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I dread going to work- not a new grad. Has this happened to anyone else?

Nurses   (23,752 Views | 40 Replies)

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I've been a nurse for about 4.5 years. During the past year or so, I've started to dread waking up in the morning and going to work, so much so that I can barely sleep the night before without taking Xanax. The anxiety even creeps into my days off, as I subconsciously count down the hours until I have to go back and start to get depressed about it. During stretches of a couple days off, I'm generally pretty productive and happy.

I've seen a lot of people post about dreading going to work when they are new nurses and overwhelmed with the learning curve. I did not have that as a new nurse. Even when I felt overwhelmed, I felt OK about going to work, even excited. Now, even though I'm more experienced, I have developed anxiety about what types of patients and families I will have to deal with, whether I'll be humiliated by any doctors that day, whether I'm going to be able to get everything done, whether I can physically and mentally make it 12 hours, and whether I'll be able to remember to document everything, etc. All the stresses of the job, I pre-worry and obsess over. When I'm at work, my anxiety isn't even that bad.

Has this happened to anyone else? I suspect it's burnout. Has anyone been able to get through this? I take vacations and plenty of days off, I only work 3 shifts a week, never overtime, we have a great staffing ratio and pretty consistent breaks at my hospital. I'm feeling like my only option, for my sanity, is to get off the floor. I could try another hospital, another unit, another type of nursing, but honestly, I've worked in 3 different hospitals and multiple different units, and I find it to be all about the same.

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Mr. Murse has 7 years experience and specializes in critical care.

366 Posts; 8,061 Profile Views

Sounds you like you need to find something outside of direct patient care. If you have a good relationship with your management I would go to them with your concerns and start looking around at the options within your facility. Otherwise starting looking elsewhere for different kind of nursing jobs because all the things you mentioned just come with the territory of hospital nursing.

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1 Follower; 51 Articles; 4,800 Posts; 93,684 Profile Views

Maybe it is time to speak to a professional about your anxiety.

12 hour shifts are long, tiring, and it takes sometimes a day to "get over". Many people feel like this.

Sorry this is happening to you.

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RNperdiem has 14 years experience as a RN.

1 Follower; 4,242 Posts; 29,785 Profile Views

I know that anxiety. Some mornings when I worked full time, I would look at the phone and think "ring. Tell me census is low and I can stay home."

The trouble with nursing is that the days are unpredictable. Patients who were doing well take a sudden turn for the worse, you don't know exactly when you will get lunch or that everything will get done. It is the nature of the work. A shift can go perfectly all day and fall apart in the last couple of hours.

Unpredictability causes me anxiety.

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CrunchRN has 25 years experience as a ADN, RN and specializes in Clinical Research, Outpt Women's Health.

1 Follower; 4,198 Posts; 30,515 Profile Views

Get out of the hospital and try something outpatient for a change of pace.

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Been there,done that has 33 years experience as a ASN, RN.

4 Followers; 6,256 Posts; 69,772 Profile Views

Sounds you like you need to find something outside of direct patient care. If you have a good relationship with your management I would go to them with your concerns and start looking around at the options within your facility. Otherwise starting looking elsewhere for different kind of nursing jobs because all the things you mentioned just come with the territory of hospital nursing.

The LAST thing Ativan needs to do with this information is give it to management.

Think about what they would do with it.

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Been there,done that has 33 years experience as a ASN, RN.

4 Followers; 6,256 Posts; 69,772 Profile Views

Yep, sounds about right. Of course you are anxious and dreading the mental and physical abuse heaped upon you during your shift.

It's time to do something other that floor nursing. You have many options... go grab one.

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150 Posts; 4,184 Profile Views

Well I feel the same way but I am a new nurse. With nurses there are so many different opportunities. Try to reach out to someone in Human Resources to see if you can cross train in another department or perhaps do overtime in another area see if you like it. If all is well then perhaps transfer.

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269 Posts; 7,527 Profile Views

i feel the same way. as rehab hospitals/healthcare institutions go, the place where i work is pretty ideal - we get breaks, appropriate staffing, etc. it's not them, it's me. dealing with old people, sick people, needy people, etc. burns me out like no other. I'm just not temperamentally suited to nursing or any other "caregiver"-type job. I don't have the personality for it. And faking it all day every day and trying to be something you're not is exhausting.

so yeah. even though i work short shifts, i come home feeling drained and generally get nothing done. When I have a week off, I feel like my old self again - I have energy, i accomplish a lot, and I don't need a ton of sleep. it's the job. or rather, it's me not being right for the job. i'm not a new grad either.

i agree with the advice to find something that isn't direct patient care. Or maybe something in a different profession altogether. Either way, take some risks and make some kind of change. Life is too short to feel miserable all the time.

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sistrmoon specializes in Oncology.

807 Posts; 13,025 Profile Views

I don't think this is an unreasonable way to feel in hospital nursing. I've been doing it 7 years but know I can't do it the rest of my career.

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312 Posts; 6,791 Profile Views

I feel anxiety pretty much all day at work, I get anxiety when I open emails, hear my phone ring, etc. And I work a supposed dream job at insurance company, from home, with field visits. But it is not a pleasant job. The work is never ending, you often deal with unpleasant people, etc. I have been in this field for about 6 years, I am def burned out. I am looking for a new job. I am so miserable, I do not want to spend life being miserable, depressed, and anxious. And I ONLY feel this way because of my job, everything else in my life is good!

To the OP, you should def look for a new job. There has got to be something that won't make you feel like that. I often wish I could take a few months off because of feeling so burned out on nursing, but can't afford to.

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7 Articles; 1,142 Posts; 37,933 Profile Views

First thing is to seek professional help for the anxiety. I took advantage of this service through my workplace and it has helped so, so much! If you really are not able to remain in your area of nursing, then follow your heart elsewhere. But I think we ALL need mental health checkups as nurses and sometimes just working on those issues can help you love your job again.

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