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Nursing anxiety

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by Nursepierogi Nursepierogi (New Member) New Member Nurse

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I’ve been a nurse for about 3.5 years now and everyday I’ve struggled with anxiety. I never had anxiety in nursing school or any form of my life. But for some reason when I officially became a nurse and started my new job on a cardiac step down unit, I developed raging anxiety, so bad I had panic attacks at work and called off numerous times even in the middle of shifts. Im still at the same position. I left for a little, came back bec the new job in a Nicu was more stressful, and kinda screwed myself by having to restart my time over on the step down unit. I love the people I work with, which brought me back to a place I hate, but now they are starting to leave and look for new jobs and I’m terrified of being stuck here alone again. Sometimes the jobs really not that bad. Some nights are ok and better than others, usually when I’m with my friends. But I think it’s the feeling of having this impending doom that something bad is going to happen and giving me this debilitating anxiety has made me hate this job even more and even nursing all together. I dread coming to work and Some days it’s so bad I feel like this job may kill me, or my mental health. I’m tired of crying over nothing. Im at a stressful time in my life right now with getting married in three months, but the past couple months I’ve been struggling to come to work. I will not allow my mental health to dwindle for a dumb job. I will not go back to the poor mental health state I was in two years ago, it was so bad I cried every day and it always seemed there was no end in site. I guess I’m asking for advice and seeing if anyone else suffers with this kind of work related anxiety. Will I always feel this way in this career? Or is it just bec this job is too stressful and I need something slower paced? Thanks for listening. 

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TAKOO01 has 3 years experience as a BSN.

150 Posts; 2,737 Profile Views

Versions of stories similar to your own have been posted many times by others. Some people will advise counseling and anxiety meds. My perspective is: if i need drugs or talk therapy just to get through my job, its 100% not worth it. You have nothing to prove to anyone. Leaving this job won't make you a bad nurse or a failure. Try other nursing jobs. Walk away.

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110 Posts; 954 Profile Views

Many nurses take meds and I also refuse to do this just for a job. You may just have lifelong anxiety being a nurse.  I know I do. Even supposedly low key jobs have some nursing element to them that is terrifying -like transporting sick people, or being the designated AED user, or whatever. 

Working only two 12's helps tremendously, but otherwise just know you are not alone. I have no idea how people do this job without anxiety.  People arent meant to see blood, and people in distress all day long. It is stressful on a very visceral level for me.  

Hang in there!

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VivaLasViejas has 20 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

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20 hours ago, TAKOO01 said:

Versions of stories similar to your own have been posted many times by others. Some people will advise counseling and anxiety meds. My perspective is: if i need drugs or talk therapy just to get through my job, its 100% not worth it. You have nothing to prove to anyone. Leaving this job won't make you a bad nurse or a failure. Try other nursing jobs. Walk away.

This. ^^

There is no need to stick with this job. You've worked hard and done your best, but it's chewing you up and spitting you out now. Nursing has so many varieties that you could conceivably try a new specialty every year and still not have experienced them all by the time you retire. It's time to polish up your resume and think about trying some other area of nursing than NICU or stepdown. If the hospital is too stressful, there are many, many opportunities out there such as clinic nursing, assisted living, home health, hospice, psych, and many more.

In the meantime, don't look at "taking pills" as necessarily a bad thing. Meds and therapy can be very helpful in taking the edge off anxiety, and it sounds like they might be the short-term answer. At the very least, you may want to use the EAP at your workplace (I'm assuming you have one) to help you sort things out. 

Best of luck to you. I hope for good things in your future. And congratulations on your upcoming marriage!

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