Anyone get anxiety prior to their shift?

Nurses General Nursing

Updated:   Published


As a new Nurse I have been dealing with it. When I was a student it was fine because the instructors were there to help.

I arrive to work early. I sit in my car in the parking lot thinking about the shift and not knowing whats going to happen. I sometimes think management is going to find something about me or make a case where they can blame me for xyz. I have seen that happen many times over the past year.

Do you get anxiety prior to shift? Is it this bad? What can I do?

Always keep in mind that in life as whole, and particularly in nursing, things are almost always worse in your mind than they are in real life. 99% of the time I'm nervous about a situation, when I look at it in retrospect it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Sometimes it's almost laughable how much we work ourselves up over things that turn out to be nothing.

I'm almost a decade into nursing now, and have recently started inserting PICC lines but still work in the ICU fairly often. When I walk into an ICU room with a patient on a vent and 8 IV drips hanging and multiple drains off the side of the bed, I always feel a little bit of anxiety and uncertainty. But after report, I go in and break down everything individually and realize that it is all within my capability and usually within an hour or two I am in a casual work flow doing the job I know how to do.

My recommendation is first don't sit in your car and dwell on the anxiety and possibilities of what scary stuff you might have to deal with that day. Walk in confidently knowing you have the tools to handle anything, and the resources to handle things you're not sure about. Then when you get your patient assignment, don't look at the whole assignment and long list of meds and procedures collectively, that an be intimidating and overwhelming. Instead isolate each patient and task in your mind. That way you realize it is not one big singular unmanageable task, but rather a bunch of small easily manageable tasks. Then prioritize the tasks and start knocking them out.

It's all about perspective, which you have a high degree of control over.

+ Add a Comment