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Rough day on the unit

GuestAnon GuestAnon (New) New

Hi there. This is my first thread I'm sharing. I'm new to nursing and new to the site. I had a rough day at work and I want to share my experience in hopes of learning from others.

My day started with a violent patient whom I had to call back up for. It really shook me up and it seems as though I never recovered from it for the whole 8 hours of my shift. He had dementia and had gotten upset/agitated and began to yell obscenities and come towards me. Other nurses came and it got de-escalated.

Later on, I went about my day, going through the motions. I work on a medicine floor and just got hired at my first hospital job about 3-4 months ago. It was brought to my attention that I wasn't communicating properly with other staff and they thought about reporting it to the manager. I felt targeted and bullied, coming from senior staff.

I confided in one of the nurses, the charge nurse, and asked, "What could I have done better today? This day was really rough." She had a good talk with me about how I was helped immensely for my other patients and not once had I asked if she and another nurse needed help. I felt dumbstruck, as this didn't sound like me. After my incident in the morning, I wasn't myself. I shut myself down and didn't communicate properly with my team. Their patients were borderline unstable and I was presumably in la-la land not yet recovered from a confused and violent patient.

I haven't ever cried at a job more than I've cried in nursing. I remember asking another nurse, "Is it normal to cry so much when you first start nursing?" I apologized to the nurses in question and said thank you for their help. They're all there to work as a team and help me along the way. Some days I wonder if I'm even a good nurse.

I was heavily relied upon because I was one of two RN's working on the floor and it seemed like I wasn't present. The thought that comes up often for me is the part about being a new nurse and a new hire. Some days I feel incompetent and that others question my care and knowledge. Some days are bad (like today) that I question it to! Maybe I didn't received sufficient orientation? Or that some things come with time and experience....

pixierose, BSN, RN

Specializes in ED, psych. Has 4 years experience.

Please don't beat yourself up.

I'm a new grad as well. I get it.

You were thrown off for the day; you learned from this experience. It's hard not to get thrown off by that one patient and not have it mess with your day.

I walked in yesterday, for example. Got report, introduced myself to my patients as I was on my way to filling my water pitcher for meds ... and promptly had a 300+ man throw his portable O2 tank at me when I entered his room (apparently he had adequate O2 for *THAT* toss, although it tired him out enough that he didn't go charging after me. So, a win?).

Won't even go into how angry management and respiratory was about that almost broken piece of equipment.

It happens. You learn from it. You asked for feedback, apologized to those affected. Incorporate this into your future performance.

And pat yourself on the back for making it through another day. Honestly.

Being a new grad is hard. Go into work with an "anything can happen" attitude, know that you're not going to know everything (you're new!), keep asking questions.

Most importantly-- Don't feel "bullied." Get those thoughts out of your head for now. Those nurses were probably in the same zone of fatigue and frustration.

Davey Do

Specializes in around 25 years psych, 10 years medical. Has 42 years experience.

Welcome to AN.com, CNDNRN!

Your reaction to the traumatic situation is understandable. Your attempts to honestly deal with your feelings and improve your work is admirable.

You have my admiration and respect, CNJDNRN.

The best to you!


Has 12 years experience.

Shake it off and just keep going. Nursing is probably the hardest job in the world, and that is not just hyperbole. Some days you will really love it, and some days you will hate it. The patients, the doctors, the family members, management, your co-workers...they are going to challenge you. Sometimes in good ways, sometimes not. Be kind to your patients, and cordial towards all by always keeping it professional, but don't let the job become your life. A lot of new nurses make that mistake, they let it weight them down. They cry, get depressed, go home and fret about it, drink alcohol, smoke... I've known many nurses who kept doing these things, and eventually some of them burned out and quit.

When I was brand new in nursing I was mentored by people who had been in the profession for a long time. They loved nursing but they knew how to separate themselves from it. As you gain experience your perspective will change, and after a while you won't even bat an eye at things that are upsetting to you now. You're going to find that those same patients and coworkers will interact differently with you once they realize that you are not reactive to their drama. Try to find a mentor to help you build up your confidence on the job. This made a big difference for me, it might help you too.

audreysmagic, RN

Specializes in Psych, Peds, Education, Infection Control. Has 15 years experience.

We all have rough days where we're not at our best. And one's first encounter with a violent patient is pretty unsettling. Honestly, if you keep working at it like you say you have been, it'll come to you. It's hard starting out. The fact that you went to your charge to discuss what went wrong is a good sign. It seems like you're willing to listen to feedback from your peers, which is really important. You'll gain your confidence as you build your skillset.

And I can't say too much about crying. I'm one of those people who cries when I get super frustrated or angry...I've learned to just duck someplace private if possible to wipe my eyes and go on. The worst part is when the crying makes me MORE frustrated so the reflex continues to kick in and I'm just SO annoyed by it...

canoehead, BSN, RN

Specializes in ER. Has 30 years experience.

Nursing was constant misery and learning for my first year. You did nothing wrong, just your coworker pointed out what could have been better. Don't beat yourself up, because on your next shift you will remember and lend a hand when you're able.