New grad RN, hate nursing?


I'm really having a lot of trouble with this.

I'm a new grad RN who has been on my own for about 2 months. I had a 6 week preceptorship. I'm working days on a very busy med-tele floor where we have 6-7 patients. Sometimes our CNA's have 16 rooms each, and when we have 6-7 patients and the CNA is swamped the whole time, it's SOO hard to get things done. On top of that, our hospital never closes it's doors. Our ER is so busy all the time that we have patients in the hallways waiting to be assigned rooms. Our hospital doesn't assign rooms based on acuity. When there's an open room, it's booked before it's done being cleaned, and it doesn't matter if you just had 3 discharges in a row, you're getting 3 admits in a row. Also, it doesn't matter if you already have 3 total care patients, a 4th one will be assigned. It's so hard for me to learn in this type of environment. I never even really know what's going on with my patients, and I have no time to think about what anything means. As a new grad, I want to learn, and I feel like I don't have time to learn because I have so many tasks to do. On our floor, patients are given dilaudid like it's candy. You can have 7 patients with 4 of them getting dilaudid q3h prn, and believe me, they call NONSTOP right at 3 hours. On top of that, a lot of them have breakthrough roxicodone in between the dilaudid. All I do is pass medications the entire day. I barely have time to chart, and I have NEVER had a chance to read doctors notes.

I've come to the realization that I absolutely HATE nursing. I don't enjoy any of this any more. During nursing school, I never felt this way. I had wonderful experiences and really connected with my patients. But now I just can't take this anymore. I don't want to be a nurse at all. My patients annoy me so much. Although I never let it show, I just wish they would LEAVE ME ALONE with their requests every 10 minutes. And on top of the patients everyone expects so much from the nurse, we are the maids, social workers, therapists, middle men for communication between doctors, janitors, professional narcotic dealers. I just can't take this anymore. I dread going into work every single day. I used to be so cheerful and smiley and now I just feel like a zombie. I cry at the thought of having to work and I count down my days until my days off. I'm only 22 and just started my career, I don't want to feel this way. I can't imagine being a nurse longer than 6 months to a year. I spend hours after work charting, and there are many experienced nurses who stay late to chart as well. What should I do? Unfortunately, I signed a 2 year contract d/t no new grad jobs being available.

I want to go back to school and never look back at nursing again. Except, I can't. I wish it would get better.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

226 Articles; 27,608 Posts

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 17 years experience.
I've come to the realization that I absolutely HATE nursing.
Hang in there. I think two months of experience is a tad bit too soon to throw in the towel and declare that you hate nursing.

However, perhaps you hate acute care hospital nursing. Med/tele is not for everyone. Personally, I'd be the happiest nurse if I could avoid working bedside at a hospital for the rest of my career, but some people would shout me down and insist that 'real nursing' occurs at hospitals. To these folks, I call shenanigans.

Perhaps it is the specialty you hate. Maybe you'd be happier in an area of the hospital that has more or less acuity. Perhaps you'd be happier outside the hospital doing corrections, clinic nursing, hospice, home care, public health, or psych. Keep in mind that it takes the typical new grad up to one year to find a comfort level with the job at hand.

Good luck to you.

TriciaJ, RN

4,295 Posts

Specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory. Has 42 years experience.

First of all, change your user name. I'm sure it doesn't fit you and you're just jinxing yourself. Two months is just enough time to think "Oh, crap! What have I done?" and not nearly enough time to start hitting your stride as a nurse.

You probably just have new-grad disconnect. Nursing schools seem to have become very touchy-feely and hospital nursing has grown very brutal. So it's like being born. You're in a nice, warm cocoon and then suddenly the world is bright, cold, noisy and overwhelming. Make sure your expectations of yourself aren't unrealistic. Find yourself at least one mentor.

Go ahead and cry after work. Get a massage if you can spring for one after making your student loan payment. Find other ways to self-nurture. This, too, shall pass. Hopefully, every day will suck a bit less. If it doesn't, there are other nursing jobs, even for new grads.

You're probably doing better than you think. I'm rooting for you.


2 Articles; 776 Posts

Yeah, you sound a lot like me after about two months. And other new grads, like the one who came up to me, desperate, and said "Is this what nursing is? Just passing out pain meds? This isn't what I wanted." I remember going home (hours late) and falling into bed and hearing the beep, beep of IV alarms in my head... I couldn't get away from them.

I don't want to discount your feelings which are very real and maybe they DO mean you don't like bedside nursing, but I know that whether you do or you don't, it WILL get better. And the fact that you enjoyed bedside work in nursing school tells me that you probably will find it fulfilling again once you get past these initial rocks.

Some people are just slow at charting, especially nurses who have to do computer charting and aren't used to computers. Does EVERY experienced nurse stay late to chart, or just some of them?

This is one of the reasons many hospitals are reluctant to hire new grads--it takes a while for them to be really functional (much longer than those new grads who are waiting for jobs think), and there's always a fear that they're going to leave during the initial struggles.

Hang in there, try to improve one thing every week. Ask for feedback if you want it, ask for encouragement from a trusted friendly source if that's what you really want, which is fine. Keep a list of good moments to refer back to on the worst days--compliments from patients and doctors, for instance.

If it really doesn't feel right, you might also look into transferring to a different department in the hospital. I started as a new grad with five other new nurses and one just felt a personality conflict with our manager. She was able to move to a different floor. For the life of me I couldn't figure out what the difference was between our floor and her new floor, but she was much happier. If you make a lateral transfer like that, it won't affect your two-year contract.

It took me three months after orientation to feel like I was an actual working, helpful nurse and part of the team (as opposed to just flailing all day), and probably a full year before I felt confident and comfortable.


14,633 Posts

It's a shame that so many nursing programs now do such a poor job of preparing students for what nursing practice is actually like. I agree with others that two months in is hardly enough time to give yourself a fair trial. Everyone hates nursing two months into their first job out of school. Stay calm, don't panic, work on your organization and time management skills, and look for the positive moments during your days. Whether or not you ultimately decide nursing is not for you, or acute inpatient nursing is not for you, things will get better than they are right now. Best wishes for your journey!

allnurses Guide

llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 46 years experience.

I agree with the above posters: It's too much of a leap to conclude that you "hate nursing" just because you are unhappy with your current job situation. That's especially true when you consider that:

1. There is a ton of evidence that most new grads experience some emotional distress as they transition from being a student to being a practicing nurse. I encourage you to explore that topic by reading up on it or talking to some experienced nurses.

2. There are lots and lots of different types of nursing roles and nursing job environments. Just because you don't like this one environment, doesn't mean you will hate them all. Work on figuring out what type of nursing is right for you. Then make a plan to get yourself a job in that type of nursing working for a good employer. Don't just throw away everything you have done in nursing because you don't like one particular job. That's like saying you are never going to eat again because you took 1 bite of something that tasted bad.


28 Posts

Specializes in Emergency.

You're only 22, so if you find that nursing isn't for you, then you can absolutely change careers to something less stressful. I was a graphic designer for 10 years before becoming a RN at age 30. You can do whatever you want in life as long as you have the desire to do it.

Take the advice as others have said and give it a year or two. If you still feel the same way after that then go in a different direction


1,170 Posts

I agree with what other posters have said. I've seen enough new grad RNs and also new grads in other fields have a rough time when the reality hits them that they are now fully into their careers. I've known a few that shortly after working decide they want to go to grad school. My friend's daughter did this in the engineering field. She held out and its been 4 years and she is happy in her career and has not gone to grad school.

There may be some things about your current job that should be changed but probably won't. Not assigning patients based on acuity is one of them. What is the point of an acuity system. Also making one nurse take three admits in a row. That is rough even for an experienced nurse. There are better bedside/non bedside options out there for you when you can make a change.

Also are you being paid for your overtime spent charting? It's rough working overtime, rougher if you are clocking out and not being paid , and illegal.


288 Posts

Specializes in Emergency/Trauma/LDRP/Ortho ASC. Has 3 years experience.

Hang in there for a few more months and then maybe try a specialty that interests you? You worked really hard in school to give it all up after just two months. If you try something different and still hate nursing...I'd say you're good to go back and pursue something else. Good luck.

Has 33 years experience.

Sounds like you are a pretty quick learner. You describe the catastrophe of new nursing well. I learned I was the candyman.. a lot later than you did.

Stop crying, start planning. You have only been this doing for two months. WAAAY to soon to throw in the towel.

Use your hard earned nursing degree to YOUR advantage.

( please see my response to your so-called med error thread).

ThePrincessBride, MSN, RN, NP

1 Article; 2,592 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, NICU. Has 8 years experience.

It is too early for you to say that you hate nursing. Nursing is such a big field, and you are only experiencing a sliver of it (and one of the toughest ones, for sure).

Give yourself sometime to at least experience your position and recoup your investment. If, after six or so months, you still don't like your job, look into another specialty or setting altogether.

Specializes in Medsurg/ICU, Mental Health, Home Health. Has 17 years experience.

I will say this...six weeks is not long enough for a new grad orientation...also, you have too many patients for days on a med surg/tele unit.

That being said, you've signed a contract.

We're going to help you get through this.

I was much like you; in fact, I had a similar vent on this very message board about eight years ago. Unfortunately, this is all kinda normal. Your struggles are maximized because you have too many patients and too little training but they're no different than any new grad's.

You will get through this.

Does your hospital have a mentorship program? Or, do you have a good relationship with any of your preceptors?

Another thought - how do you feel about nights? You will probably have more patients but you will also be more autonomous and (usually) have time to read through charts. You'll still get slammed with admissions but won't really have discharges, and won't have to worry about meals, routine tests, most visitors and consultant and therapy rounds.

Really, see if you can perhaps switch to nights.