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When does the anxiety go away?

aerorunner80 specializes in MSN, FNP-BC.

Hi! I'm going for my BSN right now (still working on my prereqs). I just landed my first hospital job as a nurse tech (CNA with a few more responsibilities) in an Intermediate Care Unit and when I get comfortable there, I'm also going to float to ICU. I'm wanting to specialize in critical care when I graduate.

Anyway.............I've been working on my unit for only three weeks now, had a code on my fourth day (still in orientation), and now it seems that every time I go in to work, or the night before, I get anxious. It's not that I hate my job and I'm dreading the work, I'm just anxious. I do love my job more and more everyday because of what I do see but it just all seems to come at me so fast, I'm having a hard time grasping it. So far I've seen a lot of things and I know more are to come. I've been up to my elbows in c-diff, had a TB pt on airborne precautions in a neg pressure room, countless ETOH'ers (drinking is HUGE in this state), one code, lots of open wounds including decubs, kidney failure, subdural hemotomas (X2!!!), craniotomies, hypotension, syncope, etc. All of this in my first few weeks and I feel like it just keeps coming and I'm not able to store it all and learn from it. I really want to absorb all I can so it will help me in school but the pace that it comes at me is just astonishing and overwhelming.

I think I'm overwhelmed and that is making me anxious.

Any advice on how I can slow things down in my brain?

bopps specializes in Nothing but ER.

First of all congrats with landing such a cool job! The things you are seeing and learning now are going to help you be a really great nurse in the long run. I think some of the anxiety will dissipate once you are more "used to" your new work enviroment. One thing you can do is keep a little log of new things you see at work. Write about the new things/procedures you observe down when you get home, and write your questions down too. Then go running or something to wind down afterwards. Try to learn as much as you can but take it slowly! If you are like me.... you won't feel as anxious about all these new processes once you know more about them. Keep you eyes and mind wide open and ask questions. Things will get better with time. Just think how much info your senses are getting bombarded with right now. Good luck and best wishes!


It will get better. I am going to graduate an ADN program and December and I just started a nursing assistant job at pretty large hospital. The first few days I went home feeling like I had emotionally and physically been run over by a truck. I haven't had a patient code on me yet which I am dreading but since I work on a tele floor the monitors usually show any impending decline and the nurses intervene. I did have to do my first post-mortem care during orientation and I hadn't lost a patient in nursing school where you have the support of classmates and instructors. I had to experience it at work where everyone was already used to. I had nightmares for about a week but the thoughts have faded.

Hang in there, it will get easier and you will develp a flow. I hope you have helpful nurses on your floor. Let them know you are interested in learning all you can from them and hopefully they will reach out to support you like the wonderful nurses I have.

Good Luck!

Chaya specializes in Rehab, Med Surg, Home Care.

It'll take a few monthes but will gradually lessen. The more exposure you get the more you will internalize the knowledge. One day you'll see a pt with a certain set of symptoms and you will realize that you just know what is going on with them. You will start to get these "gut feelings" more and more; you will still have to assess the pt as methodically but you will begin to trust yourself.

Good luck!

swartzrn specializes in CCU/CVICU, Hemodialysis, ER, PALS Inst..

HI, congratulations on your job! Trust me, as time goes by, you will find yourself less and less anxious but you will find out that there are gonna be situations no matter how many years experience you have that make you nervous. I have been doing this for 10 years now and still have times that I get stressed and anxious. It's all part of it. The best advice I can give you is to take note, learn from everything you do and keep your mind open to learn new things.

I'll end on this--my first week in the ER alone (just me, an LPN and a doc) we had 3 codes. Talk about baptism by fire! I was terrified but you do what you have to do and panic later :)

It will go away when you let it. I'm so glad to hear that you are going into critiacal care. I have found it so rewarding professionaly as well as personaly. Don't let anxiety get the best of you. Take a deep breath and let things go. The more you let anxiety go the easier it will be to learn and function well. Try thinking of the day as you go home, what happened what you can do better next time. Then think of what you did well. Leave your thoughts with that. Remember, every RN and Dr has been through many of those same feelings. Glad your one of us. Welcome ;)

Ah, I remember those days so well! I think this anxiety is inevitable. Instead of "trying to absorb it all" just sit back and have faith that you are absorbing it, passively. Your brain is doing some behind the scenes work and sorting out many details for you. Eventually you will start having these "aha" moments and realize that you know more than you think.

In the meantime, try to get as much relaxation in during your downtime. You owe it to yourself.

In your new job, I believe you have entered a new world- a closed world that most people outside medicine/nursing have never experienced. A little culture shock is normal. Anxiety will get better, but not totally go away.

I woke up one day and realized how much better I have gotten. I graduated 1 year ago and passed my boards 10 months ago. I have been off orientation 6 months now and it has been a few months since I have lost a lot of sleep regarding work. I still have bad days, but there are a lot fewer sleepless nights. I am not terrified to go into a pts room anymore (I am very shy and was anxious at first) and I am now even cracking jokes with them! A big step for me. I look back at what I have improved on in the past year and it has been tremendous. I will always be learning and still have A LOT to learn before I can even consider myself "experienced," but just keep doing your thing and you'll get there eventually! Don't be too hard on yourself, and be patient! I also don't work too much overtime. For a while there, it was hard for me to make it through 3 12hr shifts per week. As another poster said, use your days off to relax and unwind. You'll need it!

gonzo1 specializes in CEN, ED, ICU, PSYCH, PP.

2 years into the ER and finally feeling like I might have a clue sometimes.

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