Nothing Left....

  1. I graduated with my BSN in May and have been working on a Level III NICU since June. I got out of orientation about a month ago and I think I've already burned out. During orientaiton, my preceptor and I ended up with the sickest kids. Sometimes we'd have two babies that 5 min into our shift we would realize they should be 2 one-on-ones. Once orientation was over, our educator told us that while they wouldn't go "easy" on us, they would make an effort not to give us the really sick, really difficult kids to start with.
    In my first 6 shifts I got 5 bad admissions and 1 transfer. 5th admission, I got a call on my day off saying we're really sorry things have worked out like this. We don't want to lose you. We've talked about it and we're really going to make an effort not to do that to you again. My next shift, I got yet another admission. When I let the person who called me know, her answer was well I guess you've just been targeted huh.
    Even on days since that I have just had a difficult assignment, I can't get any help. I sometimes get lunch at 3p (I work 7a-7:30p) if I"m lucky. I had 3 SCREAMING kids yesterday and people just kept getting mad at me for them crying. I was standing in the middle of the room just wanting to join them and cry too.
    I always feel like I'm behind. I always feel like I give a crappy report. I hate leaving things for the next nurse to do. I like my beds to be neat and restocked so the oncomming night RN doesn't have to look for things, but I just don't feel like I'm able to do that.
    Is this burnout? I've honestly considering going to like Best Buy or something and applying. I just feel like I can't do this and that I made a huge mistake going into nursing.
    Is there anything I can do? Is this just part of my "first year get your feet under you"? I don't know that at this rate I"ll last a year...
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  2. 19 Comments

  3. by   EricJRN
    I think there are days when every neo nurse feels like breaking down. If you think they're hazing you, that's a different matter though.
  4. by   cardiacRN2006
    Don't you feel as if you are getting better at admissions as a result of getting so many? I'm not in NICU, and I'm still on orientation, but I understand full well what you are feeling. At least you know they trust you enough to handle these transfers and admissions. It will get better.
  5. by   slu_rn
    I don't know about hazing. I know that I rarely get any help, and I often feel like I'm being "dumped" on. As far as getting better at admits, I can set up an isolette with the best of them, but I still am having trouble juggling the admit with my other kid(s).

    Is this all normal? Do older nurses just ignore/don't help/pick at new nurses so you get tougher? I know that I'm off for 2 days and I'm already dreading going back... again...
  6. by   EricJRN
    That doesn't sound like a very supportive unit to me. Are there other new grads there that comment about the same things?
  7. by   cardiacRN2006
    Quote from slu_rn

    Is this all normal? Do older nurses just ignore/don't help/pick at new nurses so you get tougher? I know that I'm off for 2 days and I'm already dreading going back... again...

    Maybe they want you to ask for the help? Maybe you are not doing as poorly as you think...

    Yes, I do think that some nurses push us so that we can get out of our "comfort zone". I think there are a lot of issues going on here...
  8. by   Gompers
    Quote from EricEnfermero
    That doesn't sound like a very supportive unit to me. Are there other new grads there that comment about the same things?
    I agree. This doesn't sound like typical NICU environment to me, either...

    Sometimes we will give our new grads the sicker kids after they come off orientation. The reason is that we assign "buddies" to them for a month or two after orientation ends, so that they have a designated resource person to go to each shift. We figure if we give them a sickie NOW, then at least we know someone has got their back, you know? That they know it's expected that they'll have questions and concerns and will feel comfortable asking for help. Whereas if we waited a few months, maybe they'd be afraid to ask questions at that point because they worry we'd think they didn't know what they were doing even though they'd been on their own for a few months.

    As far as things like time management and report go - it takes TIME! The NICU is a very specialized unit. Most nurses don't even START to feel comfortable until they've worked there for a year. That's about the point where you start to feel, "Yeah, I get this! I can do this!" And then after you've been working for TWO years, you look back and wonder how in the world you ever felt confident at one year, seeing as you've learned so much since then! It's an ever-changing field and an ICU environment - it will take TIME for you to get into the groove of things. Don't be so hard on yourself - you are completely NORMAL!

    I do hope you find some more support on your unit, though. That helps A LOT!
  9. by   slu_rn
    I have a friend who works nights on the same unit and I walked her out the other morning and she was almost in tears. The 3 nights she was there that week no one really talked to her. She tried to get in on conversation during slow periods but they turned their back on her. When I got back from walking her downstairs the nurses in the room immediatly stopped talking and just stared at me. It was really uncomfortable. :uhoh21:
    I don't mind the hard work or the sick kids. I like being challenged and learning. I'm just drowing. Gompers - that sounds like a great plan having a support person assigned to you. I really wish we had something like that!
  10. by   Gompers
    Quote from slu_rn
    I have a friend who works nights on the same unit and I walked her out the other morning and she was almost in tears. The 3 nights she was there that week no one really talked to her. She tried to get in on conversation during slow periods but they turned their back on her. When I got back from walking her downstairs the nurses in the room immediatly stopped talking and just stared at me. It was really uncomfortable. :uhoh21:
    I don't mind the hard work or the sick kids. I like being challenged and learning. I'm just drowing. Gompers - that sounds like a great plan having a support person assigned to you. I really wish we had something like that!
    Eeeek! I'm so sorry you both are having trouble. Is there any way you could both work the same shift? Are there any other new grads there now? It sounds like the kind of unit that hasn't had new blood in awhile. I hope that they start to open up to you and that things get better soon.
  11. by   RainDreamer
    (((((HUGS))))) for you. This is normal to feel like this in the type of environment that you've described, but it's NOT normal for a unit to be treating you like this! I would leave. I wouldn't even stick around for "things to get better", the way they've promised, because it doesn't sound like it's going to happen.

    I've been off orientation for a couple months now and I still have YET to get an admission. I help out with admissions, to get more experience with it and to learn how to do it, but I can't imagine having 5 admissions in 6 days, while freshly off orientation!!!!!! I don't think anyone in our unit has that many admissions in that many days. We would tell them "I was admission the last couple of days, I don't want to be admit again". And the charge nurse totally understands that. Everyone takes their turns. Some nurses take more admits than others, but it's because they like to or volunteer to do so.

    I still get incredibly stressed out before each shift, and my unit is EXTREMELY helpful. It's just that the NICU is a really stressful and scary place to be. My co-workers help out all the time and I never feel like I'm drowning ... I always feel supported. But I still get stressed about it, even with all the support. So I can't even imagine how you're feeling ..... with no support from your co-workers. I'm so sorry this is happening to you, personally I would seriously think about looking somewhere else.
  12. by   nicunurse1208
    Hi:
    I know exactly how you feel. I am not a new grad but I have been working in a Level III Nicu at a large University Hospital for the past 7 months. After my eight weeks of orientation I have had the sickest kid on the unit or the first admission every time I have worked. I refer to the experienced crew as the "old hens" as they cackle at how funny it is. They all claim that I need this to "get more experience". What I think is that they have cushy assignments (they all have Primary patients and newbies are not allowed to have Primaries) and it is nice to have a new person to kick around. I guess the only way to get off of this merry-go-round is to get another new person hired that the "old hens" can kick around. As awful as hazing sounds, don't complain to the "old hens" and eventually they will respect you. The "old hens" have started to respect me and help me when I need it.
    I look forward to the next group of new grads they hire as I am hoping to embrace them and help them when I can and hopefully over time we can beat the cycle.
  13. by   RainDreamer
    I can't believe there are places like this that just dump the "bad/sick" assignments on the new people and don't support them! I'm so sorry to hear that you guys are going through this!
  14. by   cathys01
    When I got off orientation and was "resourcing", I was on admission almost every shift for the first few months, and it really helped me with my admission skills (though I didn't like it at the time!). Now I've been in the NICU almost two years (small unit) and I love to get the sick level III kids, again, it's good experience. I want to know I'll be able to handle anything and the only way to get there is to get the practice doing it.

    I'll also say I love my unit and my coworkers really do work as a group during admissions, everybody tries to help with something - especially on a level III admit. With the simple rule out sepsis kids it only takes one extra nurse to help with labs and IV, so it still gets done pretty quickly.

    I never felt like I was being picked on or hazed though, and if I did I would have talked to my manager or director.

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