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Fellow Nurses, Help Please

Stress 101   (508 Views | 1 Replies)
by JLA JLA Member

1,989 Profile Views; 79 Posts

Hello Fellow Nurses,

I have been a nurse for over 4 years...I worked oncology med surg for the past 3.5 years.  I just recently transferred closer to home to a smaller hospital med surg tele dept.  I had panic attacks/anxiety 20 years ago (before I was ever a nurse) that I learned how to manage.  Therapy, exercise, and meditation.  The panic attacks luckily never came back, and the anxiety was minimal.   

Since I've been a nurse the anxiety has increased.  I start to feel anxious the night before my shift, and I feel myself pulling away from my family and getting mentally geared up for work.  I feel like med surg/floor nursing is not my thing.  The long 12 hours are getting to me and overall I know that its not good for my anxiety levels.

I feel stuck.  I like having 4 days off and the money is great.  But at what point do I say enough my mental health is more important? I feel torn.  I am trying to find something less stressful and more a m-f environment.  I have 4 years experience floor nursing and a BSN.  My questions are:

1.  What areas of nursing would you recommend?

2.  Those of you that deal with anxiety what works for you?

Thank you all! 

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River&MountainRN has 5 years experience as a ADN, RN and specializes in Primary Care, LTC, Private Duty.

222 Posts; 2,316 Profile Views

1.  If you're looking for M-F, consider (carefully) primary care. Like I said in another thread: evaluate length of shifts, start/end times, OT expectations, and how many patients "your" physician (the physician you work with) is expected to see in a day. Primary care has been, by far and in retrospect after experiencing other specialties, my favorite specialty since graduating four years ago. You just need to get in with a good team.


2. Recently I've been putting my foot down and challenging my anxiety directly. I'm slowly starting to notice an improvement, especially in situations totally outside of my control. It doesn't help once I'm fully wound up or if I've buried the source of my anxiety so deep that I'm just experiencing physiological symptoms without an apparent, direct stimulus. However, for those moments where I think "I can't do this" (like when going through those doors to work) or "OMG, OMG, OMG...", I mentally stamp my foot down, take myself by the shoulders, and give myself a mental shake: "Anxiety served our ancestors as a survival mechanism when we were about to be eaten. Get it together, River&Mountain RN, and tell ME (yourself): Really, WHAT do you think is going to eat you right now? WHY is this situation (walking into work, going to sleep the night before getting back to work, speaking with a supervisor I've already spoken with, etc) suddenly all big and scary?".

If nothing else it stops the "OMG, OMG, OMG" and the "but, but, but....what if?" and makes me consider the situation a little more rationally. It makes me take a good look at what I'm actually concerned about, if I'm catastrophizing the situation (which I often am) it helps me understand WHY I am, it helps me to prepare for what I can do about the situation (if anything) that is bothering me, and it helps me to realize what is/is not within my control to even work on/worry about working on. 

Edited by River&MountainRN

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