Am I cut out for this?

  1. I just don't know if I am cut out to be a nurse anymore. I've been a CNA for almost a year now. While I enjoy the work and truly love my residents, I cannot handle rude coworkers or family members. I break down into a panic/crying fit after a bad shift where I've dealt with people just being ugly with me. I've been degraded over and over and still continue to bust my ass for my residents. I can't even remember the last time I've actually taken my dinner break. As a nurse, I know situations like this will come up a lot. I can't just break down crying on the job. Has anyone else had similar experiences but learned to "toughen up?"???? I love and admire all that nurses do and would love to be apart of that, but if I don't have the emotional stability for it, will I be disappointed in my career choice? Really needing some words of wisdom.
  2. Visit hannah53 profile page

    About hannah53

    Joined: Feb '16; Posts: 4; Likes: 3


  3. by   Sour Lemon
    Do you have a happy home life?
  4. by   nutella
    What do you mean by saying you have been "degraded"? I think that a lot depends on your own sense of worth/self-worth and that is also reflected in how you take care of yourself. It has become "normal" in a lot of settings for nurses and sometimes aids not to take a break, not to eat and so on and forth. In addition, there can be an element of emotional over involvement, which can contribute to feeling "burned out" as people feel they invest so much and get back only so little. Some people also tend to identify themselves primarily through their job and do not have much balance in life like a hobby, friends, family, etc.. True enough, there are also people who have anxiety issues or are simply put overly sensitive (which is really not that helpful in general when you deal with people who are stressed or have "issues").
    I think based on what you write (continue to "bust"...) it almost sounds like you feel used without experiencing gratitude or some "return" - what is your expectation?
    Personally, I have no idea how people survive in healthcare jobs when they have a think skin or no self-worth as working in this area can be rough. You have to have realistic expectations and also take care of yourself. Develop a life outside of work - learn a language, join a book club or I don't know. Talk to a therapist if you feel that would help you.
  5. by   Hygiene Queen
    Hannah, it's rough. Keep coming back and continue to "bust our ass" for your residents. They need someone who'll work hard for them. Too many CNA's don't give a flying fling. Your reward is your paycheck and knowing you provided excellent care.

    The more you come back and face all the challenges, the tougher you'll make yourself. You'll also gain more experience, become more savvy and even find the quality of your work will improve while you don't "bust your ass" so much. You'll learn to work smarter not harder.

    Back when Jesus was a baby, my old hardened instructor told us straight out, "If you are waiting for someone to pat your back, you'll be disappointed. You'll have to pat your own back". She also told us we had to develop a "thick skin" and let things roll off us like water on a duck's back. She was right.

    If you haven't experienced a lot of rudeness, disrespect or coldness before then it's now your turn in life to know it exists and learn to rise above it. I experienced my share early on in life so I ended up being a tougher cookie early in the game... but that was me.

    Please take your dinner break. The work will still be there when you come back. Being a CNA is hard physical work and you need fuel. We're human and need to eat and pee too.

    Hang in there.
    Last edit by Hygiene Queen on Sep 4, '16 : Reason: spelling without coffee
  6. by   hannah53
    I do. I am also in college full time and working 4 days a week. Stress stress stress.
  7. by   Libby1987
    I truly think people who are considering nursing should either have, or are naturally inclined to with experience, self possession, fortitude and a personality that is inspired by challenge.

    It's getting rougher with increased comorbidities in the young coupled with our attitudes towards customer service expectations.
  8. by   nutella
    Quote from Libby1987
    I truly think people who are considering nursing should either have, or are naturally inclined to with experience, self possession, fortitude and a personality that is inspired by challenge.

    It's getting rougher with increased comorbidities in the young coupled with our attitudes towards customer service expectations.
    I like "inspired by challenge" - I think that hits it 100%. Nowadays you need to be flexible because of constant change, high stress all around, and get along.
    The way I put it is "if you are comfortable with being uncomfortable and are at least somewhat resilient - nursing may be for you..."
  9. by   Everline
    Nursing will chew you up and spit you out if you let it. I'm sure others will say differently, but this is just my opinion. It's a hard profession, especially in the beginning. If you really want to be a nurse and you can tough it out through that first year or so, you may find yourself a stronger/less sensitive person more able to handle the challenges that will always be there. Some personalities are better suited for it than others. Luckily, there are a lot of different settings where a nurse can work and therefore all is not lost if one of them doesn't fit.
  10. by   djh123
    I'm pretty emotional and not a 'tough guy' whatsoever, but at the same time, I've had to deal with a lot of problematic residents and family members, bad CNA's, lack of mgt. support at times, and although it hasn't always been easy at all, I've gotten through it. For me, at least, it helps to blow off steam with co-workers via humor and (it's the truth...) talking about those problematic residents & family members when they're out of earshot. Sometimes that's how I/we get through it.
  11. by   BSNbeDONE
    Just keep in mind that most of the time, these rude outbursts have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with you at all. Do you have any idea how many times I've had to apologize for **** that happened when I was 75+ miles away from my job?? Or on my first day back from vacation, I get yelled at because granny's last bowel movement was a whole 24 hours ago???

    Oh honey! Don't get me started!!! I go back just so I can knock out one more of the many days til my next off day...and for the pay that is so on the opposite end of the spectrum in comparison to the work I did and the wax I donned that allowed the crap to roll right off.

    Just smile and state the script: "I'm so sorry that happened to you. Tell me what I can do to fix it or make it better and I'll get right on it".

    As you do that, be prepared to restate that same thing to all the other residents who had to wait and are now upset because you were off saving the world across the hall, they heard you being ripped a new one, but don't give rat's a$$ that said a$$ was nailed to the wall for something beyond your control.

    Once you dry your tears and look up, you'll see that many of your colleagues are checking behind themselves to see if their cheeks are still attached, too.
  12. by   nursemanda87
    I don't post on here ever but your initial post really touched me.

    Darlin, I was in the same boat. I cried often, hated my life and every day was just another day I made it through (not to mention risking my license from the understaffed overburdened nursing home situation - 33 patients on day shift... every day) I got out. I left! I put out my application to a few places I WANTED to work - with the thought that if this didn't work, I'd resign myself to misery for the rest of my life. While I'm not what I'd call "happy" right now because of the back stabbing and catty nature of women in a closed environment but .... happiness is possible! I don't hate my life like i used to AND I have hope! Get this. By switching (to psych actually) I found so many other avenues where I believe I can be happy, have meaningful work and feel fulfilled. Actually, our intellectually handicapped (MR) patients are what is inspiring me right now. Just find what inspires you, darlin. What made you want to help people? What makes you happy in your personal life? Combine those two and there's a field of nursing where you're happy - because if you're truly happy, other people's negativity won't touch you.

    MY other advice is to be happy in your personal life. I know when stress hits me at home, I am more insecure in my professional life. I find that I have good days at work when I'm happy at home too.

    Bottom line: get out of where you're at now. Obviously it's a toxic environment and no one with a heart/sensitive soul can survive there. Don't let them steal your light! Protect yourself before you go in by positive self talk. make sure you'r repeating positive phrases to yourself- no negative repetitions.

    Ok, good luck! Not saying I'm perfect or that I know everything, I'm just climbing out of the hole it sounds like you're in right now. I see the silver lining, you will too.

    From all of us nice nurses, we love you. Don't give up.
  13. by   PedNephNurse
    You just haven't found your niche yet. Once you get in an area of nursing you're passionate about and find yourself among a good team you will not regret your decision. You may have to go thru a few different jobs. Try different areas of nursing. Once you find your "place" you'll notice a difference right away. I thought I made the wrong choice of nursing but my first nursing job was with mean people - loved the patients, second place I disliked both (it was as a corrections RN at the jail) then I went to Biolife and I LOVED the people I worked with but I wasn't really using my degree to the fullest. Then I got into pediatric nephrology and I love every single piece of it. I have never been happier. I am happy I am a nurse and I'm happy I didn't give up until I found my place! What you are feeling is SUPER normal but only you can truly decide if nursing is for you but don't make that decision off your current job.
  14. by   JohnG77
    Nursing is one of the toughest, yet most rewarding professions in the country. I have been in nursing for 20 years and all I can say is that, you can not take this too personally. I teach my team, Q-TIP - Quit taking it personally. Many times we are on the receiving end of patients, residents, family, and co-workers with a lot in their bucket. Co-workers must learn to leave it at the door and learn how to communicate as a functional team. Identifying why the residents or family members are upset is far more valuable that letting it get to you and dwelling on it. After all, this is not about you, it is about what is bothering the patient. If you think you can do that then continue on, if you are going to react to every bit of anger and frustration you receive, you may want to find another career.