New Nurse Feeling a Failure

Nurses Stress 101


Hi nurses. I'm hoping someone might be able to guide me as to what to do. I'm a new grad (3 months experience). I'm feeling very overcome with negative emotions. Recently there was an error that happened and I keep going over and over it in my head. The patient is okay thank goodness but I'm shaken as I know I should be. I feel like I am a horrible nurse & I should just quit. Part of me just feels that way. I truly want to do my best but I feel like a failure. I struggle with ADHD and I feel like my time management is poor and I can never do all for my patients I should. I deal with significant depression and anxiety and everything recently I feel has sent me into the depths of my depression again but it is my fault so I feel like I have no room to feel depressed. I feel like my work environment caring for 30+ individuals is leading to moral injury and I don't know what to do. I feel like I need a nurse friend to talk to but I don't have anyone I really feel safe talking to.

Specializes in CVICU/Flight Nursing.

First off, I'm sorry you're feeling so bad. I wish I had a dollar for every time I felt overwhelmed during my career, especially early on. Just know that it really does get better. Mistakes happen in healthcare. A lot of ppl don't like to talk about it but it's true. If possible, try to look back on whatever happened as objectively as you can so that you can learn from it. 

On 6/28/2022 at 5:34 AM, SNgirl21 said:

I feel like my work environment caring for 30+ individuals is leading to moral injury and I don't know what to do.

I can't imagine how difficult it must be to have over 30 patients to take care of. Do you think you'd be happier at another job? There are so many different career paths you can take in nursing and so that might be worth considering. Personally, I really enjoyed working with 1-2 patients in the ICU as I felt like I could give them my full attention. 

I think it's great that you are reaching out to others about your experience but since your depression is significant I would really recommend talking to a professional. Counseling is a great resource as it's always good to hear an impartial other's perspective on things. Hope it helps and good luck to you. 

Specializes in Med nurse in med-surg., float, HH, and PDN.

Feelings aren't permanent, even if it feels like it sometimes, and they don't get to define who you are. 

I also had a job where I had 30 patients, all their meds, treatments and more! I agree, it is unwieldy to have to be responsible for so many. I should have left that job when it seemed I could not ever keep up, but I stubbornly hung on, telling myself I SHOULD be able to do it all. I got canned after 6 months. They said I was poor at time-management. I know I was a good nurse, but that job was so over-loaded, it wasn't worth the energy I spent on it. It took me a couple of years to get over being fired, though, which in itself was rather depressing, but I have come out of all that now. (mostly😊

My advice is: Go elsewhere and quit rubbing your brain raw with the feeling you are a bad nurse! Who needs a job like that?

Specializes in Infusion oncology, Cardiac PCU.

Thank goodness there are many different avenues in nursing! and the best part is, you can try as many as you want until you find that niche ☺️ Don’t push yourself into staying in an area that makes you feel miserable, uninspired, and unfulfilled. Being loyal to a job is one thing, but you have to also understand yourself and recognize what you want in order to succeed.   

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