Have I ruined my nursing career?

  1. I am honestly just looking for an objective opinion. I was born with a rare genetic condition that greatly effects my appearance. Being in and out of hospitals and having dozens of surgeries as a child, I developed a great admiration for nurses. My mother and grandmother are also nurses.. so that is what I decided I wanted to do.

    I always struggled with some social anxiety due to bullying but I fought hard to get into a BSN program. Once I began the program, there was one obstacle after another. This is where the bullying from patients and nurses regarding my appearance started, and my struggle with depression, anxiety, and panic disorder began.

    After graduating with my BSN as a member of STTI, I sought help for my mental health and passed my NCLEX in 75 questions. I thought everything was under control.

    Fast forward to July 2015, I landed a job as a new grad in endoscopy at a magnet hospital. Besides the usual new nurse jitters, everything was going great. I recieved praise from drs, nurses, and pts. I was getting a grasp on my specialty. Then the bullying started. That in combination with my poor self esteem and increasingly worse issues with depression and anxiety paralyzed me. I was sobbing or having panic attacks before work, after work, and before bed. All while going to therapy and my psychiatrist.

    October of 2016 I hit rock bottom. I was either going to steal anesthesia and overdose or walk outside the hospital onto the rail line. My director escorted me to the ER, where I was admitted to the psych ward. That day changed everything.

    I went on short term disability. One day in late November, I went back to work. I was assigned a "buddy" for the day. It didn't go well. My director and I agreed that I should extend my disability.

    That was the last day I ever stepped back into that hospital. My anxiety was so crippling that I could not bare to go back.

    In late December, I was hired on at an outpt endo center for a PRN position. I thought it would be good to ease back into nursing. I was still struggling every shift with anxiety and panic, but most of the time I was able to push through. I let my manager know early on that I'd like to transition to FT whenever possible. In late June, she ultimately phased me out by hiring a new FT RN. There were no hours for me to work. I have recieved unemployment benefits but they are now coming to an end.

    Over this past year, I have been on close to a dozen interviews. They have been for postions in and out of my specialty. I have not been offered a position.

    My mental health is an ongoing struggle. Part of me wants to give nursing another chance and not waste my degree. I love taking care of people and interacting with patients. However, with the recurring bullying, my past history and other downsides to nursing, it makes me consider leaving the profession. I can't decide if i should continue to look for a job and then the same thing happens with my mental illnesses, or if I should try and get any job I can.

    I apologize for the long post. I just thought what details I gave were necessary to understand the situation. I'm curious to read some objective comments. Thank you.
  2. Visit jlc0618 profile page

    About jlc0618

    Joined: Jan '18; Posts: 1; Likes: 4
    Specialty: 1 year(s) of experience

    12 Comments

  3. by   Lisacar130
    Well, could you give some specific examples of how you are bullied? I was just curious if it is a misunderstanding, or if it is actually unrelated to your appearance, etc. I have social anxiety too and sometimes I think things that aren't true. What does your therapist think? Does he/she think that any of the bullying is your interpretation of events?
    Also, what options are you considering? Going back to nursing is one. What is the other option? Getting a job in a different field? Any ideas on what else you would do? You might find that there are bullies in any field. Is going on disability permanently an option you were considering?
    If I had to give my opinion, I would say that all jobs can be stressful and cause anxiety and there could be bullies anywhere. So without any further information I would try to find the least stressful nursing field out there, one that you would feel most comfortable. If it's other nurses that stress you out, then perhaps home health could be an option, for example.
  4. by   Davey Do
    Wow. Yeah. First let me say that that I admire the heck out of you, jcl0618 , for your perseverance. Inspite of your maladies, you've chosen to pursue a degree, seek employment, become gainfully employed, and now you're attempting to gather data in order to deal with your present situation. The old Timex ads ("takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'") has nothing on you!

    As I read your posts, I thought, "This person has been through so much and can eloquently convey facts from some emotionally-charged situations".

    A pity post yours was not and I truly sense you are seeking a path to follow. Lisacar asked some pertinent questions and made some good points. As with any problem, we need to eat this elephant by doing so one bite at a time, and an ongoing discussion is necessary. I hope you will get back to us, jcl0618.

    And welcome to AN.com. The very best to you.
  5. by   SpankedInPittsburgh
    You have nothing to apologize for. You have overcame more than most of us. I don't know what to tell you to do. Right now it sounds to me that you need help working on your anxiety issues. I would hope that you could go on some form of disability while you get some help. Nursing is a tough job and not always inhabited by compassionate folks. Where there is a ton of smoke there is usually at least a little fire and all that noise about nurses eating their own isn't a lie. Work on you and then work on finding something in or out of nursing that utilizes all you have to offer which seems to be a lot. Good luck & best wishes
  6. by   NuGuyNurse2b
    do you bring up your psych history in interviews?
  7. by   traumaRUs
    Moved to Nursing with Disabilities
  8. by   nurseprincesss
    I just started lurking these forums and reading random posts here and there, but your post made me actually create an account for the first time. The world is such a mess, we judge others and portray our insecurities onto them to feel better about ourselves. It has nothing to do with you, this is the world's problem and it makes it a much worse place for everyone. Notice how animals don't judge each other? Every one of us will end up looking identical on our palliative bed, weak frail and with the same elderly face.. yet some people choose to be immoral and bully others because they are weak.
    Hang in there and remember this is the world's problem, not yours. Like others I'm curious what kind of bullying you experienced as well, I've seen all kinds of bullying in nursing to a variety of people. I've seen an entire nursing home gang up one one nurse (a beautiful woman who was smart and did nothing wrong). Nursing can be a very toxic environment for sure.
  9. by   jodispamodi
    Kudos to you OP for accomplishing what you have. These are my thoughts on your situation.
    You mention the surgeries you had and that you look different, is it possible you're self esteem is low? I say this because often when one has low self esteem they tend to perceive things differently, your comments you considered bullying make me wonder if perhaps it could be perceived differently? You don't mention any specific instances of bullying so its hard to say but where you getting hard assignments because of your status on the totem pole as opposed to how you perceive you look?

    You mention you were at work when you had some bad thoughts, and had to go to the ER, came back were assigned a buddy and that didn't work out. Is it possible the stress of a full time job was too much? Also was the perceived bullying in relation to patient care? It sounds like you were very close to the edge (probably longer than you realized was noticeable) and other nurses stepped up to ensure patient safety? Again without knowing specific scenarios its impossible to guess but I'm just throwing scenarios out.
    Also it sounds like you were successful at your per-diem job, why not try to stay per-diem for awhile and allow yourselt the ability for more downtime and decompressing if needed?

    Lastly, do you mention any of the above when being interviewed? are you sure references are giving you a good reference, and the job market is kind of terrible right now, so it may not be YOU, it may just factor into a lot of competition out there.

    Finally, I give kudos not only to you but to the director of your previous place, it sounds like they supported you and gave you the opportunity to try again (many places would not have)
    I wish you the best.
  10. by   ruby_jane
    Echoing what others have said - I am sorry this is happening.

    Have you considered some kind of ambulatory care telephonic nursing? You still have to work with people, but you're on the phone. Most insurance companies and some hospitals have a "dial a nurse" line.

    Good luck.
  11. by   Daisy4RN
    So sorry for all your troubles. I don't think that your nursing career is over unless you want it to be. Like others have stated you can try to get a different type of (nurse) job that would have less stress, with your BSN you have many options. Even if you prefer direct patient care and that doesn't work out you are still helping people with other types of nursing jobs. You have to make sure that you take care of yourself, and when ready just start looking and go for it. Personally, I always say a prayer before I go to an interview etc. so I put it in Gods hands and let it be. If this one doesn't work out then maybe the next, no harm done. Also try not to take it personally if you don't get hired, there could be a million reasons why not and nothing to do with you personally. Hope you are feeling better and good luck!!
  12. by   Guy in Babyland
    You might want to try a work at home nursing job. You state that you have low self-esteem because of your apprearance, no one knows what you look like through a telephone or online.
  13. by   Neats
    Wow it sounds like you have been through a lot in your life. If you are looking for "an objective opinion" here is mine with what limited information you have provided:

    1. Stay in counseling/support groups and do not stop just because you are starting to feel better. You need the support but others need your support to, and with helping people I find that healing can be found to some extent.
    2. Find out what is causing you your anxiety and learn tools to combat it. It is hard to change but we all can do this.
    3. Learn good boundaries.
    4. Surround yourself with good people.
    5. Go to Toastmasters groups and listen at first, slowly learn how to speak up.

    I have a background where needless to say I never went to high school...I am a Master degree healthcare professional today. I have changed over the years with pure grit and wanting to better myself and the world. It was hard and continues to evolve.

    I would get books that teach you how to be snarky, be able to verbally spar (stick up for yourself). If you want direct observations just listen to bartenders, waitresses and yourself...I can laugh at myself (in front of others too) in a heart beat and not think anything about it. My most recent one was getting staff to submit get well cards for Susie but her real name was Shelia. I had the S right and sent out a new email with their correct name. Was it embarrassing to me no because I just made a mistake which I corrected and went on my day. No big deal.

    If you are having this much emotional issues I would get myself a check up for there maybe something medical you do not know about.

    How I respond to people who are willing to say something to me:
    Like the wrong name I had... some one said you should check your email before and make sure you have the correct name, you do not care about staff. I responded (Thank you for your input, I did have the wrong name and I will try better when I am in a hurry. I think I can delegate more and would like you to be in charge of the celebration/support cards for the next quarter, I thank you in advance for your help...Go Team work!)...Oh my thank you for caring about me that way, Thank you for taking the time to point that out any suggestions to help me get better? How about we connect weekly so I can bounce some suggestions off you...Be nice that was rude what you just said to me...You know you have said that several times to me there are things you do that I do not really think work well but I do not correct you lets be positive for each other...Oh (place the name) be nice...There are many more things you can say to a co-worker, I find when I start saying things like this back people have a much better attitude towards me and will generally leave me alone as long as I am doing my job well.

    Lastly do not let your mental health disability take charge of your life you take charge of your mental health. Everyone has issues it is how you deal with them...I know coming from the toxic family I came from. Embrace your mental health such as it is, improve yourself, change the way you respond to things, have self edit thoughts before you speak (this was hard for me and I know our presidential leader currently has none---made you smile).

    Good luck if you really want to stay in healthcare do it.
  14. by   winniewoman9060
    I admire you. You can find a home in nursing. Per Diem may be the way for a while. Stay in counseling. If you're on meds, you may need a change. Your not at the best you can be. Hang in there. Keep up posted on your progress.

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