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New Nurse Exhaustion

Specializes in Observation/ER.

Hey everyone, I’m posting because I’m in need of direction. I’ve been a nurse for almost 2.5 years now. In nursing school, I never enjoyed clinical and truth be told I dreaded it. I was only a good test taker. I graduated from Barry University in Miami from the accelerated program. And maintained staying on honor roll all throughout. 
I had difficulty finding a job in the hospital when I moved back to NJ so I started out in a acute care rehab that was basically stroke rehabilitation. Hateddded it! I was doing day shift and night shift trying to figure out what worked for me. I quit that job after less than a year and now I am working in an observation/ER unit on day shift. 
I rarely take breaks (which I know 99% of nurses relate too) my stress level is always 10/10, (and it doesn’t help I’ve had severe anxiety since I was in elementary school). I’m feeling like I’m going to pop. I dread going into work, knowingly everyday I walk in and don’t get to step out to breathe for 12+ hours. Some days are good but that’s a rarity. Is it normal to love/hate this job? Is nursing meant for people with anxiety as it is? I carry my days home with me and don’t sleep. I can’t sleep before a shift or even after. 
I don’t want to give up nursing but I do think I want to give up the bedside. Does anyone have any recommendations? Or should I stick it out and try more units? I love learning and I chose nursing because I knew it would make grow in unfathomable ways. But I’m scared I’ll feel drained forever and I don’t want to live my life that way. I know everyone here agrees that life is too short and valuable. 

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

My recommendation is to look deeply into yourself -- into your likes and dislikes, talents and weak points, etc.  and decide what type of work would be a good fit for you long-term.   Then make a plan to qualify for those types of jobs.  You seem to have drifted from one job to the next without having a sense of direction.   

When you couldn't find a job right after graduation ... what kind of job were you looking for?   What type of nursing really interested you?   You seem to have settled for whatever job you could get.   That's not a bad thing necessarily, but you can't let that determine your whole career direction.   That was just a temporary landing spot to get you some experience and a paycheck.  The same seems to be true of your current (2nd job) -- it's just a job to you, something you could get when you wanted out of your first job.   

What type of nursing would you really want to do if you could choose?   Identify that  ... then make a plan to get there.  Having a plan and working towards it may help you get out of your rut.

Dandy_Lion, BSN, RN

Specializes in Observation/ER.

@llg thank you for taking the time to reply to my post. Your probably the exact person I’d want to get advice from since you specialize in nursing development. Your advice isn’t being taken with a grain of salt. I can’t even answer any of your questions because I truly have no idea what interests me. Nothing really spoke to me in a sense where I said “I want to do this. This is where I want to be.” But one thing I can do is sort out my weaknesses and strengths. I think it’s time I make a list. Thank you again for your input, I’ve been refreshing this feed all day hoping for some answers! But you’re 100% correct when you said I settled for what I could get. I just wanted to start my career I put myself in so much debt to get LOL 

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

Making a list of strengths and weaknesses (I prefer to call them "learning needs," to think about them positively.) is a great way to start.    From there, let your mind wander to making a list about what you like and dislike about nursing so that you end up with 2 lists.   Then, look at those lists together and see where your thoughts wander -- imagining the type of job you would enjoy and that you would also be good at.

What made you choose nursing to begin with?   What images of nursing did you have that seemed appealing to you when you first decided to go to nursing school?    Let your mind wander there, too. 

Nurse Beth, MSN

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho.

On 7/6/2020 at 1:51 AM, Dandy_Lion said:

Hey everyone, I’m posting because I’m in need of direction. I’ve been a nurse for almost 2.5 years now. In nursing school, I never enjoyed clinical and truth be told I dreaded it. I was only a good test taker. I graduated from Barry University in Miami from the accelerated program. And maintained staying on honor roll all throughout. 

I rarely take breaks (which I know 99% of nurses relate too) my stress level is always 10/10, (and it doesn’t help I’ve had severe anxiety since I was in elementary school). I’m feeling like I’m going to pop. I dread going into work, knowingly everyday I walk in and don’t get to step out to breathe for 12+ hours. Some days are good but that’s a rarity. Is it normal to love/hate this job? Is nursing meant for people with anxiety as it is? I carry my days home with me and don’t sleep. I can’t sleep before a shift or even after. 
I don’t want to give up nursing but I do think I want to give up the bedside. Does anyone have any recommendations? Or should I stick it out and try more units? I love learning and I chose nursing because I knew it would make grow in unfathomable ways. But I’m scared I’ll feel drained forever and I don’t want to live my life that way. I know everyone here agrees that life is too short and valuable. 

A 10/10 stress level, severe anxiety, sense of dread and not sleeping are all signs of a treatable medical disorder. All of these things you're experiencing are normal in some degree and at some times for new nurses.

But not for 2.5 years and not all the time. The anxiety you are having will stay with you no matter what job you take to escape it. Anxiety prevents you from enjoying your job.

See your doctor for uncontrolled anxiety. Even if you've been treated before, it's time for a check-in. 

Once you get the right treatment for you, lig gave you some great suggestions for finding the right job. You are very smart. Don't give up nursing. If ever there was a career with unlimited options, it's nursing. 

You can work with patients and you can work in informatics. You can teach, do case management, infection prevention, palliative care....you name it. Like you said, life is too short. You're too valuable and you do not need to suffer.

Best wishes my friend

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