Dear Nurse Beth,
I graduated May 2015 with my BSN. I did my preceptorship in a local ICU. When I graduated I accepted a job in the MICU/SICU at another location. I've been off of orientation for almost a month now and I'm starting to not like my job anymore. We consistently have 3 patients to one nurse, and I always feel like I'm am cleaning up after the day shift with all my patients (both in the room housekeeping wise, and with orders etc...) When I was hired I was told the normal PT load would be 1 to 2 per nurse, and rarely would we get 3. Well, now 3 seems to be the norm, and I feel a little cheated because I can't provide the care I want to.
I've recently started looking at jobs in my area and would love to entertain the idea of hospice nursing. After seeing the patients I take care of, and we are doing so many invasive interventions that will probably not prolong or save their life, I would love to work on the other end and help people move onto their next journey in life. I'm also thinking that a same day surgery center would be a good fit for me as well.
I guess I'm just not sure if I should just try to stick it out for a year on this floor since it's good critical care experience, or look for something else? I genuinely LOVE working with critical patients and appreciate the challenges that come with it, I just don't think having 3 critical patients to take care of at once is safe or fair for the patient.
I just feel lost because I'm a new grad that should be enjoying the opportunity I have been given, but I'm not. I feel like real life nursing slapped me in the face and I'm not sure I like it.
Having been off orientation and on your own for one month….you are still going through Reality Shock.
Being from California, where ICU nurse: patient ratios are 1:2, I firmly believe a 1:3 ratio is too high, and agree your dissatisfiers are valid.
Having said that, one month is not enough time to evaluate a new job. You are still on the learning curve. Your efficiency and speed are not now what they will be in a few months.
You love caring for critical care patients, but not the working conditions and workload. Before you jump ship, consider that once you leave acute care, you will not necessarily be able to easily return. Leaving the hospital setting can be a permanent move, so be very sure that you are prepared to be done with acute care before you leave.
Give yourself at least six months, if not one year, to make such a big decision. Hospice can be immensely rewarding but you will have more to offer once you have a bit more time under your belt.