New RN, wondering if becoming a nurse was a mistake. Please read, I need advice!

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    Hello everyone,
    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.
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  3. 4 Comments so far...

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    I am so sorry for the loss of your baby. That must be so difficult. As far as the hospital experience - I feel for you! Yet, you are getting very valuable experience that you can use. There are so many options other that working in a hospital. Home care is one of those options. You get to really care for the patient one-on-one. Hospice is another home care option. Or working in a sub-acute facility may be less stressful. You can be a school nurse, or public health nurse. Think of your hospital experience as your foundation that will allow you to find a job that speaks more to your heart. Once you get one year of acute care experience, your options are practically unlimited! I've been doing homecare and I love it. If you have any questions, let me know. I can give you some recruiters contact info that can answer questions for you such as how much experience you need, if there are any positions available in your area, compensation, etc.
    So hang in there, and don't worry - you won't have to go back to minimum wage.
    Last edit by StarBelly on Nov 9, '12 : Reason: addition
    emblray likes this.
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    At some point EVERY nurse has second thoughts. I have always told the nurses that worked for me that it takes a minimum 6 months to decide if one field of nursing is for you or not. That is the benefit to what we do. There are so many areas of nursing that you can try.

    I don't know exactly what you went through with losing your baby, but I can tell you that as a nurse you are already stronger than you think you are. If your passion was always L&D then I say go for it!

    I don't know if you're in a position to do agency work, either travel or local, but that would give you another opportunity to experience different areas of nursing to explore.

    Good luck to you!
    emblray likes this.
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    StarBelly,
    Thank you so much for your reply. It means so much to me, truly! I'm 5 months away from 1 year, and every day I'm praying for strength so I can stick it out! Thank you again for replying. I will probably read and re-read the replys on here for support often!
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    Penniv, I had written a long response to your post as well and then lost it when I hit "leave a comment". :/ Basically I had thanked you for your response, and stated that if a position came along in L&D, I would try it. I have so so much anxiety when it comes to work, despite being on the floor for 7 months! I can only take it 1 day at a time though. And the idea of going to a whole new department scares me 10 times more. But I will never know until I try it if I like something. And if i try L&D and it turns out to be something I can't do, then at least I learned that much about myself and can move forward from there. Thank you again for replying! I'm praying for strength every day as well as guidance.


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