The “New Nurse Blues.”

It’s been almost 3 months since my last post.

Time is flying by. Seriously. Slow the eff down.

I don’t know how many of you work in hospitals that have a BSN residency program, so (before I get into anything else) I am going to explain the concept. Basically, I have to meet once a month with all of the other BSN nurses who were hired around the same time to bitch about our jobs. Crazy right? And, I even get paid to do it. It is seriously the biggest. joke. ever. But, whatevs. The true purpose is to support the transition from student to practitioner. So, sometime around our second or third seminar, we discussed the “new nurse blues.” Anyone else familiar with this term? We were told that sometime around the 6 month mark, most graduate nurses start to really reconsider their career choice. They start asking questions like, “Why did I want to do this?”, “Will it ever get any better?”, “When will I feel like I actually know what I’m doing?”, and “Was all that schooling really worth THIS?.” I thought this concept was crazy stupid. I mean, I LOVE nursing…right?!

Well, HA. HA. HA. Guess what? I’ve definitely got the “new nurse blues.” I’m hoping it’s just a combination of working night shift, eating nothing but crap, laziness, and stress. I’ve been reassured (several, several times) that this too shall pass and, once again, all will be right in my life. And, when that time comes, nursing will be the greatest thing ever. But right now, it sucks. Like, big time.

I think the worst part is working with resident MDs. In my short time as a RN, I have learned so much more than I ever could have imagined. And I continue to learn just as much every single day that I work! However, these residents…WOW. Sometimes, I really…really…really…wonder why I didn’t just become an effing doctor?! There is nothing worse than knowing exactly what your patient needs, but working with a resident who is 1) too afraid to make any decisions on his/her own, or 2) won’t give you what you need, just because they don’t want to admit you are right. UGH. It’s amazing that doctors come out of school with as little knowledge as they do. What do they spend all that time learning?! The amount of frustration sometimes seems unbearable. And on top of that?! I just have to grin and bear it. (Although, every now and then, I do enjoy aggravating the piss out of some of these MDs to get what I want. :D) Anyone who knows me personally, would tell you this is something VERY hard for me to accomplish. I dread going to work most days, and I hate that. I keep telling myself that it will get better. And I hang on to that hope with everything in me.

https://i1.wp.com/www.realityrn.com/wp-content/uploads/central_large.jpg

Check out that arrogance lobe, this has got to be a doctor I work with! (photo credit to RealityRN.com)

 

Is anyone else out there experiencing this right now? Or have you experienced this? I would really like to know that I’m not alone, and that people aren’t lying when they tell me it won’t last forever.

On a more positive note, I most definitely feel like I am getting the hang of things. As most of you know, the nature of my unit is pretty crazy. However, I still believe have the world’s best co-workers! I have yet to walk into an unknown experience alone. That is just the bee’s knees, if you ask me! The amount of support they provide to me and to each other is incredible. My unit kicks ass and takes names on the daily. Sometimes, that’s the only thing that gets me through.

I’ll stop here, before this post becomes a small novel. I hope you are well, internet. Let me know what’s up!

-Rach

Join the conversation by posting a comment. If you like this post, or any of my other posts, feel free to pass it along. Choose your preferred platform by clicking on the title of the post, then clicking one of those fancy buttons at the bottom of the page! 😀

 

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18 Comments

Filed under Life after Nursing School.

18 responses to “The “New Nurse Blues.”

  1. Erin Stratton

    Rach,
    I found your blog after a google search for nursing blog names. I’m an RN and have been for about 15 years. I have to say, it was a difficult transition any time I changed units. My first job was in the OR. I was terrified and my previous boss would tell you that she didn’t think I would make it. I was pretty much glued to the wall for over a week! But, I survived and even made some good friends. When I transferred to the ICU, it was pretty bad. Even though I knew I really wanted to work there, I was terrified and really struggled for quite some time. After a good 6 months to a year, I finally started to feel better. I made some amazing friends that I still have to this day!
    As for dealing with the residents, look at it like this…..you are molding them. Every nurse they encounter is teaching them how to teach the future nurses they work with. I once chewed a resident’s head off for not asking before taking my charting (it was July and he was VERY new). Now, I adore him and think the world of him. We laugh about it now, but I really should have been a bit nicer to him.
    Real world nursing is totally different from what you learn in school. In school, you learn the foundation of nursing. When you start working on your own, you keep that solid foundation and then build from there from your experiences and what you learn on the job. It makes me smile to read how you describe your coworkers. It is so important to be on a unit with nurses who support their ‘young’.
    Hang in there. Nursing is the only profession in which you can really make your way. Start eating right and making sure you get enough sleep (that is key). Keep blogging! And never become stagnant. Go back to school, maybe do some travel nursing, and enjoy the freedom the profession gives you. And don’t forget to join your state nurses association!!
    Sincerely,
    Erin Stratton MS, RN (working on my PhD and still can’t believe it!!!)

    • Hi Erin!

      Woah- replying pretty late to this. SORRY! :S

      Girl, these residents! They’re enough to kill a dead man! I’ve gotten better about laughing at them. They used to REALLY frustrate me. Now, unless it’s something that I know is going to hurt someone or is just totally pointless, I usually oblige to their silly requests. What’s a nurse going to do?! Hahaha My unit in itself is a challenge. It’s not necessarily the work that I hate, it’s the lack of support from management, the lack of resources/equipment, the constant short-staffing, and the lack of training. There is a lot of “flying by the seat of my pants”. :O! I know for a fact it is not like that in other units. My manager is just not qualified to be doing what she’s doing, and isn’t interested in doing it. It really breaks my heart. We could be something great, but the leadership just isn’t there. Maybe I can be the one to make a change? Who knows. I’m just riding the wave for now. Thanks for the encouragement. You might be interested in knowing that I’m applying to start my DNP next Fall. Fingers crossed!

      – Rach

    • Jamie

      Where I work, the residents are actually very humble and respectful. One very new resident directly asked me what orders I wanted him to write for the patient! I took the time to explain each order that I recommend he write and the rationale behind it so that he could add to his knowledge base for future reference.

      Medical school is similar to nursing school in the sense that you are given a foundation for your career. You learn acquire book knowledge in your classes and a little bit of supervised experience in your clinical rotations. However, when residents (similar to brand new nurses) are out of school for the first time, they realize they know very little. Even the intensity of medical school cannot adequately prepare these new doctors for their profession because schoolwork cannot replace real life experience. The immense responsibility that doctors and nurses have cannot be replicated in school. As a result, I don’t expect first year residents to be incredibly knowledgeable about what to do in real situations since they have not yet had to apply their book knowledge to real life situations in their career and take full responsibility. It takes practice to develop these critical thinking skills. I find that when you hint at the notion that you know how terrifying it is to be fresh out of school and be expected to handle an incredible amount of responsibility, these residents become putty in your hands. Let them know that it’s okay that they don’t have all of the answers, and that bouncing ideas off of others is perfectly fine.

      • Hi Jamie! Thanks for you input. I guess what I’m really trying to say is…I wish they wouldn’t pretend they know when they don’t. I don’t expect anyone to always have the right answer but, in their position, I do expect them to find out. And find out, quick. I get scared by the lack of urgency some of these residents portray. Because they haven’t experienced many situations where things go wrong, sometimes it feels like they don’t believe it ever happens! Things have gotten better, for now anyway. Stay tuned…a new post is coming up!

  2. I feel the same way, its a painful experience to endure. The only way i can allow myself to deal with that kind of arrogance is to remind myself that these residents are scared out of their minds very often. They must front like they are confident because their career and a lot of debt is forcing them to stick to the job, whether they regret it or not. They cant fathom revealing how unprepared they feel.

    • Hi Sparklegasm (LOVE IT!).

      I can’t even imagine being in their shoes. But, I just wish some of them would see us as “free help.” Do they not realize we might have done this once or twice? I would never dare to tell their upper level is was all my idea. The MD always gets the credit anyway. I just get worn out fighting the same fights. Thanks for stopping by!

      -Rach

  3. I’ve been an RN 16 years. It took about 10 months from the time I got my license to get my first job in a hospital. People I was in school with did their preceptorship at local hospitals and many got hired. Not me. Some of the most high strung impatient people gravitate into Nursing leadership and get to train new nurses. Many of the nurse leaders are chosen from critical care and are the most impatient high strung and mean people you will ever meet besides some of the high strung impatient rude and mean doctors. It’s shocking for awhile, then you start to take up for yourself or look for a new job somewhere else. It’s not better somewhere else. The rude impatient shocking mean people are everywhere. I had two kids, braces, tuition, college on and on so I stayed for the money, choosing the worse shifts and generally worse conditions. But I liked nursing in spite of the mean people I tried to avoid but I don’t anymore. It’s gotten so bad now. It at least used to be tolerable. My resume now reads
    Essential skills:
    I can recite script: Hello my name is an I am going to be your nurse and will be at your disposal for the next 12 hours. You can say what you want, do what you want, and I will take it coming and going with a smile.
    Second requirement: I can SMILE
    Third requirement: I can type
    Fourth requirement: I can make every patient, family member, Doctor, manager, team member and co-worker happy all day every day.
    That’s it. That’s all I need now. A monkey can figure out the rest.

    I have a BS in a Nursing
    I have a an AS in Computer Science
    I have most of the credits toward my second Bachelors in Biology. I feel like a dumb blond every time I want on the floor.
    I have 16 years experience.

    They don’t care about what you think or feel. There pockets and egos don’t have room left for reality.

    Now my resume reads. And my future goals, of course this looks good,
    I plan to spend another 50 grand on my masters in Psychology to try and figure out how to deal with this sh… And a masters in business to confirm I really am a dumb blond to continue to put myself through this.

    Good luck my dear. It’s not just you.

    • Hi Rhonda,

      As terrible as this sounds, I’m glad to hear it. I do love nursing, I do. I think I’m in the process of getting over the shock of how medicine really works. Especially in a teaching hospital. I work in a very difficult unit. The work is long, hard, and continuous (as all nursing is!). I work under the least qualified and most disinterested manager throughout the entire joint. Whatever. At least I don’t have to deal with her too much. As far as these baby docs go, I’m starting to learn to just laugh it off (and document the shit out of it, of course.) It’s just like anything else, they’re learning…and most of them insist on learning the hard way. Don’t get me wrong, if I absolutely don’t agree and think they’re going to harm my patient, I will ALWAYS fight that. But, some of this smaller stuff? I just laugh and say you’re dumb and go on! Thankfully, I have fantastical co-workers. They really soften the blow. Thanks for taking the time to write!

      – Rach

  4. Megan

    Hey girl!
    Just found your blog when searching for post clinical blues-not sure if that’s a ‘thing’ but whatever haha!
    I’m in nursing school now and I graduate in 2 months … YAYYY! I’m super excited to be done but also worried about how it will be when I’m actually forced to pick a place to work and a unit to learn everything about!
    Recently I noticed that after being at my ICU clinicals I will leave super happy and excited about how the days went and about 1-2 days later I’ll be dragging and just feel blehhhhh it’s WEIRD!! Idk if all the excitement just makes me crash when I return to real life or what! So basically I diagnosed myself with post clinical blues hahaha( totally needs its own dx code if you ask me!)

    Sorry to hear your going through that but I guarantee this is something EVERYONE goes through! I’m already anticipating that feeling when I start working! Also I think it probably has to do with many factors including working as well as the lack of the everyday nursing school that you’ve been doing for the past 2 years! I’m thinking that when you work so hard for a goal when it’s complete you feel a bit lost until you find your next “goal” whether it be more school, a family, some crazy fitness workout goal or even a HUSBAND!! Haha whatever it is I definitely think that that lull is what your going through now and I’m sure it will pass soon!
    Just do what you can and make sure to do at least 1 thing everyday that makes YOU happy even if that’s watching your favorite show or splurging and getting a 32 oz coke hahaha!
    Good luck girl!

    • Hi Megan! So glad you found the blog. It’s been a while since your comment, which means you’re that much closer to graduation! Woohoo! Hang in there, you’re in the home stretch. Things have gotten better. For now, anyway. Just like anything else we learn to cope and these emotions just become a part of everyday life. I do still spend a lot of time sleeping, but I really think most of that is just laziness. :O I’d love to hear how things are going. Good luck on starting your job hunt. The best part about nursing is, if you land somewhere that just isn’t for you, you can always do something else. Nursing is a huge profession!

  5. Did you ever get over your nursing blues? I’m only a Nurse Aide in a hospital on a Med/Surg floor but I’m starting to feel like bedside nursing isn’t for me anymore, I was thinking of going for the Physician Assistant route as there is one at a local college that’s about the same time it takes for RN 2 years.

    I love medicine and the body (anatomy), but honestly my back is killing me and in patient care its not always avoidable to avoid lifting, even properly. I just can’t see myself 40 years from now hunched over.

    • Hi Minty! Thanks for your question. My answer? Yes and no. Things don’t feel quite so hopeless in this moment. I did just take a new job (blog post, coming up!) so, I think that’s helped. When you become a nurse, you don’t have to do strictly bedside-hospital-LTC-etc nursing. There are SO many options. I don’t feel like nursing was a bad career choice (Well not everyday, anyway), but it is not easy. Shadow a nurse at a different facility. See what’s out there. Shadow a PA. Actually seeing what they do on a daily basis might help you make your decision. Good luck!

  6. lindsmann10

    Rach-

    I just found your blog and LOVEEEEE it! I’m currently a nursing student so you are steps ahead of me, but I am finding a lot of your experiences to be true for me as well. I really hope you keep posting so that I can continue to learn from you! But if not, thanks for posting in the past- you’re hilarious and spot on! Keep up the good work in nursing. 🙂
    -Lindsey

    • Lindsey, welcome! Glad you found the blog. You’re in luck, a new post is coming up! Because, what else do you do at 0330 on your night off?

  7. Rach…just wanted to let you know I am featuring your blog in my Round Up, which should post sometime today (4/10!). Come on over and check it out at http://www.straightanursingstudent.com

  8. Pingback: It's Round Up Time - Straight A Nursing StudentStraight A Nursing Student

  9. theheavenlyrose

    First of all, WHERE HAS YOUR BLOG BEEN ALL MY LIFE?! LOL. Another great post. I have had almost an identical experience! I would be the one laying it all on the table at our meetings in our residency program haha. I didn’t have to deal with any residents though, doesn’t sound too fun.

    • Hey girl! Well…I have no idea, but I do know that I’m a terrible blogger! I was hoping to have much more time post-grad than I really do. And now I’m working on my doctorate, because obviously…I’m crazy. I was browsing your blog, it’s so cute! Thanks for following. 🙂

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