I know what you are going thru, about a year ago, i left an ortho/trauma floor that i loved! It was also my first nursing job and i was there for 6 years. But like you said the patient load was too exhausting. I did the 7p-7a shift and we started out with 5 pts at 11p we picked up another 2 for a total of 7. Let me say it again seven! 7 :angryfire . We did have a free floating charge nurse from 7-11p but where are they when you need them? And they expected us to check and document our epidural infusions q 1h our pca pumps q2h, rotate cpm's q 4 hr , pass out our meds, chart, turn pts that have fractures in every bone in their body q 2 hrs. talk about burnt out
not to mention the backpain, the sore feet, leg cramps, my growling belly and the dry lips coz you just don't have time..... we went to administration and they finally came thru and gave us another RN but that still left me with 5 - 6 pts. woop-ti-do.
I thought that I would be on the ortho floor forever, i loved my coworkers (thet practically became family) and the ortho pt population but......I just couldn't do it anymore.
After months of contemplating, and to much of my trepidation... i applied and got accepted to a med-surg ICU. And I love it... this is the best thing I've done ever for my career. I should have done it sooner! Not to say that ICU is easy... but instead of having 7 pts I have 2 . I still see alot of the ortho patients and even when they leave the ICU I usually visit these pts. on my old floor, which is so gratifying. I did pick up extra shifts on the ortho floor but then i thought to myself......... why?
To me, what it all boiled down to was.....were all my sacrifices worth it? I asked myself, what if I injured myself? What if I got burnt out to the extend of hating this profession that I passionately love? ..........
hope this helps