New to Pre-op/PACU and SO OVERWHELMED!

Nurses Stress 101


Help! I need to vent, or I need reassurance, probably both. I have been a nurse since 2018. I started out on an extremely busy intermediate care unit and had 4-5 fairly high acuity patients per shift, and was immediately overwhelmed, stressed, had daily panic attacks and cried in the bathroom multiple times a day. It was terrible, I was told that if I could survive that floor, I could work anywhere. I stayed there for a little over a year, and the COVID hit. I don't even know how I got through that time. I transferred to the ICU thinking it would be better for me, but I ended up hating it. I ended up severely depressed and unable to work, took some FMLA to try and re-evaluate my career choices. The problem was I was constantly running around like a chicken with my head cut off during that time, just trying to keep my head above water and keep patients alive, I don't really feel like I learned anything. After a few months, a friend and colleague from the intermediate care unit mentioned to me that she transfered to Endoscopy and loved it, and there was an opening for another nurse. I applied, got the job and absolutely loved it. It was amazing, everything about it. It was just "easy". 2 years later, we receive military orders and I have to leave. I am now working in a smaller hospital in pre-op/PACU and I feel like that baby nurse crying in the bathroom and having panic attacks all over again. I am SO OVERWHELMED. To the point where my brain just shuts off mid day and I can't even take in any more information. The charting is INSANE and so redundant, and I hate Epic. It is not uder friendly. I just feel like I will never be good enough, and never get it down. I doubt myself all the time, I have never felt like I have nurses intuition, or good critical thinking and time management skills. Frankly, I feel like an absolutely terrible nurse. Imposter syndrome? Or is it the truth? I just don't know what to do. I have almost 5 years "experience" yet I still absolutely feel like a new nurse, like I know nothing. I had a legit panic attack tonight, brown paper bag, dry-heaving , the whole shebang. It wasn't pretty. I really do like the staff I work with now, my preceptor is great, an amazing nurse which makes me feel worse, like I will never be her. But I can't keep feeling like this, or I'll have a heart attack before I'm 40. I'm not a stupid person, I have a husband and 2 beautiful kids who I have raised to be amazing people. So why do I feel like I am completely incompetent as soon as I walk into a hospital? 

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