Full of anxiety after a year of nursing experience

  1. Hello everyone. I am new to this site, been reading on here for a couple of weeks. I desperately need some advice! I have been a nurse for over a year and am still having a lot of stress/anxiety that I was told would "go away after a year of experience." I am now on my third job in a hospital setting and am wondering if nursing is not for me. I have a hx of mental illness in my family and I really think nursing is going to push me over the edge. I have been depressed for two months and am considering seeing a psychiatrist or something. I have tried office nursing and was stressed, now i'm back to hospital nursing and i'm stressed....so i really don't know what to do. Part of the stress/anxiety is due to hopping from job to job (not my choice, moved etc.) and the other part is due to moving to a new state w/o family support, my husband being gone all the time, hx of anxiety disorders in family etc. But i truly feel that the majority of the stress in my life is caused by NURSING! The sad thing is that I know I am capable and my heart is in the right place, I just feel like I can not do this emotionally. I also don't want to quit my job right now being that I am not even off orientation and I haven't given this unit anything in return for all they've done for me. But deep down, I do not want to stay and I'm crying everyday. Another thing, is that I am anxious because although while on orientation the patients aren't "yours" per se, I know they will be mine soon enough and I've been there w/ two other jobs and the stress is too much! So I've pretty much decided to quit this job (can't handle it emotionally) but i really don't know what other job to do. I am sick of going from job to job and being unhappy. i know i have to get this anxiety under control or nothing will ever work out. The whole situation is complicated. But I feel like I've done my best and have given nursing a fair shot. I'm beginning to wonder if maybe it is not nursing, it's me! Any thoughts, suggestions, advice would be appreciated! I've already talked to everyone in my family a million times and still don't know what to do! And of course my poor husband is soo worried!
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  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   TheCommuter
    Here's a hug. (((HUG))) :icon_hug: I hope you feel better, and can find the strength to alleviate your problems.

    Please seek some professional psychiatric help ASAP. You'll feel better knowing you did.
  4. by   leslie :-D
    i agree, you need a psyche consult immediately.
    some of us just can't do it alone (w/o the help of meds).
    my dr put me on an ssri in nsg school, which helped the anxiety and depression.
    i thought i struggled w/anxiety only.
    i was wrong.

    please get yourself to treatment.
    make it a priority.
    wishing you the best of everything.

    leslie
  5. by   psalm
    I agree with earle58, make it a priority to get some treatment. Are you orienting for days or nights? I work nights coz days are so distracting with so much coming and going. You may do better on nights...we work with less staff, but with less hassle. Most pts. do NOT sleep on a med floor but you can usually pace yourself a bit better.

    Are you getting enuff sleep before work? Are you eating your proteins and carbs? Are you staying hydrated? Take care of yourself, and if the doc recommends an ssri, it's okay. It's not something we can get from a supplement. Let us know how yu do.
  6. by   Newbie<3
    Thanks for the advice everyone! Much appreciated. I am planning on seeing a psychiatrist soon. Any advice on what to do in the mean time? Should I quit this job (L&D) and try to find an area in nursing that is less stressful? (wish me luck on that!) Quit nursing all together and do pharmaceutical sales or something that requires a bachelors? I've thought about doing dialysis? I also have an interest in psych (for obvious reasons, although i don't know if the blind leading the blind is such a great idea.) I really wish I could just throw in the towel but that's not really an option. Any suggestions on what to do? Stay on orientation until i get some help????? uggghhhh :uhoh21:
  7. by   Adenium
    Speaking as someone whose last job was in science-based sales, I think that the pharmaceutical sales arena would be a very very bad place for someone already prone to anxiety and depression. Those issues run in my family too, and I'd struggled with them before, but boy it didn't take long for my sales job to bring it all to the forefront - and for me to hit rock bottom and need to re-assess my life. Hence, nursing! But I saw my doctor and got some help before reaching that moment of clarity, because until then I could barely function.

    It's a highly stressful thing trying to build leads and constantly impress people who don't necessarily want to even look at you because you're "selling." I love the imaging products I worked with, the research I helped get accomplished, etc., and I wasn't bad at the job, but sales is something I would never set foot in again. Best for uber-confident, thick-skinned, gregarious people who almost never feel anxiety pangs. Little stinkers...I'm so jealous of them. :wink2:

    I agree with the earlier posts, that you'd need to consult help and possibly try antidepressants and/or therapy before concluding that you need to move to another job area entirely. I feel for you, and I know how overwhelming it can be. Good luck.
  8. by   sharona97
    I wish peace in your desire to find out if it's nursing, you, the job, etc.etcc. Hopefully after you receive treatment it will all pull together and you will have a better sense of all of the things you mentioned.

    I too thought I was having extreme anxiety and it ended up both anxiety and depression.

    Best of luck in your career and health.
  9. by   HealthyRN
    I just wanted to let you know that you're not alone. I also have anxiety issues, but I have never seeked treatment for it. I also struggle with wondering if nursing is a the right career for me. Unfortunately, I don't have any answers.

    I agree with the poster who mentioned the sales position. I left the acute care environment for a position that involves recruiting patients for a home care agency(which is a lot like sales) and it is very stressful. I'm now returning to acute care.
  10. by   jjjoy
    I never got comfortable with clinical nursing and so I have been trying health related positions in office settings... health information, health databases... Having a bachelor's degree helps in getting such work. I've come to realize that I don't like the juggling act of floor nursing and that I don't mind working in my cubicle most of the day. I find the work mentally stimulating and I don't dread going to work every day. I get my need to directly help others outside of work, through volunteering and the like.

    One of the toughest things is dealing with the oft repeated comments "but you could making so much money as a nurse!!!" or "didn't you know what nursing was before you started school?" As if I hadn't thought about that before?!?!
    This has been a good choice for me. I'm not saying it's what you should do.

    The decision is yours and you're the one who lives with the consequences. Do YOU want to be a nurse? Will YOU feel like you didn't try hard enough if you quit now? What can you do so that YOU feel good about yourself and your decisions and the life that you're living?

    I wish you peace of mind in times of emotional turmoil!
  11. by   Curious1alwys
    I think this feeling IS either depression + anxiety hidden or some sort of side effect of childhood trauma.

    I have struggled with the same and actually quit my first RN job one month in due to this overwhelming anxiety. Actually, I get like that in any job or thing in general that I feel I have a hard time "handling". When the workload builds to a point where either I think I won't get everything done in time OR I won't have the skills/capability to do it (classic new grad RN syndrome), I just FREAK OUT. I think it has to do with a inner feeling of incompetence, learned from somewhere. Low self-esteem. Or maybe learned helplessness. Believe me, I am still trying to figure it out. One thing I do know is that if and when I do embark back on my nursing career (if I can get a job!), I will most likely need the help of antidepressants. The next one in line as a matter of fact is Pexeva, a form of Paxil. For me, these issues were here long before nursing school and have done nothing but get worse during this career pursuit....and after some major losses in my life.

    I know...It really is hard to figure out if if is nursing that is just not for you or if it really is some type of character defect in you. But the constant stressing about it makes you feel nothing but INCOMPETENT. It is horrible.

    I am sorry you are going through this. My best advice to you would be if you are OK taking the med route, give them a try. Sometimes you do really need them. Life could all of a sudden become liveable for you. And you'll never know till you try. I have tried them before but never have been able to find the right one/mix that would help without unbearable side effects. I wish you better luck. They save a lot of people!

    At any rate, best of luck, and take care of youself. Keep us posted!

    :icon_hug:
    Last edit by Curious1alwys on Oct 4, '07
  12. by   Curious1alwys
    Quote from Newbie<3
    So I've pretty much decided to quit this job (can't handle it emotionally) but i really don't know what other job to do. I am sick of going from job to job and being unhappy. i know i have to get this anxiety under control or nothing will ever work out. The whole situation is complicated. But I feel like I've done my best and have given nursing a fair shot. I'm beginning to wonder if maybe it is not nursing, it's me! Any thoughts, suggestions, advice would be appreciated! I've already talked to everyone in my family a million times and still don't know what to do! And of course my poor husband is soo worried!
    Well, you will get a million different responses here and STILL not know what to do either, ha ha. Been there done that. I wonder if you are Enneagram Type 6? Just curious. I am.
    http://www.enneagraminstitute.com/Tests_Battery.asp

    Also...the whole "don't know if nursing is for me but don't know what I'd do otherwise". I can totally relate to that too. No clue whatsoever. I am still trying to figure out my true purpose or passion in life.

    The fact that you are "sick of going from job to job being unhappy" strongly suggests, as it did for me, that either you are 1. Depressed and need intervention 2. Extremely anxious and need intervention, or 3. Depressed + Anxious and need intervention. You are one of those things or you would not stay unhappy in every job. The problem likely IS inside you but the breakneck pace of being a floor nurse surely is not helping matters.

    And a caution: if the problem does like within you and you do not seek intervention in the form of therapy and/or meds (at this point I suggest meds for sure) and then quit your job *SURE* you will be happier without it, be careful. I am not any happier now than I was when working. Seems wrong, but I'm not. Now I just feel like a slacker, working way below my abilities and broke rather than stressed to the max. The grass isn't always greener. Seek medicine before you quit your job, atleast then you will be able to say it wasn't YOU it was NURSING.

    I have so much compassion and empathy for what you are going through. You were tougher than I: You made it one year!!! You have done very well. Remind yourself of that!:spin:
  13. by   jjjoy
    For myself, it was worth it to find a job that I felt more at ease with and then pursue dealing with other issues. When my work stressed me so much that I was just making it day to day, I didn't have any energy left over for anything else.

    Here's another suggestion... if you figure you're going to give up on this job sooner or later, then maybe you can take some pressure off of yourself. Go into work with the attitude that you'll do what you can do and let the other staff pick up where you leave off. Some may gripe or roll their eyes, but it's part of their job to back you up. They're getting paid to work for the UNIT, not just their assigned patients, and their unit has chosen to hire someone new who will need extra support and they have to deal with it. At this point, you just need to concern yourself with YOU.

    If you feel pressured to do more than you can handle, practice calmly telling the preceptor - I can handle this and that, but I will need your help with X and Y. If the comeback is "well, you'll have to handle that in X weeks, so you might as well give it go now" - try to calmly reiterate that you are confident you can handle this and that but will need help with X and Y. It's called the "broken record technique" and it may take 3 repetitions for some to really "hear" you. Practice letting others know what you are and aren't comfortable with and try not to let them make you feel bad if you're at a different place then they think you should be. You're right where YOU should be.

    Sometimes, it can seem that everything one does is wrong, too slow, you're asking too many questions or not enough... So you've got to come up with your OWN goals- simple, realistic goals that you will proud of... getting the meds out on time, starting an IV, etc. Then even if one nurse is telling you how should have done this and other is asking why you did that, you can smile inside yourself knowing that you met YOUR OWN goals for the day.

    Give yourself permission to fail. I don't mean be careless, of course. Patient safety is primary. But if you haven't gotten all the meds out on time, don't beat yourself up. You're right where YOU should be and at that point you should be asking for help. If co-workers or managers decide that you're not working out there, that's okay, too. It doesn't mean anything bad about you. It just means that where you are, which is an okay place to be, isn't where they need/want you to be. No hard feelings.

    I have so much to say on this because this is essentially part of my pep talk to myself. I had a very hard time of it in the clinical arena and had to come up with some strategies to maintain my own sense of confidence despite my struggles. I was used to things coming pretty easily to me, as long as I gave it a good effort. It was hard to be in a situation where even trying my hardest didn't seem to be enough.

    As I mentioned, I've since decided to leave the clinical arena. I honestly didn't want it THAT badly. But again, that's me. Everyone's different.

    Hugs to you!
  14. by   Charon
    The wonderful thing about nursing is that there are so many fields that you can go into that don't necessarily stress you out like the office and the unit that you mentioned. OR nursing is an option to consider as well as community nursing. Check out these fields before you give up on nursing all together. The depression is a serious problem and one that you should definately see your primary about; nurses don't just dispense drugs, we take them too. We are not all perfect and imperfection within ourselves gives us the ability to empathize with our patients.

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