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Help me, I'm a new nurse with anxiety/depression.

Stress 101   (47,171 Views 23 Comments)
by yng65 yng65 (New Member) New Member

1,506 Visitors; 7 Posts

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Hi, I'm a new nurse who left my first job in ICU after agonizing 6months. I got a job in Med/Surg 5months later. Although I graduated from nursing school over 1yr ago, I only have 8 months nursing experience. I'm experiencing anxiety everytime when I think of work. It usually start the night before (I work night shifts) and escalate just before leaving to work. My heart starts palpate and I become tearfull. I'm a single mom so I leave my child w/ my friend. Everynight when I'm leaving to work, I feel so sad to take him to my friend's house. Although my supervisor tells me she heard some good things about me, I still feel so inadequate and make mistakes. I get stressed out if I can't finish all the task within the first 2-3hrs before pts go to sleep. I start taking antidepressant 2wks ago and see counseling every 2wks. I have no interest to anything anymore, I isolate myself more and more. I feel like falling apart. I like my patients and have good relationship with them, but I feel inadequate comes to skills, paperworks, and some physicians orders. Help me... I don't want to feel so sad and fearful about my job.

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Ivanna_Nurse has 18 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in CCU MICU Rapid Response.

1 Article; 10,899 Visitors; 469 Posts

Yng, you are still a new nurse, and feeling less inadequate will take some time.

Give yourself some credit for the good things you hear.

Remember, no one is perfect.

You are being proactive with the situation, you transferred out to med-surg (2 mos?) and started counseling and meds. (2 weeks) Give it some time to see the results.

You can do this. You made it through nsg school, you can do this.

Always know that you have support on all nurses.

You can message me anytime, I have felt the same way... I think we all have as new nurses. Hugs to you.

Hang in there. :) Ivanna

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3 Followers; 95,982 Visitors; 36,558 Posts

Continue to see your doctor and counselors and work with them. And for your own well being, do not advertise this at work. If anyone notices anything about your behavior, it is nothing more than normal new nurse anxiety that will get better with time and experience. Please do not make the mistake of going into detail about your medical condition at your place of employment. You have made the first steps about your anxiety. Now come up with a plan about the job. You say the paperwork is still getting you. Easy solution. Take each form or worksheet and make yourself an example, complete with written out instructions. Put these in your own little example binder. Do it for each one. Refer to it when you are doing the forms and pretty soon you will find yourself referring to your example binder less and less. But keep your binder in your locker or in your backpack so you have the security of knowing it is there. As you take these steps, you will realize that you are gaining control over any "problems" and they will lessen in your mind. You can do this.

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j_tay1981 has 1 years experience and specializes in Neuro, Med-surg..

4,498 Visitors; 219 Posts

I'm in my second semester of nursing school and have had problems with anxiety and depression my whole life. At school, I'm talking regularly to our counselor and I'm also on antidepressants. From my experience, it can take 6-8 weeks for the antidepressants to kick in. And sometimes the first thing your given won't work so you have to try something else. This can be frustrating, but hang in there. Like another poster said - you are being proactive and taking the steps necessary to get these thoughts and feelings back under control. It will be tough, but you can do it! Be honest with your therapist - it helps in the long run.

I don't work in the health care field (yet) but like you I get nervous the night before I have to go to my part time gig (which I loathe). It stresses me out to a point where it can be distracting me from my studies. But with the counseling and meds, it's gotten so much better. It's worth it to stick it out and let the meds kick in and talk to people you trust.

So hang in there!

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RunningRNBSN specializes in PICU, Pediatrics, Pediatric Home Health.

1,943 Visitors; 78 Posts

First off, I wouldn't make much of this known to the company you work for.

I suffered severe anxiety when I first started as an RN on a busy trauma PICU. I went to a psychiatrist and they prescribed me something that helped. Within 6 to 7 months I was basically over my anxiety... I still have small anxiety attacks once in a while but they are rare. I think it required me to gain some confidence in myself and my skills as a nurse.

The psychiatrist I went and saw told me that he actually sees a lot of nurses who suffer from anxiety. There are a few nurses I work with that suffer from anxiety. Anxiety tends to emerge when under stress and everything we do in nursing is stressful, thus it is common for people with no previous history of anxiety to suddenly develop anxiety and panic attacks.

Hang in there! It will get better.. I promise! :)

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DirtyBlackSocks has 3 years experience and specializes in Army Medic.

5,769 Visitors; 221 Posts

I think you should see a Psychologist or Psychiatrist.

I understand what depression and anxiety are like, although mine have been on going for years now. I have to take medications to keep mine in check.

While you may not need something quite as drastic - feelings that you describe persisting for more than 3 days can be indicative of Adjustment Disorder. Therapists can put a new light on things, and help the mind to come to realizations it normally cannot when under stress.

Short term medication solutions for anxiety attacks until you adjust can help out a lot, too.

Don't get down on yourself, but don't ignore how serious depression can affect your life, either. There is no shame in seeking therapy.

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1,506 Visitors; 7 Posts

thank you very much, Ivanna, for your kind advice. I really wish I could breath easily soon.

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LeaRNed has 8 years experience.

3,004 Visitors; 54 Posts

I think as a parent it is common for us to feel that same separation anxiety that a lot of children suffer from. I often feel guilty not being around my children as much as I used to and it leaves me with that empty/butterfly feeling in the bottom of my stomach. What I do is try to focus on whatever task I'm doing at that time or find something to deter those thoughts. Also, thinking positive helps. Just think that the time that you spend with your child will be extra special as we are less likely to take the time we have together for granted. Like children needing time to adjust to change, so do adults. For some it is a more difficult process, but through venting, maybe counseling, and trying to remain focused and positive you will make it.

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1,056 Visitors; 18 Posts

Becareful of who you talk to in this profession. You can not trust the nursing profession when it comes to confidentialy. Before you know it, you are being reported to the IPN because you stated you have depression. nursing in itself causes all kinds of mental health issues for nurses. get out while you are still young!

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aura_of_laura has 8 years experience and specializes in mental health, military nursing.

10,147 Visitors; 321 Posts

As an employee health nurse, I can tell you that tons (I mean probably more than 50%) of nurses I've seen come and go are on medications for anxiety and/or depression - by the time you count in the situational cases that don't take meds, we're pretty much all covered. Your supervisors don't have to know anything - your EH info is strictly confidential.

Hope things start feeling a little better soon :)

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1,392 Visitors; 20 Posts

It sounds to me like your anxiety and depression are coming from your feelings of inadequacy related to your job skills. Would you still have this anxiety and depression if you really knew your job well? I'm guessing no. So you need to get those skills up to speed. You will have to invest time after work. (It is pointless to feel inadequate about your skills, but then go home and not improve them, just to be in the same place you were the previous night.) Caliotter3 offered a good tip on the paperwork. Additionally, identify each skill you feel is lacking and start learning about/practicing that skill. (Perhaps pick one a night.) Do this via books, youtube videos, or if you know some nurses you can trust, have them show you the skill(s) either during your shift, or volunteer to come in during a different shift for free so you can watch.

I got no training at my first job. They didn't expect me to know everything, but they also "had no money to train" me. But there were two nurses I could go to who realized new grads couldn't know everything and every time they showed me a skill and I "got" it, there was an equivalent amount of anxiety reduced.

Another possibility is to go into a field of nursing that is less demanding than hospital work. Doctor's office, psych, or urgent care for example. Or home health. (Sorry if I mistakenly offended anyone in these areas!) You have ICU experience and med/surg experience. That is probably already enough to give you many other (easier) options.

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fungez has 19 years experience.

7,513 Visitors; 364 Posts

Can you get off night shift?

I did nights for years and nothing, and I mean nothing, would compel me to do another. I didn't know how crummy I felt until I stopped. I felt so irritable and depressed. Never again.

You've got a lot on your plate. Be good to yourself and quit listening to that little voice in your head. You are not inadequate because you can't get everything done. Our job is too difficult to get every task finished. Administration's expectations are ridiculous and impossible. Just do what you can and take good care of your patients, and yourself.

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