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Extreme anxiety no longer want to be a nurse

Posted
by Katiejef Katiejef (New) New Nurse

Has 2 years experience.

Hey everyone, I’m looking for some advice or guidance. I’m a new nurse, graduated about a year ago but have only been working since October and only working on my own since December (I waited for the unit I wanted). I work on a neurology unit and I have EXTREME anxiety and dread about going to work every day to the point where I can’t even function the day before because I’m just so worried. I do have social anxiety and feel uncomfortable around people so that is a major contributor. But my lack of confidence and anxiety is making me not want to do this job anymore. I get no enjoyment out of it other than helping patients but I’m at the point I would do anything just to not have to go to work anymore. I can’t sleep at night because of the anxiety and even when I come hole from work and work the next day I can’t relax because I’m constantly going over the day and reviewing things I did and what I should have done different. Has anyone else gone through this so bad? I can’t express how bad it is, I really want to quit. What do I do?

Mywords1

Specializes in nursing ethics.

What would happen if you quit? What is the worst that could happen? What is the best? You tell a future employer that the job was not a good fit for you. Then find a job where your person to person contact is much less. Obviously, no one here can give you confidence. What is it about neurology that makes you nervous so? Be very specific. Are your decisions life and death?

Katiejef

Has 2 years experience.

It’s not the unit that stresses me out it’s the job. I don’t think any other unit would be better and if I didn’t need money I would quit in a heartbeat.

Sour Lemon

Has 9 years experience.

They say it takes two years to be "okay" and seven years to be "competent". One year is very green, and you have a job that's open to new graduates which are not typically the "easiest" or most desirable jobs.

At ten years in, I have a rough night once in a while ...but I feel like I can handle most things that come my way. As a new graduate, I felt a sick sense of dread before work every day. I was even nauseous on occasion, and I could never sleep well because my mind raced constantly. I never saw it as a problem with anxiety, because anxiety under those circumstances was understandable and appropriate.

What are your ultimate goals in nursing? Maybe you need a change of pace or at least scenery. Are your coworkers and managers supportive?

Chickenlady, ADN

Specializes in ER, GI, Occ Health. Has 7 years experience.

Being anxious in this situation is normal. I used to tell myself "The only way thru is forward". You can back away from the situation and start over elsewhere, but you may face the same issues. What you resist, persists. You will eventually feel competent in your role, but that takes time and there is no shortcut to putting in the time and gaining the experience. Best of Luck

Katie82, RN

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, PH, CM. Has 39 years experience.

You do have a degree in Nursing, so that should be worth something. You can probably find a non-nursing job. But absolutely cannot think of a nursing job that will work for someone with Social Anxiety disorder. Did you know this when you entered nursing school. Even if you can handle a telephonic job, you have less than a year's experience. It's not too late for you to branch out to another career.

Katie82, RN

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, PH, CM. Has 39 years experience.

4 hours ago, Sour Lemon said:

They say it takes two years to be "okay" and seven years to be "competent". One year is very green, and you have a job that's open to new graduates which are not typically the "easiest" or most desirable jobs.

She states she has social anxiety disorder and does not like interacting with people. We shouldn't be dismissing her anxiety and chalking it up to inexperience. There are probably healthcare jobs that do not involve patient contact. I would start looking for another position immediately.

NRSKarenRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion. Has 44 years experience.

Quote

I do have social anxiety and feel uncomfortable around people so that is a major contributor.

Please see your PCP re your report of social anxiety as will affect your entire life whether a nurse or in another career. Cognitive behavioral therapy and/or medications have been helpful to many nurses; a medical exam + labs may reveal another reason for your anxiety too.

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I can’t sleep at night because of the anxiety and even when I come hole from work and work the next day I can’t relax because I’m constantly going over the day and reviewing things I did and what I should have done different

The desire to improve is a sign of a conscientious nurse. Took me two years to stop reviewing nightly in my dreams going over previous shift, what I could have done differently---even called from my first trip to Disney World as concerned I forgot to pass on lab results to next shift. Most new grads have these same feelings

Plan in some downtime/destressing activities into your schedule can do wonders. Best wishes moving forward.

I have pretty bad social anxiety too. I feel you. I have suffered from it since I was little, and it is one of those things I cannot change no matter what. After working two years as a nurse full-time, I went back to school for a master's degree in a STEM field (I was working part time as a nurse while in school). I left nursing for good. I work as a data analyst in clinical research now. The position does not require an RN, but it is definitely beneficial to have some clinical knowledge. I am really happy now. It was hard to get a master's degree in STEM with a BSN because all of my classmates had a degree in STEM in their background, but to me just thinking about working in nursing in the rest of my career (30+ years) was much more painful.

Good luck!

herring_RN, ASN, BSN

Specializes in Critical care, tele, Medical-Surgical. Has 49 years experience.

BSN is a science degree.

1 hour ago, herring_RN said:

BSN is a science degree.

Yeah. I know what you mean. I just wanted to say my classmates had a degree such as Engineering, Math, Computer Science, and Statistics in their background.

Curious1alwys, BSN, RN

Has 9 years experience.

Reading these posts, it's so easy to see that if you are not the most mentally healthy person in the world, with any history of anxiety or depression, nursing will wreck you. If it doesn't, it took a lot of meds or personal work. I think only the strongest survive, and sometimes it's just healthier to get out, especially if it keeps interfering with your family life/relationships, etc. I FULLY know where you are coming from. The comment about 7 years competency was jaw-dropping. I can't imagine feeling intense anxiety every shift for 7 years, all the while just HOPING it would get better for me.

I love helping people and my heart is definitely in the right place, but the actual choice of being a nurse probably wasn't the best one for me, either.

leilo0, BSN, RN

Has 9 years experience.

The only cure for me was leaving the bedside. At 8 years in, I still dread going in to work, still sleepless before a shift, still felt like a sinking ship going in. I thought the problem was me until I switched to outpatient. I still get paid almost the same except loosing the shift differential but my quality of life is so much better. My only dread is having to do patient lectures for 45 minutes three times a week but I'd take that over coming on the floor and not knowing what disaster could be waiting for me. Outpatient is busy in a different way but I'd take it any day. Hope you'll find something

maggie0, ADN, RN

Specializes in Psychiatric nursing.

Social anxiety is treatable--if not curable, pretty close to curable. I speak as someone who had it bad most of my life. After therapy, meds, and practice, it's not an issue anymore. I don't know whether you should stay in nursing or not, but I encourage you to keep working on your anxiety. It's not a fixed, unchangeable thing.

Undercat, BSN, MSN, CRNA

Specializes in Retired. Has 41 years experience.

Are you in treatment? You may be bringing the disorder to work as opposed to work bringing the disorder to you. I wouldn't throw your position away until you have had treatment to find out which situation you are in and have a diagnosis.

SquishNurse, BSN

Specializes in Acute care, travel nurse, public health, CM. Has 16 years experience.

On 7/24/2020 at 5:22 PM, herring_RN said:

BSN is a science degree.

I have never even thought to consider nursing as a STEM discipline. I assume that the general public doesn't think of it as such either, but I could be wrong.