Hey nursing community,
I’m a new grad from a great ADN program in a town full of hospitals that only hire BSN nurses. I’m well on my way to completing my BSN by next summer, but right now I’m really struggling in my new job.
My practicum for school had me placed in a jail given there happen to be very limited positions elsewhere at this time. They loved me and had no hesitation to hire me on full time when I passed the NCLEX this summer. I’ve been there for just over two months, and I’m finding myself in a deep pit of despair, but not in the way you might think.
I love working with people on the margins. I really enjoy caring for my patients in the jail. I like the work, and I am good at it. I am catching on quickly, and my assessment skills are really being sharpened as I have a lot more autonomy in this job than most other places might. It’s busy, and it’s mostly fulfilling.
The work culture, on the other hand, is really hard. I find some of nurses there to be really hard to work with. People are mostly negative, speaking of the patients like they are trash, all very jaded. We are constantly short-staffed, so mandatory overtime has been in place since I began. Not to mention, people gossip about one another, even the supervisor shares other people’s business with nurses, which makes me feel uncomfortable. Additionally, my schedule has me working overtime every week by nature before picking up mandatory shifts. I am supposed to work three 8’s and one 12. The 8’s are really 10 or more hour shifts that leave me going home in the middle of the night, and the 12 hour shift is a day shift that has my sleep schedule really wonkey. I’d rather have traditional 12s where I could build some normalcy into my schedule and have some more days off.
The pay is exceptional, but I’m worried I am going to find myself stuck. It’s not the normal kind of new-nurse-first-job stress. I am beat down and feel soul-sucked by the job. I spontaneously cry on any given day. I am depressed, I don’t want to do any of the things that normally give me joy (not that I have the time or energy to right now anyway on top of full time online BSN classes). I’m not home three evenings a week to spend with my husband. Sometimes four days go by where I don’t get to see him at all.
I am only two months in and feel despair thinking about how little time I have actually covered in this workplace. I wonder how deeply depressed I will become with more time spent here, and if any other job will even want me after working in corrections. I think it’s a place where I get to utilize many skills and hone in on time management and assessment in a big way, but will other places who don’t know that look at my only experience as a correctional nurse and write me off? I want to find a new job that will not spiral me into depression, because if my life feels like crap because of my work what’s the point? But how can I do that with only two months of experience?
Feeling stuck, sad, and hopeless. Every day I drive to work and wish that a car would hit me so that I wouldn't have to go. Yes, it’s that deep.
I love working with people in the margins, or people in really difficult times in their life. I have loved working with my dying patients in clinical rotations, I love my jail clients, and I think I have a large capacity to deal with really difficult and sad situations. I have the ability to compartmentalize those things and leave them at work. My capacity for workplace bullying, no boundaries or respect for outside life, and constant negativity however, is really low.
I am not even sure what kind of help I am asking for. I just need help!
(I have tried to update my resume several times to send out to new jobs. I kid you not, every single time I do this my computer dies. The last time I was ready to send off resume and cover letter, my computer died again, and now it’s in the repair shop, and that job is no longer open. Wah!)