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Sick, Sore, & Depressed

Nurses   (658 Views | 13 Replies)
by ndahl ndahl (New) New

423 Profile Views; 2 Posts

Guys I am having a tough time, just wanting some support or advice. Due to some health issues that have developed since being a nurse, I find myself resenting work and I can’t help but feel massive guilt as there are so many nurses who probably have it much harder than me & are such troopers!! I’m only 26!  I’ve been a nurse for 3 years on an intermediate Neuro floor. Lots of heavy patients, high acuity. Love my co workers and have good days at work but recently my love for nursing has been fading because of the physical and mental toll it takes. 
 

I’ve struggled with depression since being hired & had to start on an antidepressant.  I was injured in a bicycle accident last year where I broke both of my arms and tore my trapezius. Ever since, I get awful muscle spasms in my back and neck that make me unable to move for days at a time. For my chronic pain, I started meloxicam which then gave me a stomach ulcer. I’m nauseous every single day and zero appetite - I lost 10 lbs in 2 weeks when I’m already naturally thin. I had to stop taking the meloxicam, but still have nausea almost constantly & have back pain much more often. I have also developed Sacroiliitis, & when that flares up it’s extremely painful and impossible to relieve without a narcotic pain pill.

I received “verbal warnings” for violating the attendance policy. My manager is aware of my struggles and always feels bad, but he has to do it. I hate having to call in every couple months but there are days where my injuries & health would inhibit patient care and my own health & recovery. I feel so guilty and like a complainer or a baby about it all, and the stress of receiving punishment for this doesn’t help.  

I’m thinking maybe I should move to a floor or type of nursing that is less physically taxing.  Can anyone relate? Has anyone made a change in their nursing career that helped them physically & mentally? I’ve been so low, that I’ve contemplated leaving nursing completely because honestly this stress makes me feel worse then I already do. But I’ve worked so hard and love helping others!!!! 😞 

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Tomascz has 5 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in Wound care; CMSRN.

89 Posts; 2,860 Profile Views

Number one get yourself a couple therapists; one physical and the other for talk therapy which has equal or better results than SSRI's for mild to moderate depression. Those pills don't listen worth a d**** and you need to talk this out with somebody. See what you can do to simplify your life. Keep asking for help.

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juniper222 specializes in Pre Nursing.

138 Posts; 539 Profile Views

Can you switch to a less busy shift?  Antidepressants kill more people than they help.

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171 Posts; 991 Profile Views

That bicycle accident sounds awful!  No wonder you are feeling down and having a hard time coping; that is traumatic. 

I work in an FQHC.  There is no lifting or moving of patients, because everyone walks in!  I truly feel like I am helping people in my job, because I do so much patient education and, really, encouragement. It can be a tough job emotionally (limited resources, patients who are very draining) but physically, it is a very easy job. It is something for you to consider. 

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adventure_rn is a BSN and specializes in NICU, PICU.

3 Followers; 1 Article; 1,225 Posts; 17,693 Profile Views

First of all, I'm so sorry that you're going through all of this!

Regarding your absences: are you using FMLA? There is such a thing as intermittent FMLA for chronic conditions. I've worked with nurses who get debilitating migraines and have been able to use intermittent FMLA; if I understand correctly, it has helped protect them against disciplinary action related to frequent call outs. I don't know the logistics, but surely if such a thing exists, you should be eligible. I'm not sure if 'intermittent FMLA' is the official term, but that's the general concept. If you haven't already, I'd talk to HR and see if you're eligible.

As far as a less physically demanding nursing role, have you considered NICU? It can still be physical, but it's no where near as physically-demanding as adult care. The max you have to lift is about 15 lbs, and all of the equipment is easily adjusted up and down, so you're almost never bending over to do things like assessments and cares. I've also found that the work is relatively uplifting, especially if you aren't working in a super-high acuity referral center at a children's hospital.

38 minutes ago, juniper222 said:

Can you switch to a less busy shift?  Antidepressants kill more people than they help.

That's a pretty bold statement. Antidepressants may not be for everyone, but they can be life-changing for a lot of people.

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juniper222 specializes in Pre Nursing.

138 Posts; 539 Profile Views

4 minutes ago, adventure_rn said:

 

That's a pretty bold statement. Antidepressants may not be for everyone, but they can be life-changing for a lot of people.

I was a little overdramatic with that statement, but I'm sure most figured that out.  I think they are far over-prescribed and it leads to many problems much like the opioid over-prescription issue. There are times when they can help, of course, but for the most part I think this is case where pharma is pushing it off.      How many scuicides because of them? Determining correlation and causation requires the scientific method.

http://cepuk.org/2019/06/25/new-study-antidepressants-significantly-raise-risk-suicide-treatment-depression-adults/

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kp2016 has 20 years experience.

317 Posts; 3,580 Profile Views

I think it's time for you to stop worrying about what other nurses can do and worry about what is best for you! Your physical recovery and mental well being is every bit as important as that of the patients you have been caring for.

Given that you have already received verbal warnings for attendance (why is it that it's ok for hospitals to punish nurses for being sick or injured - very sick irony) I would be looking very carefully at the written policy on attendance / disciplinary actions to see if you are at risk of a formal warning or being fired which normally leaves you ineligible for rehire. If you are at any risk consider meeting with your doctor and getting an immediate FMLA.  

Either way, brush up your resume and start applying for new jobs or an internal transfer. As you manager seems sympathetic to your situation talk to them about facilitating an internal transfer which would probably be your quickest route to a new job. Given your manager knows you situation and is (I assume) sympathetic they should understand that continuing on their unit isn't possible but that you could do well on a unit with less physical demands. Maybe dialysis, outpatient infusions, wound / pain clinic/ pre op screening, admissions, pediatrics etc. 

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AnnaFender specializes in ER Trauma.

16 Posts; 42 Profile Views

Find a different floor or healthcare setting to work in....life is too short!

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7 Followers; 3,343 Posts; 23,294 Profile Views

6 hours ago, adventure_rn said:

I'm not sure if 'intermittent FMLA' is the official term, but that's the general concept.

It is and it's available to any employee eligible for FMLA. I have it for my stubborn elderly parents who keep randomly falling out of bed cracking their skulls and other such things. It's a godsend. 

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babatee has 8 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Geriatric, Acute, Rehab, Psychiatry.

53 Posts; 1,001 Profile Views

18 hours ago, AnnaFender said:

Find a different floor or healthcare setting to work in....life is too short!

Try a different floor. I'll suggest Acute Rehab or ortho. 

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amoLucia specializes in LTC.

5,270 Posts; 46,253 Profile Views

As others have posted - FMLA.

Unless you're ineligible.

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purplerose3 has 10 years experience.

12 Posts; 872 Profile Views

I can relate. Look at options that may be conducive.

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