Being a new nurse is causing depression

Nurses New Nurse

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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:

elkpark

14,633 Posts

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!

LaceyRN

633 Posts

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:

RN_MishMish

16 Posts

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.

babydeern

22 Posts

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.

BettyBoop01

171 Posts

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

410 Posts

Specializes in Trauma/Tele/Surgery/SICU.

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!

juststartinout

50 Posts

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:

RachelRN2B

8 Posts

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

174 Posts

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

365 Posts

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.

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