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New grad nurse, can’t stop thinking about work

Nurses   (231 Views | 3 Replies)

Corpsman2OncRN has 1 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Oncology.

1,433 Profile Views; 59 Posts

Nursing is a second career for me, but I am a new grad nurse about three months into my first job and as the title implies, I absolutely CANNOT stop thinking about work!

The problem is that I don’t even realize I’m doing it. I dream about work every single night, and when I’m off it’s all that’s on my mind. I wake up in the morning with the names of chemo drugs floating around in my brain. I zone out in the middle of conversations with family/friends and start thinking about my patients. No matter what I’m doing or when or where I can’t seem to escape these work thoughts constantly running in the background, like having a song stuck in your head.

I’m certain that I’m not alone here, but I am desperate for any advice anyone may have to help me at LEAST keep my waking mind on the moment and not back at the hospital (the dreams are a whole other beast to tackle). I love my job, I love my coworkers and manager, I love the hospital, and I love taking care of patients...I just don’t like that all of those things follow me home every night and stay with me until I walk back onto the floor to start the next shift.

Please help keep me from losing my mind!

ETA: I mentioned nursing being a second career because I've never had this problem with another job (of course, I've never had a job quite like this before either!).

Edited by andreahm

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

13 Followers; 3,677 Posts; 37,959 Profile Views

First of all it's normal when you start a high stress job (or any job that particularly stresses you).  This should abate with a bit more time.

Come up with a game plan to catch yourself at it and redirect your brain, at least during your waking hours.  Your brain has just gotten itself stuck in a loop.

Before you go to sleep at night, tell yourself "Tonight I'm going to dream about (sandy beaches, brew pubs, cute puppies, cute guys, etc etc)".  Not sure if it'll work but hope this helps.

If you start having dreams that it's near the end of your shift and there's one patient you haven't even looked in on yet - don't know what to do about those.  In my experience those dreams go away gradually after you retire.

Good luck.

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NightNerd has 5 years experience as a BSN, RN.

1 Follower; 864 Posts; 16,283 Profile Views

Lol, five years later and I still have work dreams sometimes. If you're like me and a little anxious, this might be something that happens time and again, BUT,  it will get less frequent. You're new, you're learning all this stuff, and it's starting to stick! That's great!

Just be a little patient with yourself when you notice you're zoning out. If your mental dialogue is more, "I'm doing it again jfdggdy CV jvgs," that's not as helpful as, say, "Whoops, that's fine, now let's get back to this conversation/this delicious meal/doing my taxes/what have you." I think what you're experiencing isn't uncommon, and it'll probably get better with time as parts of this work start to automate for you a bit. Hang in there!

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MunoRN has 10 years experience as a RN and specializes in Critical Care.

1 Follower; 6,588 Posts; 68,066 Profile Views

When I first started nursing I would work a 12 hour night shift, then come and keep nursing during my sleep.  I'd wake up feeling like I had cared for the patient all day through impressively detailed dreams.  I'd go back for my next shift and get report on the patients I had dreamed I was caring for during the day, this sometimes made things confusing trying differentiate what events had actually occurred during the day vs what I had dreamt.  I remember having to clarify with the nurse I was getting report from, for instance, whether or not a patient had been in A-fib during the day because I was pretty sure they did, only to realize that was in my dream.

It does eventually go away.

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