I have been thinking A LOT!!!
Probably too much but I have been thinking about this for a LONG, LONG time.
I think the stress of my job is slowing killing me.
I realizes that everyone has a stressful life and a stressful job. Of course we all do but the kind of stress that I am exposed to is diffenent, it's emotional, it's gut wrenching, it gives me nightmares.
I think about a patient 4 days later and wonder what I could have done more or where are they now. Are they okay?
To be a nurse you must have the mind of a surgeon and the body of a construction worker. Your on your feet 14 hours plus with nearly NO break and you are responsible for everything! If the doctor accidentally writes an order that the patient is allergic to and you don't catch it, it;s on you! If a 400 pound patient needs to get be pulled up in bed, you have to do it. My back aches every day and my brain hurts when I come home. It's A LOT to handle.
YET I LOVE WHAT I DO!!!!!
Honestly, to be a nurse, you must be super human!
I've been a nurse for over 4 years now and I have ALWAYS worked in critical care. It seems the type of unit I decided to reside in can be one for the most stressful. As far as critical care goes, you have the Emergency room, The Intensive care Unit, The Progressive Care Unit (or step down unit) and then regular Medical/Surgical floor.
This is the typical breakdown. I have always chosen to work Intensive care or Progressive Care. I am morivated. I am smart. I am a fast learner and I think FAST in emergencies. I think I am good at what I do. Before I had my kids I was VERY career orriented. I wanted to be the best of the best.
However, I think it may be secrectly killing me inside.
Let me explain one more thing I have noticed about the unit I work in compared to the Intensive care unit. In the Intensive care unit many of the patients are SO sick they are on the line between life and death or we may be artificially keeping them alive with ventilators and drugs to keep their bloop pressure up and such. Most of the time I have worked ICU I have 2 patients only because they require so much attention to detail and they are usually not awake. However if something goes wrong, get ready because all hell is going to break loose trying yo save their lives. VERY STRESSFUL!
When they start to get slightly better but are still VERY, VERY sick they come to my unit, the Progressive care unit. In my unit it's hit or miss. We have 4 patients instead of 2 and they are either VERY sick and still potentially actively dying or they are totally fine and could walk out the next day.
It's a mixed bag. You never know what your going to get. This in itself is very stressful. There is no way to plan on your way to work at 6am in the dark what kind of day you will have.
I often have a fine day with a nice mix of patent's at different acuity levels and other days I feel like I am literally drowning!!!!!
I mean I have 3 patient;s who are "crashing" or trying to die and maybe one who is really needy. I know this may be hard for non health trained professions to understand but it can get REALLY ROUGH!!!! and I mean ROUGH!!!!!
I have NEVER cried at work but then again I am very good at keeping my emotions under control but many days I know many nurses so go home and cry!
So just imagine their lives are in your hands. You are responsible. You have 5 crying family members looking at you for answers which you often don't know. Day after day after day it gets very taxing.
I would say MOST days I don't use the restroom or eat or drink for at least 7 hours. Yeah, not good for a sick pregnant woman or anyone in fact. Every nurse I now does this everyday of her career.
I think the biggest stress is EVERYTHING is on you. There is no one else responsible. The doctors only come in an absolute EMRGENCY and then it's your resposibility to get them there. You are pretty much all on your own. You can of course utilize your co workers for questions and advice but hey are often so wrapped up in their own crisis they can't help.
The point is.....I have been THINKING A LOT and realized that it's not worth it. Everyday I come home so exhausted I can barley stand and emotionally totally drained. I give everything I have at work. I have nothing left when I come home.
I feel like this kind of stress over years and years is what causes cancer, heart attacks, all kind of ailments. I eat well, I exercise and live a fairly healthy life, except I am STRESSED TO THE MAX ALWAYS!!!!
Yes, my money situation at home doesn't help that but as soon as I am with my kids that seems to melt away. I am seriously reconsidering moving to a different unit.
No matter what unit you work in as a nurse you will be stressed, busy , running, not eating....it's the nature of our job but I am thinking maybe a happier floor or a floor with less drama. Maybe Labor and delivery or Oncology.