I'm a new RN and have been working my first nursing job at night (12hrs) on a Med/Surg floor of a hospital in my area. I had 5 weeks of following an experienced RN and that was nice, I loved it! He had a way of making me feel smart and like I could do this! However, now I have been on my own for about 3 weeks, and the first few nights weren't so bad but then I had my most awful night. Short staffed, two new admits, 1 with blood transfusing, 1 hypertensive, 1 hyperglycemic, 1 screaming pain and anxiety constantly! I didn't have time to sit down, I felt like I was drowning. I asked for help but it just seemed it wasn't enough. I didn't eat or even have time to sit down. The day nurse finally came on and she made it worse, she told me, " oh you have to do this and that before you leave", and I thought okay, I'll try! I was suppose to be off by 0730 and when I looked at the time it was 0930 and I called the day charge nurse to come save me from the break down I was having. She told me the day nurse was wrong that I had did my part and that it's 24hr care and I can't do everything in 12hrs that helped a bit and I went home. Ever since that night I have not slept well, I wake up in panic attacks, even on my nights off. I'm scared I might not be cut out for this, all my time, and energy (not to mention the money) I put into my education to be a nurse. I still love nursing just scared of failing, I suppose! Any advise or stories to share would be appreciated, thanks!
Dec 3, '12
OK - if you had one fender-bender, would you stop driving forever??
We all have 'bad shifts' once in a while. Nursing is very unpredictable, and s*** happens. With increased experience you will develop a better perspective and these 'nightmare shifts' won't have such a profound impact on you because your coping skills will improve. Those horrible shifts will become war stories that you can share with other nurses - we're the only ones who understand the fact that you couldn't even go pee for 12 hours!
The charge nurse was absolutely correct! Nursing is 24X7, and basically no shift every gets "everything" done. We all need to support one another, especially when you come on duty and notice that the previous nurse has been running around with his/her hair on fire for the last 12 hours!!! We need to "play it forward" by pitching in to catch everything up and reassure our colleague that we do understand . . if nothing else, this makes a huge deposit in your good karma bank.
Dec 4, '12
Welcome to the wonderful world of nursing. Congratulations, you survived a night from hell. We have all had them. The time you learn on med/surg will teach you a multiude of skills which will help you grow as a nurse. Just remember, speak up for yourself. Nursing is a 24/7 profession, and if you can't get it all don't then you have to pass it off to the next shift. I will warn you that there is a difference between not being able to accomplish tasks and just passing the buck. You will get your feet on solid ground, the first year can be the hardest. As they say in our field, "Time to get the big girl (or guy) panties on!" Good luck to you.