Published Nov 12, 2004
I've only been working on the floor as an RN for a month and a half and I am already at the point of feeling stressed out, burnt out and disappointed....
Note: I had a big long rambling post here describing all the reasons I'm feeling frustrated with my job, but since 33 people have read it and noone has responded, I assume noone can relate and it's just me. *sigh*....Here's hoping I find my niche......if what I've experienced so far (lack of support staff to allow lisenced staff to properly do their job) is true of nursing everywhere I'm going to have a very short career.
CrunchRN, ADN, RN
I am not a hospital nurse, but I am sure that it is several things. All new nurses feel stressed and overwhelmed. Anyone in a new job usually takes a minimum of 3 months to be effective and many much more. The hospital probably does not have enough support staff. Reach out to your fellow nurses or manager if she is good and let them know how you are feeling. Maybe they feel the same way, or maybe they can offer suggestions to work more effectively. You have worked too hard to get this far to throw it away. I feel for you and wish you the best. It's such a tough job, but nurses, and especially hospital/LTC nurses are incredibly special people and so very important to all of us. Keep us updated on how you are doing.
Hellllllo Nurse, BSN, RN
When I was a new nurse, I went through the same things you describe in my first and only hospital job. I tried and tried to make it work, but finally realized that hospital working conditions are really bad in a lot of places, and that I needed to quit fighting my gut and just get out of the hospital.
That was several years ago, and I havn't looked back. Ironically, I met a nother nurse on this board who went to work for the same hospital, was totally miserable, and just got out herself.
I don't want to be discouraging, but I've been a nurse for long enough now that I no longer hope to find a job I love. As long as I like it sometimes and can tolerate most of the time, that's more than a lot of nurses ever find.
Thanks so much for your reply. I realize that it probably will take a while for me to feel effective. Being a new RN, I'm sure it takes me twice as long to do anything than those who have been at it for a while. But even the ones who have been at it a while complain and feel stressed out. (why they've stayed is beyond me....do they know something I don't know?).
I have spoken to my nurse manager who is a super nice person and has tried her best to be supportive and helpful. SHE is actually the reason I have not run screaming from the place already. There have been days when I have approached her, completely overwhelmed at my list of things that had to be done RIGHT NOW, and she has gone as far as to call in a nurse from another floor to help the hallway play catch up....and she's even gowned up herself and done patient care. One day in particular, I had about 5 things that needed to be done immediately....4 of which could have been and should have been done by a CNA......switching a patient into a new bed because his was broken (head wouldn't raise so couldn't eat or drink), getting 2 other patients onto stretchers to go downstairs for X-rays, things like this, all while trying to get my meds passed out and hanging IV's and tube feeds.
My complaint has been since day one that there are not enough CNA's on the floor. There are 2 hallways on the unit, currently there are 30 patients total. We typically have either 5 or 6 lisences (either 3 on each side or 2 on each side with a 3rd splitting between hallways) and 2 or 3 CNA's (1 in each hallway or 1 in each hall with the third splitting). Looking at the numbers, you'd THINK we would have enough staff--the numbers look great on paper but don't take into account the acuity and needs of the patients....we NEVER HAVE ENOUGH HANDS. In the hallway I've been in recently, the patients are very sick, physically demanding and on the call lights continuously. It's a respiratory floor so we do a ton of suctioning.
The CNA is assigned 6 patients to wash up, leaving the rest for the lisenced staff....I typically wash up 2 or 3 of my 5 patients......in addition to passing a HUGE amount of meds at 8, 10, 12 and 2, not to mention taking off orders constantly throughout the day, faxing the pharmacy and running downstairs for missing meds, tube feeds, IV's, assessments, suctioning, treatments and God forbid we get an admission, that is such a time consuming experience............despite all my other nursing duties, I spend the MOST time each day giving bedpans and toileting people. I can't tell you how many times each and every day I feel completely exasperated, thinking of all the non-delegatable, RN duties I have left to do but CAN'T GET AROUND TO because I am too busy playing CNA. It's insane. There is no support staff to delegate anything to, EVER.....so the nurses on this floor are technically functioning as RN/CNA or LPN/CNA. I am most definitely not above doing patient care or ADL's....I worked for 8 years as a CNA before going to nursing school.......I am just finding it completely maddening trying to get my job done without help. There are 2 CNA's on the floor in particular who try their hardest to be as minimally helpful as possible (you can't delegate anything to either of them.....and they actually will chase me down to tell me my patient needs the bedpan or needs to go to the bathroom.....as a CNA I would have NEVER dreamt of passing off ADL's to an RN standing at the med cart.) I told my nurse manager that my job would be a whole lot less challenging if I could focus on just my assignment but the call lights never stop. (one of the above mentioned CNA's actually resentfully told me the other day she put one of my patients on the bedpan and followed with "if they aren't my patients I don't touch them".........uhhhh, if we all did that none of the patients would recieve attention). It takes me over 2 hours to do my 8am meds for only 5 patients because of all the interruptions. I'm at the med cart continuously to do what should take a short time every day but I can't get through it.......too busy bringing people to the bathroom or any one of 1,000 other things that a CNA could handle if we had more. It's ridiculous, really. I never ever have time to sit and look up labs and I feel like I barely get through each day....with only a vague picture of what's happening with my patients because I don't have a second to stop and read through charts and I always feel like my assessments are half-assed and rushed. I feel like a CNA who passes meds and I feel like I'm not giving good care....not because I don't want to or because I'm not capable of it, but because the staffing situation makes it impossible. I could go on and on but I'll spare you, LOL. I will definitely keep you posted. I've told everyone at work, including my manager that I'm leaving due to staffing issues, but haven't given my notice yet because I don't have a clue where to go from here.
Hi Rachel. When I was a new nurse, I went through the same things you describe in my first and only hospital job. I tried and tried to make it work, but finally realized that hospital working conditions are really bad in a lot of places, and that I needed to quit fighting my gut and just get out of the hospital.That was several years ago, and I havn't looked back. Ironically, I met a nother nurse on this board who went to work for the same hospital, was totally miserable, and just got out herself.I don't want to be discouraging, but I've been a nurse for long enough now that I no longer hope to find a job I love. As long as I like it sometimes and can tolerate most of the time, that's more than a lot of nurses ever find.
Thanks for your response. Something in my gut tells me you're right. I keep hoping maybe things will get better here....but the staff that's been there for a while say they've all complained and nothing ever changes.
I think I'd do good in an environment where I have fewer patients to care for with more support staff. A friend I graduated with just started at a hospital on an ICU/oncology/transplant unit and she says she has 3 patients to care for and every nurse has her own CNA to help out. That sounds to me like a more realistic environment to work in.
I'm feeling kind of bummed out right now and really hoping hard that I find something that I enjoy and feel I'm able to do well with. I'm disappointed this job isn't looking like it's going to work out because it really is a great learning experience, skills-wise.
mom and nurse
Hang in there Rachel - There are a lot of us new nurses going through what you are experiencing. Where I'm at, i've had the best of days and the worst of days. Usually in the same week. I'm working at a rehab hospital and I've had days where I thought "Yeah...I'm a nurse..I love rehabilitation nursing.....I'm so glad I'm a nurse" and other days where I've left mumbling to myself "I must have been out of my mind to major in nursing, absolutely out of my mind...this job is going to kill me..lunch! what lunch...I have not sat down once since I came through the door..if that patient pushes that call bell one more time I'm going to lose my mind.........I could have majored in law....earned $200.00 and hour and had my own office....etc.etc. grumble grumble" but then a patient says something, like a person who had been my patient for awhile said to me today, "How will I ever find someone to replace you at the new place" and it kind of makes my day.... or as another person who was being discharged said "I'm going to miss you...I really will...." and I think...yeah..I'm a nurse...and I love working at a rehab hospital :) It'll get better for us new nurses day by day....though some of us may have to change jobs to find our niche.....
Mom and nurse you could'nt have said it better. As I was driving home last night, I was questioning my reasoning for even being a nurse. I had a bad night, less than helpful nurses, cna's who are missing in action and pharmacy who will NEVER send the meds on time. I'm not sure if this is what I want to do with the rest of my life but I do know that I got a stack of bills that were run up when I was in nursing school so I really dont have much choice at this point but it is kinda depressing.
Hope we can all hang in there.
Newbie nurse with the blues.
If nursing were easy we would never have a shortage.... I was fortunate to learn that as a new grad 20 years ago from two very supportive nurses. We arrived for work together and we left work together. It has always amazed me how someone taking 2 minutes to do one small thing for me could take a weight the size of New Jersey off my shoulders. I always make it a point to ask whomever I am working with if they have something quick I can do, even on my worst day. I find that it helps me with perspective and helps with the team atmosphere... "cuz we'll all go together when we go..."
Wow, sounds like you and I are on the same path. I started as an RN in August of this year, I finished my orientation the middle of September. I was hired for a rehab unit, but did my first 5 weeks of orientation on a very busy surgical unit, aply nick named "2-Evil." (suppose to be 2 East)
I was so disconserted (spell) with the job at first that I would often cry on the drive home. I think I was actually depressed. I hated-- hated-- hated-- my job.
When I finally got up to the rehab unit in which I was hired, things slowly got easier. I started to get a handle on my organizational skills, and I became more comfortable with my work.
At first--- everything was new, so it took me two or three times longer to do something a seasoned nurse could do.
Recently, because of low census on my unit, I have been floating to "2-Evil," and I find I actually kind of like it now. I still have bad days every now and again, but I don't drive home crying. And I am no longer depressed.
However, reading your description of your unit nurse-patient staffing ratio, I'm not sure I could do what you do. I only have total patient care (without a CNA) if I have three patients of less. If I have more than that, I have a CNA or LPN working directy under me, and we have the same patients. I couldn't handle more than three patients without a CNA. ADL's really are time consuming.
I am new to nursing, so I am not sure if my hospital actually has good staffing compared to others, but if you are not feeling better in six months or so, maybe you should look into a place with better staffing (if that is a possibility).
Anyway... Good Luck... I hope things start to turn around soon.
Hi all-I've only been working on the floor as an RN for a month and a half and I am already at the point of feeling stressed out, burnt out and disappointed....Note: I had a big long rambling post here describing all the reasons I'm feeling frustrated with my job, but since 33 people have read it and noone has responded, I assume noone can relate and it's just me. *sigh*....Here's hoping I find my niche......if what I've experienced so far (lack of support staff to allow lisenced staff to properly do their job) is true of nursing everywhere I'm going to have a very short career.
hope your still hanging in there. Whats going on that your so stressed out? Would love to help, but don't really know what to say. My intuition tells me that maybe you could write a list of all the situations where you felt stressed, burnt out, disappointed, and look and see if it was your interpretation of the event (the thoughts in your head) that was the cause of your feelings. I may be way off, but didn't want u to feel so alone.
I am fairly new at nursing and I feel the same way that you do. CNA's can make or break your day. I have found that some are dependable and some are not....I could go on for days about my experiences, but I am sure you understand. I just wanted to let you know that you ARE NOT alone. As an R.N. I don't mind giving a bedpan etc.etc., but it is really annoying when CNA's take advantage.......I get so frustrated sometimes because they cannot do our job so we get stuck doing theirs and sometimes I find them standing around talking when I am answering call lights! That is a major pet peeve of mine!!!!!
hi there I know how you feel about staffing levels. It was not that long ago when I was a new grad RN working on a busy neurological ward. I felt so out of control at times simply because there was not enough nurses. We used trend care a system which works out how many hours a total patient load will be. When I looked up at the trends I used to be horrified that I would often get 16 hours of work to do in a 8 hour shift with only an EN working with me. I understand how you must feel. When I finished my graduate year I left there and did some agency work until I found a area that I liked. I am now in rehabilitation working for another hospital and I love it. I am amazed of how far I have come since finishing my degree and becoming a RN and yes even on this ward I still get busy for instance it is not unusal to have 15 patients to one RN and a AIN which I presume you would call a LPN and an EN but I love it anyway. All I can say to you is hang in there get your experience which will be good for your references, maybe cut back on your hours and do some agency work. I wish you well but remember never give up and keep smilling even throught the tough times.
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