Coping with the stress

Nurses Safety


I work in a nursing home.The level of care in our home is quite acute, at times like a stepdown unit. I have 30 patients, not to mention the families, and I never, never, never have enough time to do decent care for the patients much less the incredible piles of paperwork, which can get you hung. I hate not doing a good job! I love my patients. I read the posts from the last couple of days and realize that it is a blanket condition.We stay late doing paperwork nearly everyday and still leave with much undone or ill-done. Yet if you forget something and someone notices or a family member complains you are on the carpet, being "cautioned" that you must do better! No human being can accomplish all of this and never make mistakes! Being reprimanded when you are already leaving work so keyed you could cry is nearly intolerable. There must be some solution, somewhere. I have been a nurse for 23 years and if the wrong thing happens at the right time I can be without a license and loose everything I have. What does everyone else do to cope? I think I have been functioning in fullblown burnout for the last five years! HELP!


238 Posts

Specializes in Hospice and Palliative Care, Family NP.

I can relate to every word your saying! I hope things are better for you.

[This message has been edited by bshort (edited April 24, 2000).]


7 Posts

I can completely sympathize with your situation. Although I don't work in a nursing home, I do work in an understaffed hospital (1 1/2 years telemetry, last 6 months CCU). At my hospital, both the floors and the units are understaffed and the ratios suck. You're right, it does seem to be a blanket condition. However, certain nurses are posting that at their facilities, staffing/ratios are safe and reasonable. There is, therefore, a reason to be hopeful. My advice to you is to take advantage of the current shortage (jobs are plentiful) and move to a facility that has better staffing. Never, never, never stay anywhere where you are so distressed. Life is too short. Have you considered visiting nurse/home care? Out of all the nurses I've spoken to, they seem to be the happiest.

You brought up an important issue, that it's not only the overwork that is burning us out, it's coming home after every shift feeling like a "bad" nurse because we are unable to provide the quality care that we know our patients deserve. On top of that, it's worrying about management reprimanding us, insisting that we do more with less and that if we were just better nurses, we could accomplish all that they expect from us.

As far as coping strategies, I've tried them all and nothing has really been able to work for me. That's why I'm leaving the facility I've been at the last two years (departure date June 1 YEAH!!) and pursuing options in visiting nurse/home care or hospice. I figure, anything's better than what I'm doing now.


101 Posts

Hi--I'm a R.N. for 5 years.

I've felt the stress to this day. I've lost sleep, almost put on anti-anxiety RX., lost appetite(10#'s in 3 months...and I'm small statured anyways) and had a irritating rash. The dr. said it was stress. And that all happened while I worked midnights, on my current job.

I left that shift and moved to afternoons. We are staffed 10x better than midnights. But still I leave work and have a sleepless night. Our midnight, staff never gets enough staff for matrix. I've worked doubles before to help them. But it never helps the problem. Administation never solves the problem. And I take days to recover from doubles.

We are a step-down. We had a couple very serious patients on the unit. (last day I worked, ICU was booked, we got there overflow) I left worried about my they're doing...and the staffing for midnights. I think even if we'd be staff well, I'd be concerned of my patients. But now I'm doubly concerned. Midnights taking 7-8 patients each. For ICU over flow patients on our Stepdown. It scares me. I've talked to upper administation with no prevail.

I love nursing, the concept and caring. But I swear it's affecting my health.

I've worked other hospitals. And this hospitals been the best thus far. redface.gif(

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