Pre work anxiety

  1. Hi all,

    I am a recent new grad. I graduated in May 2012 and landed a job at my dream hospital working in peds heme onc. I always knew I wanted to work in peds but never imagined I would be working in heme onc. I have been working since July and off orientation since mid October. When I am at work it is stressful at times but I am feeling more and more comfortable every day. I have had a few rough nights but I think that's true for everyone.

    The issue I am having is that since I have come off orientation I have anxiety the few hours before I go to work and the night before I start a string of shifts. I have trouble sleeping before my first shift and if I wake up I start obsessing about work, thinking about what patients I will have and if I will be able to handle them and I can't go back to sleep. I get butterflys in my stomach and I get grouchy. Its like I can't take my mind off of worrying about work and enjoy my last night off or relax for a few hours before that first shift. Once I am at work and settled it gets much better and I usually do not have much anxiety going back the next night but that feeling of anxiety has started happening earlier and earlier on the day/night before. It seems to be worse when I have had 4 or 5 nights off in a row than if it has just been a few days. I thinks part of the problem is the constant switching back and forth from days to nights has not been easy for me but unfortunately it will be at least another year before a daytime position will open up for me. It is not to the point where I feel I need medication or anything.

    Has anybody else dealt with this? Did it go away with time and experience? Any advice? Sorry for the long post I am just looking for advice on this issue. Thanks!
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    About shelbs3

    Joined: Dec '12; Posts: 16; Likes: 32


  3. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    I've been working rotating shifts since 1995 and I still experience exactly what you described. I'm afraid I don't have any advice for you just an acknowledgement of your concern.
  4. by   simon7250

    I think you are over analysing situations as you mentioned the anxiety usually occurs before your next shift the following day. Don't worry about those things as when you are away from work you can't change the situation as you can only act when in work. Just make sure you are aware of the procedure you need to carry out and believe in yourself. I agree it can be difficult to do this at first but the more initiative you take in your ability to carry out these tasks the better armed full of confidence you will be. Try to imagine how you would like to see yourself as a well skilled nurse with the accurate knowledge to prevent these feelings from hindering your progress.

    Although you may not like the nights to days and visa versa think of the potential to gain skills in both situations you can use to take forward. During night shifts and also weekends, staffing levels maybe lower and you need to make best use of the resources and knowledge available.

    I hope to be taking my degree next year at University for nursing, so I am will have all this to come too, but I have learnt from previous jobs that all this stressing is not going to get the baby washed. When I worked as an analyst for a retailer I had a piece of work to do for a manager who demanded on time high quality work. I didn't do an essential piece of work in the previous week to its submission, my own fault and I have learnt from this. It needed to be done for a meeting the following Monday with some very important and high up people. If the information wasn’t ready, I dread to think of what would have happened as it was quite serious. I stressed to hell about it over the weekend and couldn't think properly as I knew what would happen if I didn't produce the work. One thing came over me on the Sunday evening, I actually thought to myself I am going in on Monday and I am going to do this work in a calm and focused manner. Luckily I had enough time on Monday to do the work and get it in on time. I know Nursing is different to what I have experienced but the principle is the same. Telling yourself to keep calm and being positive can help you in a big way. Alt though not always possible as people do get stressed it's just trying to manage it. In time you will get better and develop a good process which works for you.

    Your probably know this anyway but there is no harm in someone else discussing it, as I find when people reflect on situations this clears the mind of negative thoughts.

    Hope this helps and it would be great to hear how you are getting on.

    All the best,

  5. by   ~PedsRN~
    I am coming up on my one year mark, and the day before I head in for a shift I always feel the exact same way - just a tad nervous. I really think it's the fear of the unknown. You never know when you are gong to in inherit that train wreck. LOL!
  6. by   shamrokks
    I do not work in a hospital setting doing bedside care. I worry too that I will have this anxiety issue if I do some day. I hope you are able to work it out. I'm sure it is probably common but I am curious as well how many others feel this anxiety before work.
  7. by   ianursestudent15
    You're feeling that way probably because you're just starting ( just my idea)but like others said it may still be the same even if you've already been working for a long time. Anyway I don't think your anxiety affects the quality of your work, so it's just fine! You just have to watch out your health and if it becomes worse, maybe you need a professional help..but hopefully you can make your way out of it
  8. by   brownbook
    Your feelings are perfectly normal. I've been a nurse way to long to admit but still have the occasional anxious obsessive thoughts. I think it is a sign of a good, caring. conscientious nurse.

    There is a saying. Face the worst, believe the best, do the most, and leave the rest.

    However take the first part to the extreme. When you start getting anxious and obsessing take it to the max. Let your imagination run wild. Go are going to give every patient the incorrect med, the wrong dose, etc. You are going to seriously harm if not kill one of your patients on your next shift, etc.

    The entire BON, the director of the hospital, the doctor, all are going to stomp into your unit and strip your name badge off your uniform. A drummer will slowly bang a drum as you walk down the hallway hanging your head in shame as your co-workers point at you and whisper.

    The "best" part is you will not be a nurse anymore and don't have to deal with this anxiety and obsessive thinking.

    Well.....I have a pretty good imagination, but I hope you get the idea.
  9. by   RN2012Newbie
    No real advice from me except to try and keep yourself busy when not at work. Im replying to let you know you are not alone and that I have the exact same anxiety. My anxiety actually was probably much worse when I started compared to what you are describing, but it has slowly decreased! Now I just get anxious if I havent been to work in 4-5+ nights! Goodluck and hang in there
  10. by   Vegan_RN
    I have the same problem. It's perfectly normal. I've gotten use to it, but that night before work can be a little stressful.