Nursing stress and the anxiety/panic it creates

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Reply Mon 18 Sep, 2006 08:07 pm
Nursing stress and the anxiety/panic it creates
8) After other failed attempts from my past working history working on the night shift I am once again trying to work nights and so far like it very much. I have worked all kinds of shifts in the past and whenever I had worked nights I eventually quit after a short period of time to go back to days in hope of living a more balanced, normal lifestyle. However..........the last full-time day shift job I worked gave me another perspective. Almost a year ago I worked in a very lovely nursing home that was absolutely beautiful. The facility was sparkling clean, administration was nice, we had free lunches everyday that were very good, very suprising, and the patients were well cared for. This was the type of facility that was so expensive for the resident that upon admission they had to pass a finacial interview. In fact, my best friend's mother who was also a LPN but retired had suffered a massive stroke and wasn't recovering and was in need of 24/7 care so I recommended my work to her but they failed this interview. Needless to say everything was perfect right? The med system was mint, everything organized, but the stress was through the roof! Every floor nurse was a charge nurse and responsible for everything! We were doing the work that our DON and ADON's were supposed to be doing (admissions, D/C's etc) I did manage my floor very well and was well liked by residents, families, MD's and co-workers as well as administration. Now comes the interesting part, do you know why? Because I did everything I was supposed to do as far as my job description goes and more! Here I was, a pretty new nurse, and as a single 30 something woman with no children I felt I could live, breathe and drink nursing 24/7. Yes, fast burn out occurred after only 6 months but what really was the cyncher for me was the day I had my very first anxiety/panic attack. And you how it hit me? At work in the mist of my normal daily routines. I recall sitting at the nursing station late in the afternoon and charting. No big deal right? Pt care was all taken care of and I was caught up except for a crazy amt of paperwork, appts to be make and f/u. There was this physch MD sitting there who I didn't know but heard how wonderful he was at his job with the pt's. I started having trouble breathing, my heart felt like it was pounding out of my chest and I had dull pain in my chest. I was dizzy and felt like I was in lala land or something. I was there and coherant but I couldn't get myself to speak up. I remember just staring around with the pen in my hand and not writting what I was supposed to be writting and feeling this terrible pressure of stress to finish my job. I got as far as asking the MD, "Can I ask you a question?" He was very nice and said yes but I was called away to do other work which I couldn't do because I couldn't move. I told him nevermind. The MD left and my co-worker (another nurse on the flr) asked what was wrong and I told him I didn't know. He took my v/s B/P 100/60 (normally 120/80) actually I was so overweight before I started the job it was more like 140/86 but I had dropped like 40lbs+ in that 6mo span working there and my pulse was 90+. Usually 70 something. I was asked what was wrong repeatedly and said, "I have so much work to do" and then my co-worker finally asked, "Why are you so anxious sweetie?" All I could reply with is that I just had so much work to do. Well, later that evening at home after being "freaked out" all day I realized that I was scared about this situation and that I was afraid this would continue happening to me and I was the most scared that I couldn't control it and when and where it would happen. Thinking back a little more I recall feeling this way in nursing school during the end of the program with finals approaching. I was sitting in class and thought I was having a heart attack because the chest pains were so bad and I was so heavy (overweight 240lbs at like 5'5 1/2) and I was sweating and it hurt so bad that I couldn't raise my hand if I wanted to so I decided that I would probably just keal over and then they would call the 911 and I would be humilated. Anyway, there was another problem with the stress level there, I also had vaicose veins that were killing me. My body was so sore from working day in and day out and never really getting enough sleep and on the run after work constantly (I had just left a long term relationship and had that stress on me as well) that I got so scared for my health that I quit my job without having another one but a nice bank account to rely on for a little while. I was so scared about quitting even though I knew it was for my health. I didn't go back to nursing for about a yr after that incident. Yes, I held in there for a few more months after my anxiety attack and I'm just now in the process of deciding that I need to get a little help. But I did have more attacks after that and like I said, I am now in the process of just starting to look up info about my condition and getting professtioal help. I feel awkward about seeing someone about this, sort of emabarrassed but I know that if I don't I will continue to suffer although nights have been a lot kinder to me. I think the biggest worry I have about seeking help is that they will advise medication for me, I do not want to take meds because I am engaged to marry soon and we want to have a child of our own and I am 34 so I'm trying to be as healthy as I can be. I don't really worry about the stress if I were pregnant because I know that I would put my baby first and make sure that I wouldn't allow stress to get to me. I hope that's logical thinking....I have a feeling I'll get a response to that commet. All I know is that because of nursing, it has cost me a great deal of pain that I never thought imaginable. Do I like my job? I sure do now maybe because I'm not such a new nurse anymore and I have a better handle of things but I do like working nights because there are less people there which seems to trigger my stress more. I sure hope that I can just go through behavioral/talk therapy instead of resorting to meds, that's what I want anyway. If anyone knows of any web sites that are clear to understand about this condition let me know. Does anyone else have similar situations out there? And if you do, do you feel it's related to nursing? I really wasn't going to continue being a nurse after that big incident. I was going to get a job working in an office and take night classes for accounting. I was willing to spend every dime I had to change occupations for less stress and normal hours, but as fate would have it, that's exactly when I met my Mr. Right and we moved in together and I originally wasn't going to work at all. I was just going to be a housewife and mother of his daughter and add our own to the mix eventually. But again, fate came into play, he lost his job and I needed to go back to work and this is where I am now. So I'm grateful that I have a nursing job that can sustain a family for a little while. We have big dreams that require big money. We have agreed that if we both work we can make our dreams a reality, he just needs to get work of his own now. So this is my experience with nursing. I do love the actual job itself now, I don't feel as anxious but what I'm thinking is that maybe I'm just as anxious as before but handling it better? I don't know what to think. My v/s the night before were bad again, b/p 109/70 and pulse 110. I know something is going on. Maybe it is a thyroid thing. I'll have to find out I guess.
 
 

 
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