New Grad through COVID

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I started as a new grad nurse on an orthopedic floor this September, a floor that I have worked on as a CNA for about a year. I got three weeks of orientation and I felt comfortable in my position, especially since the majority of our patients are medically stable elective joint replacement. The week I got off of orientation, we became a COVID floor with high acuity patients. It stayed this way until about two weeks ago when we began to transition back to orthopedics. I thought I was doing okay until two weeks ago when I just broke down at a family function thinking about an 18 year old I had admitted recently - the last patient that I admitted for COVID. We are now back to orthopedics, but I still can't stop crying when I am not at work. My family is very concerned, thinking I should leave and try to find work in the operating room, as I've been wanting to find a job there since graduation. I figured that I would work on the floor for a year or two before I did that, but I feel like COVID has broken me. When I'm not at work, I fear coming back to COVID and I see all of my patients faces and think about their families. I just don't know what to do anymore. I don't feel that I hate my job. I still love my coworkers and my patients but I feel myself slipping more and more each week into a depression, and it seems to me that maybe moving to the operating room which is so different and mostly days might help me get out of this funk but I don't know if it would be a good idea to leave bedside with only 4 months experience or if this funk is just normal new grad stuff. 

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education. Has 17 years experience. 5 Articles; 10,684 Posts

I think before you make any life altering decisions, you should first reach out to your employee assistance program. This is not an easy time to be a new grad (or a seasoned nurse, really!) and changing jobs may only add to the stress. Also, three weeks of orientation as a new grad is crazy, whether you worked there in another role or not. 

stumptowngurl, LPN

Specializes in Peds/Psych. Has 8 years experience. 23 Posts

@Rose_Queen, that is great advice! The HR dept. should be able to guide you to get assistance. Does your employer offer any counseling services? That could be really helpful. As nurses, we often forget to self-care while we are caring for others. Get in the habit of creating space in your life for self-care activities. 

JBMmom, MSN, NP

Specializes in Long term care; med-surg; critical care. Has 10 years experience. 4 Articles; 1,941 Posts

Give yourself some grace to process all that you've experienced. Being a new grad in COVID times has been an especially difficult thing for many. As others have mentioned, look into talking to someone through your hospital's employee wellness programs, they can be a good resource to help you work through all you've been experiencing.

I don't know much about transitioning to the OR but nurses in ALL acute care positions are facing challenges unlike anything we've seen before. You would have to explore with HR/the hiring manager whether you're eligible to transfer, I know in my organization new grads are required to stay in their position for one year before transfer within the hospital. 

Good luck!

SmilingBluEyes

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis. Has 25 years experience. 20,878 Posts

11 hours ago, Rose_Queen said:

I think before you make any life altering decisions, you should first reach out to your employee assistance program. This is not an easy time to be a new grad (or a seasoned nurse, really!) and changing jobs may only add to the stress. Also, three weeks of orientation as a new grad is crazy, whether you worked there in another role or not. 

I second this. Make no major decisions right now. There is help out there----don't be afraid to get it.

JKL33

6,090 Posts

On 12/27/2021 at 2:56 AM, HelloSunshine545 said:

It stayed this way until about two weeks ago when we began to transition back to orthopedics. I thought I was doing okay until two weeks ago when I just broke down at a family function thinking about an 18 year old I had admitted recently - the last patient that I admitted for COVID.

I wonder if what you are currently experiencing is partially timing? In lay terms--you rose up to meet an unexpected challenge and made it through "running on adrenaline," and now things are transitioning back and you have a moment to kind of more fully process what you've been through. Sort of how people in different kinds of scary situations may not feel like a wreck until after the crisis is over (?)

I agree with the advice already given--don't be afraid to talk to someone about what you have experienced and what you are now going through, and don't make any major decisions at the moment.

I'm sure this is startling and concerning for your family but these experiences don't mean that there isn't a healthy way through to the other side. I think things will be okay if you deal with your feelings.

Take good care of yourself! 💮

Bluepen

Specializes in Med Surg/Observation. Has 1 years experience. 6 Posts

My unit was a covid unit on my first day as a new nurse. I got 3 months of orientation with 1 preceptor for a month and another preceptor for 2 months. They both had 20+ years experience. My preceptors came with me to see my patients, teach me, or stood outside the door handing me PRN meds, water, or whatever I needed. They held my hand and saved any patient that was destating. On the 2nd month my training ended but since we went back to med Surg, I needed to get trained on med surg so I asked to keep my preceptor until she thought I was ready. If they said no ..then...I would have been so upset. All of my training had been on covid patients and policy. I am sorry that you did not get support as a new nurse. It was unfair what happened to you and it is not your fault.