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New Nurse soon to be disillusioned d/t burn out stories and status of health care

Specializes in Psych-Occupational. Has 10 years experience.

I am not new to the work force, but I am new nurse. So far, I love being a nurse. Unfortuneatly, in my first job as a psychiatric nurse, I feel very discouraged. I see a lot of things I don't agree with, such as "soft" admissions to keep beds filled, and the lack of proper medical protocols on the psychiatric unit. I think it may be the institution, but my preceptor (who has 20 years experience and who I really like and admire) tells me this is the way it is everywhere, that healthcare is not good in general, etc. I struggle as I try to provide great care to patients in an environment that that does not seem conducive to doing things properly. Perhaps I am being too black and white and just need a reality check. I would really appreciate anyone's opinion about how it really is out there, considering the difficult work loads and the health care situation. Thank you.


Specializes in ICU of all kinds, CVICU, Cath Lab, ER..

Congratulations on achieving your nursing degree. Nursing was my lifelong dream; achieved late (graduated in 91 -oldest in class - full of eagerness and conflicted by what we were taught in class and the frank reality of nursing in the '90's and subsequently the turn to 2000 plus). I had the highest of ideals; nothing would sway my judgement. Boy, was I screwy!

I have 21 years in now (I am 61 and wishing I could continue the critical care at bedside that I have loved). Unfortunately, ill health, completely unexpected, has caught up with me.

Now, for your dilemma.... first you should acknowledge your accomplishment. Next, you will have to come to terms with the fact that try as hard as you might, you can NOT change/fix/help/satisfy all the people all the time.

And, by the way, don't beat yourself up - just try to do your utmost best; keep current with your ever changing nursing practice; be the pleasant one - "the nurse was professional and pleasant" will always make your life better. Try to be flexible and knowledgeable and kind to all the patients. See, those ideals you have carried for years count for something!!

All of the members of our special club (nursing makes us special) need to rely and trust each other.

Oh, by the way, I was happy to see you are doing mental health - bless you, bless you.

Edited by walk6miles
oops - correct spelling

I have been in healthcare for 7 years and Im already tired and burned out. I have the same conflict you do. I have a good heart and want to help but it is almost impossible to deliver good care in the way they structure things for nurses in the hospital. I am stepping away from the hospital and moving into working as an occupational nurse for a large fortune 500 company. I am so much happier in this environment. What is good about nursing, even in this rough economy, is that you can absolutely change where you work , your role, ect. to suit your values and needs. Just be patient. Dont be restricted to the hospital walls. If you do choose to work there, arm yourself with patience, acceptance and flexibility. I agree with the above poster, dont be the "grumpy" nurse. That never helps. Even though Ive been sick and tired of policies , regulations, back stabbing, Ive never let that show at work. Ive always just taken action for myself. Griping doesnt do much good.


Specializes in Psych-Occupational. Has 10 years experience.

Hello Walk6miles and Monicanurse: Thank you, Thank you! for taking the time to reply with such thoughtful comments. I really do appreciate it and your comments have given me some good things to think about.


Specializes in Peds/outpatient FP,derm,allergy/private duty. Has 33 years experience.

I know how you feel, too. It's in every area of nursing. What you see and what you learned to be the ideal are usually incompatible to some degree or another. Hopefully, you will find a place to work that, despite these realities strives to do the very best for their patients and yes, they do exist.

Part of the first years of nursing, I found is honing your judgement as to what cannot under any circumstances be compromised, and those that can be, aka prioritizing. But as a perfectionist, I really wanted to do everything just by the book and have time to sit and listen to the patient's concerns, too!! You can't.

I found it really helpful to identify nurses (may NOT be your preceptor necessarily) who are where you are ethically and observe them. They've worked through those conflicts and hopefully come to a resolution they can live with. For every tale of burnout you read here or hear about there are many nurses who go about quietly being awesome. Best of luck to you, and your feelings are n o r m a l :)


Specializes in Psych-Occupational. Has 10 years experience.

Hello Nursel56! Thank you also for your reply. I am new, and I think you are so right that I can make good use of my time now by really thinking about what is most important, and sticking to what I think is right and working on that. I do also have other nurses around me that seem to have some of the same ideas, and ideals, I have. Perhaps I will seek them out a it more for help.


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