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New Nurse, feeling depressed

First Year   (1,606 Views 15 Comments)
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I have been working as a nurse since July of this year. I work on an oncology floor on the night shift. Lately, I have been falling into depression. I sleep all the time, I never want to do anything, and I haven't been putting any effort into anything. I cry on the way to work and I dread going into work even on my days off. I do admit that my heart is set on working in pediatrics and I just took this job because it was the only job that would hire me as a new grad at the time. I am just wondering if what I am feeling is normal for a new grad working nightshift. I have been there for 5 months now. I never know what I am doing and I feel like I am a burden for asking questions all the time. Does anyone have any advice for me?

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My first year was on a med-surg floor as well. It was horrible for me. I then switched to critical care and pretty much started all over and it was horribly hard as well. I enjoyed other aspects about the switch, but the learning curve in the first year is overwhelming. I felt stupid, overwhelmed, overworked, and alone. After a year, I started getting to know what I was doing and I started to have a friendly relationships with my co-workers. So yes, you are in the middle of the hardest part of starting nursing (the first year). However, I do think you are depressed and need to see a professional. Maybe you need antidepressants or antianxiety medicines. Maybe night shift has been too hard on your system. Maybe you need to exercise regularly or eat healthy. Definitely you need to see a councelor and you definitely need help. Yes, the first year is beyond hard and you are not alone in that but it is time to get help.

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New nurse anxiety is normal. Not having your specialty of choice isn't going to cause these symptoms. Being on night shift can, but doesn't for everyone. Seek a physician's care. You don't have to feel this way.

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Well first, I'm going to echo the others to look for help. it's possible that you have underlying clinical depression, or could just be situational- either way, they can help you really weed out what's going on.

Second- look at it this way. If you went into pediatrics, Day shift right off the bat , you'd be feeling this exact same way or worse because you'd be dealing with new grad shock and feeling alone at your dream job. Almost everyone has these feelings the first year. You're getting all this out of the way on oncology. Get your stuff down pat on this unit until you feel good about it, THEN you'll probably be ready to move onto pediatric (day shift maybe ) on a clean slate and hopefully by then all this sadness and hard times will be behind you.

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Please also do not underestimate the toll it takes being an oncology nurse. I will echo what others have said - you need an assessment from someone who can rule out depression versus metabolic issues (thyroid?). You need seven more months to get to a place where you will know what you're doing - and then you'll be hireable other places.

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I work with chronically ill patients with a poor prognosis all the time. You would do well to find hobbies, activities, etc. that you enjoy to relax. And perhaps a couple sessions with a therapist. Also no overtime etc if you can help it.

A healthy life outside work is the key for not falling into depression working with very chronically ill, needy patients and families. Believe me, I learned the hard way.

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The first year of nursing sucks. Big time. I don't think I've ever known a nurse who found that first year easy. I certainly didn't...I used to have anxiety attacks every night before I went to work, and worried about work even when I was off. Gradually it got better and I started feeling confident in my abilities, and then I switched to acute care from LTC and went through the whole thing all over again!

Bottom line, it will take time to learn the job and you're better off staying in one position for a while and thoroughly absorbing all you learn. In the meantime, like other posters have said, please get some help for what sounds to me like depression and anxiety. Hang in there, you can do this!

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I can only echo what everyone else has said. The first year of being a nurse is

ridiculously hard. It almost shouldn't be as hard as it is... but it just is what

it is.

You definitely would not, should not be ashamed at all to seek some

counseling, maybe some medication if needed.

It will get better. Good luck.

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The first year of nursing sucks. Big time. I don't think I've ever known a nurse who found that first year easy. I certainly didn't...I used to have anxiety attacks every night before I went to work, and worried about work even when I was off. Gradually it got better and I started feeling confident in my abilities,

This is so true. I started my job the month after you. I dreaded going to work, but liked it once I got there. I was miserable. Confidence came and went. I read all about the first year on here.

So I made it past my probationary period. Listened to my preceptor train an experienced nurse whose experience was in a different specialty. That nurse made mistakes just like I did. It was an eye opener for me.

Ironically you're in my dream specialty. I found something else.

I can only reiterate what others have said about seeing someone. Maybe research other areas that may be of interest to you. So many areas. Just look through specialties on this site.

Chin up and nurse on.

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I have been working as a nurse since July of this year. I work on an oncology floor on the night shift. Lately, I have been falling into depression. I sleep all the time, I never want to do anything, and I haven't been putting any effort into anything. I cry on the way to work and I dread going into work even on my days off. I do admit that my heart is set on working in pediatrics and I just took this job because it was the only job that would hire me as a new grad at the time. I am just wondering if what I am feeling is normal for a new grad working nightshift. I have been there for 5 months now. I never know what I am doing and I feel like I am a burden for asking questions all the time. Does anyone have any advice for me?

I think what you're feeling is pretty typical of being a new grad. The transition from student to nurse is a big one, and often it's the first real job you've had. There are professional obligations that you didn't have at your food service job while you were in school: continuing education, staff meetings, work parties, etc. (I'm using the generic "you" because I don't know you or your exact situation. Or maybe I'm just generalizing because that's what *I* experienced, and many of my classmates.)

I got my first choice job, and was surprised at how difficult it was to make the transition into "the nurse." I cried all the way to work, all the way home and sometimes in the bathroom AT work. I slept all the time when I should have been cleaning my apartment, shopping, cooking, running errands, etc. And when I was supposed to be sleeping, I couldn't.

What you're feeling is pretty normal, and usually resolves after about a year of employment. (Longer for some folks, including me, because I can be a slow learner.) In order to GET through it, you have to GO through it. Changing jobs isn't going to help -- you just start over in a new place with new faces and new policies and the necessary equipment hidden in new hidey holes. Eventually, you'll learn and you'll know what you're doing some of the time and how to find out what you're doing the rest. Things will get better.

About the questions -- the new grad who frightens me the most is the one who doesn't ask questions because that is the new grad with over-confidence, who will do something stupid because she thinks she knows and she doesn't. I think most experienced nurses will tell you the same thing.

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The first year is universally hard. You started in oncology? I think that's got to be one of the harder floors for a new grad. Even so, it sounds like you might be depressed on top of everything. Even if you wind up just having regular new nurse troubles, you deserve as much support as you can rustle up. Get a counselor, pour it all out to them, so you can have some free space in your brain for enjoyment. Then go to your next shift ready to take on the day. Things do get better.

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Update: I have reached out to a counselor for help. It's sad I feel this way when I felt nursing was my calling. I will keep everyone updated.

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