When does the anxiety go away???

Specialties Med-Surg


I have been a nurse for a year and some change. I started out in psych and recently switched to med-surg 5 months ago. I go home every shift and worry about every little detail of my shift. Is this normal and will it go away? I just feel like sometimes I can't step back to take in everything and that I am too task oriented. Any suggestions?

Specializes in LTC and School Health.

I too have anxiety that sometimes don't go away. I have a prescription for Ativan for that and it helps me tremendously. I would suggest anything that helps you to relax after work and before work. Before work I listen to inspirational music and pray. After work I talk about work to a coworker to vent ( this helps me alot) and almost always light a candle and have an occasional glass of wine. You have to do what ever works for you.

Medicine is not an option right now due to pregnancy. I swear it has gotten worse the farther along I become in my pregnancy. I just want to do everything perfect and I would never want to harm someone. I feel like some nurses who have been doing this the same amount of time as me are way more laid back and they don't seem to overthink things like I do. Sometimes I wonder if this was the correct career for me. :confused:

For me it decreased after about 5-6 months. sometimes i still get very anxious about work but rarely compared to the extreme everyday intensity of before. In the beginning i couldnt eat, watch tv, read or do anything aside from throw up and panic about work. Have had coworkers who have been in nursing 20+years say it never went away. others say the same and thAt meds helped some. where you this anxious your whole time in psych? other jobs?

I was rarely anxious in psych because the acuity was doable. I work on a ortho/neuro floor and we get a variety of medical patients. Because there is so many things that need to be done during the shift I feel like I am going to overlook something I shouldn't have or make a mistake. I also have anxiety due to my schedule. I am per diem and I have asked to not work nights due to the change in sleep and pregnancy but she doesn't listen to me and still continues to schedule on nights randomly when she needs coverage. For example I worked nights last night and I am expected to turn around tomorrow and work two day shifts in a row! So anxiety compounded by not feeling respected really makes me want to find something different before the baby gets here.

I did the constant rotation for over a year, days, night, off, days , days, off etc. That alone is enough to set most people off.

Specializes in ortho, hospice volunteer, psych,.

most of it goes away gradually as you become used to your new workplace and acclimated to the

pace and learn the tasks you didn't get to try in school, but it never completely leaves. that's

good though, because you won't become complacent and make dumb mistakes.

realize that you will make a few mistakes but if you read your charts thoroughly, keep a step ahead

by reading journals and visiting allnurses, you'll make a lot fewer mistakes than if you relax and

let your guard down.

Specializes in Ambulatory Surgery, PACU,SICU.

Can you speak with your manager again and tell her you are not available for a day/night rotation.

Things will get better! I used to worry so much about everything. I worked nights and would go and worry about did i give that pill, did i tell that in report, was the pain in her a dvt.....I couldnt sleep. So my best advice (which I still do today) is when you are driving home do theses things:

1. Think about all the things you did wrong - Like didnt give a pain med on time, forgot to tell something in report.

2. Freak out alittle about all the things you did wrong - Contemplate turning and callling (Unless its serioius)

3. Think about all the good things you did do - Like the good compliments, catching somthing before it got worse

4. Say "I did my best, and thats all I could do"

5. Go home and sleep!

Seriously I do this everyday driving home. I do still worry about things, but its more related to if my residents (work in LTC) is having surgery or was not feeling well when I left.

some of you have heard me tell this story before. i was nearly four years out of school and had been staff in this fabulous icu for three, and i was actually pretty good at it, up to the third (of four) steps on the clinical ladder so i wasn't a total incompetent. one day i was in the break room with sarah, a nurse of more than a decade's experience in the unit, one who could take every kind of patient that rolled up the hall, who was never flustered, always expert, always willing to teach and explain. i asked her when i would stop feeling scared when i sat in report. she smiled and said that every day before report started she felt a pang of anxiety, but that it passed when she started working. she said that when that little stab of fear went away she would have to go somewhere else, because it's what keeps us awake and sharp. i never, ever forgot that (and here i am telling that story again, smumble-mumble years later), and i am happy to pass it along to you.

Medicine is not an option right now due to pregnancy. I swear it has gotten worse the farther along I become in my pregnancy. I just want to do everything perfect and I would never want to harm someone.

Oh sweetie. There's a word for that. You're nesting. It's just that you're doing it at work too, instead of just doing it at home.

This too shall pass.

Try to avail yourself of any resources available to you at work like a counselor, make yourself a list of nice things that are easy to do for yourself along with some positive ways to cope with stress like walking, listening to soothing music, doing a craft project, reading a book - whatever works for you and then - - - and this is the important part - - - - do them.

If you'd picked the wrong career - you wouldn't care so much.

Best of luck to you, and congratulations. :up:

Keep it simple: Did you keep your patients alive? As long as they are safe and stable, you have done well at your job. Of course, in order to maintain stability, you have to give meds on time, F/U with the PCP as needed with concerns, etc. Basically, implement care in a timely manner. However, as a floor nurse, it is an environment of constant chaos although night shift can be really busy or okay.

When you have multiple tasks, think about which is the most important: A STAT order? A medication that if not given could impact stability? Which patient is more unstable than the rest of the team and needs more frequent follow up? You have to pause and think. I use a sheet to organize my work and ESME12 has alot of sheets that can be used for the purpose of organizing your workflow.

As far as your charting is concerned, make sure that if you did it, you chart it....Or you didn't do it (by a legal perspective anyway). Make sure that you are checking charts all day for new orders. Remember to sign those off (a huge safety and pt care issue is when charts are not being checked because it impacts the care that you give).

Nursing is stressful. Your anxiety will never go away. That is why you have to have a life outside of work and be able to vent to your nursing buddies. Again, as long as you caused your patients no harm, and they are stable and alive, you have done your job. :hug:

+ Add a Comment