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New Grad with Mixed Feelings

Stress 101   (440 Views 11 Comments)
by nurse_bri nurse_bri, BSN, RN (New Member) New Member

-2 Likes; 275 Visitors; 8 Posts

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Hi all, 

I’m a new graduate RN currently working on a Neurosurgery/Orthopedic Trauma unit that is considered med-surg and stepdown at a level 1 Trauma center. I started the beginning of December and I’m just so confused on how I feel about nursing. I work 12 hour night shifts and just got off orientation about 2 weeks ago. I know I’ve only been there for 3 months but I already feel burnt out. Between drug seekers, unappreciated patients, and coworkers talking smack consistently and losing a social life and feeling “disconnected” from being on nights has really taken a toll on me. Once in awhile you’ll get that one patient that makes your shift fulfilling and worth it but it’s getting almost rare to find I’m lucky if my patients even remember my name and I would go above and beyond for them. I’ve talked with other coworkers and some have agreed that nursing is a sh***y job and not as satisfying but there’s always a demand for it. I’ve noticed a change in myself and so has my family and fiancé. I love nursing but at the same time I’m almost second guessing it. Ultimately I want to go for my masters in FNP and specialize in palliative/holistic care and work outpatient (I feel like a M-F 9-5 would be a better fit for me) and I love the whole aspect behind the family nursing specialty. After 6 months I will have my ACLS and TNCC since I’m in Trauma and I’m gonna get my PALS on my own. But just thinking about having to stay for a year in order to not break my contract stresses me. I’m loyal so I feel obligated to stay for the year but at the same time it’s hard. I feel having 6 patients on a level 1 Trauma unit is too many, we get so many admissions and on top of being Trauma/neurosurgery/orthopedics they want us to start taking in general surgery and oncology patients receiving iodine radiation therapy since our floor is the only one in the hospital with the NM specialized room for them. It’s a whole other level of care and we barely got trained for those patients. It just seems like it’s too much and overhearing conversations from other nurses talking negatively about other coworkers/management and that they want to leave and the changes on our unit makes me realize early in my career that I can’t make this a long term job at least on this unit. I can transfer after 6 months of experience to another unit, so I’m wondering if I should shoot for an outpatient position if there’s openings and then stay reserve on my unit? Just to keep the experience going and since I’m going for my FNP outpatient experience would help correct? I’m just so lost and mixed with emotions idek what to type right now or how to feel... thanks so much to everyone who reads/responds. 

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-2 Likes; 275 Visitors; 8 Posts

ALSO: I work in PA and those familiar with nursing programs here there is diploma, associates, and bachelors. I have a BSN from a very prestigious university and my pay is the same as anyone starting with an associates and diploma program... it just feels degrading on top of everything else I stated above. Yes experienced nurses deserve more but those starting out is just frustrating... (no offense to those who have those degrees whatsoever...) 

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barcode120x has 3 years experience as a BSN, RN.

6 Likes; 9,698 Visitors; 489 Posts

Definitely part of what some of us call the "new grad blues." It's a combination of you trying to get used to an unfamiliar environment as well as starting the working life as an RN. It all really boils down for you and how you can handle the environment. I'm a pretty chill dude and I keep to myself so when I hear gossip about among coworkers. I go in and do my thing. Then again, my team and management are pretty cool overall. But definitely don't stay in an environment that constantly puts you down or has a lot of negatively. Unfortunately, it's tough for new grads like yourself because you may have no choice but stay for at least 6 to 12 months or more because of these so called contracts. You probably have no choice but to make the best of it and hang through the next months but I would definitely consider transferring out after 6 months if it's rough. But remember, just because you transfer out doesn't mean your new unit is gonna be easy and fun, it could be exactly the same. Maybe look into outpatient RN jobs but those are kind of rare for new grad RN's. These feelings will dissipate over time and as you become a more experienced RN.

I'm sure you know by now, but higher degree doesn't equate to higher pay, at least for nursing it doesn't if you are comparing the same job position. Your BSN does allow to you get into job positions that are not available to associates degree RN's thus possibly allowing you to get paid more. If I'm being honest here, it kind of makes me cringe to hear you say that it's "degrading" that you have the same pay as an associate's degree RN. I just hope you didn't go into nursing because you wanted to get a high paying job...

Edited by barcode120x

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1,646 Likes; 4 Followers; 16,966 Visitors; 2,517 Posts

12 hours ago, nurse_bri said:

I have a BSN from a very prestigious university and my pay is the same as anyone starting with an associates and diploma program... it just feels degrading on top of everything else I stated above.

You lost me and a good number of people here who would have been supportive with this statement. You should have stopped at your first post.🙄

 

And food for thought, saying "no offence" does nothing to make your statement less offensive. 

Edited by Wuzzie

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Emergent has 25 years experience and works as a Emergency Room RN.

1,187 Likes; 6 Followers; 62,466 Visitors; 2,567 Posts

Your BSN didn't teach you the value of using paragraphs to help the reader digest what you've written? No offense intended of course. 

As far as expecting my patients to learn my name, I'd actually prefer they not. I personally have trouble learning names, why should a patient go to the trouble of learning his/her nurse's name?

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1,064 Likes; 7 Followers; 21,205 Visitors; 2,676 Posts

It sounds like you are in a very common phase of adjustment to real life nursing.

I am not in the habit of recommending that people stay in places where 1) they objectively cannot provide safe/legal/ethical care* or 2) their good employment record (professional reputation) is at high risk of being compromised due to the workplace culture.*

I am in favor of 1) getting a good foundation in nursing 2) cultivating a good nursing employment history as much as possible 3) learning to persevere.

In situations where these* are not true problems, I recommend focusing on the other three things. Six months more probably isn't too much to suggest that someone consider focusing on making the best of their first/foundational nursing position. You haven't had a chance to get into any kind of groove yet.

It sounds like right away you need to focus on rising above and moving away from negativity and instead choose to focus on patients. It is pretty common (IME/IMO) to subconsciously see patients as nothing more than additional stressors when we are already stressed. After all, their every request, every complication, every need is one more thing that we have to deal with. But if you can start to look at it as being there to help and care for them therapeutically, as their advocate, it is possible to consider their needs and their difficulties in a different light. That is what we're there for. Sometimes (often, I would say) nurse-patient relationships can improve just based on the mindset with which we approach people. If we see them as problems to be tolerated (or get fed up with) rather than people, this whole job is incredibly difficult and we might as well quit. But if we approach with the mindset of someone who can listen, can help, can improve something, it becomes easier. And it is *for sure* easier than focusing on the politics and the toxic negativity Big Healthcare engenders.

As you can now see, the prestige of your undergrad degree is neither here nor there. I don't know if anywhere in healthcare is going to be a place free of relatively unreasonable demands and occasional patients and coworkers who just aren't nice people. In order to not waste your degree (and any future degrees), you're going to need to know how to navigate these issues. You can do better than just navigate for survival - you can choose a new thought process where you use your energies on patients' behalves and let the rest be whatever it will be (things you don't control).

I say you commit to learning all you can in your first nursing position!

Take care ~

Edited by JKL33

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0.9%NormalSarah is a ADN, RN and works as a MICU RN.

134 Likes; 226 Visitors; 59 Posts

Aww man the comment about pay and your BSN is just not nice. In my area our ADN programs actually have more clinical hours, so new grads pretty much look the same. The BSN is more theory and leadership which is important, but certainly shouldn’t have bearing on new grad rates because those subjects don’t apply as much when you’re first starting out (or so I’m told). You take the same exam and get the same license and do the same work. I certainly see the value and commitment of the BSN, but you’re a novice nurse just like me with an ADN.

Good luck settling in more, I hope you can stick around there longer. It sounds like amazing experience to get even though it doesn’t feel awesome right now.

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As others have stated, it is the adjustment period. You will probably feel this way until you hit the 1-year mark and the actions you do in the unit will start becoming routine. Hang in there and don't give up. 

On a side note, the major difference with an associate's and bachelor's degree in nursing is the type of jobs you can apply for. Pay wise, it is pretty much the same. Experience is the deciding factor when it comes to $$$.

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44 Likes; 57 Visitors; 13 Posts

I just wanted to mention that there are such a variety of jobs that you can get (after you finish out your hospital contract) that are totally different, and that you can do without being in advanced practice. I am a new BSN grad and I work in Community Health. It’s not for everyone (obviously if you love acute patients on vents, it’s not going to be satisfying for you) but because of your comments about FNP work and a 9-5 schedule, it sounds like it could be a good fit. As a CH nurse I see patients for nice long visits, on my own, when they need monitoring or education. It is really fulfilling work (again, for ME), and the patients tend to be appreciative. We certainly do have drug seekers etc but it’s just very different from a med/surge environment. 

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Ruby Vee has 40 years experience as a BSN.

896 Likes; 11 Followers; 64 Articles; 168,789 Visitors; 13,721 Posts

On 3/11/2019 at 5:31 PM, nurse_bri said:

ALSO: I work in PA and those familiar with nursing programs here there is diploma, associates, and bachelors. I have a BSN from a very prestigious university and my pay is the same as anyone starting with an associates and diploma program... it just feels degrading on top of everything else I stated above. Yes experienced nurses deserve more but those starting out is just frustrating... (no offense to those who have those degrees whatsoever...) 

I think you should have stopped after your first post.  You have a BSN, you passed the NCLEX.  So you have the same license and the same job description as every other nurse who passed the NCLEX -- diploma, associates and bachelors -- even master's.  I have no sympathy for someone who thinks that their degree from "a prestigious university" entitles them to more pay that someone else with the same license and same job description.

By the way, how come your prestigious university didn't teach you about clear written communication?  Or about nursing being a 24/7/365 sort of job?  I'm amazed that you graduated without knowing that nights were a distinct possibility or accepted a job where nights were a requirement.  

The fact that you seem not to like anyone -- neither your patients nor your colleagues -- says more about YOU than it does about them.  

You're a new nurse, you haven't been there long enough to be comfortable or competent in your job.  Give it some time.  Most new grads are miserable their first year or two on the job, and the only way to get through it is to go through it.  

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Ruby Vee has 40 years experience as a BSN.

896 Likes; 11 Followers; 64 Articles; 168,789 Visitors; 13,721 Posts

On 3/12/2019 at 5:33 AM, Wuzzie said:

You lost me and a good number of people here who would have been supportive with this statement. You should have stopped at your first post.🙄

 

And food for thought, saying "no offence" does nothing to make your statement less offensive. 

Saying "no offense" makes your statement more offensive because it highlights the fact that you KNOW it's offensive but decided to make it anyway. 

(Not addressing this to Wuzzie, with whom I agree, but to the OP.)

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