I have been a nurse for about a year. I worked in a doctor's office for 3 months, then left there for a job on med/surg/tele for multiple reasons (better pay, benefits, chance to use/learn/practice skills, full time). I have been in my current position for 7months. At first, I thought I was going to die from a heart attack induced by anxiety and panic. But as time has passed, I have gained some experience, and found that the experience has eased some of my disabling anxiety. However, I am starting to become overwhelmed, frustrated, disheartened, and defeated when it comes to work. The patient loads are being increased on us, the expectations as far as paperwork goes is increasing, the help and resources we once had are lessening, and my sense of being able to actually provide patient care is waning. The more patients they expect us to care for, the less I feel I can actually provide GOOD care to each patient. And that's why I entered this profession, to actually HELP people and CARE for them. It seems that those priorities do not match those of the industry: whose priorities are to pass your meds, pass them on time, use AIDET, and improve our scores for patient satisfaction (which would fall into place on their own I feel, if we had the time to actually give good care to people!), not to mention save money and make money! This job is nothing like I thought it would be. Administration doesn't see the good we do, only the things we don't do; and it seems the same with most patients: you hardly get a "thank you" or acknowledgment, but if you take too long to bring that blanket or ask them about their PMH during an admission history, when "how dare you ask me that again I already told them everything in the ER", or wake someone to give them their meds, etc, then the patients are after you too! All of the negativity, the odds stacked against me to get my work done on time and done WELL, is really starting to weigh heavily on me. It is becoming an everyday thing that I don't get out until at least an hour after my shift, despite busting my butt for 12 hours to do the best I can for everyone but myself (I often don't eat, wait hours longer than I should to pee, miss time with my family since I work nights). Nothing is good enough, not for administration, not for (most) patients and their families, and I ask myself most days why I don't just quit and go work for wal-mart. I really thought that as a nurse I would feel fulfilled in my job, but anymore I feel like I have failed at the end of every day when I get off work. I'm starting to dread going to work. I really don't know what to do.
Sometimes I wonder if a department change would be better. Originally I went to nursing school so I could work in labor and delivery. I always thought pregnancy was a miracle and I wanted to be a part of that and help moms in this amazing time of their life. Sadly, in my last semester of school, my husband and I lost a baby in my 5th month of pregnancy. It was unexpected and devastating. Ever since then, I have struggled with the idea of working around babies and mothers who get to take their living, breathing, miracle home with them, when I never got that experience. Recently, a position came open at my hospital for labor and delivery. I have gone back and forth about applying. That is the kind of nursing I always wanted to do. But would I still be able to do it? And do I risk the job I have right now? Some might say it's not much to risk since I'm miserable there, but I do have bills to pay and just walking away from my job isn't really an option. It seems like "med/surg" experience is EVERYTHING in the nursing world. I have 7 months under my belt. Is that enough to do something with? I really appreciate anyone who is still reading and who has any advice for me. I want to help people, but I also don't want to be miserable. I've heard of "paying your dues", but for how long?? Where do you draw that line? I've thought of changing careers altogether, but have no idea where I'd even start. I have thousands of dollars in student loans to pay back for nursing school still. And nursing is all I ever considered. I went to nursing school right out of college, and the only other job experience I have is making coffee at a coffee shop (which I did for 6 years, and really like it, but going back to minimum wage isn't an option right now either). I really appreciate any advice anyone has. Thank you.