I didn't read your entire post, as I don't have the attention span today, but I get the basic idea of what you're saying. I, too, used to dread going to work. The ritual of changing into my scrubs
, gathering my supplies, making my lunch, and going out the door all felt like each step was one step closer to my own execution; I felt like "Dead Nurse Walking".
I think the basic problem that faces new nurses is that the reality of acute care nursing does NOT match our expectations. Nursing school does not prepare us for this reality. My solution to this has been to accept the situation as it is instead of expecting it to be what I want it to be, and to do the best I can with what I have.
I am always going to have too many patients and not enough time to do everything I am supposed to do. I am always going to feel that when I am at the bedside I should be charting and when I am charting I should be at the bedside. I am always going to have to pass meds late or put something off just to get my dinner break. I am never going to know enough about my patients to feel like I really know what is going on with them. I am always going to feel like I am not doing enough for my patients, and that I am doing all I can just to keep my head above water. This is the reality of acute care nursing today, and better to accept it and embrace it and do the best I can despite it, than to keep expecting it to be different from that.
And maybe this is silly, but I've also thought about finding a way to get involved in efforts to change these things, so that conditions will be better not only for me, but for future nurses as well.