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Being a new nurse is causing depression

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I graduated in December and started an internship in January. I had hope that it would be great, I knew I was going to have to work hard, but I also thought there was going to be support. My preceptor tells me I am doing great, but on my days off I am so down, feel so defeated and depressed because I start to remember things I forgot to do at work. This week, I forgot to write an order that I took over the phone, it wasn't for a medication but it was for a vent change that was made without me writing the order. I didn't remember until two days later in the middle of the night when I woke up in a complete panic. Then the next couple of days I am off, I am completely depressed, to the point of not enjoying my life and wanting to sleep all day. Maybe I am not meant to be a nurse. What do I do now after spending all those years in school and neglecting my family?:crying2:

Nearly everyone really struggles during the first year or so of nursing practice -- the transition from nursing student to practicing nurse is notoriously difficult. Look at some of the other "new nurse" threads here! What you are describing is a v. common experience for new grads. Most people find that, if they can grit their teeth and hang in there through the first year, things at work get better as you gain experience and improve your clinical and organizational skills.

It's important to not beat up on yourself too much, and to have a good support system and take good care of yourself outside of work. If you find that you are having symptoms of real depression that are interfering significantly with your ability to function at work and home, please do seek some professional help.

Your feeling this way now is certainly no indication that you're "not meant to be a nurse." It's pretty much par for the course. Best wishes, and hang in there!

Wow! I could have written this thread, word for word. I am hoping that what everyone says is true--that after our first year, things will be better. I think what we need to do is to take good care of ourselves when we are off: eat well, exercise, sleep. Also, we need to give ourselves a break, too. We are new, so it is natural to forget things. I know you were probably like me in nursing school--a hard worker and a perfectionist. Well, I have found in the real world that even when working hard, I just cannot get everything done in a day at work. Let's make a pact to hang in there before we say that we are not meant to be nurses! Good luck!

I can definitely empathize with you! I felt this same way a few weeks ago.I would come home from work and cry to my husband about work, and I found myself mumbling "I hate my job" under my breath at work all the time. I was emotional, irritable, and frustrated. It began to show at work because my coping was failing and I could no longer hide it. I came home one night and decided to think long and hard about how I was feeling and to try to get to the bottom of it. I realized I had been overwhelmed and overstressed at work and that I was being too hard on myself. I decided right then and there to try and rediscover why I decided to be a nurse in the first place and to gain a fresh perspective. I decided to go into work each day with a positive attitude, to learn from my mistakes and grow, and to try my best to leave the job at work!

Since then, things have been so much better at work! I am smiling more and regained my lost confidence in myself. I am learning to really prioritize and delegate which helps to ease the load. I am growing into a more mature nurse and learning to "take charge" of situations that arise and use my authority as a nurse better... "I sorry that I am not able to get that for you right now, but I will ask the nursing assistant to find one for you when I see her."

Hang in there! I believe that by sticking out the tough times in this profession we grow and learn in so many ways. God Bless! :flwrhrts:

Hang in there!!! you sound so much like me :eek:

I have to say though, almost 3 months into the job and those "after shock" hours/days after the shifts happen less and less. I used to come home and worry and worry and worry some more, unable to sleep, torturing myself and wondering if all my patients are ok and and remember ALL those little things I forgot to pass in report or forgot to chart on... and yes I have filled an order that I forgot to technically write - so I made a late entry and took care of the documentation the next day. If it is really important I would call the nurse at work and ask her check on what it is I forgot to do or fill her on the info I neglected to mention at report. I can definatly relate to what you are going through, and there is some comfort in knowing most of us are going through similar experiences. It does get better - one day at a time :loveya:

I made myself a rule - to leave work at work because there is nothing I can do about it now once my shift is over. It works, most of the time, and if not I leave myself notes to take care of it the next time I'm at work. Funny how we all react so similarly.

You are doing wonderful, it sounds SOOOOOOO corney and I was told that a thousand times and still don't always follow but ---- don't beat yourself up, give yourself time to learn.

I was just wondering if you were still feeling this way because I feel the EXACT same way. I graduated in May and have been on my own for about a month now. All I want to do is sleep all the time, and I'm always worrying that I've made a mistake. I'm already on an anti-depressant but I just feel so defeated, like you said! I feel so burnt out already, and I'm also starting to question if this is what I'm meant to do.

I feel like Im going to need meds to make it through this transition. I am totally miserable. I cant see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Sugarcoma, RN

Specializes in Trauma/Tele/Surgery/SICU. Has 2 years experience.

I did need meds to help me make it through and I know many others who also needed meds. Wellbutrin took away the sleepy all the time feeling so I can actually enjoy my days off now. I also have an anxiety med on board and use melatonin as a sleep aid. I am a year and 4 months into my first job and

just now starting to feel normal again.

Work out (I know you're exhausted), eat as healthy as you can, take vitamins, and make a nursing friend you can vent to! My hubby tries to listen but only my nursing vent buddy truly understands!! She has become my best friend and a one hour phone call with her does wonders for my mental health!

It takes awhile to learn to "shut it off" and I still deal with it a lot but not nearly as much as I did in the first six months or so. This is a brutal job and frankly many of the units that are hiring right now are not the greatest ones (depending on your location) I look at want ads now with suspicion (why do they have 3 openings in this economy).

I have to say I was sadly disappointed to find at the end of my "first year" that nothing amazing happened. It did not all suddenly click for me, my ability to cope didn't suddenly improve immensely but I have noticed I am less likely to obsess like I did in the past and that I can let things go more easily (sometimes!).

Hang in there!

OP I definitely feel where you are coming from. This first year in nursing is turbulent to say the least. Coming from school which was a relatively sheltered environment, to full speed as a nurse is scary. I didn't learn anything about taking off orders in school, speaking to doctors, handling the tough situations (family, pts, dr's, cna's, etc), or giving a *good* report. I can promise you that it does get better. I'm 5 months in and it's like night and day from when I first started. I feel like I can handle a lot more now. I feel like the stage I'm at now is I'm looking at what I realistically can do, and what I need to take responsibility and learn on my own. There are still definately those :doh: moments, but they're less than they used to be.

You can make it through this. You'll be a seasoned nurse before you now it. All of us in this forum are struggling towards that mark. I think the first year is hard...but I felt my first 3 months were the *most* turbulent times. See how you feel at six months. Then a year. Then look again at 18 months. You can make it, look forward to those milestones. Good luck, we're all cheering for you! :yeah: :yelclap: :w00t:

This could be my post as well. The job market when I finished school was so scarce that unstead of seeking a position in a unit or 2 that I feel in love with during clinicals, I was forced to apply for a position in the one unit I loathed during school (I was on this unit for 2 clinical semesters and did my practicum in it) I knew what I was getting into but didn't have a choice. Now I'm suffering from depression bc I hate my job. I don't "hate" nursing, I just don't enjoy juggling 6 complicated and sometimes more unstable than you'd think patients. It's such a hard balance every day and not a whole lot of teamwork on the floor bc we're all SOOOO busy with our own slew of patients. I've got 6 months under my belt and have decided to start looking elsewhere for another position. If I find something GREAT...but if I don't I'll continue to suck it up where I'm at.

biblepoet

Specializes in Correctional Nursing, Orthopediacs.

I know what you mean I have almost 10 months under my belt still do not like my position. I have been interviewing somewhere else. No luck so far. Like nursing hate the people I work with they are a bunch of catty people who like to spite you and no teamwork whatsoever. I try to be a teamplayer, but they refuse the efforts. I am hoping I can find something that I really like and God will lead me to a better position.

PACNWNURSING

Specializes in Emergency Room.

This could be my post as well. The job market when I finished school was so scarce that unstead of seeking a position in a unit or 2 that I feel in love with during clinicals, I was forced to apply for a position in the one unit I loathed during school (I was on this unit for 2 clinical semesters and did my practicum in it) I knew what I was getting into but didn't have a choice. Now I'm suffering from depression bc I hate my job. I don't "hate" nursing, I just don't enjoy juggling 6 complicated and sometimes more unstable than you'd think patients. It's such a hard balance every day and not a whole lot of teamwork on the floor bc we're all SOOOO busy with our own slew of patients. I've got 6 months under my belt and have decided to start looking elsewhere for another position. If I find something GREAT...but if I don't I'll continue to suck it up where I'm at.

I am in the same position, I wanted to work either ER or OR, but my preference would have been the operating room. I was really glad I landed a job in the ED and was looking forward to starting my career. I attended a new grad nurse residency and had high expectations. Then reality hit, the ER is very stressful, the nurse residency was a joke. For some reason they have nurses do variable shifts at night which adds to the stress, my body cannot handle working nights. I just completed my ER Orientation only 6 weeks long and I am depressed and do not look forward to going to work. It took me a year to land this job so I am stuck until I get at least 6 months experience. It would take me years to land a day shift in this ED. I am gaining great experience but this is not what I want long term.

hunnybaby24

Specializes in Tele, Cardiac Post Op, ER. Has 5 years experience.

I totally feel the same way all of you do! I'm 10 months into my job, going on 11... and I hate my job, and am finding that I am depressed because I work night shift and my family and friends live 2.5 hours away. The day shift are truly mean and it feels like you have to walk on eggshells to work around them and make triple sure you are doing everything right. It is also hard to find the motivation to find another job, but the possibilities for a new job are much better than when i first started as a new grad. I'm just feeling a bit in a funk. I will be looking for new jobs soon closer to home and the city, just thought i needed to rant. thanks for reading!!!

Wow hunnybaby24 I can relate to your situation my family and bf all live in the city and I am about 2.5 hrs away from them. I live in an apartment with a friend I graduated with but she is about to leave because she has gotten her experience at the hospital. I currently miss my family, friends, etc. I miss everything!!!... The first day I came up here I was crying uncontrollably because its a different environment and I became home sick instantly. I just finished my in class orientation and tomorrow will be my first day on the floor. I am nervous and I already feel overwhelmed because I know it will be a lot. Its been very hard these past days and I know it wont get easier. Just hope i'll be fine!!!! :confused: I dont think clinical rotations prepared me for the real world of nursing!!

I graduated in May and we were given a lecture by a guest speaker telling us to expect many ups and downs over the first year of being a new nurse. She recommended going on a weekend getaway 6 months in. All new nurses go thorugh a transition; we've finished school, don't see our fellow student nurse support system as much, and feel like we should 'get' how to be a great nurse. I was feeling very down at the end of my last semester. That should have been a very happy time! I think recognizing your own feelings is the key. Good luck, I hope you feel better soon!

Just be lucky you all are not in the float pool as a new grad. Yup Float pool different preceptor every night half the time they don't know that I am coming. It is TERRIBLE!!! They all have their own clicks and I cannot seem to penetrate any of them. I have oriented on 10 floors and next week I am on my own. I want to vomit! I have no support I feel like I go and do my best but I am getting in my own head and it is causing me to make mistakes. Like a few weeks ago I left without giving report on a pt!!!! WHO DOES THAT! When I pulled into my driveway my heart hit the ground and I had to call and look really stupid. I recieved a call that I have to have another orientation to that unit because of it and I am dreading showing my face cause I feel so stupid!!!!! I hope this gets better I am not sure I am going to last. Plus it is a teaching hospital and we have all new residents and they look to you for direction and I can barely direct myself, UGGGHHH dreading work tonight for sure!

turnforthenurse, MSN, NP

Specializes in ER, progressive care. Has 7 years experience.

I have been feeling like this. I'm starting my 4th week (out of 6 weeks) of orienting on the unit and although I can say that I truly LOVE my job, I always have those "after shock" moments - "omg, I didn't mention this in report" or "I forgot to do this" etc and I worry AFTER my shift if my patients are okay...I, too, would be asleep and suddenly wake up because of something I didn't pass off in report, or something I forgot to chart..this happened to me the other day. I forgot to chart my patient's pain reassessment after administering morphine. Now I was in there at report time (we do reports at the bedside) and the patient was sleeping comfortably so I wasn't concerned, but I still forgot to document it on the MAR. I went home in the morning (I work night shift), went to sleep...woke up at around noon thinking of this and literally freaking out because I forgot to document it! I'm still brand spankin' new so I hope this goes away with time. I haven't been feeling depressed or anything, but my anxiety levels have been through the roof!

As I mentioned, I'm new - new to nursing, new to my area, new to the hospital system. It's really tough when you don't have the same support system you had while in school - it's hard moving away from everyone and coming to a place where no one really knows your work ethic. I can tell you though, my work has an amazing support system - everyone I have come into contact with have been super helpful and receptive to any questions I have, and everyone always asks if I am doing okay. The other night I was absolutely flustered trying to play catch up, and everyone asked if they could help in any way. One nurse stopped me and ordered me to sit for a moment and told me "if you keep running around like that you're going to pass out! now SIT DOWN" :lol2: That makes a world of a difference. It also helps to talk to someone - I still keep in touch with my nursing buddies back home and that's who I vent to, or to my fellow coworkers. My husband isn't as helpful lol, but that's because he just doesn't understand where I am coming from. I know this will all get better with time. All of us just need to hang in there :hug: :redbeathe :nurse:

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