Jump to content

I make a similar post every couple of months...Am I just not meant to be a nurse?

Posted

Specializes in Pediatrics. Has 2 years experience.

I have tried so hard to be a good nurse. I went through the hell that is nursing school, sacrificed years and so much money for this garbage. I feel so miserable. I haven't been happy since I started working as a nurse. My whole soul is sucked dry...every day I give so much to my patients but somehow I never do enough. How is this possible?

It's really just the little things. For example, I was on the phone with an NP today talking about a patient's plan of care. All the sudden, I hear the unit clerk yell at me across the hallway. I turn around and she goes "oh, sorry." It wasn't until I got off the phone that I realized she was yelling at me because I was taking too long to answer the call bell...she probably realized since I was on the phone I didn't get the message. There were 2 other times that day I was slow in getting to a light (#1 I was in the middle of giving discharge instructions #2 I was in the middle of a dressing change)...I do what I think is right but there's always something else I should've done. I give up.

I love my patient population because I love children. But I really hate the hospital and I haven't been myself in a long time. I miss being happy. I am only 23 and I feel like my whole life is ruined because I'm a nurse. I'm at least trying to get my year in but I can't stop and think why I am so miserable all the time just to "get a year in"...I'm not kidding. I am beginning to feel no desire to live because all I do is go to work, sleep, and eat. All that happens at work is that I am worked like a mule.

Then to kick it all off, I saw two of my old coworkers (it's a long story but basically I switched units in the hospital because HR offered to have me pilot a new unit). When they saw me they paused talking. I noticed they were saying mouthing something to each other (which can never be good) and I just feel so *** about myself. These 2 people were senior nurses who had to help me a lot on my old unit. I was oriented there as a new grad so obviously I had a lot of questions...I think they think I'm stupid or something and I'm just so tired of everyone telling me I'm not doing enough.

I come home only having eaten one apple the whole day. My feet hurt so badly and all I did today was sit on my floor and sob.

I am seriously thinking about switching into the business field or something where I can work from home/sit in a cubicle. I feel like I give so much of my energy and time for nothing...for all the work I do just to be discredited. Am I just an incompetent nurse? I'm not understanding why I seem to be having so much trouble why everyone else just breezes by.

I really just want to be happy again 😞 I hate nursing. SO MUCH

NICU Guy, BSN, RN

Specializes in NICU. Has 6 years experience.

11 hours ago, pinkdoves said:

It wasn't until I got off the phone that I realized she was yelling at me because I was taking too long to answer the call bell...she probably realized since I was on the phone I didn't get the message. There were 2 other times that day I was slow in getting to a light (#1 I was in the middle of giving discharge instructions #2 I was in the middle of a dressing change)...I do what I think is right but there's always something else I should've done. I give up.

You are berating yourself for not being able to be at two places at once? You were busy with a phone call with NP, discharging a patient, and dressing change. You need to delegate responsibility. For example, before you started your discharge or starting the dressing change, ask another nurse or PCA to keep an ear out for call bells from your patients for the next XX minutes. That will give them a heads up that you are unavailable to answer call bells. Your coworkers are occupied with their patients and can't keep track of you every minute of the day. They do not know the reason that you are not answering your patients' call bells. Were you in the break room, in the bathroom, goofing off, or doing a dressing change that takes time. Unless you tell them what you are about to do, they will not realize that you are busy. You need to grow a thicker skin and stop being so hard on yourself. I did not feel competent until the 18 month mark. You are going through growing pains and it will take time to hone the skills that the experienced nurses have.

JadedCPN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics, Pediatric Float, PICU, NICU. Has 15 years experience.

13 hours ago, pinkdoves said:

I am beginning to feel no desire to live because all I do is go to work, sleep, and eat.

Seek professional help based on this comment if you truly feel that way. Everything else in your post is relatively normal for a new grad to feel and will eventually die down with time.

NightNerd, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-surg/tele. Has 7 years experience.

2 hours ago, JadedCPN said:

Seek professional help based on this comment if you truly feel that way. Everything else in your post is relatively normal for a new grad to feel and will eventually die down with time.

I second this wholeheartedly. Please talk about these feelings with someone, and pursue a session with a mental health counselor if possible. Being a new nurse is extremely challenging and many of us have also gone through the awful cycle of eat-sleep-work-repeat; however, it definitely should not be allowed to take your desire to live your life.

It's easier said than done, but try to remember that it's not your problem if people are critical of you for asking for the help you need. You are new and need to ask questions! Also, is it possible that these two nurses were simply discussing a private matter because they are close, one that had nothing to do with you? Sometimes in the heat of the moment it feels like we are being judged more harshly than is actually the case.

As for the situations where you are asked to be three places at once and can't be, please try to be more patient with yourself, because that is an obviously unrealistic expectation. You will learn with time to prioritize and consolidate tasks and it will feel easier, but sometimes the to-do list doesn't end and some people have to wait. It sucks if they get annoyed with you, but just remember that you are doing everything you can. The size of your workload is not a verdict on how good of a nurse you are.

One thing that is helping me through a stressful time at work is determining what I expect of myself and what my limits are before I even get to work. A similar exercise may help you define what you need to strike a more ideal work/life balance. For example, I expect myself to:

  • keep my patients safe, try to meet their priorities, and advance their care
  • help my coworkers whenever possible and learn from them
  • ask for help and wait for it, rather than do anything I'm not properly trained to do (I'm in a new specialty area, so this has come up a couple times)

In exchange, I honor myself by prioritizing my tasks, taking a real lunch break (not always the full time, but enough to eat an actual meal), and not staying late. This is what I find I need to give my best to my patients and team, while still having energy to give myself on days off. I would suggest reflecting on the kind of care you want to give your patients, and what you need in order to do that consistently.

All the best to you! This is very hard work, especially in Peds (I would think), but it sounds like you are very conscientious and thoughtful - in other words, great nursing material. Hang in there.

Edited by NightNerd

I still feel this way sometimes even after 5 years of being a nurse. Many of us who are attracted to this work want to provide the best care and hate to disappoint our patients or coworkers. What I've realized over the years is that the workflow of nurses just has not been designed to allow for this. You are expected to be everywhere/do everything, when you are one person with a limited amount of time/energy. Your coworkers should understand this since they're in the same boat, but there are always a few crabs who expect perfection from everyone else while probably leaving things not done themselves.

Some days I still have to remind myself to stay calm, prioritize, and get to things when I am able to (while keeping things safe. If there are 2 critical things going on, you should be able to ask for and receive help from a coworker/charge nurse).

Also, eat lunch. I used to go the whole shift without eating/drinking and that will definitely make you miserable (and sick!). It's amazing what a difference sitting down and eating something will do. If the culture of your workplace discourages nurses from having a proper lunch, then you need to get out of there asap and try somewhere else.

pinkdoves, BSN

Specializes in Pediatrics. Has 2 years experience.

13 hours ago, NICU Guy said:

You were busy with a phone call with NP, discharging a patient, and dressing change

Sorry I must have written that poorly. These were things I was doing (not simultaneously) while a call light had gone off AKA all at different points of the day. I am not understanding this advice of telling people every movement I am making "I am going to heat up formula" "I am going to talk to a parent" or (what you suggested) "I am going to talk to the NP now (how am I supposed to predict phone calls??) etc, it is not realistic to report every little thing I do. that just doesn't make sense...the person who was yelling at me was not a fellow nurse, but a unit clerk (the front desk person/IPC). I just assumed maybe she doesn't understand the role of a nurse and that I don't just sit around to answer call bells

11 hours ago, JadedCPN said:

Seek professional help based on this comment if you truly feel that way. Everything else in your post is relatively normal for a new grad to feel and will eventually die down with time.

today was a rough day for me (yet again). not as a nurse, but as a human. I keep seeing child abuse cases that make me feel sick to my stomach. I might have to ditch this whole career because I can't spend every night crying...I really hate nursing.

Edited by pinkdoves

pinkdoves, BSN

Specializes in Pediatrics. Has 2 years experience.

On 7/22/2020 at 2:24 PM, NightNerd said:

it sounds like you are very conscientious and thoughtful - in other words, great nursing material. Hang in there.

This is the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me : ( my mom told me I was going to hell because I keep crying about abused children. she told me I should just give up the whole career because it's not worth worrying about things you can't fix. I don't know what to believe

On 7/22/2020 at 6:08 PM, Rebel Nurse said:

I still feel this way sometimes even after 5 years of being a nurse.

This is why I'm thinking about giving up the entire career. many nurses tell me it doesn't get better and I'm thinking I'm just wasting my precious time crying

@pinkdoves, due to your thread title I reviewed your recent posts.

I share some of your concerns and opinions about nursing and the hospital setting these days.

Before you decide upon a big life change (leaving a profession/major career change) I think you should seek professional advice. You deserve the benefit of having a professional hear your concerns and help you brainstorm about what you have been experiencing. It isn't just you, but you deserve to be able to make good decisions for yourself and your life about how to move forward.

It would be very desirable to avoid making a big change only to find that you still feel essentially the same about things. If you had a patient struggling similarly, I trust that you would want to help them. You deserve the same.

You sound like a nurse who needs to become empowered (as do many). Hang in there and don't be afraid or reluctant to seek advice and care.

💚

londonflo

Specializes in oncology. Has 44 years experience.

On 7/22/2020 at 9:47 PM, pinkdoves said:

my mom told me I was going to hell because I keep crying about abused children.

Feeling bad about the problems in society doesn't cause you to "go to hell". With all my Catholic school education, I can tell you the abusers are the ones going to hell.

On 7/21/2020 at 9:15 PM, pinkdoves said:

I hear the unit clerk yell at me across the hallway. I turn around and she goes "oh, sorry." It wasn't until I got off the phone that I realized she was yelling at me because I was taking too long to answer the call bell.

When did she become your boss? She may think she runs the show but she doesn't. Try asking her to find out what the patient needs.With physicians putting all their orders into the EHR, no hard charts etc, she has plenty of time on her hands. The phone can only ring so much.

On 7/21/2020 at 9:15 PM, pinkdoves said:

There were 2 other times that day I was slow in getting to a light (

You are not a stewardess, but even they take a while to answer the call light. Are there any support people like CNAs or techs to be the first line for answering call bells?

Answering lights and phones are necessary but you are not the sole person responsible. Let me tell you a little story..I was an instructor on a nursing floor. The manager asked me "do the students know how to answer call lights? Nurse Mary (who was responsible for the patient) said a light was going off for 20 minutes and the nursing student didn't answer it." I asked Nurse Mary how she knew the light was going off for 20 minutes. She said " I was sitting right next to her (the student) and she didn't go answer it. I had to bite my tongue to prevent me from saying "why the hell didn't you answer it?"

FWIW - passing out dinner trays used to be something everyone thought everyone else should be doing instead of them. Thank God dietary takes care of that.

On 7/21/2020 at 9:15 PM, pinkdoves said:

HR offered to have me pilot a new unit).

That speaks for itself that you are respected and capable. You are being too hard on yourself. I hope things get better - Just ignore the naysayers in your life.

curlnbe, BSN

Specializes in Telemetry/Step Down. Has 5 years experience.

Hi @pinkdoves

I am very sorry to hear that you have been having rough time at work. I still remember how overwhelming life was during orientation and first 6 months working on my own. I also understand where you are coming from: you are putting a lot of pressure on yourself because this is your first job and you want to prove to everyone and to yourself that you are perfect.

You are doing the right thing reaching out and telling us how you feel but if that's not enough, please, PM me and we can talk some more. Every new grad I have worked with had anxieties similar to yours. There are also anonymous support lines you are call to talk about how you feel and hospitals usually have peer support phone line as well.

You do not have to wait until 1 year mark to start looking at your options. If you want to continue working with children, you could consider pediatric home health care. It usually involves one-on-one work and a lot of teaching/moral support for the child and for the parents. I think you would enjoy having more time to spend with your patients and not having the pressure of working on a high-paced inpatient unit. My mom has been working in home health doing infusions for adults for the past 4 years and she loves it, she swears she will never work in a hospital again.

Going back to your perception of your performance on the unit:

1) Have you had any performance reviews with your manager/preceptor where you have been told that you are not performing up to standard?

The reason I am saying that is because, you are right, " there is always something else to be done" but as others said, you can't be in two places at the same time. If the only person that's making you feel that you are inadequate in your response time is the unit clerk, you should have discussion with that person and talk about your expectations for professional behaviour. You should also get comfortable delegating to your CNAs or resource nurses. For example, if the clerk calls you and you are in the middle of something, tell her to call whomever is appropriate and ask to see your patient while you are busy.

In the past, I had an issue with my unit clerk where she would not talk to the patients when their call light goes off but instead call me and tell me to go see patient. Since she didn't talk to them, she couldn't tell me what they needed. After many shifts where I was interrupted from my work simply to take patient to the bathroom or to fix their TV, I had a serious conversation with her about her responsibilities and our work together has improved dramatically.

2) Do not worry about your former co-workers. They might have been talking about a million other things that do not involve you in any way. Or they could have been talking about you...So what. As a nurse, you'll be dealing with a lot of different people and you can't please them all. Unless their conversations lead to actual problems on the unit for you, ignore it. I know it is hard to do and unfortunately, our mind often plays dirty tricks on us but in reality, other people spend way less time thinking about us that we think they do.

3) If you are working 12 hour shifts, like many of us, for those 3 days of the week (4 if you are working nights) it will always be wake up-work-eat-sleep -repeat cycle. On bright side, you get to be off 3-4 days in a row every single week. There are many people who would gladly jump on this kind of schedule. Like others said, you need to take care of yourself, take your break and eat your meal uninterrupted. While you do that, plan what you'll be doing for your mini-vacation during your days off.

4) Parents can be toxic sometimes. It is sad but they know all our buttons because they are usually the ones who planted them. I don't know enough about your relationship with her to suggest anything of value and I am sorry for that. In my case, I have love-hate relationship with my mom and she often says things that deeply hurt my feelings without even realizing it. I found that establishing firm boundaries and telling her how I feel helps us have better time together.

5) You are very early in your career so please, avoid making decisions until you talk to people with more life and career experience and seriously weigh your pros and cons.

Remember, things will get better. You just need to take charge of your feelings and once your head is more clear, put together a plan that will make the most of your time and money invested in this career.

Hoosier_RN, MSN

Specializes in dialysis. Has 28 years experience.

On 7/22/2020 at 10:40 PM, pinkdoves said:

I am not understanding this advice of telling people every movement I am making "I am going to heat up formula" "I am going to talk to a parent" or (what you suggested) "I am going to talk to the NP now (how am I supposed to predict phone calls??) etc, it is not realistic to report every little thing I do. that just doesn't make sense...the person who was yelling at me was not a fellow nurse, but a unit clerk (the front desk person/IPC). I just assumed maybe she doesn't understand the role of a nurse and that I don't just sit around to answer call bells

Some thoughts:

It takes all of 2 seconds to tell someone you're doing x task, and it will pay off in the long run-as far as phone calls from NP/MD, ask them to hold a second, and tell a coworker that you may be tied up for a moment on this call. If you don't communicate, others will not know your needs, which is not their fault.

You asked for advice, then basically say you won't do what's being suggested by those with many years of experience. Why ask, if you decline to be open to advice?

I'm sure the unit clerk is very aware of your job role. But if no one is answering that call light, you are ultimately responsible. If that ward clerk doesn't know that you're tied up, she will not know that you're not available to answer it. Others may be tied up as well, and thats why it's not gotten answered. Not all hospitals even have CNAs or ward clerks anymore.

Someone suggested that providers enter there own orders. Some do, some don't. Where I live, most don't, they expect someone else do it. Since they are an income generator, they are not expected to.

Time management comes with experience.

Until the hotel mentality with administration stops, expectations will remain unrealistic.

FolksBtrippin, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Public Health.

Are you looking for jobs outside of the hospital?

CommunityRNBSN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Community health. Has 3 years experience.

Quit and get a different nursing job. You are miserable and this focus on “getting a year in” is insane when you are barely functioning. I understand it is hard to think clearly when you’re trying to survive but listen to yourself!

Go work in a doctor’s office, a clinic, even at an insurance company. There are non-hospital jobs available (I have one). You are so focused on getting hospital experience, why? So that after your year, you can get a different hospital job?

Hoosier_RN, MSN

Specializes in dialysis. Has 28 years experience.

I will repeat my common theme from other posts and threads. The hospital is not the end all to be all of jobs. Unless there is a path that hospital is a requirement (CRNA, some non hospital or non bedside jobs) then look outside of the hospital

Edited by Hoosier_RN

Pinkdoves,

Definitely do as others suggested and talk to a mental health professional about it. It sounds like you are depressed or burned out, or both. You also sound like you are too hard on yourself. You seem to care deeply about your patients, and that's a truly wonderful thing to have...don't lose it. But...you are "bringing your work home" and it's affecting who you are. Pediatric nurses have to be really strong and compassionate, but also need to be able to separate, or compartmentalize what they see. Yes, I know that's easier said than done...

Nursing everywhere is filled with "neediness." I mean, you are dealing with people who are sick, families who are frustrated, low staffing that is the normal everywhere and being the nurse, a lot of the time, it seems everyone is expecting you to do everything...yes, it can be very frustrating. I take a break at work and go to my car if I can. It's more about the mental break needed, and it helps so much.

It might also just be the type of nursing you are doing and the long shifts. Perhaps a change to a different unit, something less intense, or a change in 12hr shifts to 8 hrs on a outpatient unit or something like that. If you have been working 12 hrs shifts, not taking breaks and being a new nurse...it will wear you down after awhile. I did about the same for my first few years of nursing and I got burned out...but it did get better. I changed jobs to one with a better work environment, one where I got to take breaks and mostly got out on time, and it made a huge difference.

I'm sorry you are feeling this way, but I hope it gets better for you:)

Pinkdoves,

Child abuse is an absolute horrible thing to happen and I can't imagine having to see that at work a lot. Can you talk to some co-workers about it and how they deal with it? There are a lot of horrible things that happen in this world, things that happen daily, and if you focus on that, it will make you feeling like what is the point...can you think of the times you made that child smile? the difference you made in helping a child get better?

It also sounds like your job seems to be your life at this point, and you hate the job...people need more than a job they hate..they need friends, family, interactions outside of work. With covid, that definitely restricts it more, but you need more out of life than work.

Nursing is a horrible job. Nurses are absolutely atrocious to each other, nurses are underpaid and work in typically horrible conditions with little respect. Nurses work short staffed with limited resources and ignore blatant safety issues regarding patient care on a wide scale basis and their blind eye to safety issues is an enormous contributing factor to the high death rate from medical errors. The response that what you are feeling is normal for a new nurse and you'll get over it is nonsense. Adapting to a culture of abuse and being degraded isn't getting used to something. It's simply getting beat down into accepting the abuse with peers fostering this. I would absolutely steer anyone away from this field until nurses learn ethics. Working in understaffed situations because the patients need us is what contributed to the problem. Walking out until safety issues are addressed would protect more people so let's stop pretending we are protecting patients looking away, we are protecting our jobs jobs we don't deserve when we ignore patient safety which happens on a wide scale basis.

londonflo

Specializes in oncology. Has 44 years experience.

On 7/26/2020 at 9:12 AM, DJJ Nonya said:

Nursing is a horrible job.

Nursing is NOT a horrible job although YMMV. I am proud to be a nurse as I had an impact on individual/families lives. I am assuming your experience is different.

On 7/26/2020 at 9:12 AM, DJJ Nonya said:

I would absolutely steer anyone away from this field until nurses learn ethics which with a negative attitude can happen.

Are you speaking of yourself?

I am retired and with my social security payment and my savings I have a lifestyle I am comfortable with. I also use the skills I learned in nursing (such as research, close reading, organization, time management and more) to supplement my income -- at least until COVID closed my outlets for buying and selling.

On 7/26/2020 at 9:12 AM, DJJ Nonya said:

to safety issues is an enormous contributing factor to the high death rate from medical errors.

Oh all knowing and seeing, when have you complained to a manager about what you see as a safety issue? When have you implemented safer practices in your own practice?