Frustrated and Lost

  1. I am 26 years old and have wanted to be a nurse since I was at least 10 years old. I always pictured myself caring for and nurturing sick people back to health. I finished my RN in May of 2016 and will soon be finishing my BSN. I started as a CNA then LPN in a nursing home then moved to a critical access hospital as an RN and recently moved to the regional hospital on the cardiac step-down unit.
    I am struggling. I feel myself quickly falling out of love with the profession and I can see my dream dying. My best is never enough. The next shift always wants something more, doctors are disrespectful, patients are rude and demanding constantly, all the while more and more work and charting expectations are being pushed on us each day. I am disappointed to think I will soon have a degree in a skill that I no longer feel passionately about. And I am devastated by the thought of leaving the only thing I have ever wanted to do.
    Sometimes I think that maybe I am just working in a bad hospital (it is magnet status but still doesn't take very good care of staff) or maybe it is just the population in the area. I still have hope of things getting better and don't want to leave floor nursing yet. Is this what nursing has become everywhere? How do I find the right fit for me? If I'm in a bad hospital, how do I find a good one? If I'm burned out this early in my career should I be doing something else? What else could I do with my BSN?
  2. Visit Genafaggion profile page

    About Genafaggion

    Joined: Dec '17; Posts: 1

    10 Comments

  3. by   brownbook
    Are you married or in a serious relationship, have children, are you paying off a car or student debt, do you own a home? Theses are all big factors in how much leeway you have to explore new options.

    There are so many options open to you. Try floating within your current hospital to see how other units function or simply transfer to another unit. Apply at other local hospitals. Look under the Nursing Specialists tab in Allnurses at different areas of nursing. Look through help wanted listings. Look into travel nursing. Take a year off and travel/volunteer for low income health clinic, etc., etc., etc., etc.
  4. by   caliotter3
    Don't overlook the regenerating effects of a good vacation. A good vacation, not just a day or two here and there. And the day or two, here and there respite can help a lot too. On those days off, get a lot of rest and find something interesting to do to take your mind off your job.
  5. by   anewsns
    I think if you put all this pressure on nursing being "your dream" and idolizing things can make it difficult, because then you'll always wonder what you should have done, when truly nothing is ideal. My dream is to be an artist , musician, writer, but the no pay, criticized, business aspect would have killed me. So now I've found that a nursing career is a great fit, I can find dreams within it, and follow my passions on the side. You have enough experience and education now to step back and take a broad view, decide if you'd like to move out of bedside, think about your strengths and weaknesses and decide on what can be the wholest package for you.
  6. by   Nurse Beth
    Quote from Genafaggion
    I am 26 years old and have wanted to be a nurse since I was at least 10 years old. I always pictured myself caring for and nurturing sick people back to health. I finished my RN in May of 2016 and will soon be finishing my BSN. I started as a CNA then LPN in a nursing home then moved to a critical access hospital as an RN and recently moved to the regional hospital on the cardiac step-down unit.
    I am struggling. I feel myself quickly falling out of love with the profession and I can see my dream dying. My best is never enough. The next shift always wants something more, doctors are disrespectful, patients are rude and demanding constantly, all the while more and more work and charting expectations are being pushed on us each day. I am disappointed to think I will soon have a degree in a skill that I no longer feel passionately about. And I am devastated by the thought of leaving the only thing I have ever wanted to do.
    Sometimes I think that maybe I am just working in a bad hospital (it is magnet status but still doesn't take very good care of staff) or maybe it is just the population in the area. I still have hope of things getting better and don't want to leave floor nursing yet. Is this what nursing has become everywhere? How do I find the right fit for me? If I'm in a bad hospital, how do I find a good one? If I'm burned out this early in my career should I be doing something else? What else could I do with my BSN?
    Is it possible you're in Reality Shock? One way out is to quit, yes. Another way is to reconcile the good with the bad and re-frame. There are so many options in nursing and with your BSN there are many opportunities for you.
  7. by   GaryRay
    I know how you feel, I've had some really big career set backs over the last year. I know they say nurses eat their young but I feel like I got that backward. When I was a new grad and early in my career everyone was wonderful, the more experience I have gotten, education I've finished, and seniority and involvement i've gained seems to have put a target on my back. No matter how much of a low profile I try to keep I am constantly being ridiculed or accused of something. I had to defend myself against drug diverting because someone said they saw me carrying an oral syringe of po tylenol, my locker and belongings were searched like they expected to find a morphine stash. Then they just told me to go back to work like I should be relieved they didn't find anything.

    Add that to the common acceptance that it is somehow OK to be rude when you are sick, families having unrealistic expectations, physicians thinking I carry a magic wand to work, never having coverage for breaks, having to sneak granola bars into the nurses station so I don't pass out, and managers who don't bother to give positive feedback for that med error you caught last week and instead send you a nastygram about clocking in 3 min too early yesterday.... I didn't want to be a nurse anymore.

    What I realized is I just don't want to be this kind of nurse anymore, I'm starting soon with a telehealth job through an insurance company. It's not my dream but it will pay the bills and give me a break while I take my time and find a different specialty. Just because you started somewhere right out of school doesn't mean you have to stay there.

    And you can always go to grad school, for just about any science, or health related field with a BSN.
  8. by   SpankedInPittsburgh
    Yeah. Nursing is a tough job. I think the reality of what we face everyday and idealized notions of what nurses should be are two vastly different things. Many of these issues we bring on ourselves. I believe that nurse do eat their young and old. Many nurses are hypercritical of one another and often the backbiting is way, way over the top. The ones that are good at this nonsense are often the ones who get promoted into management. So what's to be done about all this??? Realistic expectations help and boundaries. Many nurses are going to be miserable. They like it. Ripping others down gives them some sort of sick self-esteem. Accept that. Many patients are simply ignorant jack-asses who happen to be sick at the moment & they will continue to pursue their jackassery to the grave I'm sure. Accept that. What you don't have to accept is being treated like garbage. If some nurse steps out of line with you call him / her on it immediately. Bullies like low-hanging fruit and picking on people who will accept abuse. Don't be one of those nurses who gets abused and doesn't fight back but then wants to whine about it. Martyrs were cool in the Bible but just about everywhere else they are just pathetic creatures. If you work in a place so steeped in these traditions that you cannot accept find a new place to work. For me nursing is first and foremost a profession that allows me to pay the bills. I'm a good nurse who always strives to help my patients & colleagues but dining on fecal matter is definitely not something I'm taking part in. I go to work put in a good shift and they give me a check every two weeks. Its a job not a life
  9. by   Kooky Korky
    Have you ever thought about being a missionary nurse? Or working with the US Public Health Service so that you could work with perhaps an underserved/minority group of patients?

    Nursing in the US has, so regrettably, become hellish. Nurses are expected to do massive amounts of work in a finite amount of time and it is so often just too much work for the amount of time. It is nearly impossible to please one's employer and also give excellent Nursing care. There are just too many paperwork/computer requirements, too many tasks to document, too little time for hands-on person -to-person basic care.

    It's not you. It's the meat grinder reality of many places of employment in your beloved profession.

    Have you ever thought of teaching? Cruise ship nursing? Public/Community Health Nursing?
  10. by   Oldmahubbard
    It seems things haven't change that much since I went to school back in the dark ages. Everyone wanted to work in the ICU, or some other highly technical specialty unit after graduation. Those units were the pinnacle of "nursing". All other jobs were thought to be inferior. They weren't real nursing.

    It didn't take long for me to realize hospital work was not for me. Stress level way, way over the top, plus a large dose of back stabbing. I entered the "inferior" world of home health and then psychiatric nursing and have been relatively content all these years.

    Just a thought. A vacation might be good as well.
  11. by   kbrn2002
    Sorry for the rude reality check you got. Sadly some work environments are exactly like you describe. Fortunately not all are. You might be happier transferring to another floor, finding a similar job at a different hospital or looking for work in a different are of nursing altogether. You don't have to work in a high stress hospital job to be a nurse and your BSN can open doors to a lot of other opportunities you might not have even considered before. Do some research into what specialties or settings you might like more and throw some applications out there.
  12. by   Knotanoonurse
    I think you may or may not be in a setting that doesn't suit. It isn't a perfect job. No job is. If there is cliquisness, bullying, and excessive gossip, or significant patient safety issues, then I'd say get out. Step back. Maybe make a list of the good and bad. Talk to other honest people you went to school with and see where they are at. I say honest because some people's truth only involves them being second in rank to Jesus Christ. Nursing is tough, but often can be unkind. Also try to look at others' practices. Did the same person who complains that Mr. A didn't get a bath because he was visiting with his son, not give Mrs B's meds last pm because she was on the phone? Some people need a mirror. You can gently smile and say, "I am sorry Mr A did not get his bath. He had a visitor. It was like yesterday when I had to give Mrs B's meds for you because she was on the phone." You need to work on being efficient, but you don't need to take jabs for things that are a non-issue. Some people snipe about everything. It is fine to give constructive criticism, but not to be nasty. Unfortunately some nurses are free with little barbs, but not with compliments or recognising improvements. Learn from this and be a kinder person. Nursing is hard work. It is impossible to be perfect. If your situation is really bad, leave. However, if you take a step back and it is a lot of little stuff, then stick up for yourself. Learn your lesson so that when you are the experienced person you will share more than criticism.
    Last edit by Knotanoonurse on Jan 6

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