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In at 6:30, out at 9:00 and not a drop of food. I love this job!

Posted

Has 9 years experience.

Ok, ok, yes, I know I need to fight for my lunch but yesterday was sooo crazy. I'm a new grad and got two patients that were supposed to be split. Had to leave the floor with one for over an hour for STAT tests, etc. Didn't know about the supposed split till later but oh well that is how the cookie crumbles, right?.

"One of those days" the other nurses say.......Problem is, this is nearly everyday. Maybe not staying late but fighting and clawing for your lunch, struggling to dart into the potty to pee, feeling your tongue stick to the top of your mouth cuz you can't remember when you had a sip of your water last. Running like a madwoman with people/family/pagers/doctors/patients in your face CONSTANTLY. I honest to God cannot keep a straight thought. I think to myself, "how in the hell do people do this job and LIKE it?". Sure, I like to keep busy. I like to work hard. But 14.5 hours of frantic "I'm-running-from-a-fire" pace? This is for the birds!!!! I used to enjoy taking care of myself, working out and eating right. Now I don't even give a sh*t anymore and am too freaking exhausted on my days off (or migrainous from the stress or lack of food) to do much of anything at all. I'm giving everything of myself, 120%, but in the end is not enough. This job is sucking the life out of me after only 9 months. How will I ever get to 5, 10, 20 years? I feel like I run, run, run, have all I can do to keep up with latest labs and test results let alone talk to patients/families, and pretty much just BARELY keep my patients alive. The end of the shift will come sometimes before I even realize my patient has a pacer! I mean, my gosh!! I miss the cash register job I used to have where someone actually gave a crap if I got two 15 min breaks or a lunch!!!

And the most depressing part: I'm a caring nurse, but I just can't keep up. I'm in elite shape and I JUST.CAN'T. KEEP. UP.:no: It's not getting better either. I understand the flow better but time management wise? Not. I see the writing on the wall because the other, more experienced nurses are running too (maybe not quite as much). There are just too many tasks and too little time. So much charting. The acuity of these patients is not going down and were supposed to do more with less. How will how I am feeling ever change? Is this really just being a new grad or nursing at the bedside? No wonder people want OUT or burn out. I honestly just don't see any light at the end of the tunnel. I think when experienced nurses say "it gets better" it really doesn't. What gets better is your ability to keep putting up with the sh*t. Kind of like conditioning, learned helplessness. You figure out you can't change it so you just roll with it. How long before it kills you though?

So frustrated. :(

Biffbradford

Specializes in ICU.

By doing the work of 2 or 3 people, just think of all the money you're saving the hospital! :) Doesn't that just give you such a warm feeling in your heart? :roflmao:

KeepItRealRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in CVICU. Has 28 years experience.

First of all, I can put up with a lot, but I will not put up with being hungry or thirsty.

That being said you said you are a new grad, and have been doing it for 9 months. You had 2 patients. Are you working in an ICU? Part of the problem is that you haven't built up your nursing muscle. In that I mean, getting through a shift is akin sometimes to running a marathon, and everyone knows that to run a marathon requires time spent training. Nursing is also similar to lifting weights. You build up your strength over time.

I once was told something that turned out to be very wise. "Don't pass judgment on something until you have done it for a year". And I mean 1 year from the time you were on your own, not one year from your hire date. If you haven't been at the job for a year, then stick it out until that one year mark. I'm willing to bet that your efficiency will have increased by a significant margin as you won't be spending time spinning your wheels like you most likely do now.

Not only will you have gained efficiencies, but you will also have some self confidence and assertiveness to make sure that you get your lunch break.

If after one year you are still not getting a lunch and still not able to keep up then there is a problem with 1 or any of these things.

1. Maybe this isn't the gig for you.

Not everyone is cut out for every gig. Nothing to be ashamed of.

2. Maybe the place is simply a s**t hole, the manager is incompetent, and the staff don't give a s**t about each other or work as a team.

If this is the case then you need to start looking for a new job, and simply GTFO. It will not get better, it will only get worse. Leave on good terms and don't burn any bridges.

3. Things still may be tough, but they are a lot better than a year ago.

If this is the case, and you like working there, stick it out a while longer. With more time and experience you will get better assignments and eventually be worked into leadership positions

Edited by KeepItRealRN

KeepItRealRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in CVICU. Has 28 years experience.

Thinking about it more. It sounds like the place you work simply sucks. There are good jobs out there, but might require relocating. I find that crappy working conditions tends to be a regional thing. Some regions have crappy working conditions no matter where you work. Some hospitals are worse, but overall it sucks. I've worked a lot of places to know this is true a lot of the time.

The place I work now is wonderful. The workload is reasonable and my manager is awesome. You can't judge bedside care on the merits of one institution.

Been there,done that, ASN, RN

Has 33 years experience.

Have you thought about passing out around 2:00 ?

You have detailed the day of a nurse in a for profit , corporate owned facility.

You will not be able to change it. Spend your time off looking for better employment.

Good luck, let us know when that day comes!

KeepItRealRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in CVICU. Has 28 years experience.

Have you thought about passing out around 2:00 ?

You have detailed the day of a nurse in a for profit , corporate owned facility.

You will not be able to change it. Spend your time off looking for better employment.

Good luck, let us know when that day comes!

Again like I said if you look for better employment, don't burn bridges. Never tell a future employer you left or are leaving a job because you were unhappy.

Biffbradford

Specializes in ICU.

[color=grey]Thinking about it more. It sounds like the place you work simply sucks. There are good jobs out there, but might require relocating. I find that crappy working conditions tends to be a regional thing. Some regions have crappy working conditions no matter where you work. Some hospitals are worse, but overall it sucks. I've worked a lot of places to know this is true a lot of the time.[/color]

The place I work now is wonderful. The workload is reasonable and my manager is awesome. You can't judge bedside care on the merits of one institution.

Yup, and flipping that very statement around: you can't believe that the majority of places to work are as wonderful as yours. Hang onto that job like grim death!

Edited by Biffbradford
We need colored fonts

KeepItRealRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in CVICU. Has 28 years experience.

Yup, and flipping that very statement around: you can't believe that the majority of places to work are as wonderful as yours. Hang onto that job like grim death!

That is true if one does not have anything to compare it to. If you are happy hang on to it.

In my case between doing travel nursing, agency nursing, and having regular jobs, I counted at least dozen if not more places I've worked. There is a place out of the group that comes in a close second, but the current place edges out #2 by a slim margin.

The worst of the bunch were god awful and one of them I spent 14 years at. It started out good, but then was bought by a for profit corporation that was head up by the current governor of Florida, and things went downhill fast. I only stayed because I really liked the people I worked with.

Then we moved to a different state and when I started working at my current place, I thought I died and went to heaven. When I told my old co workers that plebotomists do the q1h accuchecks for us, they thought I was making it up.

Curious1alwys, BSN, RN

Has 9 years experience.

I do not work in an ICU. I work on a tele unit, I had 4 patients, two of which though were supposed to have been split between two nurses (heavy) and were not. That is what I meant.

I just don't know how much of it is crappy nursing or just my disorganized mind! I work for a not-for-profit huge hospital system so I don't know. LOL. I'm definitly not going with the grass is greener mentality because if I leave it will probably not be to go to another hospital floor (bedside). It just seems like this is the way it is everywhere. And in the end, all it is about is sticking it out one year (if it doesn't kill you) to see if you have what it takes/will survive. I'm just beating down. :( Being a new grad put in 3 different hospitals and 5 different floors in 9 months does not help much I am sure. Hasn't honed my focus. ;) And with small children at home, my life seems like one big long call bell these days LOL!!!:up:

KeepItRealRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in CVICU. Has 28 years experience.

Being a new grad put in 3 different hospitals and 5 different floors in 9 months does not help much I am sure. Hasn't honed my focus.

So they float you between hospitals and floors? That does not sound like a good place to work. After you have your year in, if you like to take care of sick patients and to concentrate your efforts more, I would suggest getting a job in ICU somewhere, but not where you are now. If they have a floating policy like that, it will not change just by going to a different unit.

There are good places to work in this world. After you have your year of experience believe me the door will be open a lot wider than that it was a year ago.

Ayvah, RN

Specializes in Med Surg, Specialty. Has 10 years experience.

My best piece of advice would be to talk to the experienced nurses at your place of employment. That will give you the most personalized response, given they know the you and the floor with all its intricacies.

That being said, this was a topic of great interest to me in my first few years as a hospital nurse (med surg is my passion). I spoke with many experienced nurses, including float nurses to get a better understanding of how things were for them and to give me a realistic view of what to expect/how to manage and if my stress was because I wasn't up to snuff, or if the floor was the problem, or something else.

What they said to me was this: there is no way to do everything for every patient. While experience will get you faster at tasks and better at preventing issues, you still can not be everything to every patient. You have to figure out where you can (safely) take shortcuts and you have to be OK with passing things on to the next shift.

I asked them their view about happiness in their job. Some told me that they feel that as long as they put forward their best each day they go home happy, no matter what happened in the day, even if the patients didn't get the 'best' care, as they did the best they could given the circumstances.

Some of it is your personality and how it meshes with the patient types and floor. A large part of it is that poor staffing is a widespread issue and many nurses don't eat/pee -- I remember one nurse telling me about her TSS episode during the shift, and another telling me about her bladder infections, and several (including myself) bleeding through underwear. You either need to figure out a way to rearrange your day/re-prioritize yourself higher (i.e. passing on more to the next shift so you can get a lunch, even if it is just 10 minutes), because while you are trying to give your all to your patients it really isn't feasible to run yourself down like that long term. One thing I did which helped a great deal (because I experienced the mouth dryness issue too!) was to force myself at least twice a day to take 15 seconds to chug one of those orange juices they have in the fridges. That alone helped me feel a lot better!

A tele floor at one hospital may be drastically different than a tele floor at another hospital, or day shift may be quite different than night shift, or, a different unit may be quite different/better too, or even one of the nursing jobs outside of the hospital. While I loved loved loved the work of med surg, the variety of patients, the interventions I could do to help them, I found that an outpatient specialty department actually worked so much better for me, my health, and my family. I can now take the time to really know my patients and their situations and help them. I feel like I provide amazing care almost every day. While I greatly miss hospital work, this is a good alternative for me and I no longer feel like I'm 80 years old!

Edited by Ayvah

Are you covered by a collective bargaining agreement (in a union)? If so, your break policies should be clearly outlined. If not, know that federal law does not require employers to provide rest or meal breaks, but some states do have laws regarding this. So your course of action depends on whether you are in a unionized facility, or a state that has laws requiring rest/meal breaks.

A potential resource for assistance would be the National Labor Relations Board. You can find them online with a quick google search.

noyesno, MSN, APRN, NP

Specializes in Family Medicine. Has 11 years experience.

I'd like to tell you it gets better but it sounds like the experienced nurses are also running around like chickens sans heads.

Get your experience and get out. Have another job lined up before doing so.

I work on a unit like this. Been working on this unit for 3.5 years. Will be leaving ASAP and never look back.

noyesno, MSN, APRN, NP

Specializes in Family Medicine. Has 11 years experience.

Oh, and don't forget to punch, "NO LUNCH!"

Curious1alwys, BSN, RN

Has 9 years experience.

Thank you for all the replies. I agree that I need to be more proactive in getting that rest/lunch period regardless of how busy my day is. Just sometimes I feel like I am running on pure adrenaline and I honestly don't even think about food until after 3pm, LOL. You know how it is. I think I might have even had a protein bar in my lunch box but did not even think of it! I payed the price with a migraine today. :( Also, I need to find a better way of reorganizing myself when I have a gazillion interruptions and things go bad. Seems like sh*t rolls downhill then, LOL. ......and figure out how to punch "NO LUNCH". That is, until management gets on me for it wanting to know what it was about my day that made me stay late....:sneaky: oy vey. I'd love to be able to follow an experienced nurse around for a shift now that I know the flow of things to see how they manage their time. Maybe I am doing something wrong.

mmc51264, ADN, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in orthopedic; Informatics, diabetes. Has 9 years experience.

Sometimes, you just literally have to stop and say, I need something to eat. or drink. or pee. If I have to give a med 15 min because I need a break. I do it. You can also tell your charge nurse that you have not gotten to sit down and could he/she give pt. A their 1200 meds, please? I have made statements about the No Lunch clocking and that gets their attention pretty quick. I love when the 8 hour aide takes a 30 min breakfast and a 30 min lunch break while I do her job and mine. That gets old REAL fast.

You will get better at time management, but DO stand up for your needs or you will not last long at all

Have you thought about passing out around 2:00 ?

You have detailed the day of a nurse in a for profit , corporate owned facility.

You will not be able to change it. Spend your time off looking for better employment.

Good luck, let us know when that day comes!

Truer words were never spoken!

I realized I had to get out when I was envious of my sick pts, because I felt they didn't have nearly as much stress as I did!

I've been an extremely ill hospital pt, and a nurse- being the pt was waaay easier.

You have your head on straight, so don't let the "it gets better after a year" crowd drown out your inner voice of reason.

Yes, it really is that bad, and no, it's not going to get better, fluffy-pants-unicorn-crowd be damned.

Cheers, and welcome to batsh&t crazy.

:) :) :)