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Job Hopping? Unhappy New Nurse

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Has 1 years experience.

I need some advice or thoughts. Long story ahead!

I graduated with my BSN in May 2019 and am currently in my 3rd nursing job since then. I started off at the county hospital on a step-down unit and hated it. The patients were mean, I didn’t feel like part of the team, and I dreaded going to work. I lasted about 7 weeks into orientation and basically begged for a position on the unit I worked on in nursing school at a different hospital, a cardiac step-down unit. I liked it a lot more, however I had/have horrible anxiety about work.

There is almost never a minute where I’m not thinking about it.

I thought it was because I was working bedside, so after a year on CPCU I got a job as a home hospice case manager. It was very appealing, Monday through Friday, 8 to 5, no weekends or holidays. My best friend also has the same position and raved about it, saying she basically “does nothing” and that it is so easy. That sounded way better than working bedside and thought it would be way better for my anxiety, so I took the job and have been there for almost 2 months. However my experience has been totally different.

Like I said, my best friend also works for the same company and it is a small office. When I was hired on, she told me the office was planning on firing one of the nurses and I would be replacing her. Once I was off orientation, they decided to not fire the nurse and I was sent to a different branch temporarily to help since our branch is now over staffed with me.

I’ve been traveling about an hour and a half 3 days a week and am working for a different office with different people where the turnover has been very high. I am now being told I might be sent to another office to help, as they are also short on nurses. I feel bad saying no, as in the interview process I said I was a team player (which I am) and that is mostly why they hired me.

I have voiced my concerns, as I am not doing what I had expected and was told I would be doing, which was to have a set caseload in one territory.

My anxiety is exponentially worse. Today I had 5 episodes of chest pain, and it happens 5-6 days a week. I need to be on medication for it surely, but I can’t help but think it is due to the amount of responsibility I have with my job now as a Case Manager and what the job entails. I am constantly thinking about work.

I have also thought hospice isn’t for me. I thought it would be, but I can’t help but miss my cardiac patients and actually treating people and seeing improvement. I am also stressed with the responsibility as I am managing their meds and I am the only nurse with my eyes on the patient. I guess I have learned the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, but I have found myself wondering again what else I could be doing instead. 

Is it bad to be looking for another job again?

I want to give it time because I was at one job for 7 weeks, one for a year, and now this one for 2 months. That looks horrible on a resume. I have thought about cath lab holding, or pre-op. Something with a set schedule and normal hours. I just don’t want to be seen as a job hopper.

Before you look for a new job I recommend seeing a doctor for your anxiety and chest pain. 

speedynurse, ADN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in ER, Pre-Op, PACU.

I would also suggest seeing someone about your anxiety but I know some nursing jobs provoke that. In all honesty, I am in pre-op (and help in PACU when needed) and love it. I started in the ED but by the last several months it was wrong for me on many levels....emotionally, physically, etc. the ED had even changed my personality. I feel like surgical nursing has less turnover or maybe that’s just how my unit is (most of my pre-op coworkers are former ER or ICU nurses). Pre-op has honestly made my life so much less stressful. For the first time in my nursing career, I clock out and leave work at work. I have NEVER been able to do that. My surgical patients are really quite amazing - again, I was used to the ER population where I was treated lousy on a daily basis. I actually really enjoy taking care of my patients. Nursing doesn’t have to be so stressful!! I would suggest applying to pre-op, OR, PACU, etc. and shadow before taking on a  new job. I don’t regret my ED experience. Maybe one day I will go back on a PRN basis. Right now, I am enjoying just doing my job and going home. 

NightNerd, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-surg/tele, palliative, psych. Has 6 years experience.

Any chance you could go back to your last job? If so, I would do that (making sure my eyes were wide open; you left for a reason; you said you miss patient care, but don't forget the downsides either). If it was something you liked and you can get some help managing your anxiety, I feel like that would be best.

Also, I just want to say that it sucks that they're sending you all over the place, instead of you working where you were originally supposed to. That would stress most people out, so I don't think you're in the wrong for considering moving on. Just make sure you have a plan for dealing with your anxiety, and try to stay in one place for at least a couple years. It takes a loooooong time to get comfortable at a job in the nursing world.

I agree with the above posters. You need to see someone about your anxiety. And if you feel like you don’t want to be taking care of patients, there are nursing jobs in those areas too. Or maybe even leave nursing. Life is way too short for this! 

I'm looking for #3 in 2 months.  My situation is a little different because I'm looking because of pretty extreme situations that rarely happen (plus I accidentally left one job for another owned by the same company, so same problem at both jobs, on top of the AMAZING upper management skills of not catching that I was already an employee), but without even giving any explanation for those reasons, I'm getting interviews lined up with very little effort, and complete agreement for leaving in interviews, leading to job offers that I'm putting A LOT of thought into deciding which one to take.

You have to remember, a huge amount of jobs in healthcare unofficially push unsafe practice onto their workers, they use dangerous staffing, complete lies about what the job is going to be, and it's not a secret.  The people hiring at the good jobs know about this, a lot of them worked at these places.

If you're going to leave a job again, make sure you do your homework.  Don't just take the first job you get offered.  Compare the places. Shadowing is tough with COVID but if you can, make sure to ask about the bad.  Even in the interview ask what the common complaints from nurses are.  Ask how it's going to be handled when there's a lack of work. Make sure it's a job you can see yourself staying at.  Or just do something else.

Edited by TheDudeWithTheBigDog

subee, MSN, CRNA

Specializes in CRNA, Finally retired. Has 48 years experience.

Please take the advice to see a doctor and get some therapy.  You actually may be bringing the anxiety to work from your outside life.  Maybe learning techniques to control your anxiety will help.  You won't know unless you take the step to find out.  Good luck.

CharleeFoxtrot, ADN, RN

Has 7 years experience.

All of the above is good advice.  OP you might consider asking a Mod to change you name to something not so identifying and swap out your picture as well.  The internet is forever, and employers do surf around this website.

speedynurse, ADN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in ER, Pre-Op, PACU.

7 hours ago, TheDudeWithTheBigDog said:

I'm looking for #3 in 2 months.  My situation is a little different because I'm looking because of pretty extreme situations that rarely happen (plus I accidentally left one job for another owned by the same company, so same problem at both jobs, on top of the AMAZING upper management skills of not catching that I was already an employee), but without even giving any explanation for those reasons, I'm getting interviews lined up with very little effort, and complete agreement for leaving in interviews, leading to job offers that I'm putting A LOT of thought into deciding which one to take.

You have to remember, a huge amount of jobs in healthcare unofficially push unsafe practice onto their workers, they use dangerous staffing, complete lies about what the job is going to be, and it's not a secret.  The people hiring at the good jobs know about this, a lot of them worked at these places.

If you're going to leave a job again, make sure you do your homework.  Don't just take the first job you get offered.  Compare the places. Shadowing is tough with COVID but if you can, make sure to ask about the bad.  Even in the interview ask what the common complaints from nurses are.  Ask how it's going to be handled when there's a lack of work. Make sure it's a job you can see yourself staying at.  Or just do something else.

This is very good advice. I had multiple nurse friends tell me for the last year or so how non stressful their pre-op/PACU units were....over and over. At first I didn’t listen until I was so fed up with my current situation and also felt emotionally drained and physically unwell. Then I made the jump....checking out units through nurse friends to see if they are happy and settled  can be super helpful.

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development. Has 9 years experience.

When it is this bad with this many jobs, its no longer easily explained away by the jobs. The common denominator between them is you. And that is okay. 

The more you hop around, the more you are starting over and the longer you will go without adjusting to the realities of nursing outside of nursing school. Reality shock is real and it happens each time you go to a new specialty hoping it will be different.

I echo the above sentiments. Get your anxiety under control and then see where you are. If your current job is too much for you, see if you can return to your previous, but I definitely wouldn't try yet another new specialty. Give yourself a chance to settle into something. That takes 1-2 years. 

It is not uncommon to feel anxious working as a nurse. I feel many nurses feel anxious at some point or another in their RN position but the difference is whether they can manage it or not. It also matters how long you feel anxious. It should not be all the time. Your anxiety seems to be at an unmanagable level. You will have to figure out how to manage it or leave the profession because there is a such thing as good anxiety. It alerts your body to be vigilant and pay close attention to things to help you practice safely as a nurse. Definitely try try get help with your anxiety. Don't be so quick to switch jobs. Figure out why you are feeling anxious and try to work past it. I used to feel anxious about whether I could save someones life until I did. Now I don't get anxious about it anymore. If before you walk in the building you feel super anxious, you can't calm yourself down enough to realize that you can handle things, you don't ask for help if you feel too anxious, you don't give yourself the chance to make small mistakes, it will be very hard to overcome this. No one is perfect and some people are anxious because they think they have to be.

RNGwen95

Specializes in Psych, Staff Devel, Med-Surg, Public Health. Has 25 years experience.

I've read all the comments and agree to get the anxiety in check. What I don't agree with is saying that its her. (common denominator) is why the jobs are crappy. I've been in the field long enough and worn a few hats to know that there is no utopia in nursing. It's what you make of the situation and how we tolerate stress levels, but a crappy deal is a crappy deal. My feeling is sometimes when we have anxiety, we don't always make clear decisions and then when the situation turns out poorly and our thinking is compromised due to stress etc, we tend to make poorer decisions, compounding the issue. Pick yourself up, get your stress in check and think of what you would like to do, not where your friends are happy. 

Best Wishes! 

DaniannaRN

Specializes in Quality Control,Long Term Care, Psych, UM, CM. Has 13 years experience.

I'll echo what others have said and tell you to please see a doctor for your anxiety/chest pain.  Also, try to do some self reflection to see if you have in fact caused any of the problems at work (not saying you did, but self reflection never hurts).

I understand being unhappy as a nurse.  I've been a nurse for 15 years now and there was a time where I really hated being a nurse and wanted to do something else, anything else.  I was looking into becoming a social worker, a special ED teacher, anything but nursing.  I've never seen a career where the workers (who are supposed to be professionals) are treated so disrespectfully as nursing....by management, patients, everyone.  And it's not something I wanted to do.  So I completely feel where you're coming from.

Then I found the insurance industry.  It ain't perfect, but it's very low stress, regular business hours, the doctors are like our peers, and you're respected a bit more than in bedside nursing.  If working bedside/with patients is stressing you out, or if the demands of working in a facility is stressing you out, give insurance companies a try.  Start as a contract worker so you can see how the field is.  Or try residential psych (group homes in the community).  

Life is too short to be stressed over a job.  Find something that makes you happy, don't stay in a field/area that's causing you stress.