I'm an inpatient oncology RN working in NYC and just had my one-year anniversary in December (first nursing job). I love oncology, I love my patients (well...most of the time, anyway :p), and I love almost all of the RN's and PCA's I work with. However, over the past several weeks I have grown increasingly worn out and truly dread walking into work. I have so much anxiety now about how short-staffed we will be (repeated staff "high-risk" exposures leading to two-week quarantines have left those of us picking up the slack exhausted and often having to work 24-hour shifts).
I'm an anxious person by nature, but it has been so much worse lately to the point where it's hard for me to even find the bright spots during a shift or for me to find that "why I'm doing this" feeling that can usually carry me through.
I feel that I still have so much to learn working bedside, but so many of my coworkers are leaving and it's making me feel like I want to do the same as things just seem to be getting worse and worse and more responsibilities dumped on us to the point that I feel like my license, and worse, my patients' safety, are all in jeopardy because of unsafe ratios and new policies like not allowing patients to be on a one-to-one unless they are suicidal (not that we often have one-to-ones, but delusional/non-redirectable patients can't be managed by a camera especially when half the time the camera operators don't even alert us when something is happening, and Q20min checks are just unrealistic for one person to keep up with all day while still trying to take care of the rest of their patients).
I feel like if I leave the bedside now, I won't ever come back, and so I am hesitant to do so and miss out on increasing my knowledge and skills when I'm a still relatively new nurse. I also feel awful when I look at the nurses who have been working bedside for like 30 years and think to myself that I can't even make it to two years before needing a break. But I can't even enjoy my free time anymore; I'm either exhausted from work and sleeping it off or spending the day dreading going back and seeing what kind of nightmare awaits me.
I am currently in counseling (not specifically because of this, just for general depression/anxiety), just as an FYI if anyone wanted to suggest that.
I don't even really know what I'm asking here but I guess I am wondering what people's thoughts are and whether it would be a mistake for me to leave the bedside now, so early in my career, just because I am feeling stressed? Just to reiterate, I *do* enjoy being a bedside nurse, it's just that this whole year has been so hard with COVID and getting inappropriate-for-our-floor admissions and policy changes that throw more work on the nurses and staffing shortages etc. etc. etc... I know many of these problems are just the realities of working inpatient but I feel like I'm at my wits end here.
Any advice would be so appreciated! Thanks for reading.