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Nursing and loneliness

Nurses   (344 Views | 7 Replies)

mermer_rn has 6 years experience as a BSN and specializes in IBCLC, Postpartum, Med-Surg Tele.

732 Profile Views; 19 Posts

I haven't seen a topic specifically addressing the loneliness that being a nurse can bring.  I am a military spouse and therefore move around more frequently than the average person may.  I have always found friends in my coworkers or neighbors, with the exception so far of this last move.   The unit is a bit toxic, with a handful of nurses who have worked their for YEARS and are friends, but don't seem to have get togethers (at least not any I'm told about) and a handful of newer nurses who do their job and get the heck out of their and are just waiting to get another job somewhere else.  I work weekends only, due to childcare issues, and my husband works during the week and is off weekends.  So, as of now, my only "social" interaction is at work and at home with a toddler...I'm so tired after working my long shifts and taking care of daily things that I don't make much time to go out and find those who are not nurses don't understand. This feels extremely lonely and I'm not sure if it's my schedule, my job in general, the culture of this new state, all of it, or something else.  Anyone else feel that being a nurse makes them vulnerable to loneliness? 

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RNperdiem has 14 years experience as a RN.

1 Follower; 4,269 Posts; 29,956 Profile Views

You have all the risk factors for loneliness. You have a small child, work opposite shifts from your spouse, work weekends when most other people get together, and have moved to a new state.

It's not just one thing. When my son was a toddler, I did find one friend with a child the same age. It helped the loneliness for a few years and then she went back to her 9-5 weekday job. I worked weekends too.

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Davey Do has 41 years experience and specializes in Psych, CD, HH, Admin, LTC, OR, ER, Med Surge.

17 Followers; 1 Article; 6,702 Posts; 83,149 Profile Views

Sorry to hear about your feelings of loneliness, mermer_rn. Camaraderie and companionship are important in feeling secure and as a part of the community. To be able to identify with another and share our feelings and perspectives is important in dealing with the stress of our work.

Putting out feelers at work may be just one way of hooking a companion- just someone to chat with and provide companionship. In the meantime, the community of allnurses can meet some of those needs.

After being a member here for nearly a decade, I took a hiatus from allnurses and focused my energies on a community of artists. Although my need for sharing like interests was fulfilled, the area of my interest in nursing was not fulfilled as it once had been when I was an active member.

I am fortunate, in returning to allnurses, that my wife is a medical nurse, I have friends who are coworkers and I keep our relationships at work, for solitude is my most favorable companion.

Our needs can be met in alternative ways if we can get Zen about it and allow possibilities to come into our lives by finding us.

Good luck and the best to you, mermer_rn!

 

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mermer_rn has 6 years experience as a BSN and specializes in IBCLC, Postpartum, Med-Surg Tele.

19 Posts; 732 Profile Views

On 2/12/2020 at 6:58 PM, RNperdiem said:

You have all the risk factors for loneliness. You have a small child, work opposite shifts from your spouse, work weekends when most other people get together, and have moved to a new state.

It's not just one thing. When my son was a toddler, I did find one friend with a child the same age. It helped the loneliness for a few years and then she went back to her 9-5 weekday job. I worked weekends too.

Very true...I guess I didn't think about all the factors I have at this time in my life.  I need to put myself out there a bit more I think.  

 

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TheLastUnicorn has 4 years experience and specializes in Critical Care, ICU, Rehab.

38 Posts; 116 Profile Views

My suggestion would be that... if no one has get together's (I'm way to introverted for that, but if you're into it, go you!), start them. Just note that, the people you work with might not be interested in that. Work friends are one thing, but my work friends are just that. Work friends. 

Fitting in on units is hard. Making new friends is hard for adults too. I am... well, like I said, introvert, and I work pool so I have no home unit. I float all over and I love it because I don't have to get into all that unit drama. When I was on a unit, it was hard to fit in. Especially as a new nurse. The way I found best was to simple as help everyone. I have some down time, anyone need anything. I was walking by and heard you need XYZ, I'm heading that way I will grab it.  Anyone want coffee I am heading downstairs? Depending on your facility layout, sit with everyone at the nurses station. Also... depending on the time you've been there, maybe people are just slow to warm up. However, you said you're only there on weekends.

So you have 4/5 days a week you are able to go out into your community. Go to a park, go to a local gym that has child watch, go to a YMCA or similar place that may have mommy groups or clubs you can join. Like you said... put yourself out there. Also, have you shared this with your husband? Perhaps he has made some buddies that have spouses or others and you two can arrange a sitter and a night out. Or just get a sitter and have an adult night out. 

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mermer_rn has 6 years experience as a BSN and specializes in IBCLC, Postpartum, Med-Surg Tele.

19 Posts; 732 Profile Views

39 minutes ago, TheLastUnicorn said:

My suggestion would be that... if no one has get together's (I'm way to introverted for that, but if you're into it, go you!), start them. Just note that, the people you work with might not be interested in that. Work friends are one thing, but my work friends are just that. Work friends. 

Fitting in on units is hard. Making new friends is hard for adults too. I am... well, like I said, introvert, and I work pool so I have no home unit. I float all over and I love it because I don't have to get into all that unit drama. When I was on a unit, it was hard to fit in. Especially as a new nurse. The way I found best was to simple as help everyone. I have some down time, anyone need anything. I was walking by and heard you need XYZ, I'm heading that way I will grab it.  Anyone want coffee I am heading downstairs? Depending on your facility layout, sit with everyone at the nurses station. Also... depending on the time you've been there, maybe people are just slow to warm up. However, you said you're only there on weekends.

So you have 4/5 days a week you are able to go out into your community. Go to a park, go to a local gym that has child watch, go to a YMCA or similar place that may have mommy groups or clubs you can join. Like you said... put yourself out there. Also, have you shared this with your husband? Perhaps he has made some buddies that have spouses or others and you two can arrange a sitter and a night out. Or just get a sitter and have an adult night out. 

I'm pretty introverted, which I'm sure is another factor adding to loneliness at this time...but I know I need people in my tribe, so I'm going to make an effort to put myself out there more.  I need to think of a way to have a get together.

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TriciaJ has 39 years experience as a RN and specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory.

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On 2/12/2020 at 2:22 PM, mermer_rn said:

  Anyone else feel that being a nurse makes them vulnerable to loneliness? 

Yes.  I do believe that.  For the first 10 years of my career I worked rotating shifts with variable days off.  Even if you manage to make friends with some of you coworkers, good luck being off at the same time.  And forget making non-nurse friends.

Working regular shifts helped somewhat, but the every-other-weekend policies still kiboshed a lot of social interaction.  Since you have a little one - is there a play group or anything you take your child to on a regular basis?  The repetitive contact with a fairly consistent group of people should eventually pave the way for some friendship, although working weekends may preclude attending many events.

I guess the best I can offer you is affirmation that no, it's not you.  Your circumstances definitely will create loneliness.  Good luck.

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ruby_jane has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ICU/community health/school nursing.

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11 hours ago, TheLastUnicorn said:

 

So you have 4/5 days a week you are able to go out into your community. Go to a park, go to a local gym that has child watch, go to a YMCA or similar place that may have mommy groups or clubs you can join. Like you said... put yourself out there. Also, have you shared this with your husband? Perhaps he has made some buddies that have spouses or others and you two can arrange a sitter and a night out. Or just get a sitter and have an adult night out. 

^That^

You may have to force yourself up and out of the tiredness that comes with 12s but the gym suggestion is golden. I loved our old YMCA. Mommy (or Daddy) and me swim classess on weekends, play groups, and child care for an hour-long workout.

Although I *have* been lucky enough to have a few nursing jobs where there was a good friendship or two....I would say I would rather have competent acquaintances at work and search for friends on the outside.  

Best of luck.

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