breakdown at work


working for almost a year..told myself will never cry at work...ive had good days and bad, but today was one of those that pushed me to the edge...I broke down in front of a colleague, and I guess others could tell due to my red eyes...

has anyone cried due to stress/frustration...I am embarrassed now and realized how unprofessional it was.

Specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia. Has 46 years experience.

It is NOT 'unprofessional' to cry. It happens to everyone at some point in time.


67 Posts

I cried at work once. I was stressed with my own life, having a stressful day, and then I had a doctor yell at me and degrade me, which just put me over the edge. Normally I wouldn't have cried, but it was the combination of things. I went and talked to someone I trusted to destress, and then regrouped. I don't think its necessarily unprofessional, so long as you are not crying to a patient or something. I feel like in extremely stressful jobs it can happen sometimes, and how you handle it makes it unprofessional or not. On my unit we also get close to many patients, and watch them routinely die, so crying isn't totally abnormal.


351 Posts

Yes as long as you did it away from patients, it happens! I cry when I get super frustrated, the 2 times it happened I took a 15 minute break and cleaned my face up in the bathroom till I could regain composure. My fellow nurses always understood, it's a release and although somewhat embarrassing, I think it's healthy as long as its not a common occurrence. You gotta get the stress out somehow!

twinmommy+2, ADN, BSN, MSN

1 Article; 1,289 Posts

Specializes in ED. Has 18 years experience.

Oh yes I have. One day I had 2 or 3 pediatric abuse patients I had to document on and take pictures, a full house, and then they called to say my Grandmother was dying. I just lost it right in the middle of the nurses station. There are just times your cup overflows and that is just all you can take.


905 Posts

Back when I was a new nurse I cried all the work. Not in front of patients and not like sobbing but tears definitely. It happens.


1,753 Posts

Specializes in Surgical, quality,management. Has 12 years experience.

I have cried at work. A pt that was dying because her MPOA was a nutjob and was obstructing life saving treatment. Myself the social worker and the surgical registar all cried during a clinical meeting.

When my dad called me from Ireland to tell me that a friend of mine had died as I was on my into work.

Then one day everything was just going wrong at work and I had to nip off to the tea room for a blubber

Nurse ABC

437 Posts

Has 14 years experience.

Don't be so hard on yourself. You're human. Almost everyone I know on my unit has cried at work sometime or another, myself included. Sometimes you just can't help it. I've cried with cancer patients, in the back room thinking of a sad patient, and when mean doctors or patients have yelled loudly at me (was able to hold it together until away from the jerks). I get more emotional when stressed, angry, or exhausted so I'm surprised I haven't done it more often since I'm usually one of those at work! All the nurses I work with know and accept it happens and support each other because we've all been there!


139 Posts

If it is unprofessional to cry then im screwed.


947 Posts

Specializes in L&D. Has 2 years experience.

New nurse here so haven't cried yet, but in my other job as a social worker, yes plenty of those days. You see horrific things and the stress can be unbearable. I always feel much better after a good cry, so it can definitely be a release.

Has 12 years experience.

I've cried out of frustration, sadness and happiness at work. Heck, I had tears streaming down my face when I watched a sweet therapy dog cuddle up to an equally sweet elderly patient-I'm tearing up just remembering the joy on his face when that little black dog snuggled up next to him!

Specializes in NICU, Peds, Med-Surg. Has 29 years experience.

((( Hugs ))) Please don't be so hard on yourself-!!! I agree with all the positive/affirming things everyone else has said---we are all human, it's okay!!! :yes: I cried once when a doctor went and tattled on me to my supervisor because of my time management. I cried from pure ANGER!!! Oh, I was mad!!!:madface:

After crying and explaining to my kind supervisor, I calmly told the doctor the REASON my time management seemed poor---because I had followed an agency nurse who didn't know what they are doing---I had SO many things to correct!!!!!! Doctor was nice about it, and I felt sooo much better. She said she KNEW I took VERY good care of her patients, and I knew it, too----that's why I was so MAD in the first place.