postpartum...the easy job?

  1. 1
    Hi,

    I'm a brand spankin new nurse and I work on an oncology unit. I'm pretty freaked every time I go to work and I dream about working post partum. I never thought I'd want to go that route but it seems like a lot less stress. Is this true? Maybe I'm just freaked no matter where I work, I don't know, all I know is our patients are really sick and I'm scared all the time. I go in an hour early every shift to prep my night, I mean I time out all my meds, I look ahead to see if I'll be giving injections to research which size needle to use, look up all the meds, time out my checks, who to assess first, I try to pretty much prep my whole shift. I feel insane and I'm always wondering if I'm normal. I forget a lot of things really easy so I have a small pocket notebook to keep notes to remind me how to do things or even remind me about little things like which gauge needle to use for iv starts. It almost feels like nursing school was a big blur the way work makes me feel. I've dreamed for so many years about becoming a nurse and now that its a reality I question the decision a lot. I often wonder if I'm really cut out for the profession, if I'm smart enough and if maybe I'm just in the wrong specialty. Anybody got any thoughts?

    hotscrubs
    nola1202 likes this.
  2. 8 Comments so far...

  3. 1
    Good news: You are new so this is perfectly normal

    Bad news: Word around here is that it generally takes anywhere from 6 months to a year to get comfortable in your role as an independent nurse. And I agree.

    Onco is a tough specialty - not only is it emotionally difficult, onco patients tend to be so freaking delicate that you must pay attention to everything. It's definitely very, very stressful. I still feel overwhelmed by their complexity at times and I've been at it for over a year (plus a school term in my final year on a hematology floor).

    As time goes on, though, you'll get more experience and you'll know things ahead of time, what to look out for, etc. You won't have to look up what size needles to use for which meds, you'll know the meds a lot better, and you'll get better at interpreting lab values and such. So don't give up just yet! Plus, you just need to find your own way of getting through the day. Everyone has their own tips and tricks to remembering everything they need to do, and you just need to find yours. And as always, if you're questioning yourself, ask the more experienced nurses what you should do. I always ask questions if I am in doubt!
    nola1202 likes this.
  4. 1
    Quote from hotscrubs
    Hi,

    I'm a brand spankin new nurse and I work on an oncology unit. I'm pretty freaked every time I go to work and I dream about working post partum. I never thought I'd want to go that route but it seems like a lot less stress. Is this true? Maybe I'm just freaked no matter where I work, I don't know, all I know is our patients are really sick and I'm scared all the time. I go in an hour early every shift to prep my night, I mean I time out all my meds, I look ahead to see if I'll be giving injections to research which size needle to use, look up all the meds, time out my checks, who to assess first, I try to pretty much prep my whole shift. I feel insane and I'm always wondering if I'm normal. I forget a lot of things really easy so I have a small pocket notebook to keep notes to remind me how to do things or even remind me about little things like which gauge needle to use for iv starts. It almost feels like nursing school was a big blur the way work makes me feel. I've dreamed for so many years about becoming a nurse and now that its a reality I question the decision a lot. I often wonder if I'm really cut out for the profession, if I'm smart enough and if maybe I'm just in the wrong specialty. Anybody got any thoughts?

    hotscrubs
    Oohh.. I've worked with cancer patients on a surgical floor, and not on PP, but the way I look at is this: on PP, when it's good, it's really good. But when it's bad, it's a whole different level of gut wrenching bad.... And on OB, babies don't always wait for the doc, and they're not always facing the way they should be, and they do things like clamp down on their cords, and aren't always clearly boys or girls, or have all of their body parts where they should be, and the moms can bleed out or stroke from eclampsia.... I think that OB and PP have a special kind of stress because it's even more of the 'whole family' thing going on.

    You will get your own routine down. It takes time, and each time something messes with your routine, you learn how to work around those things. You're new- and this is all really normal- and really hard.

    I'm getting chemo for leukemia, and I can tell you that the oncology nurses I've had have been amazing...and they all hard to be new once, too
    nola1202 likes this.
  5. 0
    thanks! your right, PP has it's own stress, I guess theres no real escape from the stress except go with the flow and time and experience de-stress me. I'm going in tonight, Its my first solo shift without a preceptor so I think that's why I'm on edge right now. We have great staff, I love everything about my job except the fact that I freak out about everything. I'm praying this night goes well and I survive to go in for another shift tomorrow. Thanks for your thoughts.
  6. 0
    Quote from hotscrubs
    thanks! your right, PP has it's own stress, I guess theres no real escape from the stress except go with the flow and time and experience de-stress me. I'm going in tonight, Its my first solo shift without a preceptor so I think that's why I'm on edge right now. We have great staff, I love everything about my job except the fact that I freak out about everything. I'm praying this night goes well and I survive to go in for another shift tomorrow. Thanks for your thoughts.
    You got through school- you will get through this It's hard in different ways for a while. Things don't always gel like you imagine they will. But it does come together Keep asking questions, and smile at each day that is DONE !!
  7. 0
    I am also new to nursing. I currently work in the ER, oncology, and postpartum. I agree with everyone...we just need to give ourselves time to figure things out! Every new specialty brings different challenges and learning experiences! I have really just been trying to take it one shift at a time!
    I struggle in oncology with the emotional side of things and also with the complexity of the patients. It can be a very stressful/emotionally-exhausting day...but, also very rewarding! I find I have a lot to learn in this area and the patients teach me something new every day!
    Postpartum can be very busy! A LOT of time is spent assessing and teaching everything from self-care to baby care to breastfeeding. It can be a very rewarding job...there's something very special about working with brand new babies and teaching new parents about caring for their baby! I also find it less physically demanding than oncology and the ER.
    However, I often come home feeling more drained than I do coming home from the ER, which seems counterintuitive to me sometimes! xtxrn is right...postpartum is either good or its bad! On a good day, my moms and babies are generally well (maybe some jaundice or difficulty breastfeeding) and I spend my time teaching them what they need to know. On a bad day, I've got O2 sats in the tank, grunty/moany babies, poor feeders, or moms with any plethora of physical problems (BPs, bleeding...)!
    There are two things I find stressful in postpartum. #1 How quickly a baby can change. #2 This is a delicate time in people's lives and this baby is the most important thing to everyone in that family...and if something is not going according to plan it can be very difficult to deal with.

    I agree with others...if you really enjoy oncology, keep at it! Over time you'll become more comfortable with it! that is what I keep telling myself too! Learn something new every day
  8. 1
    Yep- working peds, I saw a kid go from normal sinus to SVT from the time I left report, to the time I looked at the monitors (about 5 seconds- the monitor went off). We had hospitalists, so a doc was a few doors away. Couldn't get a line in close enough to the AC to give adenosine, and were trying to get that done while PICU got the room ready.

    That kid showed me something else- never assume the monitor is just loose or the kid is moving or crying... this kid's HR was about 260.... He'd been sick but stable for a few days.
    NurseLoveJoy88 likes this.
  9. 0
    Sorry, no easy jobs in Nursing, just a different kind of stress. Even well baby nursing is like a little bitty med-surg unit. (and just as fast paced!)
    Psych? I heard someone say that was the job for old nurses before thye retire...What?!!!! I fell on the floor laughing at that one. I do think emotionally draining jobs with high acuity like Oncology can be especially stressful. A job that includes a lot of positive outcomes can be a Godsend.
  10. 0
    Sorry to the Op, but I feel the need to add that LTC isn't boring like ppl make it out to be. Think about it. I have 36 patients. Even on a good night, I'm very busy. Just sayin.


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