Struggling new grad in need of advice

  1. I'm a new nurse. I started my first job in July on a progressive care unit. I had 12 weeks of orientation and now am on my own. I had been offered a position on days but later asked to go to nights to give myself more time to connect the pieces and adjust- it's a bit slower at night less family less doctors not many procedures if any. Days are INSANE on the unit. Our patient to nurse ratio is rarely less than 6:1 when ideal is 4:1. The acuity has been increasingly worse. We see everything from respiratory issues, GI bleeds, post Cath, chf, etc. such a great unit to learn on. I'm constantly asking questions and struggling to get everything done. I don't always know what to do or say to patients which I know will come with time and practice but I feel lost. Luckily I work with some amazing nurses that are always willing to help but they are all leaving or planning on it due to the workload. Our turnover is very high and we are understaffed. Since I've been there 5 day shift nurses have left and 6 night nurses have left so I know it's not just me. It's just rough and I just don't feel confident being on my own and I feel like the future looks dim with so many others leaving especially the ones I've built wonderful relationships with. It seems like it'll get worse before it gets better and I don't know if I can handle that. I don't know if it's just this unit or that hospital nursing isn't for me. Not to mention in the time since I started my grandmother passed away who I was extremely close to, my cat ran away we are still looking for him, I got married, my husband ended up in the ER from panic attacks, we moved, and I found out I was pregnant (unplanned so a bit of a shock). It's been a whirlwind the past few months and I'm not adjusting well at all. I feel like if I stick it out I could really hurt my mental health but if I leave I will lose a great learning opportunity AND paid maternity leave. I feel stuck and would greatly appreciate advice from some seasoned nurses.
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    About 1012ht

    Joined: Nov '18; Posts: 2; Likes: 5

    5 Comments

  3. by   LovingLife123
    Well, you've had a lot of adjustments this past year. I would stick it out and learn as much as you can.

    In my first year, I bought a house, had to find another to buy when the first fell through, got engaged, graduated, closed on my new house and moved to a new city, started the new grad program, then orientation, then night shift, then I got pregnant, and moved from nights to days which was another big adjustment with being newly pregnant.

    There is a lot of turnover in nursing, period. It's honestly like that everywhere. Lots of people going back to school, some looking to advance careers, others looking for more pay. It's a never ending cycle.

    The first year is hard. The second year is a little easier but not much. I started to feel more comfortable by year 3.
  4. by   1012ht
    I really do want to stick it out but I get awful anxiety attacks. I cried the entire way home from our honeymoon because I was so scared to go back to work. Do you think I should try a medical unit? Ultimately I want to do hospice care but I thought it would be best to get some acute experience first. I don't want to disappoint my director but at the same time I don't know how long I can do this on top of everything else going on. It may be best to transfer to another unit but then I won't see as much but may be less stressed. I'm really torn. I honestly just want to be a good nurse.
  5. by   cleback
    I would try to stick it out and reevaluate when you're on maternity leave. If you'd leave right now, it sounds like you'd be trading work stress for financial stress. I'm not sure what's the greater evil.

    Definitely get some help from your doc or counselor for the anxiety though.
  6. by   AnnieNP
    I would try to hang in there until maternity leave, then re-evaluate things.
  7. by   Possum_RN
    well, I'm not a 'seasoned' nurse by any means. But a few thoughts:

    As a new grad, it's best (if at all possible) to stick around for that first year. From what you say here, it sounds like you are about where a new nurse is expected to be: struggling, but learning. Is it possible to transfer to another unit? Another unit within the same company can offer some 'damage control' for your resume. I would do my very best to keep in touch with those nurses you have built relationships with - just drop them a line on social media every so often. Keep your ears open, network and see who has some insights into good places - maybe even some connections to land you a spot!
    Especially with maternity leave as an option... well, it does not seem like the best time to quit. Then again, mental health is invaluable, and you have to do what is best for you. Best of luck!

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