Hey all. I'm really struggling here and need some advice. I am a new nurse at my first nursing job. I graduated May 2017. I just got out of the residency program at my hospital just last week. The closer it got to the end or orientation, the more anxious I got. Now that I'm off orientation and on my own, I'm absolutely miserable. I get paralyzed with anxiety before going into work. I work night shift on a cardiac/stroke unit, and I just wait all day making myself worried and sick until it's time to go to work. Even on my days off I get waves of anxiety just thinking about going back. I've thought about not showing up and having a no call no show so I don't have to deal with it. I'm so miserable. I hate it. I love everyone I work with and I they are all very willing to help as I work at a teaching hospital. I just don't think this is the right job or career for me. I don't want to quit because I think what if it gets better? I've been wondering what could I do with nursing that isn't this stressful and overwhelming?! I don't want to waste my degree, but the stress and anxiety I get working as a bedside nurse with 5-6 patients a shift is too much. It's crippling. I only have a few months experience as a RN, so I can't easily work somewhere else like a clinic. I just need something that doesn't make me feel like the world is ending every time I have to go to work. Please help!!
Nov 2, '17
So I've been a nurse for about seven years and it certainly isn't puppies and rainbows. Firstly, don't feel bad about feeling bad. I struggle with similar feelings to this day. Secondly, don't quit nursing. You'd be doing yourself a disservice. There are a million and one options for you in this field. That doesn't mean going into a provider role right away either by the way. It doesn't mean enrolling in NP school is the right choice right now because you don't have enough experience or know how yet. But don't see yourself short. This career demands so much from you physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. I don't think any other profession can match that. But keep in mind, if you don't like the demand of that patient load, think ICU; if you don't like acute care, think doctors office (derm, fertility clinic, etc.), if you like forensics then get SANE certified and focus on sexual abuse victims. If you love drowning in paperwork then consider case management or legal nurse consulting ($$). You worked hard for that degree and there was a reason you did it. Don't give up on it now!
Nov 2, '17
Welcome to your first year of nursing! Almost all of us feel the same way when we're new to the field, no matter where we work. I'd be more worried about you if you *didn't* feel nervous and scared. You don't know yet what you don't know, and that's why you need to keep asking questions and building your skill set. It takes about two years, minimum, to be competent and feel more confident in your abilities. The problem with moving to another job is, wherever you go, there you are---you'll still have a knowledge deficit, and some things you'll have to learn all over again because they're done differently in other settings.
Don't quit. It does get better.
Nov 5, '17
I have been a nurse for 3 years and have had 4 jobs. The one I have now is tolerable, but pays nothing. I don't feel anything fits. I am not sure why, many people say I am good at it, but it's a very stressful job. It feels like it takes over your life and sucks all the energy in the process. I wish I had advice but it has been very a very disappointing career choice for me.
Nov 6, '17
You took the words right out of my mouth. This is exactly how I feel, only this is my first nursing job. I can't imagine doing this much longer. I cry before work and think about just not showing up at all I feel so miserable sometimes
Nov 6, '17
I felt the same way when I first started, sometimes I still do. It was rough for me the first few years. I had actually stepped away from it a few times just to get my head on straight, but I always came back to it. In the past I have done pain management, pediatrics, LTC and currently doing hospice. Dr offices were the least stressful, LTC was the worst. For me hospice seems to be the sweet spot, not too stressful but keeps me busy. Maybe try a different area in nursing. Really try to find a way to relieve the stress, for me running works I focus on my breathing and pacing for each breath. Deep breath, you got this <3
Nov 7, '17
I completely understand how you are feeling. I've been an RN for almost 2 years now and still trying to find my fit and what works for me. Starting out I worked the night shift (11pm-7am) on a medsurg/tele unit. I've never had serious anxiety before in my life (except nursing school exams) until this job. I cried before work, thought about calling out all the time, HATED it and questioned why I chose this profession in the first place. I still question myself and this choice I made to be a nurse but I just keep telling myself that it's because I haven't found my place yet in the profession. I just accepted a new position in an MD office and hope to maybe go back for my MSN and become an NP in the next few years. The hospital craziness just isn't for me and I want to have a life again. I want weekends off to see my friends, I want to spend the holidays with my family, and I want to be human again. Nursing is NOT my life, it is just a part of it. I think the nights burnt me out really quick. They are not for everyone and I have NO shame in saying that they are not for me. Don't give up just yet. This is not a position that you have to stay in for the rest of your career. Just gain experience, take it for what it is and all the while, continue to look for something else. Find sanity in your coworkers and make the best of the situation. Hope this helps, and just remember that many of us know exactly how you are feeling.
Nov 8, '17
from my experience seeing what new nurses have done to themselves in the past is ..they take on the highest stressed jobs first...ER, OR, cardiac/stroke unit like you yourself took...try stepping down a bit from that and alleviate that stress....to a more calmer unit if you can.....you will burn yourself out before you even get started.....I started in LTC..worked on a med surg unit briefly but even LTC I cant handle anymore....this is after over 25 years of it....so....step down a bit ...do something different or lower key until you settle in , then move up good luck.
Nov 28, '17
I honestly feel like you just described my exact situation. I too graduated in May 2017 and everyone keeps telling me that I just need to give it time, but the thought of having to spend more time in this job fills me with dread. Multiple people have told me that night shift probably has a lot to do with how I feel, and I agree, but working day shift on our unit doesn't seem like a good fit for a new grad - it's too crazy busy. I'm sorry I don't have any words of wisdom, but just know you're not alone!!
Nov 28, '17
A brief piece of advice: Don't go the no-call-no-show route. It is disrespectful to an employer who has made a commitment to you, and since this is your first job out of school, this would be your only reference in the nursing field.
Nov 28, '17
Revisit this when you have been on the job for two years. If you feel the same way, then move on to something that suits you better. Between now and then, make a conscious effort to approach each day with a positive attitude, meanwhile, on your time, explore the idea of a new line of work. That way, you will be prepared when you decide to make the change. If you quit next week, you will not have given yourself a chance to remove "new nurse jitters" from the equation.
Nov 29, '17
So, the good news here is that you've hit the six-month mark. So perhaps you can move into another unit? Or find a day shift? Not to minimize your anxiety -- you described my first year in the ICU to a T -- your night shift is not helping. Patient load may be lighter but I found that my jacked-up circadian rhythm worsened the anxiety I felt.
Look, inpatient work is not for everyone. If you can stick it out for a whole year you'll be in a much better place career-wise. If you can't....consider home health, school nursing, community nursing or anything else where you're a little more in control of your schedule.
Best of luck. It's unfortunately normal to feel anxious the first couple of years in this profession. Hang in there.
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