Can't stop thinking about work

  1. Hello. I am a long time follower of this site, but first time poster.
    I feel like this is not a typical post about obsessing over work, because I am not a brand new nurse and haven't started a new job. I have been a nurse for 2 years on a medical step down floor at a large facility. I'm not sure why, but as of late I can not stop having negative thoughts about nursing. When it comes to my job, I am constantly thinking that I forgot something or have done something wrong after my shifts. I just cannot escape my thoughts- even when I have a few days off I am constantly thinking about having to go back to work. I feel like every shift as of late has resulted in me becoming completely overwhelmed. Its gotten to the point that I no longer enjoy what I do whatsoever.

    My question is... has this happened ever happened to anyone else with over a year of experience/no job change? What did you do?
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  2. Visit Michelles87 profile page

    About Michelles87

    Joined: Jun '18; Posts: 4; Likes: 2

    20 Comments

  3. by   Penelope_Pitstop
    This did happen to me after I had been a MedSurg nurse for years. What turned out to be wrong wasn't work - turns out my anxiety was uncontrolled and obsessing about work was my focus.

    This doesn't mean it's why you're having this issue, though, but you might want to think about what else has changed outside of work. Or, is there something that has changed at work that you have glossed over? (Management change, schedule changes, coworkers leaving, etc.) Or, looking from a different angle, has nothing changed but you thought it would have by now?
  4. by   Sour Lemon
    Yes, but I took it up a notch and called requesting to be first cancel every day. I have an "easy" job now and complete control of my schedule as a per diem employee. I never feel stressed about work anymore ...at least not in the extreme manner you're describing.
  5. by   llg
    How much vacation time have you taken in the last 6 months? Maybe you need to take more or longer breaks.
  6. by   NurseSpeedy
    Yeah, on and off throughout my career (been doing this a while). I will say though that one specific area seems to be my 'trigger' because it goes away when I'm not doing that type of nursing.

    Without making any crazy changes yet I would suggest taking a vacation or maybe cutting back your hours for a little while if you can afford it. Only being in it for two years, just a little time away may be all you need.

    If that doesn't work per diem is a great option if you don't need the benefits.

    The important thing to remember is that nursing is a very diverse field. You can branch off and cross train if med/surg isn't for you. Check the local job boards for openings in your area. You never know, something you never thought about might end up being your nitche. Life is too short to spend all your free time worrying about/dreading your job.
  7. by   VivaLasViejas
    Quote from Michelles87
    My question is... has this happened ever happened to anyone else with over a year of experience/no job change? What did you do?
    Had a nervous breakdown.


    I'm serious. I'd been working on a med/surg floor for almost three years, which is longer than I've ever held any other nursing position, and I felt a lot like you---thinking about the job all the time, dreading the start of each new group of shifts, and being generally anxious about the whole thing. I spent the last year of my employment bouncing in and out of my own hospital with stress-related illnesses. I was burned to a crisp, but unfortunately I didn't realize it until the morning I came in and was immediately summoned to the department manager's office to discuss some minor mistake (I think it was calling the wrong doctor and he complained).


    It was just the latest in a long line of warnings. As I'd become more and more burned out, I'd committed a series of small infractions, e.g. forgetting to clear IV pumps, not cleaning up the rooms at the end of the shift etc. There was one assistant manager who didn't like me and she blasted me every chance she got; one time she tried to hang a missing narcotic on me when I wasn't even on duty yet and didn't have the keys. The harassment and stress culminated in my leaving my job in one dramatic moment: suddenly I KNEW that I could not go out on that floor one. more. time. I burst into tears in the manager's office, gave her my badge and said that's it, I can't do this anymore. I was a complete wreck. I couldn't stand another minute. I hadn't taken report or gotten the keys yet, so I didn't abandon any patients, just the job.

    I never looked back, either. I took some time off to heal and get some therapy. They gave me unemployment even though I'd quit (long story), and eventually I found a job I loved. Take-away lesson: Don't be like me and let yourself get beat down to the point where you lose it completely. It's not worth it. I highly recommend therapy to help you nail down just what it is that's killing your soul and robbing you of happiness. You may or may not want to leave your job; running away like I did doesn't look good on a resume. Hopefully you can get a handle on your discontent so you don't *have* to leave. I wish you the very best, and Welcome to Allnurses.com!
  8. by   Wiggly Litchi
    As I'm not a nurse yet, I can't say what it's like in relation to that job, but I've had it with other healthcare related jobs.
    Please take some time for self-care if you're not doing so already.
    Penelope mentioned anxiety, and that was mainly my issue; it caused me to obsess and hang on everything that went wrong, or stuff that didn't even go wrong, but I thought that it *could* go wrong...

    If you don't feel like it's an anxiety issue, then maybe consider a change of scenery? How are things on the floor? Are you treated well, or severely overworked?
    I'd definitely take a vacation if you can and see how you feel when you come back!
  9. by   Michelles87
    Quote from Penelope_Pitstop
    This did happen to me after I had been a MedSurg nurse for years. What turned out to be wrong wasn't work - turns out my anxiety was uncontrolled and obsessing about work was my focus.

    This doesn't mean it's why you're having this issue, though, but you might want to think about what else has changed outside of work. Or, is there something that has changed at work that you have glossed over? (Management change, schedule changes, coworkers leaving, etc.) Or, looking from a different angle, has nothing changed but you thought it would have by now?
    I do feel like all of my anxiety is work-related... as with many floor positions, the stress level as of late has been high. I also think working nights is taking a toll as well )-:
  10. by   Michelles87
    Quote from Sour Lemon
    Yes, but I took it up a notch and called requesting to be first cancel every day. I have an "easy" job now and complete control of my schedule as a per diem employee. I never feel stressed about work anymore ...at least not in the extreme manner you're describing.

    That sounds like a dream right now!
  11. by   Michelles87
    Quote from llg
    How much vacation time have you taken in the last 6 months? Maybe you need to take more or longer breaks.
    Sadly I just had a week off not long ago to no avail
  12. by   Kallie3006
    I have been there. I would come home and obsess over every little thing. I would have nightmares about a patient assigned I never saw all day, meds I thought I missed, an hourly rounding I forgot to chart, a care plan I missed documenting on. I think mine was related to the additions to charting we had to do, that seemed to get added to daily, increasing our documentation and taking away from direct patient care. I went prn and in the float pool and that helped me. I was able to make my own schedule and even change the units I worked on to add some more "control" back to me.
  13. by   amzyRN
    I think that you should speak to a professional about it. It sounds like anxiety, not first year in nursing kinda stuff because you said it's recent. As others have mentioned perhaps a vacation or leave of absence is in order. As long as no one died and you didn't make an error in your care, why worry so much about charting? No need to answer that, I just don't think it's rational to worry so much about things like that after 2 years as a nurse. That's why I think it would benefit you to see someone who might be able to help you with these thoughts and fears you've been having.
  14. by   Been there,done that
    You are describing a common reaction to being overworked. Instead of obsessing.. DO something about it.
    You have two years of experience.... plenty enough to move to a less stressful environment.

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