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So burnt out! Any advice?

Nurses   (3,687 Views 16 Comments)
by RockinChick66 RockinChick66 (New Member) New Member

RockinChick66 has 10 years experience and specializes in LTC, medsurg.

5,180 Profile Views; 151 Posts

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The thought of going to work to in the morning is making me physically ill.

I work 12s on a very busy medsurg floor. I have an ill family member and a Special needs child that count on me. I feel like I'm burning the candle at both ends and will soon be needing some one to care for me. :/

I stay at my current job because I need the good benefits, but the 12 hour shifts are killing me!! I need a change but I don't know where to start.

Sleepless tonight. :(

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Vanillanut has 6 years experience as a DNP, RN, APRN and specializes in Emergency, Internal Medicine, Sports Med.

136 Posts; 4,349 Profile Views

How is your management? Can you talk to someone about this?

At the end of the day, I would start hunting for another job, if this one can't work with you. Your health and sanity are NOT worth the bucks.

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tokmom has 30 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Certified Med/Surg tele, and other stuff.

4,568 Posts; 47,747 Profile Views

:hug: Boy, I could have written your post. I was where you are now, over a year ago. I worked as a nurse for 16 yrs. I was so burnt out, I was having anxiety attacks before work. One day I just could no longer do it. Coupled with seven kids and one special needs, I opted to stay home.

I was able to be out of the field for 4 yrs. I think I needed that break. I still disliked the profession and never, ever wanted to be a nurse, EVER again. That all changed one day, when my husband keeled over in a gran mal with no prior history. He is now unable to work as we can't get his issues under control. I was forced back into a profession that I truly hated and never wanted to see again. I literally crawled in my bed for 2 days and cried. My kids were the reason I crawled back out and put on scrubs. I knew I could never be burnt out again and I was afraid of doing just that. I found a small hospital that had values I believed in, and hours that would work. I started working and sort of went into auto pilot on emotions.

Fast forward to a committee my manager put me on, against my will, lol. What it did was make me think about why I was so burnt out to begin with. I realized it wasn't nursing that I hated. What I did have issues with was the prior hospital I worked at treated patients like an assembly line and had no respect for nurses. I felt like I had no control over my practice because management (in my mind) dictated what kind of nurse I was going to be. I felt like I just couldn't make a difference no matter how hard I tried.

So...I took back my practice and practiced nursing my way and on my own time frame. I joined staffing committees and put myself on the negotiating team for our contract. I got off the floor and took a charge nurse position. More mental stress as I do education, admits and discharges, but it's not as hard on my back. Believe it or not, even though my husband after 2 yrs is no better, and my daughter struggles daily, I can say I do love my job. I never thought I would say that....ever.

So, it can happen. Try to leave your worries at the front door as best as you can.

Again, big hugs. If you ever want to talk, pm me. I totally get where you are.

Edited by tokmom

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R*Star*RN is a BSN, RN and specializes in LTC, Med-Surg, IMCU/Tele, HH/CM.

225 Posts; 6,865 Profile Views

Definitely start looking around for 8 hour shifts. Maybe try a different department or a different type of nursing for a change of scenery. It could be just that you haven't found your "niche".

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carolmaccas66 is a BSN, RN and specializes in Med/Surg, DSU, Ortho, Onc, Psych.

2,212 Posts; 14,155 Profile Views

You answered your own question.

Women - especially nurses I've found - are NOT superwomen! You just can't give all your time and energy to everyone and have nothing left over. You will get really, really ill - mentall if not physically as well. You are doing too much and can't cope now - what will happen if you get sick as well?

You need to get your local district nursing service in to help out with the family member. Also with your special needs child, have you considered respite care at all? Does your child go to school? If not, respite care for at least 8 hours or so could be the answer, or if that isn't affordable, see if you can get relatives and/or friends to help out.

Can you also cut back to 8 hour shifts, maybe over 4 days a week? I've never agreed with 12 hour shifts - it is just too long, and more nurses tend to make mistakes I think. It would kill me to do 12 hour shifts.

Let us know how you get on.

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Chin up has 26 years experience and specializes in Med surg, LTC, Administration.

694 Posts; 5,588 Profile Views

:hug: Boy, I could have written your post. I was where you are now, over a year ago. I worked as a nurse for 16 yrs. I was so burnt out, I was having anxiety attacks before work. One day I just could no longer do it. Coupled with seven kids and one special needs, I opted to stay home.

I was able to be out of the field for 4 yrs. I think I needed that break. I still disliked the profession and never, ever wanted to be a nurse, EVER again. That all changed one day, when my husband keeled over in a gran mal with no prior history. He is now unable to work as we can't get his issues under control. I was forced back into a profession that I truly hated and never wanted to see again. I literally crawled in my bed for 2 days and cried. My kids were the reason I crawled back out and put on scrubs. I knew I could never be burnt out again and I was afraid of doing just that. I found a small hospital that had values I believed in, and hours that would work. I started working and sort of went into auto pilot on emotions.

Fast forward to a committee my manager put me on, against my will, lol. What it did was make me think about why I was so burnt out to begin with. I realized it wasn't nursing that I hated. What I did have issues with was the prior hospital I worked at treated patients like an assembly line and had no respect for nurses. I felt like I had no control over my practice because management (in my mind) dictated what kind of nurse I was going to be. I felt like I just couldn't make a difference no matter how hard I tried.

So...I took back my practice and practiced nursing my way and on my own time frame. I joined staffing committees and put myself on the negotiating team for our contract. I got off the floor and took a charge nurse position. More mental stress as I do education, admits and discharges, but it's not as hard on my back. Believe it or not, even though my husband after 2 yrs is no better, and my daughter struggles daily, I can say I do love my job. I never thought I would say that....ever.

So, it can happen. Try to leave your worries at the front door as best as you can.

Again, big hugs. If you ever want to talk, pm me. I totally get where you are.

Thanks for sharing. Very inspiring and I am very happy for you! Peace!

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Double-Helix has 6 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in PICU, Sedation/Radiology, PACU.

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I'm sorry that you are in such a difficult situation. Your family is very lucky to have someone who is so dedicated to their care and is sacrificing so much for them.

Is there a chance that you can transfer to a floor that is less busy or has a lower nurse:patient ratio? Maybe a rehab floor or ICU? While the ICU is still busy and stressful, usually you have less patients.

Another solution might be a position in home health or home health/hospice. I worked in home health as a CNA and adored it. I love being able to focus all of my attention on one person at a time. Also, the hours are usually more flexible so you might find something that better suits your needs.

School nursing is also a good change of pace, and you will have the same hours as your school-age children.

It's really hard to be burnt out. My first year of nursing school an instructor told me, "The first muscle the heart feeds is itself." That is very true in nursing. We need to take care of ourselves before we can take care of others. Best of luck to you.

Ashley

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ktliz specializes in critical care.

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Carol, you are SO right about women not being superwomen! The "superwoman" myth is a coping mechanism developed to deal with the stress of dealing with a family AND a career. Unfortunately, I believe it's ultimately maladaptive because when women find themselves "burnt out," they think, "I should be able to do this. What's wrong with me?."

It is TOTALLY NORMAL to feel burnt out under such stressful conditions. Kanga, you're on the right track by recognizing your condition and reaching out to someone--many people have a hard time taking that first step. And that's what Allnurses is here for, right? We can be that someone to care for you! I would seek out your employee assistance program, too, if available. That's what they are there for, as well.

And of course, the person who is ultimately going to care for you is YOU. Do you spend any time doing things for yourself? Any hobbies or activities that help you unwind? I know there can be guilt associated with doing things for yourself when you have others depending on you. I like what ashepherd said above, though--"the first muscle the heart feeds is itself." You need to take care of yourself so you can be there to take care of others. Maybe you need half an hour to yourself before or after work to just relax. If you have a long commute, you can use that time as well to listen to music or a podcast or book on CD. Finally, I have found meditation to make a huge difference in my quality of life. Try the book "Mindfulness in Plain English" for a great description of how to meditate.

I hope some of these suggestions help. You can do this. :)

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Scarlette Wings has 27 years experience and specializes in M/S, ICU, ICP.

358 Posts; 6,742 Profile Views

awesome load on your plate and sounds like you not only need encouragement, but some help shouldering the load. every organization usually has an eap, employee assistance program. i would make use of that service and see if they might have some external supports out there to help.

12 hour shifts do challenge the body, the brain, and wear down the spirit. however the 12 hour shifts usually allow for more days off during the week and some people find that a good trade-off. i would try re-arranging my work schedule and maybe looking at a different department or type of work.

remember you are the most important patient you care for! look at things within your life and make sure you are allowing for adequate sleep, nutrition, and what i call 'down time." a time where you do something totally for yourself. it can be reading, aromatherapy, taking a walk with the dog, something that is peace-filled and nourishes your own inner soul.

one day at a time....and take care of you as you care for others.

wish you all the best.

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canesdukegirl has 14 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Trauma Surgery, Nursing Management.

8 Articles; 2,543 Posts; 36,930 Profile Views

I agree with Chey in that you should perhaps look into the EAP program. They can offer you guidance and resources that you didn't even know you had access to.

If you can possibly swing it, plan a mini-vacation. You need to free your mind of work, and it would be wonderful if you could spend some relaxing time with your family.

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OCNRN63 is a RN and specializes in Oncology; medical specialty website.

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I would never, in a million years, get any kind of counseling through an employer. Sorry, but I do not trust that discussions will be confidential. I agree that counseling may help (you have so much on your plate) but I would look for a private counselor.

Some time away from work is a good idea. Even if you just schedule a three day weekend every now and then, it's time away from the hospital.

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RockinChick66 has 10 years experience and specializes in LTC, medsurg.

151 Posts; 5,180 Profile Views

Thanks for the kind posts. I made it thru my shift once again, but I come home in such a horrible mood. I should feel grateful that I'm not ill myself up in that hospital I work.

I just need to find my niche. I called the PACU today as I saw a new opening that was posted but was told it was already filled ):

Ive thought about school nursing but I only have an ASN, and BSN is required. That job would be perfect. The depressed feeling I have is just over taking me so I hope I figure out something soon. Thanks again for all your support, it made me feel good to read what you all wrote.

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