Becoming A Nurse Was A Mistake

I always thought I wanted to be a nurse. I am a very compassionate person and I truly want to make people feel better. I thought that was all that mattered, and the other stuff would come easy. I felt a little overwhelmed in nursing school, which is probably pretty normal. I remember thinking things like, "How am I going to keep ALL of these drugs straight? What if I can never puncture a vein when starting an IV? Is the QRS complex something that I REALLY need to commit to memory?". I'm a pretty shy person and there were come clinical days where I didn't think I could just walk into a patient's room and administer an injection with 10 of their family members watching my every move. However, I graduated nursing school near the top of my class without any problems.

I decided to find a job in long-term care. For one, I'm an LPN, which means most hospitals around here won't touch me. Also, I figured it would be easier for a brand-new nurse. I was so very wrong. I landed a job at a local nursing home that has 6 units, one of them being the locked memory care unit, and another one being the skilled/rehab unit. I trained for 11 days on first shift. I was scared out of my mind, I cried after my first day and vowed I wouldn't go back. It was nothing like I thought it would be. It was very hectic and there were too many residents for one nurse. The nurse who trained me for the first 3 days was an RN around my age and she flat out told me that "nobody cares" about the residents and that she "hates" old people. I was kind of shocked, especially when I witnessed how come of the CNAs were talking to the residents. Nobody really went out of their way to introduce themselves to me, except for the DON, who is a genuinely sweet person. In fact, the unit manager for the hall I trained my first few days on, did not speak a word to me until she saw I had accidentally left the keys on top of the med cart and stole them to teach me a lesson. We would be standing in a group and she never said hi, introduced herself, nothing. I even heard her talking to another nurse and referred to me as the "new girl". Rude.

Anyway, that's not really the main part of this story. I managed to get through my 11 days of training, and I really didn't feel like I learned anything. I ended up telling one of the managers that I would prefer third shift, I thought it would be even slower than days and I would be able to gain some experience and confidence and then move to days. It's been over a year, and I'm still working thirds. I still don't think I could handle the other shifts. I feel like I really haven't gained any experience. Anytime something emergent happens, I try to hunt down an older nurse to give me advice on how to handle the situation. It's like I can't use my own nursing judgement, because I don't have any. I hate it.

I'm also a natural worrier. I've been this way practically all of my 25 years of life. I worry over absolutely everything. Nursing is not the career for someone like that, and I should have known better before enrolling myself in nursing school. Anytime someone coughs, I think, "Is this just the start of an innocent cold? Could they have aspirated? If their lungs aren't clear, should I call the doctor right now, at 3am? Will I get in trouble if I chart it and then pass it on to day shift to notify the MD? Would state look at that as neglect?" Seriously, I over-analyze every single situation. I never know if something is serious enough to call the doctor in the middle of the night, or if it can wait until office hours. That is my biggest dilemma. I hate calling the doctors in the middle of the night, most of them are very short with me, one of them is notorious for cussing out the nurses, etc. There is just too much responsibility, especially in a nursing home where the nurse is responsible for practically every aspect of their life. We have to be alert to small changes in condition, and heaven forbid you miss something crucial.

I am very unhappy with my career choice. I do wonder if maybe I would be happier in a different setting, such as a doctor's office. Then again, I doubt it. I really want to get out of health care, but I don't know anything else. I'm an LPN, which is a technical certificate in practical nursing...therefore, I technically don't have a degree. I want so badly to just quit my job right now and never look back, but I can't. My husband and I bought our first home last summer and we have a two year old son. I would never do anything to jeopordize any of that. We aren't hurting for money but we would be if I quit. No matter how much I hate my job, I can't deny that it pays pretty decently.

I just don't know what to do. I'm tired of being stressed and unhappy all of the time. It's really starting to affect my every day life.
OldSoul86 OldSoul86
22-25, F
26 Responses May 23, 2012

Thank you for sharing this. I too am going through the same -- I wanted to quit nursing badly. I am an RN with less than 3 years experience. I had high hopes back then but everything was crushed when I didn't get a new grad position. The first company that hired me was a nursing home, I needed a job ASAP. So I worked with them until I sorted out my Visa, left the company after 2 years as I desperately needed a change. I tried agency nursing but it was the same -- I dreaded going to work...believe me, the anxiety is just not worth it. The work in itself is not the problem -- if I had to work myself to death, then so be it -- my point is...it's not the work that really gets me down...it's the people I work with (other nurses, managers, doctors etc.). I quit. I couldn't take it anymore. I still applied for nursing positions but in other hospitals. I was ready to totally quit nursing if I still didn't have a job in there months time but I got accepted to be a recovery nurse doing short shifts in a private mental health hospital -- it was less stressful and I am more happy. I really thought I won't be given a chance to be a nurse still. But I am still plotting ways to get out of nursing. I will be 35 next year, so I better do something very soon. I've always wanted to try to get into teaching. I can get a vocational degree to teach assistant nurses or totally do away with nursing and become a TESOL teacher (one of the most meaningful experiences I had when I was an RN at the nursing home was helping out Japanese student nurses with their skills assessment and also teaching some English lessons). It's never too late to reinvent yourself.

Quoting a blog entry by Head Nurse from Blogspot:
"... because, at the end of the day, you cannot compromise your own happiness for a paycheck (or to save face). You have to do what it is that you know in your gut will send you to work every day without feelings of dread and horror."

As a Lpn you have a lot more skills than you realize
Orginzation Leadership. Observation there are lots of jobs out there you could do. Nursing is dead for the Lpn. It's hell out there for us. All it takes is on oops and you are done for good. I got out and I don't miss it( maybe the money ). But I hated being a nurse.

Hi. I am feeling burnt out. Unappreciated overworked over loaded. Like a dangerous practitioner. I hate it. I love nursing and I don't have the time to do my job properly due to poor patient ratios in an acute care setting. The numbers are all that matters. We lose staff and those that have stayed are losing faith and hope. We try to support each other and the NUM does not care...i think shy too is trying to survive unrealistic expectations from executive . Meet national standards at minimum budget? I am a member of the nursing union but have seen other members be bullied after standing up. I have to pay my bills. I am thinking of changing career as my health can not withstand the daily insult. I am not a machine. I hurt when my patients hurt. I do bloody care. And I cop it from ask sides- patients, families, colleagues, managers and doctors. Do more, now - faster, better, safer faster.

Try first another location. I have gone from a very large acute hospital to a small community one and it has made all the difference to my job satisfaction and stress levels.
A friend who was also struggling in another large acute hospital has just got a job in a clinic as a lymphedema nurse and she now loves her work.

Pure laziness.

I've been a nurse for many years..it is the worst profession in the healthcare field-not because of your patients(it's your co-workers) nursing co-workers are not the average run of the mill personality types.There is absolutely no team work.A lot of backstabbing and overall sense of having to protect yourself.

I would say find another job. I too felt as you do. I first got a job in a hospital on a cardiac floor right out of school. I have never in my whole life been treated so badly. T he nurses were awful to me and my preceptor for the day would be whomever came in last for the shift. So it made teaching me the ropes a penalty for the preceptor. After a month of crying and feeling sick before work, I went in and threw my badge in the security shack and wrote my manager a nice letter about being a poor fit for the position.I am older and have always worked in healthcare but never have I quit a job so quickly or been so miserable at a job.
I then went to work for a nursing home. I worked on a skilled unit with 20 patients. I was oriented to my new job for 5 days,2 of which were paperwork and touring the facility meeting dept. heads.I was first shift which is where the bulk of the work is done and meds are passed.The $%&^#@ med pass was crazy.Everyone was diabetic and most had COPD and heart conditions.Just the blood sugars and insulins were a load by themselves but couple that with breathing treatments every 4 hrs and pain management regimens that were 2-4 hrs and at 8am therapy starts taking them away from the floor for treatments. I was quite stressed.I expressed my concern of my little experience and being alone and was told my unit manager would help me. I hardly ever saw her and when I did need help and found her she acted annoyed.My CNAs were constantly questioning me in front of patients and rarely would they help me.I got a lot of "I am on my break to smoke or that is not my room today". I was scolded for documenting wound care for charting after clocking out.I lasted 6 months. At that point I thought I hate being a nurse.What a horrible decision.I was not even going to renew my license.Then something wonderful happened.I started to work for a surgeon who taught me how to grow a shell of sorts and how to have some confidence. I liked the in office surgeries so much I soon inquired about OR training at a hospital and emailed the president of my local chapter of AORN.That nurse took an interest in me and my story though I kept the quitting the first job to myself. She advised me of how to apply to the Periop program. I applied and got an interview and low and behold she was one of the nurses interviewing me! I had no idea that she was the Periop instructor! I have been working in the OR for a few months now. I drive a long way every day but the hospital is wonderful.The nurses are from backgrounds of all sorts and many came here fed up with the floors.They are very supportive.Many realize that investing in new help may ease their burdens somewhat and our manager tries hard to keep everyone happy.I have zero complaints. Some days are long and can be stressful but it is always a team effort to help our patients and that makes a huge difference.
The reason I wanted to write this is because last year this time I was so over being a nurse and if you had told me I would be working at a hospital again I would not have believed it. It really is finding a good environment and the right fit.There are a lot of really unhappy nurses out there that their only pleasure at work it punishing others.This is a symptom of poor management.Don't give up! There is a place for you,keep looking until you find it.Good luck!

You might be able to be an elementary/middle/high school nurse with your LPN. You can in my state. Check your local districts' job openings.

I am 50 years old and have been a nurse for 13 years. There is not a day that goes by that I don't want to vomit getting ready for work. I have tried 5 different positions and never feel any differently. Older nurses talk about how nursing is their passion and I just want to cry. I hate it-and I mean it. Nurses are bullies, hospitals run you to death like a factory worker, doctors are condescending, coworkers are backstabbers, and society is so healthcare entitled it makes me sick. And now I am 50. After spending $80,000 over the years returning back and forth to school am I to leave nursing and start a new career? At this point in my life I don't have the money, the energy, or enough days left to live to start over again. Thank you nursing-I have turned into an angry, sour, introverted, miserable, bitter person. All I can really do is count the days and seconds until I can retire, and take this hell on earth as my penance for every sin I have ever committed...

I too hate being a Nurse the patients are mean the DON is an *** I did the math where I work and in 8 hours take away 1 for lunch ( if you get one) and breaks LMAO, you are left with 7 hours divide by 30 LTC post acute patients on PMs you have about 14 minutes to give meds almost every patient has about 20 breathing treatments, wound care, new wound care call Doctors, write orders, call the kitchen, get a new O2 tank or two cause the CNAs can't do that clean up the exploded colostomy, chart on 15 changes of condition Medicare charting and weekly summaries. Talk to angry family members ect... about 6 minutes per patient. It is too much for one Nurse. Why cant the Gov make laws so LTC facilities have 1 Nurse to 15 patients tops at a hospital the law is 5 to 1 why is post acute with 20 to 1 ok they are 3 days post op very sick full codes, fall risk, dementia it is an awful job period.

I think you should be proud of being conscientious. You are the one being right here.

Yes, but she has to look after herself. Too many nurse have breakdowns, suffer anxiety and depression and alcohol and drug abuse.
I think she would be far far happier getting out for her sake and her loved ones.

I left hospital work and am so glad I did.

I was gonna be a nurse o.o is it that bad

Well no, it's good.
But you have to be very strong to care for the patients but also to keep unhurt by bitching, bullying nurses.

I thought this why I graduated high school >_<

I hear ya. Half the battle being a nurse is dealing with other nurses. We eat our young for sure.

We are currently founding a new organization. This is a society of "preppers", "survivalists" etc.... We are currently seeking professionals in the medical field as we are lacking in this area. Everyone is welcome, there is a test... No racists etc..

nurse = slave

Sad but true..

I have been a nurse for 18 years. I worked so many different jobs in my career and I know how you feel. I have a hard time understanding why some of us are so hateful towards eachother. I wish that as a profession we could rise above all the backstabbing and politics. I have to pray before I go to work. My anxiety is so bad I get chestpain. I dont know if this makes anyone feel better or worse but your not alone,

Hope you are ok

I've been there. I graduated in 2010 with an ADN and became an RN. I started in a SNF because at the time (and I think it's still happening), new grads were routinely rejected by hospitals in favor of more experienced nurses. I worked night shift at the SNF and hated every moment of it. I loved most of the patients but found it challenging to care for 15-20 of them at a time. I'd question every decision I made and go home worrying. I'd work 1-2 hours late charting after running my *** off all night and then get scolded by management......and time management/multitasking is something I excel at. Around 6 months I made a realization that I made a horrible career decision and I hated nursing. I kept applying for other jobs with little hope, my real passion was in orthopedics. Around 10 months after starting at the SNF I got a call from an orthopedic surgeon's office for an interview. I ended up getting the job and it was my dream job. I've now been there for almost 2 years and for all its ups and downs I absolutely love nursing.

You need to get out. I sound just like you and went in to nursing because I care about people and wanted to make a difference. I got my RN and was miserable in my nursing jobs. I never liked needles but thought i'd get over it. I spent more time worrying about screwing up and couldn't handle the stress. Someone's life riding on you is pretty damn stressful. Other nurses are just as you described. Thank you ash4321 for the prime example of catty shittyness we nurses must deal with from coworkers. I quit over a year ago and have considered going back for the money at times, but I can't put myself back in that dark place again. Life is short, there are other ways to make money. Get out while you can.

You 'all need to grow up! This is what life is like, we make wrong choices and either live with it or move on. What did you think was going to be like? We dont have time to babysit the new grads ...if you want no pressure, no stress why in the world pick nursing? Cause you are so compassionate??? Please

Says the nurse whom probably has never worked as a CNA or floor nurse in a nursing home....stop being so hateful ugh

what a witch

Hey, why don't you quit being a *****. If you don't like what she has to say, read something else! She came here for advice and to see if anyone else feels this way. She doesn't need another nurse who doesn't give a damn about people making her feel worse. So STFU

You sound like the type of person that makes others want to leave nursing.

If you can say nursing is any different then you are either management, not bedside nursing, not a nurse at all, congrats ash4321. You are the voice of bullshit we deal with every day. You're a CEO aren't you. Next you'll say we don't deserve our whopping 50 cent an hour raise.

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Stop complaining and quit. You know how many people are unemployed right now? Let someone else have your job and go on unemployment. So what if other nurses are looking at you the wrong way? Grow up

I could have written this and all the comments below.

Crazy that so many of us feel this way and yet the bullying and shiteness continues largely unchecked.

I don't know the answer until we all say 'no more' and stand up to the system which has bred this insensitive attitude.

The bullying has occurred everywhere I have worked. I became a nurse at age 22 I'm 29 now and I hate it. It's too cut throat

It is I agree. I'm a nurse 33 years

Sounds like all of you are saying don't be a nurse

I don't think it matters where you work what you do. I wanted to be a delivery room nurse. I am and have been for a long time. I have been nursing over 25 years. I still like what I do but the politics and bullshit that's associated with nursing is ridiculous. The patient has all the rights. You can say "well of course it's their delivery" but they tell at you, cuss at you, want half the city in the delivery room. Their visitors are demanding and rude making requests I can't ever imagine making of anyone. Even when I was in labour. And management just keeps piling on the work. Whatever service is cut we hear "the nurses will do it". Are you kidding me? We are so overworked it is crazy. I can't count how many shifts I have come home where I haven't had so much as a coffee break and my bladder is bursting. If we complain we are told that perhaps it's a time management issue. Really? I hate my job now. I can't leave because I have too much seniority. But then still can't guarantee I'll get a week off in the summer. I have bills and responsibilities so I am stuck. But when you complain about us making too much? Check out the CEO who's making over 400 thousand but cutting nursing positions. We have more responsibilities more patients than ever before and have to go to arbitration every year to be lucky to get a 50 cent an hour raise. I work weekends every holiday, can't get a day off to save my soul and you wonder why I'm burned out. Many days I can't leave at the end of my 12 hours because there isn't enough staff to replace me. But if I stay I am then badgered as to why I stayed overtime. Management of nursing is borderline bullying. And the hospital spouts that it has zero tollerence for bullying which is the biggest joke going. They change schedules without notice stick in extra shifts without notice. "Forget" to book in a requested day off. It's nazi germany.

Sounds like all of you are saying telling me not to be a nurse

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I hate nursing too. It's feel so wrong typing that out but it's true. I fought through so much to become a nurse and now, barely 3 yrs in I want to quit. I started out in ICU for the first couple years, and was afraid every day I would make a fatal mistake. Then I switch to medsurg thinking I was missing out on something that ICU didnt have, and i hate it too. So I dont know where to find my niche. I'm not into pediatrics and I dont care much for OB and L&D. I dont know where else to go since I dont want ICU, medsurg, or LTC.

I hate being a nurse as well. The facility I work at only cares about profit. The director has no idea who works at night and the DON barely knows English. I'm thinking of switching careers. I can't do this any more.

i've been an RN for like six years now and am in grad school for nursing education. Now i want to finish my degree but not sure if i want to use it. just not sure about this profession altogether. seems like nurses try to outdo each other instead of help each other. I am not "young" but i always look young so people test me initially or try to guess my age because some of them want to think i'm new to nursing but i have to tell them I'm not . i feel like there is so much agism in this profession. i dont enjoy the whining patients. i think i'm burned out.

Wow! This is so strange!! You are me. I am an rn in grad school,too. I wanted out of floor nursing after many years of it. I studied very diligently in both nursing school and grad work. A real grind, but I thought it would help me move on to something I enjoyed more. I intended to become an np, but when it came time for clinical rotations I simply couldn't bring myself to repeat the horrible stressors of nursing school.
I opted for the nurse educator track, but I feel completely disingenuous because I know the futures my students will face in this profession: heavy patient loads, rude doctors, families with completely unrealistic expectations. Don't know what to do... Insurance work, maybe?

I'm there too. Its sad. Nurses especially eat their young and its ridiculous. Ive tried psych nursing, doctor's office, and mostly ICU and ER nursing...I've been a paramedic for years too and I hate it all. My advice would to be to try to find your niche. Long term care obviously isn't it. Sounds like you need an office job....maybe case management. Or teaching. Good luck!

OMG girl I too feel the exact same way. I have been in long term care for 5 years and it does get better and it def. just takes time but I am still very unhappy as well. I thought being able to make my own judgement calls and decisions would make me love my job, but I was wrong. Now I'm just a miserable confident nurse where as before I was a miserable unconfident nurse. Alot of it I think is the negative attitudes we encounter. Nurses do "eat their young" I've been told and have experienced as well. I am thinking about maybe trying to do like QA or teaching but really need to be an RN but don't want to go back to school for something that makes me unhappy. Looking for a job that I can use my degree but do something different but I don't know what. Just here to say I feel your pain. It pays good but it is a miserable job. Goodluck and keep your head up.

Huh. You typed out my story for me. What've you decided to do? I've done this for 4 1/2 years now, and I'm pretty sure I'm washing my hands of it. I've been a lot of things thus far, but nothing has made me as miserable as nursing has. It was a poor decision on my part... It blows me away that they wouldn't recommend EVERYONE in nursing school work as a CNA for at LEAST a year prior to entering any program. It would have changed my mind 100%. :-/ So now, I'm 32, and getting to reevaluate my life & career.

You are so right on about the CNA not being recommended for at least a yr before nursing program acceptance. If only someone would've told me to work as a CNA before diving into nursing, I'm sure I wouldn't have made this life changing mistake. There is no way to illustrate how bad nursing can be unless you work in it. I'm approaching 30 and trying to reevaluate my life and career as well. I'm thinking I need to leave healthcare altogether.

At least you are 32 my friend!!!!! If I were 32 omg!!!! I would be back in school in a flash. I am 52. I have been nursing well over 25 years. I have too much seniority to leave but not enough to score a week off in the summer guaranteed. I need a few more years before I can retire. I am worked to the bone with 12 hour shifts without any sort of break. Can't even pee some days. If I were 32 I would run. Very fast. Xo good luck!!!!!!

I can really relate to your feelings about nursing I am a RN in the Acute care setting. I have beenn in Nursing for 30 years and I hate it. I too feel like I am a compassionate individual, and I feel that compassion is desparetly needed in the nursing field. Nurses need compassion and respect for each other. Nurses eat each other alive. I too wish I had never entered the field.