New grad bedside nursing disappointment

  1. I graduated in May passed boards in June and started in working in ICU. I made great grades through school, and I looked forward to clinicals. However, ever since I started work I am a nervous wreck, I cry before and after work and on my off days, I dread going back. This is my second ICU job since June because at first, I attributed my misery to a long commute and I moved to a closer hospital. I feel like bedside nursing is not for me, but I do not know where to turn. I dislike the 12-hour shifts, the death of patients, and the stress of it all. I feel ashamed, embarrassed and miserable. I have thought about home health but I know they prefer at least a year of bedside experience. I just don't know what to do.
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    About KWRN29

    Joined: Aug '16; Posts: 14; Likes: 13

    18 Comments

  3. by   Aliens05
    One recommendation that I could make is working at a small group home with disabled clients. That is what I do. The downside is you don't get to learn skills. I work in a group home that has about 5 people living there, in wheelchairs and different diagnosis ranging from downs to CP to just having a mild to moderate intellecutal disablity. You wear whatever you want to work, some homes have 8 hours shifts 5 days per week, some are three 12s. Its a very relaxed atmosphere, you take them to movies, ball games, stores, hangout and do crafts with them, watch tv, etc. Of course you have to care for them, assess them, chart, but its relaxed, easy, not very stressful.

    I love it, again the downside is you don't really do any skills, pay is decent, but not much opportunity for overtime, you usually do have a set schedule however. I live in a lower cost of living area in the midwest and generally pay is between 26-28/hr with some of our nurse managers making 32-35/hr.
  4. by   Triddin
    It might be that ICU isn't for you. I wouldn't give up in bedside. ICU is exhausting and a huge learning curve with experience. I can't even imagine going in as a brand new grad
  5. by   MEINstudent
    Ask to shadow on the OR. A very different type of nursing, with different stressors. But you only have one patient at a time. It took a few years for me to burn out on floor nursing, and find my fit in surgery.
  6. by   City-Girl
    Maybe try an in-pt area of nursing that's not so deep. Many tele / cardiac step down units are a great place to develop skills without the constant intensity of ICU. On the Cardiac unit in the hospital where I work, the patient types are: r/o MI, s/p cardiac Cath w/ intervention, s/p ICD, TAVR, POD #2 from CABG to name a few. Drips such as Amio, Dilt & Tykosyn are managed. ICU is not for everyone (including this RN). Good luck!
  7. by   JKL33
    Quote from KWRN29
    I graduated in May passed boards in June and started in working in ICU. I made great grades through school, and I looked forward to clinicals. However, ever since I started work I am a nervous wreck, I cry before and after work and on my off days, I dread going back. This is my second ICU job since June because at first, I attributed my misery to a long commute and I moved to a closer hospital. I feel like bedside nursing is not for me, but I do not know where to turn. I dislike the 12-hour shifts, the death of patients, and the stress of it all. I feel ashamed, embarrassed and miserable. I have thought about home health but I know they prefer at least a year of bedside experience. I just don't know what to do.
    For your consideration:

    Overall, what you describe is not that rare an experience. It's actually quite common. For a lot of people nursing school was a great deal of stress, pressure, hoop-jumping and just general working toward this goal of graduating and becoming licensed and securing a job. Then there's the promise/excitement of orientation (kind of a "honeymoon" period).

    But then a few months in....it's time for a major let-down. That feeling of "this is it?" or "Is this really what I worked so hard for?" The excitement is kind of over and you have the opportunity to really feel some things that previous excitement masked - - such as the heavy responsibility that being on duty as an RN is. Or the fact that it's not "exciting" to deal with the difficulties, illness, suffering, and death of others. It's meaningful work, for sure, but it doesn't feel the same as the excitement of working to become an RN did. We get an idea in our heads about what our future is going to look like, and reality often isn't as pleasant or straightforward.

    It may eventually become very clear to you that what you're doing now is not going to work for you in the future. Or it might be that you need a little time to let things settle. Maybe think some of these things ^ through while you're thinking about your overall situation. And know that lots of new nurses have felt this way and come out okay!

    The best to you as you adjust to your new identity as a nurse and make decisions about your future ~
  8. by   sallyrnrrt
    Quote from Triddin
    It might be that ICU isn't for you. I wouldn't give up in bedside. ICU is exhausting and a huge learning curve with experience. I can't even imagine going in as a brand new grad




    I was charge GN in The CCU , I graduated at ...11am, charge G N at 3Pm..
    of course same hospital my diploma program b was, and I had spent last 9 weeks charge nurse role in CCU.... but those days are gone for the most part
    Last edit by sallyrnrrt on Sep 20 : Reason: Sp
  9. by   walkingrock
    The first year of nursing is very difficult. Every day is a new learning experience in some way, and stressful. Beyond that, ICU may not be your niche. It's way too early to give up. Share with your nurse educator, mentors, manager that you are struggling and take suggestions. Be kind to yourself, do some self-caring activities during your time off (something that makes you feel good, happy, etc). Also, you've heard: nurse's eat their young? unfortunately, some places that is very true and the older nurses can treat the newbies as if they are stupid or unwanted, etc. That is a horrible thing, and contributes to making a new situation toxic. I hope you have kindness and support at your new job. Hopefully, you have some family and or friends that you can vent to also.
  10. by   KWRN29
    I spoke with my manager and thankfully she was very receptive and understanding. I am going to shadow in the cath lab tomorrow. This is a rural hospital, so they don't do balloon pumps or anything like that, they dont even do call. It is mainly scheduled caths, stress tests, that kinda stuff. Ive read that cath lab isnt new grad friendly but I figured since this is a rural hospital that doesnt offer advanced procedures that would require previous critical care experience, I may actually like it and feel comfortable. At the very least, it is worth a giving try.
  11. by   tianova
    I, too, am in the exact same boat. Constantly asking myself every day if I can do this, if I'm smart enough, and worst of all if I even LIKE this. I worked so hard to get into the ICU as a new grad and now, 2 months into orientation, I'm ashamed that it might not be for me. Even considering transferring to a tele unit. I hope cath lab works out for you! Best of luck, but know you are not alone.
  12. by   Phish16
    It is going to take about a year and a half before you feel at all comfortable in the ICU, especially as new grad. If you're crying like this, it may be that ICU is not for you. Just do med/surg, there is no shame in that. We need good med/surg nurses and you will learn a lot! maybe use that as your transition to ICU if that's what you want to do. Med/surg or IMCU is the best preparation for ICU. That's what I did because I didn't get a job in ICU as a new grad. Nursing school does not prepare you fully to be a nurse. Most of your learning will come from job experience. Good luck!
  13. by   amzyRN
    Do you feel like you are getting too attached? That is one of the downsides to the longer-term care of patients, the closeness to the family and patients. When I worked inpatient nursing, I would sometimes find it hard to care for patients who were dying because I had to take care of them several days in a row.

    Working in the ER, I don't have time to become attached because my patients are only with me for hours, rarely a whole shift. Maybe you need a new specialty, a long vacation, a leave of absence so that you can clear your head a little so that you can make your next decision with clarity.

    With regard to the learning curve to learning a new specialty and particularly critical care, I would think that it takes at least 2 years before you would feel completely comfortable. Maybe you can speak with one of the more experienced nurses in your department that you trust that can guide you. I wouldn't make any abrupt decisions if I were you.
  14. by   Chrispy11
    I passed the NCLEX in June. I like my job but I doubt myself every day. I second guess myself constantly. I'm trying hard but feel I could be doing better, then I come on here and see I'm not alone. I'm going to bookmark this post and set a reminder so I can see it the first day of Fall 2019.

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