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Giving Up???


I work at a large regional hospital in Pediatrics. We get patients from smaller hospitals for "higher level of care". For some reason, I felt mildly scared for the first several months, but suddenly I'm consumed with the what if's... What if I don't recognize that my baby doesn't simply have RSV, she's sleeping all night long, through everything because her shunt isn't working and she has increased ICP. She isn't throwing up because of the phlegm, she's vomiting because of the increased ICP. I'm the night nurse and didn't find anything unusual about her behavior. The more experienced daytime nurse is the one that realized one hour into her shift that something wasn't right. Grrr.... I'm so upset with myself. We also had a rapid response recently and my charge nurse was asking what to do on HER patient. I was clueless. It was my first experience with a rapid response.

I am lucky enough to have a previous degree/certification to teach. I'm going back to teaching school in August. I keep wondering if I'm giving up to easily. In addition to my concerns regarding my inexperience and my charge nurse's experience, I also feel like I'm neglecting my kids. When I taught, I never missed anything. Working in the hospital, I'm missing soccer practices, games, and my kiddos are staying with a babysitter on nights I'm working at the babysitter's house. I'm miserable and so are they.

I still plan to work PRN, but I think I want to work in ER. My preceptor in my second degree program worked many shifts in ER and I was exposed to sooooo much. I felt like my skills were growing everyday. In my current position, I don't feel 100% confident that my charge nurse is showing me the right way to do the procedure/treatment. Most of the time we deal wth respiratory issues.. Asthma, RSV, occasional fractures, UTI's. In ER, I rarely had a doubt that the nurse showing me the procedure knew what they were doing. In pedi, I doubt everything I do.

Do you think working PRN in ER would be a good idea? I still have connections in ER from working during my clinicals.

doesn't sound like you're giving up, sounds like you're doing what you want to do, no problem with that.

nursing just isn't for some people that get into it, it happens and it isn't specific to just nursing.

All I can say is don't give up.. what ever you do there are barrers people face everyday to get to where they, would like to be ... ill be honest with you try to found a another nurse or tell her what she is doing.

Hell I would like to be where your at... I'm 20 yours old and trying to be a cna, so I can support my kid... I hope the best for you and your decision!


Specializes in nsg homes & homecare.

Pediatrics is a very specialized unit. I am just in nursing school myself, but from what I've seen through school and with my own kids (which I have lost one after spending a week in a pediatric unit with him), it takes a lot to work in pediatrics. It takes a lot to work as a nurse in general, and no, it's not for everyone, but it takes a lot more for pediatrics. And most nurses in peds have specialized training and years of experience. It takes a special person to deal with critical peds & their families on a daily basis, and that takes practice. And it takes a very special person to admit they are not yet comfortable with being there and stepping back. But most ped nurses I've talked to say they have the 'what ifs' everyday, even after 20 or 30 years of experience, and the 'coulda, shoulda, wouldas' when a child is lost. The fact is nurses are not superheroes, they're only human. Looking back to when I lost my son, it was very hard for me to grasp that simple phenominon, but I get it now.

The great thing about being a nurse (amongst many more) is that it's a big enough field that you have the choice to switch to a different unit if you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation. I would strongly recommend that if the charge nurse does not seem competent at what she's doing don't just let it go. If she doesn't know what she's doing that's putting lives at risk and she either needs retraining or a new unit. Maybe she's not really comfortable there either but doesn't want to admit it because if she does she may feel like she's quitting.

I'm not saying go get her fired, but it should be brought to someone's attention that there's doubt and your not comfortable working with her because of it. Transferring to ER or going PRN is not quitting, it's simply putting yourself in a more knowledgeable & comfortable situation. And as a newer nurse you still have a lot of experience to receive, so maybe sometime down the road you would be better fit for peds. There's nothing wrong with taking time off for your own kids either, they need you too.

Ultimately I want to get to peds also, but i don't forsee myself doing it comfortably till I've had more hands on experience in different units. I haven't even graduated RN school yet and already have the 'what ifs' about peds, but I'll get there, and when I get there if I realize it's not something I can handle after a fair shot I'll decide what to do then, but that's what my life dream is.

Good luck in whatever you decide & have fun with your own kids!

I was wondering how long you have worked in nursing? I can tell you from my own experience, I was not comfortable or relaxed in my first job for about a year. I think fear is a healthy thing. It made me vigilant to learn as much as I could every day. It was alot of near misses that gave me the experience to feel comfortable. A good charge nurse is a blessing and a bonus, but there are usually other nurses with more experience and or more bedside knowledge. Those people can be invaluable teachers. As far as working per diem in the Er, I don't see how you think that will be easier. They still have peds too. I worked with a woman who only worked once a week, so when you think about it , at the end of the year she had worked about 50 times. That's about three real months experience. People at work expected her to know more than she could working the short time she did. There are other areas that working part time just out of school would be ok, not the Er. I don't know anyone that would think that idea would have a good outcome. There is so much to learn. You really can't know what you don't know this early. I will pray for you:)

Yeah, how long have you been working?

I'd say be very cautious. You had a great experience in ER because you had a great preceptor and were a student. Re-creating that whole situation is gonna be nearly impossible.


Specializes in ICU, ER, EP,. Has 17 years experience.

AHH, you're anxious for three reasons, enough to drive you crazy... you missing precious moments at home, afraid you're not getting needed back up/training at work and had a good experience that was less threatening in an ER... Wait a 4th, can go back to teaching.

My gosh, no wonder you're so conflicted. While none of us can see into your heart and soul and know what feels best for you... here's some ideas to ponder:

1. If I stay in peds... do I have the support to succeed to learn to take the best care of my patients.

2. The hour of my current postition, are they temporary or can I make adjustments to fit my home life better and then I can focus more on what I need to do... assuming the support to succeed will be there.

3. Unsure of what teaching capacity you would do... but would it provide the same financial support or would you need to pick up extra time at the ER to make ends meet, spending more time away from family and causing more internal turmoil while less job stressed

4. could you just jump into an ER position, teach part time, ER part time and have a happy medium.

I don't know if you have a life partner who has a say so in these decisions, but I promise that making sudden moves due to feelings of the moment are mistakes ... so take time, evaluate it, talk to the kids.. look at options of part time in all of them, some being per diem... to sample the waters before you dive in and commit.

These decisions are tough and the safest way is to put a toe in the hot water gently to see how comfortable it is for you to climb into the tub.