I.HATE. My. Job

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    I hate my job.
    I've been working as a theatre nurse for 3 years now. In the first 9
    months, I loved it, noticed the negatives but chose to accept that nothing is perfect.

    After working for 1.5 years in theatre at the same hospital, I started feeling miserable, couldn't sleep, got sick of the ********** and politics, was stuck in one specialty and decided I needed to try a new workplace. I found a new workplace, and for the first 2 months, I loved it. Then started noticing the toxic work environment - everyone there is miserable and rude/condescending. The turnover for staff at this hospital is horrendous! I decided to stick it out for 1 year. I got what I wanted - to learn new specialties.

    But every day at work I feel as though I'm not interested in learning new surgery anymore, and I feel anxious and nausea whenever I'm there. The job is tiring, having to deal with nasty nurses and doctors. I feel burnt out, and I have just come back from 3 months away on holiday. I am dreading going back to work there.
    I am thinking to stick it out for longer while I wait for a job opportunity to arise in a department other than theatre. But I honestly feel like I hate nursing all together.

    Has anyone else felt this way? What did you do about it? How do you cope with this or go about change?

    I hate feeling miserable and anxious all the time, I hate feeling so unhappy. I just want to be happy again but I just can't seem to think of another path that I am interested in. I have never been as happy as I was when I was traveling for the last 3 months, but now I am back to reality and feel miserable 24/7 and can't sleep.

    Dear Hate My Job,

    Any time you start a new role you will go through the phases of shock and recovery. While there is overlap in the stages, typically you go through a Honeymoon Phase, a Reality and Shock Phase, and a Recovery Phase. You can get stuck in the Reality and Shock Phase, however.

    Honeymoon Phase

    The Honeymoon Phase is when you apply for a job, anxiously interview for a job, then land the job. You love everything about your new job and have on rose-colored glasses. You see your co-workers as wonderful, your work setting as perfect. Everything is great and your resilience is high.

    With your fresh enthusiasm, it's the perfect time to learn new things, meet new colleagues, and establish relationships.

    Reality and Shock Phase

    The Reality and Shock Phase is when reality sets in. Now you begin to notice that some people are unkind, nursing practice isn't as it should be, the equipment is old, and the boss has favorites.You go from "Everything is great!" to "Everything is awful!" These are both extremes and not sustainable.

    It's a time of disillusionment and even despair. Nurses that get stuck in this phase either quit or remain disgruntled employees.

    Recovery Phase

    The Recovery Phase is when you are able to successfully resolve the conflict between the ideals of your nursing practice and work setting with the realities of your job. It's when new nurses adjust to the fact that they don't have thirty minutes per patient to conduct an assessment, and experienced nurses learn that the new job has problems... just like the old job.

    Resolution requires accepting the reality while holding onto your values. So basically, re-framing your thinking. At your first job you chose to accept that nothing is perfect when you noticed the negatives. At my job, sometimes I have to remind myself that I have benefits and get to work inside and not outside in the heat or the cold. It puts things in perspective and cultivates a sense of gratitude.

    Adjusting successfully means abandoning all or nothing thinking- "I hate nursing altogether". Beware black and white thinking, as in "everyone is rude/condescending". A return of your sense of humor is often a sign that you've successfully navigated the Recovery Phase.

    Unhappiness is Complex

    It's possible there is more than one cause for how you are feeling.

    You are experiencing some extreme symptoms including anxiety, nausea, insomnia. I would recommend seeing your provider to see if you are having any depression that could be treated. When you are depressed, it's very hard to deal with life in general and work-related stress.

    When you have insomnia, it's impossible to be resilient. Consider seeing a counselor. Hopefully your employer offers anonymous employee assistance counseling so you could talk over your concerns freely with a counselor.

    The theatre (OR) may not be for you, and a switch to a different unit may help, or at least give you a chance to re-boot. You may still carry some of the unhappiness within you because the problem is more you than your surroundings. All we can ever really control is ourselves.

    I really hope you are able to feel better soon.

    Best wishes,

    Nurse Beth

    Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!
    Last edit by tnbutterfly on Oct 19, '17
  2. Visit Nurse Beth profile page

    About Nurse Beth, MSN, RN

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 1,538; Likes: 4,553
    Nursing Professional Development Specialist; from CA , US
    Specialty: Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho


  3. by   phill_rn
    I feel your pain OP.. Nursing is a toxic environment sadly. I chose to travel so i know no matter how awful it gets, there's a light at the end of the tunnel. If you can travel, go. Check out gypsy nurse on fb for inspiration.
  4. by   AuntieEmNurse
    I definitely think Per Diem or Travel positions are a good option for you. I, too, am getting burned out and do not have a love for the environment in which I work. I love the care aspect, but not the politics.
  5. by   Froggybelly
    I enjoy most of the people I work with, but sometimes, the stressful environment or a few toxic people wear on a person. The OR is also particularly wearing because we are frequently there 4-5 days per week, as opposed to 3. At the end of the week, you feel like you live in the OR. If part time is an option for you, try that. You may be happier.
  6. by   retirednotdead
    Dear I hate my job.

    Perhaps a change of specialty might help you. You currently work in a high stress area with a limited number of co-workers and your patients are usually asleep. If you go into direct care you might still have unpleasant co-workers and things might still be imperfect, but you also have more people for interactions. Wider interaction may be as good as your vacation. You might also consider travel nursing, psych, or home health. I would not recommend emergency services. Wow, three months vacation after just a few years? Many of us had to work years to get just 3-4 weeks, but it took me much longer to reach your level of burnout.

    I wish you luck and hope you make choices that are good for you.
    Last edit by tnbutterfly on Nov 4, '17
  7. by   rachelak1234
    Another answer to an advice-seeker that brushes aside her very legitimate concerns with a bunch of nonsense. This person has clearly been in a couple of abusive, toxic environments. Only in nursing is it expected that she tolerate this kind of absolutely unacceptable behavior by co-workers and managers. DO NOT accept this kind of abusive treatment. Don't EVER begin to think that this is normal in any way - it is not. YOU are the sane one in that you SEE what is happening. Unfortunately, these kinds of bullying, psychologically violent environments are prevalent in nursing. But! The more people who refuse to tolerate it, the better chance it will change. It is the nurses who STAY in these places who are mentally unstable. Whether it be the nurse who participates or initiates these vicious behaviors, a bystandard who turns the other cheek, or someone barely hanging on by her fingernails, EVERYONE in this work environment is impacted negatively one way or another - whether they realize it or not. These incredibly stressful work places are the direct cause of several serious psychological and physical illnesses; for instance, PTSD, major depression, anxiety disorders, stress-induced heart problems - I could go on and on. Thousands of suicides are the direct result of these wretched places. Get out and don't look back.