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I expected to love it... :(

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by nadjjaa nadjjaa (Member)

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I have been working as an LPN for about 5 weeks now. I am still in school, and will graduate with my RN in december. The place Im working at is a Rehab Hospital/Nursing Home...it wasn't my first choice for a job, but it pays the most and it is the most flexible, so I thought I'd work there until I got my RN and then look for something else.

In school, I remember thinking that when I got out there and actually started working, I thought I would fall instantly in love with my new career. I make more money than I ever have and yes, I'm more proud of what I do now than any job I've had in the past, but I'm feeling a bit underwhelmed by it....

I can hear all the seasoned nurses out there smiling... :trout:

It's just 12 hours of hard work. All of my patients are...well...OLD and sort of mentally checked out. :lol2: Either that, or they're whiny, needy....I feel like all I do is give them pills, pills, pills!!! I don't feel like I'm doing anything good or getting anyting good in return. I wanted to be a nurse so I could FIX people.

I sort of dread going to work. I feel depressed because I feel the way about my job that I've felt about every other job...I'm glad when the day's over. If given the choice, I would be somewhere else....etc, etc. I expected that I would walk into my first nursing job and fall in love with it. But so far, it's just a job.

OK, I'm not dumb...I realize that I've given it 5 whole weeks. It could be the setting....I don't like nursing homes. I always imagined I wanted to work in surgery or ER or L/D or something, but this job has made me question whether I want to do bedside nursing at all.

Is this normal? Am I a bad nurse? A lazy person? Will it pass? I know it will always be hard work but will there be some kind of payoff? Will I ever feel like I'm doing something good for myself and other people....or just pushing pills all day long?

nadj

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TopazLPN is a LPN and specializes in LTC.

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Grrr....!! I've heard so many people say the same thing! As a new nurse myself, I went thru a tough reality check. Yes, there is an element in nursing where you are providing care and helping people get better... but then you also have to realize it is a job and you have to get the job done. Do they prepare to be a nurse in nursing school? No. Learning how to manage your time, pass meds, do treatments, deal with docs, and fill out paper work comes from on the job experience. But you have to give nursing a chance. LTC is an area of nursing where you are taking care of the declining and dying, no one is there to get "better".. LTC nursing is all about maintaining pts until they pass away. Not exactly the happiest area, but it can be rewarding to get to know your residents. It will always be "12 hours of hard work"... you are completely normal to be feeling the way you do. Most new nurses I've talked to have had a period of time when they questioned what they got themselves into... I think this is because there is such a huge disconnect between the public's idea of a nurse and the reality of what nurses do.. which causes a lot of good-hearted "I want to make a difference" types get into the profession, only to be very surprised by the work. Good Luck & try to hang in there...!!

;)

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426 Posts; 5,852 Profile Views

I work in rehab and I KNOW what you mean, but you WILL find a pt that you know you helped-it is hard not to get very attached in rehab they are there a long time. I had one that reminded me of my grma-she restroked and was 'checked out for quite awhile'...the night before she left our unit to go to LTC, she was much more alert-her stay with us she hadnt ate well Fam hadn't wanted her to get a NG or GT to help her eat. I had them bring in fruit cups etc (she had loved fruit) Usually around 2300 she would wake and take in some nourishment, many times I would be in there feeding her and end up having to give verbal report (we tape) to next shift because of it. She had been verrry sleepy most of her stay and these times I would feed her she only made eye contact and it took a long time. ANyway that night before she left I was telling her good luck etc, knowing she prbly wouldnt catchall of it. It was then that she opened those bright blue eyes and said, "Im certainly going to miss all of you, you took really good care of me when I couldn't. I am thankful." I was blown away even though I have seen this before-each time it catches me off guard. SOOO even tho you feel all you are doing is passing pills, those pp know you are there and appreciate the human contact. It is more than passing pills you just have to have one of those first AHA moments to cement it in you. The FACT that you are worried about this tells me you will do fine---its those that arent worried that scare me.

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Daytonite has 40 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in med/surg, telemetry, IV therapy, mgmt.

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as for fixing people, even doctors don't always get to put them back together to the way they once were. once something breaks it doesn't always go back to what it was (the humpty dumpty factor). i imagine you're seeing a lot of that since you're working in a rehab facility. this was a concept that was hammered into us when i was in nursing school and some of the students were expressing the same concerns. in my file for teaching care plans i have a section on nursing goals that delineates that the goals of nursing care are threefold:

  • improvement of the patient's condition
  • stabilization of the patient's condition
  • support for the deterioration of the patient's condition

notice that the last two do not focus on people returning to what they once were. these were found in a number of nursing resources when i was researching the subject and are the three overall outcomes of what we nurses do.

the realities of nursing are that it ultimately is a job and employers expect a certain level of task performance in return for the wages they pay. the altruistic ideals kind of get put on the back burner. one of the realities of some of the clinical areas that nurses work in is that you are not always going to be told by the patients that you are doing something good for them. therefore, it is important to have coworkers who fulfill that need. nurturing sometimes requires that we give away more of ourselves than we ever receive. the rewards often come way, way later. you just have to know it within yourself that you are making a difference. nursing homes are incredibly busy places to work. i started my career in them and worked in them throughout my career although i also worked in the acute hospitals a lot more. you will learn more about how to organize and be a leader in a nursing home more than you will in an acute hospital. only you can permit the tasks to overwhelm the human aspects of the patients. first you have to get your routines (meds, treatments) mastered and it will take a lot longer than 5 weeks to do that. then you can focus more on the humanistic aspects of the nursing.

i couldn't help but notice that you also mentioned that you are an lpn working at a new job (did i read that correctly?) and still in rn school. that's a lot of stress to be under. i, personally, would not favor someone taking on the task of learning a new job and continuing to be in nursing classes. had i been the don and known that i would not have hired you for the very reason that you wrote this post, it's breaking your spirit. this is a time in your career development when you need some kudos and reflection on what you are doing and accomplishing. how can you do that with so much on your plate?

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88 Posts; 2,237 Profile Views

LOL....I'm on summer break at the moment, we start back up in the middle of August, in which I will probably work one shift a week, as opposed to three. No, I could not have made it as far as I have in nsg school if I had been working full time!!

So you say that you think that nursing homes are actually busier places than hospitals? See, I was very bummed out because I thougth I had it easy at the nursing home - we have CNAs to help and I think nurses do total care in most of our hospitals - and that my next job (probably in a hospital) was only going to be harder. But then again, maybe more fulfilling, too.

I don't know...I'm just going to try and stick it out and wait for the disenchantment to pass, and hopefully I will find my way. As is right now, I'm having anxiety and depressed moods on my days off thinking about work. And of course, when I'm there, I'm just looking at the clock. But the summer can't last forever...

Thanks for the replies everybody!

Dawn

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