New Grad RN, Hating my life

  1. I am a new graduate who received my license in July of last year. I was lucky enough to land a position in a new grad program and now work on a PCU in the hospital. I feel so guilty because I feel like I should just be grateful that I have a job in this tough job market, however I am just miserable. The stress of the weight of responsibility I feel is unbearable on some days and I have felt a huge weight come into my life that I cannot shake and have never felt before. I work the night shift and every other weekend and find myself incredibly upset with how much my schedule interferes with me spending time with my family and friends who all have mon-fri jobs.I was always someone who values that time so much and my favorite part of my day was always coming home after work/school to friends/ family and spending weekends with them and going to church. The first 5 months in, I had incredible anxiety/stress and I was quite possibly depressed, undiagnosed (I should have got a referral to a Psychiatrist/therapist from my PCP but chickened out one time I went because I was ashamed and felt people would just think I was dramatic). I dread going into work every night and on a lot of my days off I dread the next day that I have to go in. I have always been a hardworking person with a good attitude, however since starting this job, I feel that it has taken my joy. The people who I work with are incredibly kind and supportive, however I still am miserable. I do not like the hospital and never have, however this was the only interview I got from all of the jobs I applied to and I am incredibly lucky for the opportunity/experience. I have shadowed in outpatient settings and know that I like it so much more. However, right now I am only 6 months in to my hospital job. It is getting better in terms of me feeling more competent and having a little less anxiety, however the anxiety is still there and it breaks my heart to not come home to family during the night for half of my week and miss out on so many experiences on the weekends I do work. I know, I know, I signed up for this whacky schedule and stress when I wanted to be a nurse. However, now I am willing to do ANYTHING to have some semblence of a normal life/stress level back. What do I do? Anyone else experiencing something similar? Is it too early to start applying to new outpatient day positions for the sake of my happiness/sanity? Also, is my sanity worth the paycut? Any suggestions welcome. Thank you so much in advance. Much love and hugs to all my new nurses going through something similar right now.
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    About KCNewRN8, BSN, RN

    Joined: Feb '18; Posts: 3; Likes: 5


  3. by   Pixie.RN
    I could feel the DREAD radiating from your post!! The first year is super stressful, no doubt. I would recommend a couple of things: first, start looking! Realize that you might take a pay cut, but see if you are qualified for some of those Mon-Fri jobs out there. You have a BSN, which is good - that is a minimum qualification for many places (very regional, though). Second, unless something awesome falls into your lap as a result of looking, I would be prepared to stay on your PCU for a solid year to get that magical "one year of acute care experience" so you can check that box. It might not matter - again, depends where you are.

    Never hesitate to get help if you need it. And just because others have had difficulty finding work does not mean that you MUST feel grateful; misery is misery, and you are allowed to have some if you're feeling it. You earned your position for a reason, and when you leave for something better, you can feel good that you opened up a spot for someone else. Sanity is priceless, so if a pay cut is manageable, take it. I have exchanged pay for my happiness, and I have no regrets. It's worth it, and I ended up somewhere great in the process.

    I am glad to hear it is getting better! 6 months in, but how many on your own? I am glad you have supportive coworkers/management, but that is never going to fix the scheduling piece. There are many ways to be a nurse, not all of them result in weekends/holidays/days away from family if that is what is important to you. For those people who feel that you need to "earn" your way to a better schedule, well ... they aren't living your life, are they?

    Best of luck!!!
  4. by   KCNewRN8
    All of this is very great to hear. Thank you for making me feel validated and feel that everything that I am going through is very real to me. I have been in contact with HR for a triaging position in primary/family medicine (mon-fri), so I believe they might call me in. I also have connections with a family friend who was willing to help me get hired as a new grad with no experience at an outpatient surgery center (so I am assuming that with 7-8 months experience acute care he would still be apt to help). I would probably do PreOp/ PACU, and maybe have the chance to do OR if I ever wanted to expand my horizons. I am only 3 months in to being by myself, but if it means anything, by my 3rd rotation in around January of my residency I was essentially doing everything by myself (I know not the same as being alone but RN experience is experience right?). Or will my new job only count my experience being alone? That would be awful because I am counting down the days until November (which is the year mark of starting my residency). I also have metal rods in my back so the lifting that comes with acute care is already causing me chronic back pain. Another reason I feel I should leave and is affecting my happiness/ quality of life. Thank you so much for your input! I value it greatly!
  5. by   Pixie.RN
    Your year begins when you are working as an RN, so day one of hire, I think. But in terms of your own comfort, things are different when you are being precepted vs. being on your own. I wish you luck!
  6. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    You would be surprised to know how many others have found themselves exactly where you are right now. Shift work and stress are really only concepts until you're actually living it. We're all positive we can do it, and we're all SO determined that nursing is the right career. Until we're doing it. For more than 20 years I worked in a position where I rotated back and forth between days and nights, in a critical care environment. My options are limited for changing jobs, so I knew I had to grit my teeth and just do it. I hate having to tell people I can't do things with them because I have to work or that I can't do things with them because I have to sleep... just as much as I hate missing out. For quite a long time I was the main breadwinner and we were supporting 3 children, a mortgage and all the rest. Now that my kids are all grown and I've got so many years of experience (and seniority) behind me, I was finally in a place where I could switch to a permanent day rotation. I still have times when I can't do things but they're a lot less frequent. And soon I can retire. Unlike me, you DO have options. I second Pixie's suggestions, all of them. If you feel your anxiety is too big a burden, either get your PCP to refer you, or access the Employee Assistance Program at your hospital, if there is one. Life is too short to be constantly miserable.
  7. by   Green Tea, RN
    Do you have to work full-time? If the answer is "no" and your manager allows, why don't you be part time? Also, just being part time temporary is okay. I personally don't want to work full time as a nurse honestly because it's too stressful to me. I am 0.5 FTE, and I have time to take care of myself. I think it is too early to quit the job if your coworkers are nice.
  8. by   KCNewRN8
    Green Tea,
    I do work full time and have only taken 2 days off in 6 months. I have definitely thought about going down to part time. I think it would definitely help to only work around two 12's a week in the hospital, especially considering I only sleep at most 4 hours between shifts if I work back to back (very scary and exhausting). So yes I definitely think I'd be able to last longer at the hospital if I went part time. However, I am saving up for a house so I would love to pick up something else part time that I can do during the day. (Something lighter/lower stress). If you (or anyone else reading this) knows of companies who pick up RN's for part time or per diem work such as clinics, biometric companies or vaccination clinics, please let me know so I can apply. I will apply to Total Wellness who I know does biometric screenings and vaccinations. I also was interested in picking up substitute school nurse shifts, however am unsure on how to go about getting my California school nurse credential. If anyone has any info on this too that would be greatly appreciated. Thank you guys for your kind suggestions!! <3
  9. by   bryanleo9
    I recommend looking for a new job. Too many people tolerate bad work environments to make more. It's not worth it. I left a high stress position and felt so amazing afterwards. You are worth it.