Feeling sick/nausea/panic attacks before my shift...please help!! - page 2

Hi everyone - I have been a nurse for about two years. I have always had some anxiety before going into work, but recently it has been getting really bad. I started my new job about 6 months ago on... Read More

  1. by   pagandeva2000
    I would also say to see your doctor, maybe even a therapist for relaxation techniques and even consider medications if that doesn't work while you make your next move. I don't know what the job market is like in your area, but leaving may be the answer, but it may not be immediate and it sounds like you need help NOW.

    I have occasional panic attacks and they are NOT fun! They started for me after my mother died 10 years ago, when I started training for a job promotion (was not a nurse, then). I knew that I needed to work, could not take the necessary time off, and went to my doctor and got a prescription. It saved my life, literally. I still take it every now and then and it helped take the edge off tremendously, along with relaxing music, understanding family/friends and venting.

    I am not saying that you definitely should take meds, or stay at a job that does this to your psyche, but do something quick to preserve your energy. When you are calmer, you'll be able to think more rationally, and not with scattered emotions. If you do need to leave, then, you'd be in a better position to think strategically. Hugs to you.
    Last edit by rn/writer on Jun 22, '09
  2. by   cherrybreeze
    You've gotten great advice and suggestions already, so I guess I'm just posting to add my agreement. I think it's not a bad idea to look in to both the counseling AND the medication possibility with your physician. Before anyone flames me for suggesting the possible use of medication (I know some people are very against that type of "quick fix," and that's ok, everyone has their own opinion, just let me explain), I think medication may help in the SHORT term until you can make progress with a counselor/therapist. In the long run, therapy is probably going to be your best bet, for several reasons: find the root cause of the anxiety, teach you ways to cope with it, etc. However, you also shouldn't have to suffer with it until you reach that point, as it can take a while. Seeing your doctor also has the added benefit of ruling out any physical cause for the symptoms as well. I think both a medical and psychological approach would be the most beneficial, given what you've described.

    A couple of posters mentioned an EAP, and I agree with that (if your facility offers it). It's confidential, and free (you often get x number of sessions). Your employer won't know that you are utilizing it, so you don't have to worry about it being out in the open.

    Best of luck in getting this resolved...what a terrible way to feel every time you go to work. I hope it works out.
  3. by   pagandeva2000
    I'm with cherrybreeze...no shame in meds, if needed for short term relief along with cognitive therapy or relaxation techniques. It can be determental to the OP's career, meaning that a panic attack can happen doing patient care, such as passing meds, or other things. I just see that this is an issue that needs to be dealt with sooner than later.
  4. by   vampiregirl
    Other posters have given you lots of different suggestions - I just wanted to suggest that if your employer offers an EAP and your health insurance also offers counseling find out which providers are covered by both. If you find a counselor that is helping you, it's probably best if you don't have to switch providers (unless you want to).

    I recently transferred (voluntarily) from one position in the medical field to another position in the same company. I simply wasn't a good fit in my old position. I had no problem with the technical aspects and loved the clients - I was good at performing my job. I took a pay cut, now have a very unpredictable schedule, and my new position is generally considered more stressful. However, I'm a good fit in my new position. All the stress I felt in the old position is gone. Phyically and mentally I think it's much healthier for me. Others think I'm nuts, but for me it was the right choice. When I finish my nursing degree I hope I take this lesson with me and find the right job for me, not just find a job that I'm good at. Hopefully you will find what is a good fit for you personally.
  5. by   NeoNurseTX
    This sounds like me with my first job. I HATED it. Had I not switched jobs, I'd definitely be seeing a shrink.
  6. by   Riseupandnurse
    I used to have chest pain sometimes when I went to my job. My doctor wanted to run a lot of tests. I refused. I am not saying you should ever ignore chest pain, and I'm sure I was foolish, but I knew darn well it was the job I hated. I got a job in a completely different area of nursing and have not had the problem again, and it has been years. This despite the fact I kept the old job prn. It was knowing I didn't HAVE to go there, that I could survive financially without it, that made all the difference.
  7. by   elizabert49
    I truly hope that you find some peace somewhere in this. What a horrible experience to go through! I agree with a previous poster in that you probably need to sit down by yourself, with your doctor, or with a therapist and pinpoint the exact cause of your anxiety. Co-workers? Patient load? Dept managers? Good luck!
  8. by   tlc2u
    I had this same feeling before at my job. I have been in this job for over 10 years and love the job. However during a time that the company was doing some management restructuring, I ended up with a manager for about a year that her and I were just not a good match. Before this manager came I loved my job, for me it was a very nonstress job. I loved working with the clients and other staff and my supervisor all thought well of me and my work performance. I never was able to figure out what this manager had against me, but there was something.
    I stuck it out but I was sick to my stomach every time I had to come in contact with this person. After about a year she left. I am glad I stayed because I still love this job. However I do feel like for that year I was in a very toxic environment and I did not even have to work directly with this person I only saw her twice a week at change of shift. I am frustrated that I had to go through that difficult year, but I would have been frustrated as well if I had let someone else cause me to give up a job I like.
    The reason I said this is I do feel as other posters have advised. Try to determine exactly what is causing the anxiety. Is it your coworkers and management you are uncomfortable with? Or are there too many tasks to keep up with during the day that is stressing you out? Determine what the root of the problem is so you know what to work on to fix it. There are many different types of nursing jobs, and there is probably a good fit for everyone within the different jobs. One of my preceptors in nursing school was an RN who worked in the public school system, she did not work in a school, but worked in an office and went to the different schools to assist with vision and hearing screening among other things. She loved that job but she said she worked on a med-surge floor at one time and hated that and was sick to her stomach all the time when working med surge.
    Best of Luck
    Working under that type of stress is not worth it unless maybe you knew it would only be for a short while.
  9. by   summersent
    Its just sad that some people have to be on prescriptions(with no previous medical or mental illness) just to get to work. I mean I know most people don't like work but to feel that way and take meds to get to work is just really sad.
  10. by   tempest
    Quote from marilynmom
    I know how you feel. I went to the Dr and she prescribed me a medication (which helped for awhile and then stopped working) and also my BP was quite elevated from the stress, I was also having diarrhea, nausea, and the stress was affecting me even on my days off.....I was just at the point where I was not coping at all, the anxiety was chronic. I finally just decided that hospital nursing was not for me and switched to a laid back psych unit and I love it! I no longer have the stress, my BP is back to normal, I have an easy job plus I'm getting paid more.

    To my when my job was affecting my health it just wasn't worth it anymore. Good luck
    I work in psych as well and love it! very low stress.
  11. by   NeoNurseTX
    Quote from summersent
    Its just sad that some people have to be on prescriptions(with no previous medical or mental illness) just to get to work. I mean I know most people don't like work but to feel that way and take meds to get to work is just really sad.
    What's the point of this, to make those that do feel inadequate and like they can't cope in the 'real world?' Some nursing jobs take a lot more out of a person than others and if meds help a person cope and they're okay with that, let them be.
  12. by   summersent
    Quote from NeoNurseTX
    What's the point of this, to make those that do feel inadequate and like they can't cope in the 'real world?' Some nursing jobs take a lot more out of a person than others and if meds help a person cope and they're okay with that, let them be.
    Oh no, you misunderstood. I just think its sad some of the things nurses and nursing students go through. Its not about being inadequate, if anyone had to deal with some of the things nurses do it would take a toll on anyone no matter how mentally and physically healthy you are. Thats the point I was making. I myself am one of the ones who would get the nausea feeling before clinical and I didn't feel inadequate in any way. I knew it was the job. I just don't think its right.