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My career is costing me my mental health and I am afraid

Stress 101   (2,566 Views | 17 Replies)
by CatRescuer223 CatRescuer223 (New) New Nurse

CatRescuer223 has 1 years experience and specializes in Cardiac, Med-Surg.

232 Profile Views; 7 Posts

Hi. 

Newly licensed BSN Grad here. Got my license 10/2018, in Florida. Didn’t secure a job until early 2019.

I graduated at the top of my class, Cum Laude- the only one to graduate with honors(!) as a member of 5 honors societies and special recognition for 500+ volunteer hours in an animal shelter while I studied as an undergrad. 

 

I have a long-standing history of generalized anxiety, major depression, suicide attempts x3, PTSD, and cerebral palsy related to preterm birth and subsequent brain hemorrhage. I am currently in counseling and have been on and off for almost half my life, cumulatively. 

I work in a busy med-surg unit whose main focus is Cardiac observation (pre/post ablation, pace maker, etc), but we are still a med surg unit, so we get all kinds of random cases too. I work the night shift- and let me also state that I have great charge nurses and helpful staff and my anxiety is NOT related to being a new nurse or fear of mistakes. I know I can go to my team, and when i am unsure, I ask, no matter how minor it may seem. 

My anxiety stems from 2 things. The first being, I feel like I have no control. No matter how much we do right, management is up our butts— the white board wasn’t filled out fast enough, you didn’t take your break/took it too late into the shift- but they send home nurses between 11pm—1 am and redistribute the assignment, throwing 7 patients at us, and then wonder why we can’t take our breaks. Maybe because I had to do 2 admissions and also do the admission that day shift didn’t finish! Most days, I dread going to work. I did not  understand our call out sick policy and I ended up working with a 101.1 degree fever, three days in a row, sick for 2.5 weeks. I ended up reporting to a shift, so short of breath that I got sent to the ER... but I felt like I couldn’t call out because I misunderstood our policy (I thought we had to make up any/all call outs, but it’s only for weekends, but you only have 4 call outs available per year without getting points, whatever that means...). I am also in a 2 year new graduate contract that demands money if we quit or get fired- so finding another job feels like an unattainable option... I feel like this job doesn’t allow me to take care of myself or have control in my life. I feel like I’m drowning- I am scared.

The second reason being, i feel my depression creeping in- almost as bad as it was when I was at my worst and attempted suicide following an abusive relationship and surviving 200+ counts of rape and violence.  This job feels just as mentally, physically and emotionally draining as that period of my life. I don’t even feel like a person when I go to work. I feel like a body, who is merely there to perform tasks, and more tasks, and more tasks. I often get heavy assignments. Total care patients and patients who are combative- being disabled (CP, as mentioned above) makes both of these situations hard because my risk for injury is higher. I’m easily knocked off balance by a 280 pound actively drunk guy, but he was assigned to me... so I took care of him as best I could without getting kicked/knocked down. I’m anxious before every shift. There are days I dread getting out of bed, or even being alive. It’s horrible because I have a lot in my life to be thankful for and I’m loved by my family, boyfriend, and friends... but this job. Jesus. It’s sucking the life out of me. And it’s a battle I don’t want to lose.  Does anyone out there have advice? I’m trying to get into grad school so I can stay optimistic while I ride out the remaining 20 months of this contract- but sometimes the idea of  staying at this job feels like I’ll be pre-signing my death certificate. I don’t know how much more I can take this. I really. Really. Need any wisdom, please ❤️

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Aganurse15 has 5 years experience and specializes in Don.

2 Posts; 74 Profile Views

I would see if they have some sort of employee assistance program if staying to finish out your contract is what you want to do. If it were me, I would rather pay the money to be out of the contract rather than give up my health. If something was to happen to you, they would find someone to replace you. As harsh as that may sound, it’s the truth. The uncontrolled anxiety is ultimately putting your patients as risk. There are so many more fields than Med surg nursing that are less stressful. Maybe agency nursing or even long term care? Hope this helps! 🙏🏻

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Herecomesthesun has 5 years experience and specializes in Ortho-vascular nurse.

16 Posts; 119 Profile Views

Contact HR, see if they provide counseling, and go to your Dr and ask about your options to take medical leave. Go to counseling while on leave and really think about whether this job is worth it. Also look into Home Health or hospice nursing, or maybe medical rehab (not sure if this is a Nationwide job). Call up companies and ask if you can shadow. If you do go on paid leave you do not have to disclose this to a future employer. Also, it sounds like you may be able to ask a charge nurse or someone else from your team to act as a reference.

 

Good luck sweetheart. Take care of yourself.

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1 Follower; 962 Posts; 6,780 Profile Views

Nursing requires more than it sounds like you can give. I can't think of one position in nursing that will not exacerbate your symptoms. Put your health first and heal yourself before you worry about taking care of others. Good luck and best wishes.

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Duxfeminafacti has 7 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Addiction, Psych, Critical Care, Dual dx, Hospice.

12 Posts; 516 Profile Views

Hello,

I disagree with some other posts. Nursing is challenging like every job but it most certainly isn’t like this at every job you go to. In my opinion nurses tend to exaggerate, complain and tell others to get over it when a working situation is horrible and that they better get used to it. I work in several different nursing positions including intensive care and my experience is NOTHING like yours. You have to find a job that is not so abusive. There is probably a new grad program for this reason, they can’t keep nurses so have to use and abuse new grads. You have mental and physical health issues and those are the top priority. My advice would be to seek out medical FMLA and legal advice to end the contract. There is no way you’ll pay if you have this all documented. You are a protected worker under the disability act so I would call them first thing and ask how to end this contract now. 

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Nurse SMS has 9 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

4 Followers; 6,200 Posts; 48,702 Profile Views

You cannot fix someone else when you are yourself still broken. Get some help. Nursing will always be here.

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TriciaJ has 39 years experience as a RN and specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory.

13 Followers; 3,682 Posts; 38,010 Profile Views

On 9/3/2019 at 10:47 PM, Duxfeminafacti said:

There is probably a new grad program for this reason, they can’t keep nurses so have to use and abuse new grads. You have mental and physical health issues and those are the top priority. My advice would be to seek out medical FMLA and legal advice to end the contract. There is no way you’ll pay if you have this all documented. You are a protected worker under the disability act so I would call them first thing and ask how to end this contract now. 

I agree with this.  You have way too many issues with your own health and well-being to be dealing with the new-grad abuse that you signed up for.  Trying to stick this out another 20 months does not seem wise or realistic.  I would be seeking medical and legal advice to get out of that contract.

Down the road, when you've got yourself on a more even keel, you can figure out your next step.  Good luck.

(On a side note:  there are so many posts of this nature from new grads.  It makes me sick.  No career is worth the health and well-being of those entering it.  Shame on the administrators and managers who treat people in such a cavalier fashion.  Rant over.)

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JMune has 21 years experience and specializes in Rehabilitation med complex.

3 Posts; 104 Profile Views

Reading this literally made me want to cry. I’ve worked in many jobs in different states while supporting my husband’s career and I worked at one place like this. I felt physically sick going in to work and it took a severe toll on my physical health. I agree with the above advice to take FMLA and consult a lawyer to end the contract. No matter what, you need to leave. No job is worth your well-being, and even if it’s a set back you will be able to overcome it. I work in Florida as well, and loved my job in rehab until new management came in. There are so many other places that will be a better fit, but don’t do long term care. Pt to nurse ratio is ridiculous.

I’m also well aware of what it’s like living with PTSD as my daughter has it. Good for you for graduating, but you deserve better, and it’s out there.

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CatRescuer223 has 1 years experience and specializes in Cardiac, Med-Surg.

7 Posts; 232 Profile Views

One month later- I’m still at the job. My family doesn’t seem to “get” how much I hate it... they keep telling me to stick it out and get at least a year & try to transfer. My last shift (Monday) I was verbally abused by a patient. He made me cry, but not until I left the room, of course. I found myself wondering- if that patient knew that this job makes me want to kill myself, would he have been so harsh? (He yelled, and cursed at me and called me worthless and untrustworthy for bringing his medication late— I had 7 patients including him, and it was not an urgent medication, which I explained to him. Of course he didn’t give a d*mn). I plan to approach my boss (or maybe even above her) and ask to transfer to another unit besides mine, but my night  team is good AND my hospital has limited options outside of abusive Med-Surg (just psych, ER, and L&D)... none it which are usually open to new grads there. I don’t want to violate my contract and owe multiple thousands of dollars I don’t have. I just... I don’t know what to do. I wish it was easier. 

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Nurse.Kelsey has 1 years experience as a RN and specializes in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology RN.

140 Posts; 1,233 Profile Views

@CatRescuer223 Please reach out to your resources if you havent already...

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CatRescuer223 has 1 years experience and specializes in Cardiac, Med-Surg.

7 Posts; 232 Profile Views

Just now, Nurse.Kelsey said:

@CatRescuer223 Please reach out to your resources if you havent already...

My boss is about as warm as a cactus. I’m not entirely sure how I would get to my resources. I also work nights- and I wasn’t really oriented so I’m never sure how to go for what I need...

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Nurse.Kelsey has 1 years experience as a RN and specializes in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology RN.

140 Posts; 1,233 Profile Views

@CatRescuer223 Start with HR

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