Depressed and Disappointed in Myself

  1. I feel like the biggest failure. I worked so hard to get my BSN. Racked up so much debt. Put in all the time. Passed the NCLEX. Started looking for a job, put in applications, and the first job I applied for called me back. I got an interview and was hired. I was on cloud nine. I couldn't believe it. I thought, "this is it". This is my niche. I'm excited and ready. I was lucky enough to achieve exactly what I wanted. At least, that's what I thought. It's been 4 weeks and I can't even begin to describe how I'm feeling. Anxious, terrified, disappointed, depressed...it's the worst I've ever felt. I realized I can't do hospital nursing. Now, please don't yell at me and ask what in the world I thought nursing was. I know. I also know the anxiety and feeling incompetent for the first year is normal, too. Everyone goes through it. You're still learning. I get it. I was so excited my first 2 days. The more I learned, though, the worse it got. By the second week, I was crying on and off throughout the day, especially when headed in to work. I stopped eating because my stomach can't hold much more than a granola bar or piece of toast. I've lost 13 pounds. I have trouble sleeping. I feel sick constantly. There is no relief. On my days off, I'm thinking about having to go back and every fiber of my being is screaming and begging me not to. I'm trying so hard because everyone says it's normal. I'll be okay. I just have to get through it. I really want to be able to work in a hospital. That's been my goal. I never considered not being able to handle it. Maybe that makes me stupid, and I definitely feel like an idiot. I'm so embarrassed. I just want to be okay. It took me a while to find nursing. I don't have anything else, so it's not like I can fall back on another degree. I've never known what I wanted to do and was always scared I wouldn't be able to take care of myself as an adult. My floor isn't very acute. We don't even have IV's. I'm still struggling with the stress and pace of the unit. I've talked to my manager. I've talked with coworkers, who have all been very supportive, which makes me feel worse. I don't want to leave. I know finding another job after this will be that much harder, especially outside the hospital. I know those are more for experienced nurses. I'm so defeated. I feel stuck. I don't want to give up nursing. I'm scared to quit because of how it will look. I just really don't want to feel like this anymore. I want to ask if anyone else realized nursing wasn't for them, but since this is a website for nurses, the answer is probably no.
    Last edit by Brian S. on Feb 27
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    About Samx3

    Joined: Feb '18; Posts: 2; Likes: 15
    Specialty: 1 year(s) of experience

    75 Comments

  3. by   peripateticRN
    Ok.. first off take a breathe...
    You are feeling exactly the same way everyone feels when they first start. I know that's cold comfort right about now, but know you aren't alone...

    That said. Hospital nursing is NOT for everyone. The wonderful thing is - there are SO many areas you could go into that aren't in a hospital setting. Just because you don't enjoy nursing on the floor does not mean you are a failure.
    So what if nursing in a hospital was your goal? You got there, found it wasn't for you. Whatever... you move on.

    Sounds like you are in a pretty stressful situation and perhaps not able to think 100% clearly right now. What do you want in this situation? Are you done or willing to work on it a bit?

    If you want to keep trying:
    -Look into seeing if you can do some night shifts, they tend to be a little quieter and give you some more time to think about things.
    -Are you Full time? Can you drop to Part time or PRN so you can take a little more time to recharge between shifts?
    -You need to be sleeping. Do what you gotta do so you are getting caught up on your days off. Take a walk to clear your head before bed, get some exercise in the day.. do anything but sit around thinking about work on your days off.

    If you are done:
    Start looking at other areas - there are lots - Public health, case management, outpatient clinics. See what's out there i your community. You can have a very satisfying career not working in bedside care.

    So take a breathe, you will get through this.
  4. by   JKL33
    It makes me sad to read this.

    I honestly didn't feel as bad when I started as many new grads seem to feel now; things have changed. Sure, I was as nervous as the next person, but I felt that people were pulling for me on an almost personal/individual level. It wasn't about how fast I could get up to speed; it seemed like someone out there really truly wanted us newer nurses to become good...great...excellent nurses.

    So - - #1: There are many here (I hope) who are pulling for you, in spirit.

    #2 - I agree with the above; take some time to just breathe...just "be." Try as hard as you can, emotionally, to not let yourself panic about your potential to succeed here. These are the times in life where you get through by putting one foot in front of the other. You have to take care of yourself. Be really good to yourself. I am here to tell you that the things being used to measure your work-worth are not legitimate. So don't make the mistake of judging yourself by that type of yardstick.

    #3 - There are any number of suggestions or solutions we might suggest (keeping a journal of your progress, finding a mentor, etc.) but I believe for right now you need to: Not panic, put one foot in front of the other, and take good care of yourself.

    If you believe you might have underlying anxiety or depression that preceded this new stressor, or if you have any other health concerns, I would work with your PCP to optimize these.

    A big ((hug)) for you. I think it will be okay, but I know it can sound trite for others to say that.
    Last edit by JKL33 on Feb 25
  5. by   Kaisu
    I know exactly how you feel. I started a new job in med-surg/tele in September. I loved and hated it. I read all the advice on this site and felt an obligation to the hospital that hired me. I was determined to stick out a year no matter what. I lost weight. I prayed and cried on the way into work. About 2 weeks before I quit, I met with my manager and the DON. I told them of my issues. They reassured me. Told me I was doing very well and had tremendous potential.

    Two weeks later and I was total care (no aide) for 4 patients. It took me 20 minutes to find a thermometer, another 20 minutes to find a commode, 5 more minutes to find a bucket for the commode (which the charge nurse took from an occupied patient room) putting me behind when I hadn't even started med passes. The second patient had a doc come in to discuss discharging the patient without even knowing the patient had a patella fracture.

    It was a s**t show. I administered an ordered benzo and a narcotic to my third patient and she went out. I knew from my days in EMS that this often happened to patients, but I could not pull it out of my head when I needed to. I resigned that day.

    I felt like a total failure. I was so depressed and questioning everything. I felt much like you described. It was awful.

    I have been working for almost a month in home health and they will be cross training me starting next week in hospice. I absolutely love it. I go into the home, focus on the patient, then during the drive to the next patient, I have the time to process all the data I collected and put together the big picture. It suits me so well. I am ecstatic about this job.

    Bottom line - you passed nursing school and the NCLEX. You are smart and tough and determined. You cannot pass nursing school and the NCLEX unless you are those things. A hospital may not be right for you. Only you can decide that.

    All the best to you.
  6. by   pixierose
    Oh, OP. Gentle (((hugs))).

    I'm coming up on my one year of being an employed nurse ... next week, in fact. It's been one long learning curve. It's not easy, and it's a big responsibility, but it shouldn't be giving you such anxiety either.

    I worked, and continue to work (as I just switched jobs) with very good, supporting people. People who I know root for me, want me to succeed. It sounds as if you're in a similar environment. This makes a huge difference in this first year.

    Do you know what's giving you such anxiety? Can you give examples? Maybe some of us here can help.

    I second working with a PCP.
  7. by   RN-ing
    You are not stupid or an idiot, and its okay to feel embarrassed sometimes.
    I have been a nurse for ten years, away from the bedside for four years, and just recently started back on a busy intermediate ICU. I feel the same sometimes. We all do sometimes. It sounds like you are in a supportive environment, so I would stick it out for a while longer. Writing in a journal really helps me when I have a bad shift. I write down everything I wished I had done better and what I will do differently next time. Literally: this is what I sucked at, this what I should have done. Then, close it! Try not to think about it until its time to go in, then go over your plan to make your next shift better.
    Also, breath a sigh of relief knowing that your coworkers have your back. That thought still gets me through some shifts.
    Hugs to you!
  8. by   cleback
    Sorry, OP... just throwing this out there... do you think you may be experiencing actual anxiety and depression? A new job is stressful and can trigger an episode. Not related to nursing per se. Maybe talk with your provider as well? Anyway, take care of yourself. This too will pass.
  9. by   YUKONrn
    I've been a nurse for almost 11 years and just left a job because for the past month I had the same feeling every day for a month straight. Problem is corporate greed and facilities trying to do more with less. I had a mental breakdown and slept for a week straight. What you are experiencing sounds a lot like burnout which is all too common in this profession.
  10. by   cha_cha
    Quote from Kaisu
    I know exactly how you feel. I started a new job in med-surg/tele in September. I loved and hated it. I read all the advice on this site and felt an obligation to the hospital that hired me. I was determined to stick out a year no matter what. I lost weight. I prayed and cried on the way into work. About 2 weeks before I quit, I met with my manager and the DON. I told them of my issues. They reassured me. Told me I was doing very well and had tremendous potential.

    Two weeks later and I was total care (no aide) for 4 patients. It took me 20 minutes to find a thermometer, another 20 minutes to find a commode, 5 more minutes to find a bucket for the commode (which the charge nurse took from an occupied patient room) putting me behind when I hadn't even started med passes. The second patient had a doc come in to discuss discharging the patient without even knowing the patient had a patella fracture.

    It was a s**t show. I administered an ordered benzo and a narcotic to my third patient and she went out. I knew from my days in EMS that this often happened to patients, but I could not pull it out of my head when I needed to. I resigned that day.

    I felt like a total failure. I was so depressed and questioning everything. I felt much like you described. It was awful.

    I have been working for almost a month in home health and they will be cross training me starting next week in hospice. I absolutely love it. I go into the home, focus on the patient, then during the drive to the next patient, I have the time to process all the data I collected and put together the big picture. It suits me so well. I am ecstatic about this job.

    Bottom line - you passed nursing school and the NCLEX. You are smart and tough and determined. You cannot pass nursing school and the NCLEX unless you are those things. A hospital may not be right for you. Only you can decide that.

    All the best to you.
    thats what also feel starting this career
  11. by   RockinNurse2018
    If your managers and coworkers are being supportive and there is no talk from them about you leaving or not making it, you're probably doing something right. Trust me, if they thought you weren't performing up to standards and did not want to work with you, they would let you know. People, especially those in the nursing field, are good at letting you know when they don't want you around.

    With that said, it sounds like the anxiety you're experiencing is more than you are wanting to deal with, at least at this point. Is there another area of nursing that may provoke less stress? As long as you give proper notice, there's nothing wrong with saying a position is not the right fit for you. It happens, especially to newer nurses who haven't quite figured out where they fit best in the nursing profession.
  12. by   sallyrnrrt
    Bless you.....

    Today's nursing education model is. 180 degrees from mine....45 years ago...
    The major difference we had every bit 90% more clinical exposures....it gave us lots of confidence..

    You have bee afforded great advice and invite from prior posters......

    My best wishes for you
  13. by   Been there,done that
    I realized nursing was a hard profession, and I didn't want to do , pretty much on day one. I just retired after 35 years. Sometimes, I'm sorry I did it.. but I am a tough cookie.
    Please speak with your provider. You need treatment for anxiety and depression.

    Best wishes.
  14. by   Wuzzie
    Before you do anything that is not reversible you must see your PCP and be evaluated!!! Any other job available to a new grad is likely to be just as or more difficult and perhaps with less supportive coworkers/managers. If you can get a handle on your anxiety there is a good chance you'll be able to also handle the acute care environment long enough to get the experience necessary to move to a job that might be less stressful for you. But you can't do it alone.

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