Quitting 4 months into nursing?

  1. So I wrote a few months back about how I had 3 weeks of orientation and was feeling overwhelmed, not getting breaks most of the time etc...

    I hate this job. I was going to say I hate nursing, but I don't. I love my patients and I love being their nurse. What I don't love is being overwhelmed with too many responsibilities, not being able to have time to double check orders or think about what I'm doing etc... It's like I'm racing around putting out fires from one patient to the next and have no time to give them quality, SAFE care. Certain skills still freak me out, I'm not great at IV starts for example and foley caths on women are a challenge for me... some of the staff are supportive when they have time, some are pretty condescending...

    All of these things are probably normal for a new grad so I've hung in there telling myself that with time it would all get better. But the reality is I look around and I see experienced nurses stressed and running too. This is not the kind of job I want. I am not happy in this environment and I really don't think I will be.

    How bad does it look to a future employer for me to quit hospital nursing after 4-5 months? I'm thinking of looking for a clinic position, something with a different kind of stress load to it. At some point anyway... I don't have to work right now and would like to take a "break" between jobs if that wouldn't look bad. Mainly because I live in a rural area and there are very limited options here, so I may end up not working until we move to a more populated area in about 12-18 months.

    Any thoughts?
  2. Visit mariedoreen profile page

    About mariedoreen

    Joined: May '04; Posts: 826; Likes: 47
    RN
    Specialty: 3 year(s) of experience in Med-Surg

    37 Comments

  3. by   truern
    My thoughts: Myself and most every fellow student from NS I've talked to feel much like you do. I can only hope it DOES get better with time. Nothing in school prepared me for the REAL thing. The paperwork is overwhelming and neverending. Some of the families we have to deal with...sheesh!

    But I can honestly say that nothing compares to the satisfaction I get when I've tucked in that patient that just an hour ago was thrashing in pain, scared and confused. When a husband says "Thank you!! You took time with my wife. You didn't just rush in here and do a task. You treated her like a human being and for that we thank you" When I've advocated for my patient all the while knowing that I was advocating for her death but that WAS HER WISH...to die in peace without surgeries, chemo, radiation.

    I do understand, mariedoreen. Most days I have moments when I can't remember the room numbers, let alone their names and diagnoses. I find that if I take just a moment to deep breathe and relax it gets "better"....compared to what, I don't know

    (((((mariedoreen)))))
  4. by   bhabby
    I am sorry you are not finding Nursing as wonderful a job as you thought you might have. It may be that you have not found the right place to work. There are so many different choices. Have you considered looking for a different department to work in? A different hospital?
    I know if I would have gone through nursing school straight out of high school I would have ended up doing floor nursing and would be burnt out by now. It is one of the toughest jobs ever. You seem to never be able to get "caught up".
    I am in the OR and love my job. I learn something new all the time. Plus, with being a OR nurse you only have one patient at time and not multiple patients needing you to be there a.s.a.p. Although things can get a bit hairy in the OR...it is it's own little world and you will work hard. I promise that. But I don't feel so "overwhelmed" that I feel the need to leave the Nursing profession.
    I have also been blessed to be able to fill in with the pre op area as of lately and find I like it too....plus I get to do things like start IV's and help with invasive line placement which I love.
    I really feel for you being dissatified with your current situation and don't want to see all your hard work becoming a RN go for nothing.
    I would suggest looking around for another area of expertise...or another hospital.
    You may be totally floored with all the possibilities that are out there. Dont take this one area and think that all areas to work as a RN are the same...Believe me they are not.
    Good luck and I hope you stick with it b/c I think eventually you WILL find the home you have been looking for.
  5. by   meownsmile
    I would hate to say quite at this point. I dont think any new nurse is truely comfortable until at least 6-8 months into a job. And even then they still have things that make them tense and they are unsure about.
    When you have those times that you think everything is just to much, go find your NM, or maybe an senior RN and ask them to cover your patients for a few. Take a quick walk, heck go sit in the John for a few minutes, cry if you have to. We all have i think and if someone says they havent when theyve felt overwhelmed as a young nurse they probably are lying.
    DONT be afraid to ask for help!!! You would be surprised how just getting a couple little things done for you help lift the load a bit. That is what your Nurse manager is for, make her live up to her job.
  6. by   cardiacRN2006
    Quote from mariedoreen
    So I wrote a few months back about how I had 3 weeks of orientation and was feeling overwhelmed, not getting breaks most of the time etc...

    This is the problem. 3 weeks orientation? That's not nearly enough. Of course, this lack of proper orientation will make you feel overwhelmed, and anxious. It sucks having to figure so much stuff out on your own (paperwork, policies, etc).

    I'm 4.5 months into nursing, and still on orientation! I have another 1.5 months to go before I'm on my own, and I'm still feeling frustrated, stressed, and anxious. It's just part of adjusting to our new role. It will get better.
  7. by   CHATSDALE
    don't stay in conditions that would jeopardize your license...it would look better on your resume if you tok another job..also new skills are easier to lose..you need to be where you have to learn and maintain skills of work
    ivs and catherters are learned best by repetition
  8. by   lorster
    Quote from mariedoreen
    So I wrote a few months back about how I had 3 weeks of orientation and was feeling overwhelmed, not getting breaks most of the time etc...

    I hate this job. I was going to say I hate nursing, but I don't. I love my patients and I love being their nurse. What I don't love is being overwhelmed with too many responsibilities, not being able to have time to double check orders or think about what I'm doing etc... It's like I'm racing around putting out fires from one patient to the next and have no time to give them quality, SAFE care. Certain skills still freak me out, I'm not great at IV starts for example and foley caths on women are a challenge for me... some of the staff are supportive when they have time, some are pretty condescending...

    All of these things are probably normal for a new grad so I've hung in there telling myself that with time it would all get better. But the reality is I look around and I see experienced nurses stressed and running too. This is not the kind of job I want. I am not happy in this environment and I really don't think I will be.

    How bad does it look to a future employer for me to quit hospital nursing after 4-5 months? I'm thinking of looking for a clinic position, something with a different kind of stress load to it. At some point anyway... I don't have to work right now and would like to take a "break" between jobs if that wouldn't look bad. Mainly because I live in a rural area and there are very limited options here, so I may end up not working until we move to a more populated area in about 12-18 months.

    Any thoughts?
    MarieDoreen, I'm sorry you have had such a bad experience. I have been a med surg nurse for 18 years and I know how frustrated you must feel. I also live in a very rural area and work at an 80 bed hospital, 34 beds being med surg. There are virtually no other opportunities available to me unless I want to go work in a clinic at less than half the rate of pay I work now. Part of the problem is med surg. We are run ragged. We put up with being treated by other units as the....nurses that can't work anywhere else, not a specialty unit. I overheard a couple OR nurses say to eachother....Man, I would never work on med surg. Med surg has a reputation. It is the place where you can just dump patients from all other areas with no thought to how that nurse is going to take on...his or her 7th or 8th patient of the day. It does not matter to any other department. Some of our supervisors treat us disrespectfully...talking down to us, not really caring how we are feeling. And difficult patients, families, doctors....we won't even go there. And did I mention the paperwork? The work load is overwhelming, few aides on our unit, we do it all from toileting and baths to all the therapies. I go home many days feeling that I did a terrible job. Our manager would never get her hands dirty. Many nurses move on, tired of the exhaustion they feel every day. I personally dread going to work so I don't sleep the whole night and so am exhausted all day while working. The next hospital is 140 miles a way. Not all environments are like this. I know you can find something that you will love. Personally, I'm going to travel starting in January so that I can work my way into a specialty unit, so I can get out of this med surg pit. And that is what it is.
  9. by   ArmyMSN
    I think its too premature to quit. I've had experiences like you mention where I was placed in a job where I wasn't completely oriented/prepared. Like you I thought I wouldn't be able to get through it. My recommendation is to take it one day at a time (I know that's cliche). Try to emulate those that are being successful. Try to stick with it for a year, then make a move to some other nursing that might be more your style. I can tell you that many nursing jobs spread you thin/pull you from all sides - even some clinic jobs.
  10. by   wooh
    The key to not "constantly putting out fires" is to prevent those fires in the first place. That comes with experience. After a while, you can predict where the fires will be. But there's also planning in the little things.
    Meds/treatments/education can all be done with the initial assessment. Combine your tasks as much as possible. Make one trip into the room each hour instead of three. They haven't had pain medicine in a while, go ahead and take it in the room with you when you go in. Quicker to return it to pyxis on the occasion that they don't want it than to leave the room and come back with it when they usually will want it. It also shows the patient/family that you're thinking ahead of what will make them comfortable, which reassures them. With the inevitable request, "I'll be right back with ice/nausea med/pillows/apple juice, is there anything else I can get for you right now?"
    Let patient/family know what your plan is for the shift. "I'll be in about 10, 2, and 6 with antibiotics and at 6 we'll aslo do a dressing change. And we'll have the tech coming in at 8, 12 and 4 to do vitals." Knowing what's going on reassures patients that they will be taken care of, that they don't have to "bug you" to make sure you come in the room.
    Someone asks for a blanket? I bring a couple, and an extra pillow. So I don't have to make an extra trip down the hall when I get back and they realize they'd like those too.
    Asks for an ice refill? I fill the bucket with ice, and bring back a cup of ice and a cup of ice water with it, they think I'm ooohhh so thoughtful.
    Also remember, you can only do one thing at a time. At the beginning of my shift, I take a little more time in each room than some of the other nurses, but they're settled in at that point. I could do a quick in and out, but they'd be calling me back in there. 5-10 extra minutes per patient at the beginning of my shift saves me probably about an hour per patient later in the shift. If another patient needs me while I'm in that room, and they aren't coding, they're going to wait a smidge. Then I go to them, apologize for the wait. But that short wait at the beginning of the shift allowing me to get the other patient settled means they likely won't ever have to wait for me later in the shift.

    Major point: It takes a while to get into a routine. It takes a while to predict what patients are going to want sight unseen. It takes a while to learn to assess the patient without thinking each thing through, to just "do it." I understand your frustration, but try to give it a little more time. We've all been there! It will get better!
  11. by   mariedoreen
    Quote from ArmyMSN
    I think its too premature to quit. I've had experiences like you mention where I was placed in a job where I wasn't completely oriented/prepared. Like you I thought I wouldn't be able to get through it. My recommendation is to take it one day at a time (I know that's cliche). Try to emulate those that are being successful. Try to stick with it for a year, then make a move to some other nursing that might be more your style. I can tell you that many nursing jobs spread you thin/pull you from all sides - even some clinic jobs.
    So this is what I'm struggling with: if it is just a simple fact that nursing will pull you in all directions and often not allow you the opportunity to be on top of everything... if running around throughout your shift "putting out fires" is the norm... and I know that I really hate that kind of a job... why do I stick with it at all? What am I waiting for that will get better exactly? Or am I just waiting for the day when I won't care as much?

    I'm not arguing with your point, I've just been going back and forth on this for awhile... and am now asking myself... maybe there's a reason I hate this job and maybe I should quit fighting my desire to get away from it so much.
  12. by   mariedoreen
    Quote from wooh
    The key to not "constantly putting out fires" is to prevent those fires in the first place. That comes with experience. After a while, you can predict where the fires will be. But there's also planning in the little things.
    Meds/treatments/education can all be done with the initial assessment. Combine your tasks as much as possible. Make one trip into the room each hour instead of three. They haven't had pain medicine in a while, go ahead and take it in the room with you when you go in. Quicker to return it to pyxis on the occasion that they don't want it than to leave the room and come back with it when they usually will want it. It also shows the patient/family that you're thinking ahead of what will make them comfortable, which reassures them. With the inevitable request, "I'll be right back with ice/nausea med/pillows/apple juice, is there anything else I can get for you right now?"
    Let patient/family know what your plan is for the shift. "I'll be in about 10, 2, and 6 with antibiotics and at 6 we'll aslo do a dressing change. And we'll have the tech coming in at 8, 12 and 4 to do vitals." Knowing what's going on reassures patients that they will be taken care of, that they don't have to "bug you" to make sure you come in the room.
    Someone asks for a blanket? I bring a couple, and an extra pillow. So I don't have to make an extra trip down the hall when I get back and they realize they'd like those too.
    Asks for an ice refill? I fill the bucket with ice, and bring back a cup of ice and a cup of ice water with it, they think I'm ooohhh so thoughtful.
    Also remember, you can only do one thing at a time. At the beginning of my shift, I take a little more time in each room than some of the other nurses, but they're settled in at that point. I could do a quick in and out, but they'd be calling me back in there. 5-10 extra minutes per patient at the beginning of my shift saves me probably about an hour per patient later in the shift. If another patient needs me while I'm in that room, and they aren't coding, they're going to wait a smidge. Then I go to them, apologize for the wait. But that short wait at the beginning of the shift allowing me to get the other patient settled means they likely won't ever have to wait for me later in the shift.

    Major point: It takes a while to get into a routine. It takes a while to predict what patients are going to want sight unseen. It takes a while to learn to assess the patient without thinking each thing through, to just "do it." I understand your frustration, but try to give it a little more time. We've all been there! It will get better!
    Thanks, I posted my response above before this one came up. It's a different way of looking at it that I hadn't considered at all. I appreciate it and I'm going to think about it, thanks again...
  13. by   EmerNurse
    Great post, Wooh!
  14. by   barbie90210
    [font=book antiqua]i think the key is that the job will never change. some people are just too stubborn to quit - but maybe should have because they are definitely not happy. some people cannot quit because of family and benefits, etc. some people resent that they have spent so much on their education and find out what it is like in the "real world". i think you should follow your instincts. if you cannot change the situation then you have to change yourself. it's not easy. you have to be able to respond instead of react. it takes confidence, maturity, and a lot of self esteem. that kind of change takes time. for a younger nurse it may be truly overwhelming. i'm not advocating being a quitter but you also can't quit on yourself by resigning yourself to be stressed and unhappy. there are nurses that have been doing this for a long time that feel exactly as you do but they haven't quit. the reasons are varied and i have listed some of them above. the best thing in my opinion is to quit while you still have options. there are so many posts here of nurses saying they are "looking for a way out" of hospital nursing and can't find it. they have a certain level of income and are "used" to the role. i think you should do what you know is best for yourself. it's true your orientation is probably not the best so you may want to look for another position with a more comprehensive orientation. however the floor work will not change. your response to it will (hopefully) change and that will decrease your stress. some days it will be a little better and some days it may be a lot worse. you may benefit by finding some sort of support group for new nurses in your community - or creating one. do what is best for yourself! :icon_hug:

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