Jump to content

Are all nurses perpetually exhausted?

Posted
by yellow_crayon yellow_crayon (New) New

So, I've been a long time lurker and just recently decided to start an account so I could get an answer to this question. I'm seriously considering going to nursing school (I already have one degree) but I've noticed a trend on these forums, and in general, that's got me a little worried.

From what I've read, most nurses who work directly with patients seem to talk a lot about how utterly exhausted they are ALL THE TIME. It paints the picture of a very stressed out, caffeine drinking, health care worker with little time for sleep or a personal life. I'm sure that this is most likely an exaggeration...or is it? Forgive me for my ignorance. I'm fully aware that nurses work very hard and have A LOT of responsibility, but being outside of that world, I'm not sure exactly how tough it really is.

I'm very interested in medicine and the idea of direct patient contact, but not at the expense of my physical health or my sanity. As a nurse, would you consider yourself to be "pushed to the limit" in the way I described above, or have you found a balance? Any opinions would be greatly appreciated.

Nurse Molly

Specializes in LTC, Hospice. Has 17 years experience.

Yes, exhausted working nights, dealing with coworkers who fight and bicker all shift, patients who are never satisfied. Sorry, just my opinion. I hope other posters are more positive.

Edited by Nurse Molly
Add to post

la_chica_suerte85, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology.

I think, since I have to work full time and go to school (therefore, no days off typically), I am more exhausted now than I will be once I start working. Nursing is tough work but, from looking at my fellow students who are younger than me and out of shape, staying in shape helps a lot with the stamina. It's the emotional/mental stuff that gets me at the end of the day. My hardest clinical so far was med-surg and I was only working part-time then. I'm in OB now and working full-time and not finding it as difficult as I feared it would be. So, I think it depends on where you end up at. But, if you're really into nursing and really want to do a lot and go far, yes, be prepared to be exhausted all the time. It's not as bad as you think. :yes:

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 15 years experience.

I'm exhausted, but not due to work. I'm exhausted due to longstanding undertreated hypothyroidism, a disease with fatigue as its hallmark symptom. I've had thyroid disease since age 17, which was many years prior to becoming a nurse.

I only work three to four nights per week, so I have plenty of time for a life outside the workplace. Just practice good sleep hygiene and strive for work/life balance, and you should be fine. In addition, develop strong personal boundaries to avoid getting sucked into your patients' shenanigans. Good luck to you!

jamisaurus

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 1 years experience.

I'm not exhausted all the time. After i work three nights in a row, yeah I'll crash but I think that's allowed. I like my job and I still have energy to be social.

My observation over the years (decades) has been that lots of nurses don't take good care of themselves, physically or mentally/emotionally, and don't set clear, healthy boundaries in their lives (professionally and otherwise) and that contributes to the level of exhaustion you have observed. Nursing is one of those jobs that, if you let it, will take over your entire life and use up all your energy.

Also, as has been noted on this site before, people are more likely to come here to vent and complain; plenty of nurses don't feel the way you describe, but those people don't seek out a discussion board to say, "My career's going great, I had a good day at work, I'm maintaining a health balance in my work and personal lives."

I've been in nursing almost 30 years, and haven't ever experienced the kind of overall exhaustion (on an ongoing basis -- not claiming I haven't had my share of really bad days, haha) you are talking about.

Best wishes!

Thanks for the reply. OB is actually one the areas I'm (at the moment) most interested in. This could change after I get actual experience, but it's an area that I find interesting. I'm assuming that some nursing specialities are more exhausting than others (emotionally, physically, mentally, etc). Do you have any tips on how you deal with mental/emotional burnout? Thanks again :)

If a person finds themselves in an exhausting work atmosphere they have the opportunity to find a better environment. Sometimes this can be accomplished by going part time, sometimes it can be accomplished by changing specialties altogether. If the work is always toxic and the individual can not remedy this, they should consider a change in their line of work.

It's reassuring to hear that the kind of exhaustion I'm describing isn't common to all nurses. I just don't want to find myself physically and mentally drained after only one year, but it sounds like proper life management and a work/life balance would counteract that. Thank you for replying. This definitely gives me some perspective when considering this as a career option!

I've been trying to reply specifically to people's comments but it seems they are showing up out of order. I apologize. I'm a total newbie at this and I'm still learning the forum. Everyone's comments so far have been really helpful, though. I'm hoping to figure this out soon so I can reply appropriately.

Edited by yellow_crayon
additional content/I have no idea what I'm doing

RN_2012, BSN, RN

Has 7 years experience.

Nope. Not exhausted l the time.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 15 years experience.

I've been trying to reply specifically to people's comments but it seems they are showing up out of order. I apologize. I'm a total newbie at this and I'm still learning the forum. Everyone's comments so far have been really helpful, though. I'm hoping to figure this out soon so I can reply appropriately.
If you see a post that you specifically want to reply to, look at the lower right side corner of that particular post and click on "QUOTE."

This enables you to respond to that particular post, and it also lets other posters know exactly who you are replying to.