New Nurse who hates her job...nursing is not what I thought

Nurses New Nurse


Hi, I'm a 36 y/o new nurse. Graduated 12/2008. I work for a major hospital in St. Louis on the telemetry floor. I've been working there since March 09. I am not happy with my job as this is not what I thought nursing to be. I was taught in school to listen to my patients concerns, cultural concerns, and treating the patient as a whole, including mind, body, and spiritual needs. Well, on my floor, it's always so busy that I barely have time to say more than 2 extra sentences to the patient. It's so stressful. They equip us with a cordless phone that is with us everywhere we go. So, either the phones is ringing with doctors, family, or techs on the phone or the patients are on the call lights. There is so much monitoring and I am constantly getting admissions and discharges. Admissions really take a long time. Plus, I am more behind than anyone else because I'm always have so many questions. I feel as if I'm constantly being pulled in 50 different directions and even if I get to work early to get prepared for my patients, I still end up leaving late. Which results me working in 14 hr. shifts, instead of 12. I am always so exhausted and even on off days, I cannot enjoy my off days because it takes me several days to feel energized again. Since I've been working, Ive been so stressed out and I just don't feel like myself anymore. I'm always crabby and never feel like going out and doing anything. I feel so bad because I can tell that my patients need a little extra attention and loving care and I only have time to push meds, change dressings, and run out the room. This is not the way I thought nursing to be. I worked so hard to get through nursing school with the motivation that I would have a job that I love doing. But, I hate it. I feel nauseated every morning when I wake up and get ready to go to work. I want a job that I'm busy, but, not crazy busy, and where I still have time for my patients. I know I can't sit in the patient's room all day and lolly gag, but I wanna at least be in touch with their feelings and needs. I don't want a lazy job, either, where I'm not using many of my skills. A lot of friends of mine suggested working at a nursing home may be better, but, some people say it's the same or worse. Do you think I feel the way about my job because I'm still a new nurse and still trying to find my way...such as time management, and etc. or can you suggest a position that you would think is better suited for me? I welcome your opinion. Thank you.:heartbeat


286 Posts

What you are observing is a common theme in bedside nursing - much of it does suck. My eyes started opening in nursing school during clinicals. Too much patient turnover, too many patients per nurse, too much documentation (related to the constant worrying over possible litigation), too-long shifts, too little respect for nurses, nurses' being the "catch all" and doing others' jobs, the higher acuity of patients, the more complex treatment regimens that are evolving with modern medicine, administrators with biz degrees as opposed to RN or MD degrees, etc., etc.

I mean, what happens when a nurse has an "off" day - a day she's just not feeling well? In a desk job, you can get through an "off" day. In bedside nursing, you run around like hell and what is expected of you requires hyper-acute thinking & physical condition, it seems. No "off" days allowed, I guess... And the actual days off - the non-worknig days - are spent just recovering from work. My desk jobs - even the ones I didn't like terribly - seem like paradise compared with nursing.

Welcome to Nursing! I am a new grad on orientation & I am already seeing what you are mentioning. This is NOTHING like school. You gotta experience this mess to truly believe it.

-I am so happy to have a job due to new grads unable to finding employment. But the constant being pulled in different directions & having MD's, patients family & techs each trying to suck the life out of you or blame you for something-- is crazy. I also quickly learned that not only are you chasing Dr's/aiding them to do their job, you sometimes are doing the ward clerks job & the techs job. No wonder nurses do not stay at the bedside. It's a mess. The only advice I can give is to strart looking into other avenues. Maybe a different flr maybe homecare, a specialty?

86toronado, BSN, RN

1 Article; 528 Posts

Specializes in neurology, cardiology, ED.

Tele is typically a very busy floor with high patient turnover. You don't get a lot of time to know your patients. You may want to try a different floor... does your hospital have a hospice unit? I know a couple people who are/were hospice nurses, and raved about the patient contact. You may make a little less, but it might be worth it to keep your sanity intact! :lol_hitti


63 Posts

Specializes in Medical.

Sadly, your experience is mine, too. I was able to make work little more tolerable by going to 8-hr shifts. I have fewer days off, but I leave in 10 hrs, at most, and feel a lot more normal than I did after a 14-hr shift. I plan to either transfer or work part time in LTC asap. Hospital nursing is so messed up! Not doing it or doing it a lot less is the only solution--experienced nurses will tell you the same.

Specializes in chemical dependency detox/psych.

Just wanted to respond in regards to moving to the "less-stressful" position of LTC. Be very careful, as it's really a myth. I had 36 patients that I had to do the meds, treatments, nebs, dressing changes, picc line flushes, tube feedings, charting (guess how much charting you have to do when someone falls (a regular occurrence--LOTS). Do you think I had time to do more than say 2 extra sentences to my patients? Nope. It was absolutely insane...Now, you may find that ideal nursing home that doesn't have this kind of staff/patient ratio, but be careful when you look.

Just wanted to respond in regards to moving to the "less-stressful" position of LTC. Be very careful, as it's really a myth. I had 36 patients that I had to do the meds, treatments, nebs, dressing changes, picc line flushes, tube feedings, charting (guess how much charting you have to do when someone falls (a regular occurrence--LOTS). Do you think I had time to do more than say 2 extra sentences to my patients? Nope. It was absolutely insane...Now, you may find that ideal nursing home that doesn't have this kind of staff/patient ratio, but be careful when you look.

That's right. In LTC you are still busy. The pt turnover isn't as high so you get to know the residents, but it is far from easy. You are busy from the minute you are there, until the minute you leave. And don't think you escape charting.. Too bad nurses don't really get to be nurses.. Too much paperwork and b.s. :uhoh3:


661 Posts

Specializes in acute rehab, med surg, LTC, peds, home c.

I am sorry you are having such a bad time. I do think it will get slightly easier with time because you will know what you can leave and what is important. Try to hang in there and get at least one year of experience under your belt on this floor and then transfer. Do not go to long term care because you think it will be easier. It will be all of work and none of the excitement of hospital nursing. It is drudgery--passing meds all day long and then doing treatments.

Just think, any other job will be a piece of cake after this one.

Good luck.


1 Post

Now you have a taste of what hospital nursing is all about! Do not give up hope! There are many other positions available where you can use the skills you have learned and those skills that make you who you are, just look. If you have good clinical skills, consider Home Health Nursing, especially a smaller company. The pace is not hectic and you have the time with your patients to make an impact. There is paperwork, and it will sneak up on you if you are not disciplined! Did you like Psych in nursing school? Factories, insurance companies, schools, teaching in nursing school........the list is endless, don't wait! Just do it!!


41 Posts

Specializes in nursing home, home health, hospital.

I recently started at a hospital in St. Louis as well and from the hot gossip of the incoming students as we are a teaching hospital there are definelty some better to work at then others. I personally wouldn't know I've only worked at the one I'm currently at. However, because before working a the hospital I did home health and worked at a LTC facility. You wouldn't believe the amount of things that I have gotten to see or experience as a nurse in only a short amount of time. The majority of the nurses I work alongside have been nurses for only about two years, are all in the 20s and further more don't know what life outside the hospital is like for nurses. God love them but they dont have a clue. I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you don't like the hospital maybe you should consider dropping down to prn or part-time and going to work at a LTC or home health. LTC is busy BUT its a different type of busy. Home health is a more laid back atmosphere as u dont have managerial person standing over u every five seconds. You have to rely on your own judgement skills and you get those relationships that u so desire in nursing but seldom get. In the hospital I know what I should be doing and what's best for my patients and then I know what actually gets done for the pts. there is a difference lol I didnt have those problems with home health or LTC. with H.H. you get one on one care u can either travel or just do in home and take care of one patient. When I worked home health I went to disney world with my pt through make a wish with another pt i went to school with him and had a blast. i learned so much about how kids are really taken care of in our schools by teachers as special need children. i loved going to work with H.H. i actually got to be that pt advocate when i went to dr. appts with them or got to spend that quality time with them being active. for one pt ROM exercises we always went bowling to ahem "encourage him to move on his own". In reality he had several physical and mental limitations and i just like finding new ways to get him to giggle and interact so we went anywhere and everywhere. Anything from going to the movies to staying in and doing therapy work. IDK like i said it was a great experience for me and as a new nurse you might just find it's what would suit you right now too. :nuke:

nkara, CNA

288 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg/Pedi/Tele.

I wouldn't give up hope. You might be cut out for a different floor or spcialty. Try going for a different job and see how you do. :loveya:

Specializes in Interventional Radiology.

You can take this for what it's's just my :twocents:......

Real world nursing is NOTHING like school. School is theory and in theory you have all the staff you need, all the equipment, etc,etc...that said, there are some things you could do.

Quit....not likely a good choice for obvious reasons

transfer...look into other floors that may not be as high a turnover- they vary for hosp to hosp- but I know our resp floor is much slower paced than the PCU I work on.

Take a closer look....this is probably your key. As a new nurse, you have ALOT of unanswered questions. You probably still question yourself about the littlest things - (thus taking longer- not a bad thing..) Are you well organized? Do you have a good grasp of you patient population? When things are going down the you have resources like a preceptor or charge nurse to help?

These are all things you might want to look at. If you have questions-ASK. There are NO stupid questions! I hope this helps. Though I had 10 years of healthcare experience prior to becoming a nurse...I just finished my first year and have to say- it does get better.Hang in there! :up:

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