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Regret becoming a nurse....

I've been struggling a lot recently and would appreciate any support, advice, analysis, or comments you all have. So I started working as a nurse 6 months ago, went thru a great orientation, had awesome preceptors, and have been on my own for about 3 months. I've been miserable for about 5 months. In nursing school, I wanted to be an ICU nurse, then a nursing educator, CRNA, and then NP. I currently work on a cardiac step-down unit, 12hr day shift, usually have 5-6 patients with lots of discharges, procedures, admissions throughout the day. I work with a great team, great managers, feel supported, I'm doing well with time management/critical thinking, but I hate, hate, hate being a nurse. I worked as a CNA for 2 years all throughout nursing school, and I saw and experienced a lot, but did not actually realize how difficult nursing is....not until I actually became a nurse. I think it's a common consensus that nursing school does not prepare nursing students for the realities of modern day healthcare, but I did work as a CNA and shadowed many nurses throughout nursing school but the horrific reality was never real to me until now.

But why do I hate nursing so much? Honestly, my heart is just not in it. Externally I act like I care, while internally feel nothing for (most of) my patients, I just feel like a robot just clicking boxes and checking things off my list. My patients reportedly love me, but I honestly can't see why. I want to do a good job of course, I advocate for my patients, educate them, clean them up, toilet them, get them what they need....but I dread every shift. I hate small talk, dealing with angry families, waiting on entitled drug addicts who abuse the system over and over again, I HATE the crazy selfish families who insist on keeping the 87 year old CHF, COPD, stage IV renal failure, stage 3 pressure sores, trached, PEG tubed, nursing home patient FULL CODE. I hate the liability, the possibility and uncertainty of anything happening. I hate being the one responsible for everything! When trays are late, food is cold or patients dislike their meal, meds haven't been sent from pharmacy, dietary wants the patient on a diet but needs me to contact the doctor for the order, rehab works the patient too hard and the patient complains, the doctor didn't explain something to the patient well enough, endo canceled the procedure, cardiology didn't look at the patient's EKG and the hospitalist wants to know why, the TV stopped working, the RT took the patient's CPAP machine for some reason - and guess who gets blamed??

Anytime something goes wrong, guess whose fault it is? Yep, that's me, the RN :mad:

I didn't go through school and graduate with a 4.0 for this. I have my own mountain of nursing stuff to do, which I also hate doing, without constantly being interrupted to deal with constant issues. I really hate being a nurse, with the exception of my elderly 90 year old confused dementia patients, who I love. I wish I could sit with them my whole shift and just chat, but I could do that as a volunteer. I honestly just hate my role as a nurse, I hate my role in healthcare. I'm everyone's punching bag. I dislike the acuity on my floor, so I know I won't like ICU. I also feel that nursing does not have the hard science aspect I wished it had, it's more social science which I do not like as much.

So whether or not you read that rant, I just wanted to say that I'm planning to leave the nursing profession. After looking through job postings for nurses, I found one or two positions I would be interested in, and I would need 3-5 years of experience doing what I hate to get there. So it's back to school I go....something science/laboratory related, without patient contact. I would like to volunteer at a nursing home with dementia patients doing crafts or something. I no longer want to be a NP or CRNA, if I can't even handle the acuity and responsibility of being an RN. And while I love teaching, I don't want to spread my negative attitude toward nursing to the students if I became a nurse educator. Anyway, I don't have the experience for either of those advanced roles. I can't see myself continuing in nursing and being miserable for years and years. But please, don't think this is me bashing the nursing profession, I just don't think I can do this anymore personally. Nurses, thank you all for everything you do!!!!

~ Cocoa_puff

P.S. sorry this was long! I had a lot on my mind.

Edited by traumaRUs

Nursing isn't for everyone, it's true. Still, you may find a niche somewhere that will pay the bills until you decide what else to do. One of the best things about nursing is that it's such a broad field--most people can find a specialty or sub-specialty that suits them. It really sounds to me like you hate the place you're in--an acute cardiac step-down unit is a busy, busy place. You need a change of scenery-- I can hear your stress in your writing. Find a better job, go back to school, and get into a career you can love. Good luck!

I think that unlike other threads I've seen, you hate nursing, but you've always kept it professional and treated your patients with utmost dignity even though you hated every minute of it. That speaks volume about you as a person. Nursing isn't for everyone, but don't give up just yet. Nursing has very broad areas and especially if you are looking into science, you can maybe look into research nurse.

KatieMI specializes in ICU, LTACH, Internal Medicine.

((Hugs))... now, let's start thinking, nice and cold.

1. it is true that, till you actually step in there all alone, you don't know where you're getting into. OK, that's the fact.

2. on the other hand, you describe some deep contradictions. I do not speak about ethics of keeping those chronically critically sick people alive for all means. I speak about being "blamed" for everything which can or cannot be your business. It is NOT a sign of a unit where staff is well-supported if you can be openly blamed for someone's cold dinner. It is NOT a sign of a well-managed hospital where nurses can be blamed for not working TV. Unit where hortor stories about "you may be SUED and REPORTED TO BOARDS for some utter nonsense are perpetuating is not a good workpkace. Especially for a new grad.

Sorry to say it, but your unit looks precisely like the two places I suffered every second of my first year... till I found my current spot. Maybe your problem is just that simple - change place and acuity. Maybe getting out of large fishbowl and to something like well-run small private (not a part of huge corporation, not being a single RN for a whole wing) inpatient rehab will do that.

Think about what you like to do. If there a skill you'd already mastered and could develop into a specialty where you will be able to work more or less alone and on your own pace? An "IV witch" to PICC RN, as an option?

If you think about getting back to school, get a good idea what you're getting into before you commit. Ask for shadow, but for once just get coffee, sit here and look and hear what is going on. In lab, I promice, you'll hear an irate doc yelling about lost sample, or myself, sarcastically wondering why yet again such K and Mg cannot exist in a single human being. No patients around, sure, but...

Reg teaching - best MSN/Eds I know have nothing to do with students, ever, They work with the patients, empowering them and helping them to live their lives. I am not sure if this appeals for you but nursing ed is a separate universe, not a corner.

YOu did not do any MISTAKES. You did not LOSE. You just merely encountered a path which doesn't SEEM to lead to where you want to go. It doesn't mean it is a wrong path altogether; it doesn't also mean that it is the only one path.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do... just this time, make sure you know where your new road will lead.

I think that unlike other threads I've seen, you hate nursing, but you've always kept it professional and treated your patients with utmost dignity even though you hated every minute of it. That speaks volume about you as a person. Nursing isn't for everyone, but don't give up just yet. Nursing has very broad areas and especially if you are looking into science, you can maybe look into research nurse.

Thank you for the encouragement! :)

((Hugs))... now, let's start thinking, nice and cold.

1. it is true that, till you actually step in there all alone, you don't know where you're getting into. OK, that's the fact.

2. on the other hand, you describe some deep contradictions. I do not speak about ethics of keeping those chronically critically sick people alive for all means. I speak about being "blamed" for everything which can or cannot be your business. It is NOT a sign of a unit where staff is well-supported if you can be openly blamed for someone's cold dinner. It is NOT a sign of a well-managed hospital where nurses can be blamed for not working TV. Unit where hortor stories about "you may be SUED and REPORTED TO BOARDS for some utter nonsense are perpetuating is not a good workpkace. Especially for a new grad.

Sorry to say it, but your unit looks precisely like the two places I suffered every second of my first year... till I found my current spot. Maybe your problem is just that simple - change place and acuity. Maybe getting out of large fishbowl and to something like well-run small private (not a part of huge corporation, not being a single RN for a whole wing) inpatient rehab will do that.

Think about what you like to do. If there a skill you'd already mastered and could develop into a specialty where you will be able to work more or less alone and on your own pace? An "IV witch" to PICC RN, as an option?

If you think about getting back to school, get a good idea what you're getting into before you commit. Ask for shadow, but for once just get coffee, sit here and look and hear what is going on. In lab, I promice, you'll hear an irate doc yelling about lost sample, or myself, sarcastically wondering why yet again such K and Mg cannot exist in a single human being. No patients around, sure, but...

Reg teaching - best MSN/Eds I know have nothing to do with students, ever, They work with the patients, empowering them and helping them to live their lives. I am not sure if this appeals for you but nursing ed is a separate universe, not a corner.

YOu did not do any MISTAKES. You did not LOSE. You just merely encountered a path which doesn't SEEM to lead to where you want to go. It doesn't mean it is a wrong path altogether; it doesn't also mean that it is the only one path.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do... just this time, make sure you know where your new road will lead.

Thank you for your feedback (and the hug)! As for getting blamed for everything, it's not usually the unit blaming me so much as the patients and family members who complain and blame me for things that are completely out of my control. I think that is just the reality of nursing, although I could be wrong as this is the only reality I know. However, I definitely think there is way too much responsibility that I have for things that are out of my control, such as meds being sent from pharmacy. If a med is not on the unit in the usual place, I have to search every possible place that it could be before contacting pharmacy to send another med...otherwise pharmacy will complain that I didn't look in every possible place first. This delays the med for the patient, which I find increasingly frustrating. I worry about my charting because I feel like I could be sued at any moment and end up in court with no documentation to back me up!

And I will definitely shadow and research more thoroughly next time I choose a career. I wanted to be a doctor in high school, but my parents suggested nursing, then I went right into community college, and didn't really research nursing at all, other than the educational aspect of it. I loved science and helping people, and thought "Wow, nursing seems perfect!" I was young and naive, that is my excuse :)

Thank you so much for the advice, I agree changing specialties might be all I need. I appreciate your time and feedback!

Thank you for the encouragement! :)

You're welcome. I don't have a problem with people regretting the choice they make, but the minute they take it out on patients, I lose all sympathy for them.

((((((Hugs))))))

For what it's worth I love my career now but I did not like it too much the first year. I got the needed acute experience but that type of nursing wasn't for me then and wouldn't be now. It was a combo of different life stage and being in the right field that got me to here.

You are suffering from reality shock. It'll wear off after awhile. Nursing is just a JOB. Most people do not love their JOB.

YOU happen to have a degree you can do many things with. Stick it out for that golden one year of experience, I promise you.. many doors will open.

KatieMI specializes in ICU, LTACH, Internal Medicine.

Cocoa puffs,

re. meds: what prevents you to: 1) learn about them, so you know which have to be left in a fridge and which has to be locked up, 2) get friendly with pharm folks so that they would explain you how the system works, because they have one, and, trust me, it was designed with the same purpose of safety first; and, at last, 3) speak with other nurses, and if meds really tend to be randomly drop all over, then speak with the Powers?

Reg. charting.... well, on your day off go Google and find list of nurses disciplined by BON in your, or any other, state. See how many of them got there because of poor charting... I bet there will be none.

With time, you'll figure out what is important to chart and what is not. But for now, it is clear that you have to get out of the acuity level you just not feeling to be comfortable with.

Edited by KatieMI

((((((Hugs))))))

For what it's worth I love my career now but I did not like it too much the first year. I got the needed acute experience but that type of nursing wasn't for me then and wouldn't be now. It was a combo of different life stage and being in the right field that got me to here.

Thank you, Libby! As much as I'd like to give up now, I have to remind myself to keep going to get that 1yr of experience. There has to be some type of nursing I would like.

I really appreciate everyone's input! Writing this out really made me feel better and it has been great to read all the helpful comments :)

You are suffering from reality shock. It'll wear off after awhile. Nursing is just a JOB. Most people do not love their JOB.

YOU happen to have a degree you can do many things with. Stick it out for that golden one year of experience, I promise you.. many doors will open.

Reality shock is a great way to put it...I think I must just be in a place right now where I don't see any possibility or future for myself in nursing. And I've been told I'm doing well for a new nurse, but I just don't like it at all, if that makes sense? I'll try to hold on for 6 more months. Although most of the jobs I find interesting want much more than 1 year, they want 3-5 years of experience. I think I might like doing insurance, outpatient endoscopy, or maybe IV therapy...but I don't think I'll be qualified even after 1 year, what do you think?

Thank you for your help, I appreciate it! :)

Cocoa puffs,

re. meds: what prevents you to: 1) learn about them, so you know which have to be left in a fridge and which has to be locked up, 2) get friendly with pharm folks so that they would explain you how the system works, because they have one, and, trust me, it was designed with the same purpose of safety first; and, at last, 3) speak with other nurses, and if meds really tend to be randomly drop all over, then speak with the Powers?

Reg. charting.... well, on your day off go Google and find list of nurses disciplined by BON in your, or any other, state. See how many of them got there because of poor charting... I bet there will be none.

With time, you'll figure out what is important to chart and what is not. But for now, it is clear that you have to get out of the acuity level you just not feeling to be comfortable with.

Katie,

About the meds from pharmacy, usually the ones they send up are either specialty meds, medication specific for a patient, IV antibiotics/cardizem/iron/protonix, or insulin pens for patients....those could end up anywhere from the patient med box in one of the four pyxis, the tube system containers, the counter at the nurses' station, the small med container behind the nurses' station, or one of the patient cubbies (not always the correct one). Sometimes I think pharmacy puts the med in the wrong spot, sometimes another nurse or secretary puts the med in the wrong place, or maybe I'm not looking in the right place...but it can be incredibly time consuming and often a waste of time to have to look everywhere for a patient's specific medication. I work on a really big unit (65 single patient rooms), so there are a lot of places to look. We are suppose to look in every possible place before calling pharmacy for a missing med. I actually get along really well with pharmacy, but I find this system to be very frustrating.

And it's more that I worry about being involved in a law-suit, and not having the documentation to back it up. I do worry about being sued a lot. I also think a less acute environment would benefit me, but I don't know how to approach my managers about it....

I felt the same way.

Honestly, give it a year. In the meantime, try to feel out which physician and pharmacists lIke to teach. Ask questions about meds and pathophysiology and become as knowledgeable as you can. Keep up on the literature. If you can educate patients about their disease process well, I bet that will add enjoyment for you (not all patients want that in depth information but some will). If you can also discuss best practices and new developments with the staff on your floor, that will also make the other things more bearable.

Just some ways to survive. If you're still miserable after a year, then move on. Best of luck.

Sound like you had a really rough day. I'd be lying if I said it will get easier because that won't happen but what will happen is you will get harder. You will get harder so that you can adapt and continue working the bedside. Hopefully you will find peace.

Neurotic Student specializes in psych.

It was either my second to the last year or final year of nursing school that I had thought of quitting. After I got a lecture from a nursing school friend, I decided not to. Now 7 months into my first acute hospital job, I once again thought of quitting. It started from a small fantasy to a serious deliberation of quitting. Not only quitting my job, but quitting nursing. Nursing kinda makes me want to have a job where I won't be stuck with a patient for 12 hours for 3 consecutive days in a row. When I have a terrible group, it makes me dread going into work more than I already do.

I called some family and friends, some of them told me to quit and some told me to stick it for a year. I'm going to try to last a few more months. After all, that's all I need to make a year. The place I work at has nice, supportive people too. I find it kinda sad that I'm leaving because I can't handle the demands/stressors of the job rather than bullying. I would feel less ashamed and guilty if I was leaving for being bullied instead.

I worked psych for 2 years, so I may go back into that. I loved the people I worked with and the teamwork we had to put in. It's far less stressful. I want to go back t o psychbut I haven't explored other kinds of nursing either, and I'm afraid that if I venture into another type of job, it'll be another that I hate again.

Reality shock is a great way to put it...I think I must just be in a place right now where I don't see any possibility or future for myself in nursing. And I've been told I'm doing well for a new nurse, but I just don't like it at all, if that makes sense? I'll try to hold on for 6 more months. Although most of the jobs I find interesting want much more than 1 year, they want 3-5 years of experience. I think I might like doing insurance, outpatient endoscopy, or maybe IV therapy...but I don't think I'll be qualified even after 1 year, what do you think?

Thank you for your help, I appreciate it! :)

At 6 months in, you really don't know WHAT you might like. You only know that floor nursing is really difficult. Put in your time, keep your head down and your eyes open. Make CONTACTS.

You don't need to quit nursing or get additional education. Work with what you've GOT.

FolksBtrippin specializes in Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Public Health.

I'm in my last semester of school. I'm 40 years old with lots of life experience, and I'm often surprised by what I love and hate in new things I try.

I decided to go to nursing school even though i had a successful small business.

Why? Because I wanted to do more in the field (alternative health, wellness, mental health overlap), and the people who were doing the most around me were NURSES.

I never even really thought about the hospital before school. Isn't that funny? The nurses I ran into were other business owners, C.O.O.s, etc. And they were the best.

Being the nurse in the hospital, and having all that responsibility (that's what's getting you down) prepares you to do SO MUCH.

You can pretty much do anything you are interested in as a nurse. Does that sound crazy? It's really not.

Sticking it out for a year will not be so bad if you start working on your plan.

I agree with the PP who said that you don't need more school at this point.

You can do the stuff you want to do as a nurse.

Start looking into research nurse, dementia unit, and anything else that strikes your fancy. Work on developing a vision for your future job.

You can apply to the 3-5 years exp jobs at 1 year, just start working on your angle. Get your hospital to send you to the classes and trainings that apply to that field. Look for shadow opportunities, build yourself up. The time will pass quickly this way.

Good luck!

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