[help] Divided between staying or leaving unit

  1. Hi there,

    I'm a new grad BSN and I've been orienting for almost 13 weeks now in a critical care program at my local county hospital. I've been working on a busy stepdown/tele floor and honestly the whole experience has been SUPEr challenging for me.

    I wanted to start out somewhere less acute like Med-Surg but there were no openings at the time. In any case, the floor I'm currently at has some great staff who are very supportive and the atmosphere is generally good because we're a teaching hospital. HOWEVER, even though I thought I wanted to work on this floor it's becoming very hard to handle and very overwhelming.

    I know I"m new and the learning curve is high for new grads but I feel like my anxiety is even greater than normal. For awhile I got really depressed thinking I couldn't do nursing AT ALL but then I realized I was mentally throwing the "baby out with the bath water". I then realized that maybe that floor is just too much for me and perhaps I should try to transfer somwhere else.

    I feel kind of bad that the hospital has used a lot of resources to train me but at the same time, I know that if if my health is really being affected by the unit then maybe I shouldn't be there. Maybe I was too idealistic as a new grad and CLEARLY naiive and inexperienced. However, I feel like maybe it's supposed to be this hard and i'm getting great experience and maybe I should just stick things out and it will be OK. I'm SO back and forth on this that I don't know. I just know that I have 3 more weeks of orientation and then I have to make a decision alongside the manager and nurse educators.

    It really stresses me out because some days I'm on the unit and I feel like I can handle things and then on other days I feel like there's no way. However, I realize that the main thing is patient safety and of course, my health and safety. If my response to the stress/anxiety clouds my ability to carry out good nursing that's a red flag and as uncomfortable as it is, I may just have to move on.

    I just needed to get that off my mind; I don't know what to do but I do have some idea of what MIGHT be best. Goodness, perhaps any of you have gone through this and can offer some insight and words of wisdom?
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    Joined: Feb '05; Posts: 67; Likes: 3


  3. by   jamonit
    i was faced with this situation exactly. i tried to work it out with my educator and my preceptors. i felt like i was trying to learn in a pressure cooker and it was too much. i quit my job in critical care, for my safety and for my patient's safety...i just wasn't ready. i start monday as a new grad at a different hospital on a tele floor. it's lower acuity and i realized that i needed to step back and learn the basics.

    there are so many jobs out there, it only took 3 days before i got my next one. just know that you don't have to feel like this, as a nurse we have so many options. what would be worse, quitting and finding a place where you feel you can grapse all the stuff a new grad needs to master or hurting someone and the guilt that would follow?

    i found out of our new grad group, 3 of us have quit thus far...i think that is a strong statement for management to have to face.
  4. by   azzurra29

    THanks for sharing. It's nice to hear from someone who has gone through similar experiences. I'm going to stick out my orientation and see how things go.
  5. by   llg
    It sounds to me as if you are doing a good job of thinking this situation through. You seem to be asking yourself all of the right questions. To me, that's a sign that you have a good head on your shoulders and that if you take a deep breath and give it a little time, you will come up with a plan that is right for you.

    Here are a few comments and questions to help continue your thinking:

    1. Is there anyone at work who can give you honest feedback about your performance? If you are really performing well, then maybe you just need a little time to feel comfortable with the added responsibility. If you are really struggling to perform up to the level usually seen in new grads, then perhaps it IS truly a bad fit and not just "normal insecurity."

    2. Have you talked to your preceptor/unit educator/etc. about this at all? How did she react? Supportive environments are hard to find and I would hate to see you leave an environment in which you are actually performing well and in which you have supportive colleagues who are willing and able to help you.

    3. Perhaps most important ...How do you feel about the work itself? Do you really enjoy that type of nursing and hope to work on that type of unit in the long run? Or do you not like that type of nursing and are just doing it because you thought you needed a year or two of that type of experience before following your heart's true desire? If you really don't like it, it's probably best to leave. If you really like it and want to be that type of nurse, it's probably best to give it a little more time and use the support of your colleagues to help you grow.

    4. Does your unit often hire new grads? Are they accustomed to dealing with concerns such as yours? Are their expectations realistic? Do other new grads on that unit have similar concerns?

    5. What are your other options? Do they appeal to you? If they appeal to you ... is it because they are truly "better" than your current unit, or are they appealing to you because they represent a route away from your current source of stress? I'm sure those other options will come with their fair share of stress, too. We all need to choose the type of stress we are willing to live with. Is the grass really greener? ... or does it just look greener from where you are because you want to escape the stress you currently feel?

    I'm sure other people will add good ideas to this thread.

    Take care.
  6. by   jamonit
    llg spelled it out so well above.

    in my situation, i didn't feel like there was support, i felt i was in over my head, and i didn't really believe that it was a good fit for me. i made it through 2 months of grueling orientation and it was then that i needed to make my exit.

    it sounds to me like you are going through all the normal thoughts when considering your position in the unit.

    just make sure you aren't feeling stuck and sticking it out for the wrong reasons. when i began crying my whole way home after my shifts and dreaded the drive in the mornings (because i thought i would throw up--i was so nervous) i realized my mental health and physical wellbeing meant more to me than staying in that place.

    i feel so much more free. i don't feel like i was trying to get out for the wrong reasons, as lame as it sounds, i feel like i followed my heart and made a difficult decision.