This is a VERY long post sorry
Ok so i completed my degree at the end of 2007. I did my graduate year at a small private hospital in 08 and i hated it. They say you either sink or swim and I was well and truly drowning. For some reason they would just pick on me and stuff and they'd say theyd give me support but never did. Moved wards and it was better till i got pulled to a meeting and they asked what was going on, and i said about my sister's suicide attempt etc and they didnt say anything after that. I asked what they wanted to say but they said it was all good. After christmas I got a letter saying that coz i hadnt improved, despite 'excellent clinical support' (BULL!!!) they werent going to employ me any longer than my graduate year.
that affected my next job naturally as i have no idea what i did wrong and so my confidence is like little. Our ward is very acute, with trachies, flaps, eye drops etc etc. Its a steep learning curve from the private hospital, but its good that we only have like 4-5 patients by ourselves or we share 7-10 depending on the ward acuity etc.
Now over the past 18months, ive felt like im drowning again, and i hate my ward. ive tried to move to different ones, but there arent any vacancies going on.
Now my biggest problem is this. At the beginning of April, we had a dementia pt who was unresponsive adn they called a code, but didnt hit the buzzer. When i found out, i went in to help, and they asked for IVT. So i went to connect it to the IVC and wasnt wearing gloves coz we were like in a rush. I didnt see blood on it until i had put my finger on it. I went to wash my hands and that was it. later that night I found a paper cut on my finger and couldnt remember getting it. I asked myself did i have it before the blood on my figner or after? I reasoned that it wouldve been after. The next day I went for an interview, and afterwards i was still thinking about the paper cut/blood, and rang up infection control to see what to do. They said it was very very small risk of getting infected with something, and it was up to me, like peace of mind and they told me to think realy hard about it. I did, and the more i did, the more i got confused and frustrated and wound myself up in a big panic attack.
I had to ring a 24hr counselling line to get me through the attack, coz i felt like i was going to pass out etc. I rang my ward to see what to do, and they said get tested. Then my other friend rang and i told her and she said yeah get tested as well just in case.
Around the same week, I had a nursing student walk behind me with a used needle pointing up towards me. Now I know that he didnt get me, but for some weird reason, I started getting reoccuring thoughts of did he prick me? and it kept going on and on and on. I asked the student a few times and I got all sweaty and stuff like that. I was able to get over it by the end of the night.
Since then, every time I go to give a needle, as im withdrawing it, the thought pops into my head all the time. I started wearing gloves after a fellow nurse did get a needlestick injury, but that still didnt help. I tried like taking my hand away that was grabbing the flesh and then taking out the needle and putting it in teh sharps, but that didnt help.
It just keeps going on and on and on.
I started feeling anxious giving needles, and if i was working with someone, id like get all the other stuf done and get them to do the needles, esp heparin.
At the end of April I did night duties, and I had to ask one nurse to give the morphine to the patient as i was having the phobia etc. By this stage i had gotten to the stage where i was ready to quit my job, and each time id go to/from work, id wish id get injured, or the 'voice' would tell me run ur car into the freeway barrier, so i could get workers compensation and not have to go to work. Yes i know thats avoiding the problem and i dont like the idea of going after compo. i talked to a few close pple.
I had 3 night duties, and on the first, i found out we had a HIV patient. OMG i was scared. At the end of the shift, the in charge nurse was looking after him and busy with others and hand over, and asked me to hang up a bag of fluid and give the heparin. I didnt give the heparin, but i put on gloves to hang the fluid. I didnt have to touch his IVC but I still was anxious. Going home, i was sitting at the lights, and i had scratched my leg and it bled a bit. For some reason, i had the thought that it was the HIV patients. I didnt get that finger on anything until i got home and i scrubbed my hands.
the next night, i had a 10hr night, the incharge said that he may allocate me to the HIV pt and i started sweating and for the next 2hrs before we got handover, i was starting to feel sick. I told him quietly i cant deal with htat at the moment, and thankfully i didnt get that patient.
We had one patient who at hand over fell over and his sats were 63%, we tried suctioning and stuff since he had a trachy but that didnt help and so i called a code. His BP was sky high, and the docs asked for a BSL and i got one of the other girls to do it. They asked for some paper towel to put on his finger coz it was bleeding more than usual due to the high BP. I just put it over his finger, not touching it, as i was anxious, esp when i didnt have gloves on.
Once one of the docs was able to get bloods from him, he told everyone to stand bk coz he was going to walk to the sharps bin. One nurse made sure everyone was back, and i was like behind the doc. he was like 1m away, and yet i still had the thought did he prick me. I was like good grief, he had the sharp pointing down and the hand away from you....
The final night, that was when i got the nurse to give the morphine. When i did a BSL at 2am, i had the thought of the needle pricking me, even though that was impossible as its the type designed to prick the skin and then go into the cannister to stop needlestick. Now it was like the edge of the cannister that got me. Ive had my BSL done before and i know how much it kills getting that needle, but even that didnt stop the thoughts. I was wearing gloves, and like i even filled up the glvoe with fricking water to see if there was puncture. I washed my hands, squeezed my finger to see if there was blood, which there wasnt, and then went back to the nurses station. The rest of the shift, I would take my glasses off coz im short sighted, and bring the finger right up to my nose and search for any sign of a needle mark. I couldnt naturally but i still obsessed about it.
That was the final straw for me. Basically I havent been back to work since April 25th. ive applied for workers comp for psychological injury, but that takes lot longer than like a physical injury. Its only this week that they sent me to a psychiatrist to get some independent report before they decide whether to accept or not. I see a psychologist at work every week, and same with the staff health clinic doctor. The doc put me on Zoloft, and for the past 2 wks ive been on 100mg, and ive been on it sicne May 2nd. I get this weird side effect where when i yawn, my jaw seems to tense up, under my chin and it makes me sick, and it feels like the muscles on the side of my trachea tense up and its horrible.
Not the week we just had, but the week before, me and psychologist tried to get me back at work doing 2 4hr shifts with restrictions of no exposure to needles or blood. The rehab person said oh yeah that would be easy to organise, we can put u as supernumery. Well Friday 28th, i rang up, and the guy wasnt there. So i didnt know if i was going back to work. Then they told me he'd gone on holidays, and all last week, they've said we are trying to organise suitable duties. Now i got angry coz they said it was going to be easy to organise supernumery adn now they are backtracking. The doctor is getting more and more gropable at them, coz they said like 3-4 wks ago they could get me back and still nothing
As a result, im just sitting at home bored out of my brain, wondering if I am going to get paid. We have a new pay system that the government didnt test before using it and so they've got huge problems with peoples pay etc. Theyve paid me something at least but i get worried coz i dont know how much longer im gng to be off for etc. I dont know what is going on, its all confusing, and the work cover thing is taking ages. Now i was warned that the workers comp process would be stressful as they need heaps of info. It wouldve been tolerable if i was at work doign something so i knew i was gettign at least 4hrs worth of pay at least. Ive got a huge car loan and credit cards etc, and mum keeps telling me to just get over it and go back to work, tell yourself no you are confident and that you didnt get stuck. Ive told her numerous times that i tried that and it doesnt work!
On tuesday I had a breakdown coz i dont see an end in sight to this problem. Ever since my career started, ive wondered if nursing is for me. I enjoy seeing people get better and its amazing what medicine does. But its just very stressful.
Im even looking at doing more allied health jobs like occupational therapy.....
So yeah can someone please help?