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At what point is it not worth it?


I don't even know where to begin. I'm in a new position in a fast paced ICU and I don't think I can handle the stress. It's been almost three months. In 3 months I've become hypertensive, my anxiety has increased, and I'm back on antidepressants. When it comes time to go to work, I get shakey, diaphoretic, and really nervous. I calm down a bit, then do the same thing when we're dealing out assignments. I'm more or less ok throughout the night unless something starts happening with my patients. I also work in a very "cliquey" environment. There's a group that-unless you're one of "them"- will write you up for anything and everything, so I wander around with that fear all the time.

Tonight I told my husband I just want to quit and figure it out later. I feel like my job has turned me into a nervous nut case. I know financially we need me to work, but at what point do I sacrifice my sanity? I don't know if I should just start frantically hunting for something else, talk to my manager about my concerns, or turn in my notice while I look around?

I'm just so lost. I don't even know if I want to be a nurse anymore.

Thanks for letting me vent/worry.

Here's a warm hug for you:). Personally I don't think cliquey groups should exist at work- it just ruins the work atmosphere.

Never underestimate the power of a good support and work environment. If you could hold on until you get another job, except it is absolutely neccessary to resign, I would.

Another way, you could try is to stop worrying about everything, turn the situation to GOD. Stop trying to do it all on your own. You don't have to live all stressed out, all that doesn't have to happen.

Pls don't go out discouraged and upset- your place of work shouldn't be a place of horror.

And know this, this too shall pass. All things WILL work out.

WalkieTalkie, RN

Specializes in CVICU.

Wow, are you sure you don't work in my unit? Sounds about right!


Specializes in Mental and Behavioral Health. Has 3 years experience.

You need to get out of there at least for a while.


Specializes in ED, Med-Surg, Psych, Oncology, Hospice. Has 30 years experience.

I worked at a job like that. The nurses were just horrible to me. ( I was not a new, inexperienced nurse). I'd sometimes cry all the way home on my 40 minute commute. After 6 months I resigned and took a new position. The nurses actually gave me a going away party and remarked "We just get you broke in and you leave!" If they had that attitude and perspective BEFORE I left I wouldn't have resigned.


Specializes in Adolescent haematology, oncology and BMT. Has 8 years experience.

One cannot change the unpredictable nature of the conditions that bring people into ICU so that may always be stressful for you even in a different environment. That said, you may cope better with the same patients when you're surrounded by supportive and friendly colleagues.

You do not deserve to suffer like this. Your emotional and psychological wellbeing have got to be your priority now. Even if you told your manager about your colleagues, things are unlikely to change right away if at all.

Whether you choose a career break or not is up to you. Either way, you need to leave that place.

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 44 years experience.

It sounds like that job is not a good one for you. So ... decide to leave. Does that lift a little weight from your shoulders and help you feel better?

Now ... decide how and when you would prefer to leave. Now that you feel a little better have made the decision to leave ... can you hang on for a couple of weeks while you search for a new job? Can you call in sick for 1 or 2 days to give yourself a mini-break to calm down and think things through? Will you get a day or 2 off in the next week or 2 because of Thanksgiving? etc.

I hope you see what I mean. If you really need the money ... it might help you to stick it out a few weeks if you can get an emotional boost by taking a mini-break and by simply making a firm decision to leave. That might lower your immediate distress a little.

Start seeking a new job -- get your resume together, your references, etc. You can do that even before you know exactly what jobs you want to apply for. Then as you see jobs that interest you, you'll be ready to apply quickly. Once again, sometimes just taking a few steps to move forward can help you feel a little better.

It's hard to stay in a job you don't like ... and only you know your financial situation and job situation well enough to make the final decision. But if you want to stick it out for a few weeks while you search for a new position, the things I said above can help.

My worst situation was having to stay in a job I hated for 6 months while looking for my next job. I hated it and it was a "low time" in my life ... but I had to work to support myself. So I did what I had to do and stuck it out. But I found that it helped a lot to be moving forward in some way ... with applications, interviews, etc. that got me closer and closer to a better situation. The job I found while I patiently waited for something good to come along is the job I have now held for 12 years.

Good luck to you.

Edited by llg

Thank you so much everyone. I'm going to check out the HR postings to see if there's anything in house. I think there's a float pool and a medical position. I've done medical/oncology before... give me a couple chemos, a febrile neutropenic, and a dying hospice patient and I'm ok. A few vents on drips? No. Thank. You.

Thanks again for the responses. I was really starting to feel alone.

does your employer offer EAP ? this may help..........

From what I can see in my benefits, I don't seen EAP. I'm not eligible for any leave or absence because I haven't been there long enough. I just had a chunk of days off and I was ok... but yesterday when it came time to go back to work I was a wreck again. I work for a few days, then I have 8 days off. I guess I just need to make it through the next few days...

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 44 years experience.

Thank you so much everyone. I'm going to check out the HR postings to see if there's anything in house. I think there's a float pool and a medical position. I've done medical/oncology before... give me a couple chemos, a febrile neutropenic, and a dying hospice patient and I'm ok. A few vents on drips? No. Thank. You.

Thanks again for the responses. I was really starting to feel alone.

It sounds like you have a background which would give you some good options. Good luck!

Oncrn, many hugs to you.

I am just a student doing 5wks in ICU... I am just trying to do what I can. This for me is a specialty I have always gravitated toward. I am older, and have other experience that makes me take caution with my future. There is no way a person can orient in the ICU without strong management to force a good healthy environment for learning and support. This whole idea of having to "jump-in" (to the gang) is ridiculous. It is a big signal that nobody is interested in the patients or building a good ICU because they are too interested in themselves. I see that where I am... too many young ones trying to be "tough" I get very nervous if I find my preceptor for the day is a double-downer (too young, too tough).

You know you. It is not that you can't handle it, it's that you are well-adjusted! I have met so many screwed up nurses! Your physical reaction to this shows you are level-headed. Your letting it get this far means you have a good work ethic, and are trying to cope. Bring up the anxiety quotient with your doctor. Do not delay. You need a handle on that part to help you make the correct decisions on how to extricate yourself without wanting to set those bridges on fire. I am the type to feel physical symptoms... but then I get so ****** that I've been made to experience physical stress, that I want to light my blow torch and retaliate...(this is not wise, LOL)

I am sending you that "extra" you need right now to do what you gotta do! Someday, hope you'll do the same for me :heartbeat


Specializes in Med-Surg/Oncology, Psych. Has 1 years experience.

Hugs to you! I second the idea about EAP...it's not always as well-advertised as it should be, but maybe you could just call your human resources department and ask them for the phone number. The whole point of an Employee Assistance Program is that it's anonymous and free, so they shouldn't ask you to identify yourself or your department. This may be stuff that you already know, but I just wanted to mention it because I recently got in touch with the employee assistance program at my hospital, after much fretting and fussing about whether I should actually do it or not, and it basically kept me from going off the deep end. Best of luck with whatever you choose to do!

I have found that ICU & ER are naturally stressful areas. Knowing your S*T helps. They always want to show a new employee up and point out their mistakes. Take time out to become familiar with your drugs and common practices, the other is to pray. Destresss and make time for self. People are who they are. Dealing with adverse situations make you a stronger person. There may not always be an avenue out. On the other hand you and your health come first. If this area is unbearable follow the correct chain of command and procedure to report violatios and prepare to exit. Good luck either way. Never let them see you sweat!

Thanks again everyone. I'll see how tonight goes, but I'm seriously considering calling out the next couple days then giving my manager a heads up that I need out and why.

Go to mother/baby care, a happier floor.

if you need to take a couple of days off, that's certainly up to you, but keep in mind that you may be burning bridges.

aside from that, i'd talk to your nm immediately.

s/he needs to hear what's going on with you.

if s/he is even half decent, she'll take your concerns seriously.

many heartfelt thoughts for resolution and peace.:balloons: