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Just Finished Orientation - Miserable :(

Posted

hi everyone,

so i graduated from a second degree program at one of the top schools and was fortunate enough to get a job at a top 10 hospital in trauma. on paper, this sounds great, but in reality, i am really, really struggling. i don't think it's just "new grad" anxiety - i literally come home everyday exhausted and in tears. the acuity is just so high, and the things that are expected of me just seem absolutely impossible for me at this point in my nursing career, or really, ever. i feel like a giant ball of anxiety for my entire shift, and that i'm literally drowning. trauma isn't my passion, but i figured general med surg would be a good first start. i struggle every day with whether or not i want to stick it out, but it's starting to affect everything in my life. i also have two children and live 30 min away from the hospital without traffic, but 99% of the time when there is traffic, it takes over an hour to drive. i'm still breastfeeding bc my youngest is 9 months old, and the unit has not been very supportive of this at all. i only pump once in my entire 13-14 hour shift, and i have to really fight to do just that. i don't know if it's the combination of my family life being stressful and my job being stressful, but i'm honestly just SO unhappy and am thinking about resigning. i just don't think hospital nursing is for me, and that perhaps i'm more suited to public health (my first passion). when i'm at work, im tired - when i'm at home, i have young kids, and i'm tired - i just can't win, it seems. i thought i would like shift work because the schedule would allow me more time at home, but in reality, after such long, exhausting shifts, i really just want to come home and sleep, and i can't do that. i don't get out most nights until 830/9PM because there's just no time before that to do everything i need to get done. i'm lucky if i can sit down for 5 minutes the entire day. it's also a teaching hospital, so there is just a lot going on. i just don't think it's my scene, but the nurse manager/CNM are SO awesome and so supportive. my preceptors have been great. i really can't complain about the job in that respect, so i just feel terrible because i don't want to disappoint anyone. i guess i'm just looking for some advice and to see if anyone has been there. thank you :)

JustBeachyNurse, RN

Specializes in Complex pediatrics turned LTC/subacute geriatrics. Has 11 years experience.

Perhaps discuss with your preceptors or clinical educator some organizational and time management skills. May be you need to change your efficiency or the way you are looking at a situation. Some new grads overcomplicate their work process and up exhausted overall. It seems you are staying up to 2.5 hours post shift to finish up. That's not good and you see how it's affecting you. Try and corm up Edith a plan of action. Usually public health nursing requires a few years clinical experience whether hospital, rehab, subacute or LTC.

let me also clarify - i have an interview for a public health nursing position that sounds really great to me. right when i was speaking to my husband about how i was feeling, they reached out to me to interview bc they remembered my initial interest when i graduated. unfortunately, staying that long past your shift is what people do on my floor. most people are there until at least 8, many until 830/9, and we are talking very experienced nurses. we are a trauma step-down unit, so we get a lot of SICU/ED admits. it's not uncommon for me to have 4-5 patients, all with trachs, chest tubes, etc. that need a LOT of meds and a LOT of management. point being - it's definitely a tough environment. the nurses are great, and i am lucky that i have such great management and co-workers. i'm afraid that if i say something, all they're going to do is extend my orientation, and i don't feel like that's going to solve anything. i don't think there's anything else a preceptor could do for me at this point. i actually have really great time management skills since ive gone through school with children, but this is a whole new type of time management. i don't really have time to DO anything. i just feel like in the hospital nursing environment, at least on this unit, i'm not safe - and i can't keep up.

I agree that there are some things that can be done. Some of what you describe is completely normal new grad anxiety. You do need to figure out who to talk to about your pumping schedule-- you are legally entitled to a break every 4 hours plus a lunch break. You can get physically sick with mastitis if you are not allowed to take your breaks to pump.

I would strongly encourage counseling. I wish I had done this sooner. We see a lot of stuff, and we carry a lot of stress home with us. You are a new mom who is working a new job. You are going to have a lot of stress, and it needs to be addressed so it does not impact you and your loved ones as much. Also, it's hard to be a good nurse when you have anxiety before you even get your patient assignments, right?

Fiona59

Has 18 years experience.

No, it's not a great unit. Any unit that requires staff to put in upto 2 hours a day OT is not properly staffed.

I hope you are billing for these extra hours.

we get paid from 7AM-730P a flat hourly rate. if we clock in early (say, 645AM), it counts as 7AM. If we clock out anytime between 730-8PM, it still counts as 730PM. We still get paid for being there, but OT is only if we hit 80 hours in 2 weeks, so technically it's not really OT even if we are staying late. i just read about so many people leaving bc of the horrible coworkers/management, and i can't say that is my case, bc ours is really good and supportive. i just don't think i fully knew what i was getting myself into. and i think that at this point in my personal life and nursing career, it's just too much for me to handle. i just am not very good at confrontation and feel SO guilty and almost like a failure.

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 41 years experience.

The first year is the hardest. You sound like you are on a tough unit. Go for the interview. You have nothing to lose by interviewing...but what you are feeling is new grad anxiety in a fast paced environment. Even as a seasoned nurse I was exhausted with 2 children under 2 and breast feeding. Exhaustion was my first name and I couldn't remember my middle name....now my daughter just graduated high school and is starting her BSN program in the fall. My son graduates next year and he is into robotics.

It would have been harder if I was a new grad....BIG HUGS!

amoLucia

Specializes in LTC.

Am not into maternity nsg, but how old is your little one if you're still breast feeding? Could there be some post-partal let-down/hormonal issues? I can see where not being able to spend as much time on your home life, esp with your new little one, could be compounding new graduate nurse woes. You wouldn't be the first new nurse/new mommie to be experiencing the disconnect.

Maybe something your OBGYN could help with? Hugs for you.

thank you, everyone. @amolucia, my son is 9 months old, and we have a 9 year old daughter. we had our daughter really young, and i actually went through college with her. my BSN is my second degree, first degree is in Biotechnology. i actually had my son in the middle of my last semester, finishing when he was about 8 weeks old. between that, studying for the NCLEX, being trapped at home in this hellacious winter, and now the stress of this job - i just want to be happy. this is a fantastic job on paper, and the unit really is a great place, but it's just not for me. 50% of me wants to stick it out and is strongly considering it, regardless of how the interview goes. 50% of me says, happiness is a priority. im exhausted at work from not sleeping enough and dealing with a teething baby or rushing our 9 year old around to all her playdates and activities…and then im exhausted at home from work. i thought nursing shift work would be the best of both worlds, but part of me just thinks this unit is too high acuity for me at this point in my career/home life.

JustBeachyNurse, RN

Specializes in Complex pediatrics turned LTC/subacute geriatrics. Has 11 years experience.

What about discussing with your unit manager possibly transferring to a lower acuity level unit? Does your facility have a subacute, rehab or inpatient hospice? Is there an affiliated long term acute care unit?

i have thought about asking this, but im afraid they're just going to let me go altogether. i am definitely not interested in inpatient hospice. we are a very well-rounded teaching hospital, so i know there are units that are a better fit for me out there (or so i think?), but im afraid to bring it up for fear of them just saying, we don't do that sort of thing, so it's either here or nowhere.

JustBeachyNurse, RN

Specializes in Complex pediatrics turned LTC/subacute geriatrics. Has 11 years experience.

i have thought about asking this, but im afraid they're just going to let me go altogether. i am definitely not interested in inpatient hospice. we are a very well-rounded teaching hospital, so i know there are units that are a better fit for me out there (or so i think?), but im afraid to bring it up for fear of them just saying, we don't do that sort of thing, so it's either here or nowhere.

I think they would rather you come forward and help you transition rather than keep a nurse that is becoming miserable and feels like she is drowning due to the acuity and unit workflow. If you do not ask the answer is definitely no. If you wait until you are beyond miserable and overwhelmed the decision may be made for you....and not in your favor. I think a good manager would rather know of your difficulty and distress if not already apparent.

Your employer is required by law to allow you time to pump and a place to do so. Don't allow them to take advantage of you. Breast feeding isn't just a wonderful benefit to your child, but also for you!

i have thought about asking this, but im afraid they're just going to let me go altogether. i am definitely not interested in inpatient hospice. we are a very well-rounded teaching hospital, so i know there are units that are a better fit for me out there (or so i think?), but im afraid to bring it up for fear of them just saying, we don't do that sort of thing, so it's either here or nowhere.

I agree that you should ask at least. They will not fire you for asking. I have seen plenty of nurses transfer from the higher to the lower acuity areas. I was one of them. :-) It does not mean you are a failure or they will see you as a failure. It means you are being a good nurse to know your limits right now. You can always get settled in the new area and then transfer back up in a year or two. But I also think that making sure you get time to pump will help, and so will the counseling. You would be amazed to know how many nurses get counseling for both work and non-work related issues.

macfar28

Has 20 years experience.

I think you know what to do. I hear you saying your present job isn't for you, you just want to be happy and your first love is public health nursing (mine too!). Go for the interview and follow what you gut tells you will make you the happiest and not what others expect. Good luck and keep us posted.

HouTx, BSN, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

Seems like OP has already made up her mind - but is seeking validation to justify the decision.

Buggysmom

Specializes in neuro-surg, psych, CM/URP, CM/URP Mgr.. Has 21 years experience.

My first job out of nursing school was also a very large Boston academic medical center (top 10). I understand what you are going through. It's been 19 years now and it does get better. Our hospital was unionized. Maybe talk with your union rep about your overtime, patient acuity and desire to switch units and if that is within the realm of your ability. Being the low man on the totem pole may put you in the bottom of the running for a job, but, it's not unreachable. Good luck, pink! Public Health sounds fabulous though!!! ;-) Do what makes you happy!