Frustrated & Worn Out

  1. I am a new LVN grad in Dallas. I have been working for a hospital for 3 months now and I am already heading toward being burnt out. I feel ashamed to say it but it is exhausting work. I'm still learning and struggling to finish everything plus documentation by the time my shift is over. I find myself working 1 1/2 to 2 hrs after my shift ends to finish documentation. I think this is insane. This 1st floor, med-surg, telemetry unit consists of about 30 or so patients with 7-8 patients per nurse and 1 tech. I have wanted to quit many times but I hang on hoping that I will either get faster and better or that one day 6 patients will be the max per nurse. What's even more frustrating is that when you need equipment such as an IV pump/pole or BP machine, none can be found on the floor. So time is wasted running around to every room to see if one is available. In addition, only 1 glucometer is available for the entire floor as well as 1 accudose machine to pull out meds. It is all so time consuming and I feel that I am always so pressed for time that I feel I can't give good quality patient care. I am so frustrated because there is no one that speaks up for us nurses. The charge nurse is so laid back. She just says, "Just do the best you can." Please tell me that it isn't like this everywhere. Please give me some insight and advice from your expertise about this.

    All worn out,

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    About CRV

    Joined: Oct '06; Posts: 5


  3. by   ginger58
    No it isn't like that everywhere. In California we have no more than 5 patients and I think Tele has 4. You definitely are in a crummy situation. Too many patients, too little equipment, too much over time due to too much paperwork. I think unfortunately this is the way too many places are going. The hospital wants more and more. Doing "just the best you can" doesn't always feel right.
    We aren't allowed to have OT without being in trouble. I work days so when it gets to be around 1400 it feels like the slippy slope until 1530 and it's anxiety producing.
    Yes, nursing is hard work. The reward for me is still the patient satisfaction and mine. But I totally understand your frustration.
    Maybe try another hospital or another floor. Maybe straight medical. Don't let your first job burn you out. You're just in the wrong place.
    Best in your career! May it be long lived.
  4. by   TheCommuter
    Hello! I'm sorry to hear about your frustrations. :icon_hug: (((hugs)))

    I happen to live in Fort Worth, the city that is located 30 miles west of Dallas. In addition, I am a newer LVN who first obtained licensure 13 months ago. I know that long term care has a bad reputation, but I absolutely love the slow pace of the nursing home environment. I care for 18 patients who are stable and need minimal monitoring. I pass meds, administer simple treatments, obtain blood sugars, give monthly vitamin B12 injections, and occasionally administer IV therapy.

    18 patients may seem like a whole lot, but remember that these people are stable. I always leave by the end of my scheduled shift and never have felt burned out or overwhelmed at any time. Good luck with whatever decision you make.
  5. by   pagandeva2000
    I totally understand how you feel, and I also like theCommuter's response (as usual...I think she is inspirational). I am thinking about long term care or home care in the future, because I work in a hospital clinic and it is to the point that my feet hurt, my nerves are frayed and at times, I come home and cry because it is hard to wind down after coming home from such madness. Unfortunate for me, my job paid my way through school, and I owe them some years. I do plan to see what I can do to get out of this contract and run for the hills for a better place. I can't help but believe that not ALL of nursing is this way and I don't plan to feel like this is too short.
  6. by   postmortem_cowboy
    Yikes! Good lord they're definately trying to get their money's worth out of you. When i've taken med/surg assignments i've either started with five and finished the night with the same five, or taken 3 to start and accepted 2 from ER throughout the night if we had admissions.

    Something i'd suggest however if you go that route you may find yourself on someones **** list, find out what the nurse to patient ratio is supposed to be by your state, not the hospital, if they're going over that nurse to patient ratio, you literally can refuse the shift. Remember it's your license, not the hospitals. If a patient dies due to you not having enough time to get this med or that treatment done, is the hospital going to ante up to defend you and say "hey she/he was doing what we told them to do." I think not.

    My best advice would be find another place to work, and take what you learned from this place to the next interview, ask questions, like what are the norms for a med/surg unit patient assignment, or how many beds does the hospital have in relation to how many IV pumps? simple questions like that will show your sharp for one, but also not a sucker either. A normal hospital should be able to accomodate at least 3/4 if not more of every hospital bed with at least one IV pump. I've seen ICU patients monopolize up to 3 pumps at once, and at 10 beds in ICU, and most of them aren't there cuz they want to be, and desperately need what they monopolize, keep that in mind as well. But i'd say, for sure start looking for another place to work, it's definately not a safe environment to work in.

  7. by   nurseangel47
    Hold on and get that good first nursing experience under your proverbial cap! No, it isn't like this everywhere. Though most places do seem to be understaffed due to the bottom line these days. We need you in the trenches and you will have tasks that become second nature and become more proficient in multi-tasking as you become more seasoned. It is common to be overwhelmed. Take care of you. Try to keep hydrated. Wear comfy shoes that support your feet thru the shift. Try to take that fifteen or thirty minute break to eat, put your feet up, and breathe off the unit for a bit even if you feel that you don't have time. There are three shifts for a reason. You cannot possibly do everything for your pt. that they need in an 8 hour shift, anyway. Treatments, drsg. changes, meds., concentrate on those that really need to be done in a timely manner and don't feel guilty for not having everything wrapped up at the end of your shift if it can wait for oncoming shifts to get done. You'll learn and can ask if you have any questions about whether or not it's ok to pass tasks on to second shift to do. They, too, pass stuff off on third, I guarantee it.
  8. by   BigB
    When you are no longer enjoying the job it may be time to look elsewhere. I had a terrible time in LTC with 48 pateints to care for on the 3 -11 pm shift. Leaving was the best step I ever made.
  9. by   linzz
    I know exactly how you feel. I work in retirement home but it is really just an understaffed LTC. It is a living hell. It is my first job and I am always behind. I have to care for 75 residents and I can not get the work done on time. I am considering leaving this place ASAP as I am afraid for my licence. However there are so few LPN jobs where I live, even DR's offices rarely hire LPN's. I was even admitted to the BSN bridge but the truth is I am so tired of nursing that I don't know if I want to go any deeper into this field. So soon I will decide on whether I will leave nursing for good and I will no longer wonder why there is a nursing shortage.
  10. by   Mudwoman
    Telemetry and Med Surg are tough because there is quick turnover of pts: lots of admits and discharges. Lots of meds.

    I finally had to resort to buying a blood pressure cuff of my own to use so that I wasn't spending time looking for one. You can also find the digital thermometers with sleeves for cheap too. It is sad that you have to resort to spending you own money for equipment, but it saved my sanity to do this and worth the price I had to pay.

    Next, is that you have to decide what care is not as important. Some people may just have to not have a bed change---just straighten the linens. I made it a habit of going a little early and pulling my 7am and 8am meds---which weren't many before report. As soon as report was out, I checked charts and gave those meds, then did my assessments, then went back and pulled the rest of my meds that were due through lunch and by that time, most of the other nurses were done at the omnicel. We had ziplock type bags on the floor and I would put a pt label on the bags so that I knew whose med was what. Chart as much as you can as you go along so that there is less to chart at the end of the day.

    If you are fortunate to have a cart that you take from room to room with you, you can keep all your stuff on it. A very small tool box is also great for containing all your stuff. Find one with a place for a lock. Another idea would be something like a carpenter's apron that matches your uniform. If you sew or know someone that does, they could whip up a couple in no time.

    In the mean time, watch for other openings on other floors that might not be as busy and apply when something else comes along.
  11. by   fultzymom
    Things are not like that everywhere. Places are short staffed and you can always have a bad day and feel overwhelmed but you need to have enough supplies for the unit. One acucheck machine for the whole floor? No IV poles? How can you run a med/surg floor like this? And that seems like a lot of patients to have on a telelmetry unit. Also, you are only three month into your job as a new grad. It takes a while to get into the groove but it seems like to have a lot of challenges ahead of you working in this kind of environment.
  12. by   ponytailman
    Hang in there, you chose nursing for a reason, I would attempt to communicate with other new nurses at your hospital(or different ones) and see what there experience's are. As other post's have stated, organization is 75% of the battle, having solid and dependable co-worker's to guide, teach and learn the ropes is just as important