healthcare, public health sort of stuff. Thoughts?