Depressed and Disappointed in Myself - page 3

I feel like the biggest failure. I worked so hard to get my BSN. Racked up so much debt. Put in all the time. Passed the NCLEX. Started looking for a job, put in applications, and the first job I... Read More

  1. by   timewood
    Hey OP

    First of all I'd like to say congrats on making it this far. :-)

    I lasted 90 days at my first job in med/surg. Like a previous poster, I found my niche in hospice and worked in that field for seven years. I will also share with you that the biggest reason I stayed in nursing at all is I was a single mother with no other means of supporting my family and I had a chronically ill child who needed the flex schedule hospice provided. At that time and in the market where I worked, hospice was autonomous in the extreme. The learning curve was brutal but I poured myself in to it. It was the most challenging and rewarding work I've ever done. But it eventually wore me down completely.

    I was not and never will be someone who is naturally task-oriented. And for the bulk of the work of being a nurse that particular talent is crucial. Over the years I've observed that the most resilient nurses have a particular personality and temperament, a hard-wiring that makes them naturally good at nursing. It sounds like maybe your temperament and personality aren't at home in a hospital setting and that could be the root-cause of the stress you're experiencing. And I agree with the other posters, you need to sleep and you need to be able to eat. Without the basics, nothing else is going to be possible so start there.

    I know there are oceans of advice stating things like "get at least one year of med/surg" but you don't have to do that before you can move on to something that is a better fit for you. In my first job I was surrounded by seasoned nurses who were immature and cliquish in the extreme. The entire hospital where I worked was that way and on some floors, it could be downright dangerous if a nurse decided to go after you. It was a nightmare and I got out as soon as I possibly could. My managers were very good to me there but their hands were tied to do anything about the pervasive toxicity of the hospitals culture.

    Right now the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that up to 50% of nurses leave the profession within the first three years. It absolutely is not for everyone (in fact, I don't think it's for most people) and there is ZERO shame in that. I blame a lot of that turnover on the poor prep that Baccalaureate is for the reality of nursing. Like another poster wrote, diploma programs provided years of opportunities to gain experience and confidence while still under the wing of a teacher.

    Life is unbelievably brief. And precious. And there is far too much good in it to stay at a job that is making you miserable. No one knows you better than you know yourself. No one can help you but you. And, no one can give you permission to do what is best for you, but you. You must be good to yourself. And, you are allowed to make mistakes. Big time. It sounds like you are wrestling with some really unrealistic self-imposed expectations of perfection. Although from the outside, it looks like I've bootstrapped myself through unbelievable challenges to finally gain success, the reality is my life has been one long, terrifying ****-show. Just like most people's.

    Get to a counselor, get some non-addictive sleep meds and anti-anxiety meds from your PCP, square your shoulders and then start plotting a different course for the life you want to live. And even if you decide to do something besides nursing, none of your experiences are wasted.

    Some of the best people I know floundered around vocationally throughout their lives. Much of what makes life good is the SEARCH for meaning and calling... whether or not you find it. And that means being in situations over and over where frustration, poor fit and anxiety are part and parcel of the experience along with the good things too.

    Be kind to your mind. And start moving forward in self-care immediately.

    I wish you the very best in your journey.
    Last edit by sirI on Feb 26
  2. by   Neats
    The best advice I can give you comes from my nursing heart:

    Do not let college, your chosen profession, and the cost to get there dictate how your professional life should go

    In Nursing people are human and resilient, recognize you have to learn, be careful, and move ahead do not let the complexity scare you away.

    Know you will fail even if you try your hardest and do not let that break you. Let that failure make you better

    After you learn, teach, you will not become stagnant and you will hone your skills

    Just like everyone else here reaching out to nursing is not all there is in nursing, there are plenty of specialties in nursing, just focus on learning the first year or two to get your assessment skills and other nursing competencies down, give yourself a break.
    Take a look at the allnurses threads/specialties and get to know what ones interest might find yourself looking for a different nursing road to take.
  3. by   Cooper435
    I read this article a felt like you was talking to me only different.

    I have aslo been to nursing school graduated two years ago and when I went to take the Nclex I have had three family members die weeks before I take it. Anyways I have still not passed this stupid test and just took it last Thursday and don't dare open my results. I feel very alone and defeated by this test. I question whether I should be a nurse as well. I have sacrificed so much time away from my family. I really want to be a nurse but now I'm on the fence to either make a change or deal with the card I have been dealt. I hope you figure out what you need to do to be happy, just know your not alone.
  4. by   brandy1017
    I think you should see your Dr and see if he thinks an antidepressant would be in order. Also consider seeing a counselor. I imagine you can't just afford to quit your job cold turkey can you? I think you need at least six months to a year to try to find a non hospital nursing job.
  5. by   bluegeegoo2
    Quote from YUKONrn
    I've been a nurse for almost 11 years and just left a job because for the past month I had the same feeling every day for a month straight. Problem is corporate greed and facilities trying to do more with less. I had a mental breakdown and slept for a week straight. What you are experiencing sounds a lot like burnout which is all too common in this profession.
    Me, too. I just couldn't bring myself to go in this weekend. Just sat on the couch and cried. I've been a nurse going on 11 years as well.

    Interestingly, as soon as I made the decision to leave my "depression" began to resolve. I feel much better.

    I have an interview this week that is non-nursing/healthcare related and I am looking forward to it.

    Good luck to you and OP.
  6. by   SoCal Nurse
    When I first started on the floor I almost died. I lost 20 pounds in 30 days, was stressed beyond belief, and ended up getting placed on probation (twice) because my time management sucked so much. I really, really struggled, and things got better by going to nights, (although night shift f'd me up) and my time management got a lot better when I started using a "brain" sheet that I developed. I can send it to you if you want and let you know how I used it. It saved me...That and charting in real time were the biggest things. Hang in there. I sent you a friend request, and would be happy to help you out...

  7. by   wondern
    Well you're definitely not a failure! You sound like you're just thinking aloud. It's probably the place you are working. Try to check out something else in nursing somewhere else, and please do not to say mean things to yourself that are not true. Sorry you feel sad and depressed. Do something nice for yourself. Watch a funny movie. Take a little walk outside. Get some tea called Relaxing Mind and also Stress Relief. I like them. You might too.
  8. by   YUKONrn
    Like I said I'm a veteran nurse, I became a PCT in 2004 and graduated RN school in 2007, and the same thing has just happened to me after a year at my current job. And being in the nursing field for 14 years, I take Lexapro 20 MG daily, Abilify 5 MG daily, Xanax 1 MG TID, and ambien 12.5 MG ER at bedtime. Despite all of these medications I take to cope, I still burned out and feel the exact same way you do. I've already landed another job and I plan on enrolling in a Personal training course to become a certified personal trainer, because fitness has been my passion since I was 14 years old, and while it won't pay nearly as much, I will be doing something I love for once and will get a much needed mental health vacation from nursing.
  9. by   FLRN2be
    I hate to say it, but reading this and some of the other posts on allnurses as a first-semester RN student is really starting to worry me! I worked in banking for about 8 years prior to having my two children, but I always held back with seeking promotions because I always *knew* that nursing was where I wanted to be. Now, I'm doing well in my classes, but get depressed when thinking about getting to the 'real world'. I loved my previous jobs and never felt the need to take any anxiety or sleeping meds. Is this what I have to look forward to as a new nurse? Yikes!
  10. by   squishyfish
    **Please take care of yourself, that is most important! Not eating and losing 13 lb is concerning, as well as not sleeping. Please follow up with your medical provider!**

    After taking care of yourself and your health, see how you're feeling, maybe look into some community health or outpatient nursing positions. You may find those to be a better fit.

    I went through something very similar. I excelled in nursing school, graduated at the top of my class with a BSN. Started working on a med-surg tele floor immediately after graduation. After 8 weeks, I was a mess. Not eating well or sleeping, losing weight, crying constantly, having daily panic attacks. I hated nursing and hated myself because I felt like a failure. I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and was put on anti-anxiety meds. I was always an anxious person but until I became a nurse, it was always manageable. It took awhile, but things did get better and I was able to function again. I no longer hate nursing, and I was able to find another specialty that I love!

    Good luck
  11. by   Leader25
    Ok ,it is too soon to say nursing is not for you.Stop blabbing to everyone about it. Focus,because you need this job,so this is it,you need to stick it out as long as you feel you are able to practice safely.Then you can have another soul searching talk with yourself.Only you and your patients matter when you are on duty,turn off the phone and the chatting,reserve and conserve your strength for work.Take time to rest properly.If you need to speak to a counselor ,find one,just keep it and your personal life very very private.
    I have been where you are,I needed to work,not just for self satisfaction but actual survival,have a roof over my head etc, the reality of life.I trimmed stuff from my life away from work also,just so I could rest.Eat what you can be healthy,my throat was so closed from stress I could not sleep nor swallow,panicked over bills and so on.After you are there six months or so call in sick and self care for self. By now you might get a holiday and be able to take a three day weekend, use them. Soon it will be a year.You can also fnd an online counselor thru Doctors On Demand, not very expensive and worth it if it helps keep you sane and keep your job a bit longer. Then write here again and tell us how you are doing.Do not try to do it all , one can not .
  12. by   brandy1017
    Quote from 1sttime
    Never had this experience in 13 years of Nursing- Then I made a career switch. Then I went back to Nursing, but somehow being away from Nursing had done something to me. The weight of the world came down on my shoulders- I came home one night and was crying (My husband said he had never seen me so upset). I felt like I had lost something that I had worked so hard for- that I couldn't do it anymore- I had failed.

    So I backed off, resumed my other career, and did a lot of personal care. Now I am back in the saddle, much more forgiving of myself. Try some therapy, yoga, running, breathing, meditating.... First you are going to have to make some space to feel comfortable to do this- its ok- you are smart and tenacious enough to make it through Nursing school, trust in yourself that you will figure this out too.
    I wish I could have gone back to my old job as a secretary, but the pay was literally half what I got as a new grad. I never gave myself permission to admit I didn't like it, let alone quit! I hate that there are so few jobs in America that pay a living wage and worse that many don't offer health insurance. I can't wait till I can retire and put this behind me! I would be like the lady that won the lottery, worked at a hospital and gave her notice first thing!
  13. by   buttercup9
    I agree with many of the other posters out there. PLEASE don't be so hard on yourself!! Everyone experiences something like this in the beginning. I It helped that I worked as a nursing assistant and unit secretary in the hospital I got hired at (it was the only place that even gave me an interview). Having already worked there I already knew where all the supplies were and I knew the computer system pretty well so I could focus on just learning instead of running around looking for a commode (as another poster commented). For any prospective nurses reading this, I highly recommend working as a nursing assistant/ PCT while in school. It helps a lot.
    The way your orientation is structured matters a lot. If you do decide to leave, tell your managers how they could make the orientation process better.
    It seems to me that if hospitals took the time to properly orient new grads better then people would be better supported and turnover would be less!

    Please remember, you are NOT stupid. One of the things I love about the nursing profession is that there are SO many directions you can go in.

    As for your current situation. Take it one moment at a time. You said yourself it was a low acuity floor so the likelyhood of you doing something terrible is pretty low. So you are late on meds.... NONE OF US ARE ON TIME!!! Forgot to open the IV piggyback valve? it won't be the last time. Spike a bag a of plasma and get all down the front of your scrubs while wasting the whole thing? (I don't recommend that, that one was embarrassing) You didn't get to the person's call light fast enough and the pooped the bed, eh.... it could really be worse. Even when I use the bedpan I manage to spill a bunch. I could go on about all the ways I've screwed up. you learn from it and put it behind you. Not that I don't care, I just have figured out how to put it in its place and move on, or else it is paralyzing.
    And it isn't just new nurses who feel this way. I was working one AM when one of the RN's was doing his AM rounds and the patient had coded, he hit the code button on the wall, I went in and helped with CPR and the resident ran in and said "holy ****! What do I do!" --- keep in mind this man was an MD.

    Are there nurse educators there for you to talk to?