I've been a nurse just shy of a year and work in a med surg ICU in a metropolitan area. I feel really burned out already... My unit is short staffed and the assignments aren't appropriate most days but my disappointment is less about my current position and more about what I feel the hidden truth of nursing is. I feel like I've been duped. Nursing is advertised as a good paying career with flexibility and many options, rewarding etc. What they should tell you is, this is a thankless career, you'll be verbally and physically abused, most patients won't appreciate that you run for 13 hours to keep them alive without eating and neither will your administration, and despite you sacrificing your health and sanity your hardwork will never be quite good enough, there will always be a push for you to do MORE, despite being pushed to your absolute limits, you will always be the scapegoat, your pay will in no way reflect what you do, and you'll likely need a second job (just ask any nurse:80% of the ones I work with have one).
In short, I'm really depressed, I'm burned out, my body hurts and I'm always tired. I dread work, I spend my off days recovering from my shifts, (the no eating no drinking I'm physically sick all the time). Our patients are such high acuity and it's all hands on deck, most nights there is no one available to watch my people for me to eat or get a break. This isn't living. I have no balance in my life. I've read that nurses who go into this for the purpose of "helping others" are the first to burn out and that's me. The only days I feel like I can make it is when a family member or patient just simply says thank you. To feel the hell I put myself through is noticed by someone... But that is a rarity.
Im already weighing my options for when my current contract is up. I could go back to school but I'm unsure of what those options would look like in reality. CRNA- do I want that stress level, how stressful is it really? NP- maybe but how much do they really make? I'm concerned I will go back to school and then the salary will be less than advertised and not worth the Investment (like my current situation). I want to be happy in what I do along with some financial freedom.
Is it common to feel this way or did I spend 5 years busting it for a career that is not for me? Any advice for getting some balance in my life and/or alternative career options with a BSN would be most appreciated.