1st Year Nurse Tip 3: PTSD?

I walk out of the hospital wondering why I forgot such a simple thing? Why didn’t I think of it? I should have thought of it. I’m awakened at 2am by my  racing heart. My anxious mind takes over, and I re-play the scene. I should’ve acted sooner. I should’ve forced my opinion and should’ve advocated for the solid solution in my head. I should’ve fought the doctor. But, he has the right to tell me “no” and that we should turn right, when I’m certain we should’ve turned left.

The work load of the day, the pressure I put upon myself, the people who depend on me when they’re sick, the family members who bombard me with endless questions, the PT,RT,OT, tech and doctor who desire a piece of my mind and insight about the patient’s progress, and the loads of charting and tasks to complete in a shift, come together in a  big boiling pot of “too much!”, to create the perfect recipe for PTSD.

If I allowed myself to,  I could be my biggest bully, beating myself up over all the things I miss. Sometimes I bully myself. I know friends who are bullied by themselves as well. It’s not good. This is dumb. I’m learning. My new nurse friends are learning. There’s a shit load of stuff to learn! Stop bullying yourself, new nurse.

When you make a mistake, admit it. Correct it. Then, MOVE ON! You’re good to no one, whilst sulking about a mistake that’s done and behind you. The faster you learn to move on and grab the valuable lessons learned to apply to future encounters, the better off you’ll be.

The anxiety, PTSD, sleepless night and bullying induced by your brain is not only extremely unhealthy, but it takes attention away from your other patient’s and from the ones who love you, at home. Detach from work, as you drive out of the parking lot. If you need education in regards to something you were unsure of, then educate yourself. Also, no one enjoys the company of someone who puts themself down. No one wants to hear your drama. Trust me. No one wants to hear it. No one wants to hear your excuses either. Drop the gossip. Drop the drama. Own the mistakes you make. Change them, and learn from them. Move on. Be confident in who you are, and give yourself a little grace as you learn the ropes.

As a medical professional, you’ll never reach the point in which you’ll know all there is to know, in regards to medicine and the human body. There are always mistakes to be made, lessons to be learned, victories to be had, and rewards to follow. The sooner you master the art of  taking responsibility  for mistakes, “moving on”, and learning from those mistakes, the further you’ll progress in your career, because there are so many levels of advancement in the medical profession. Just when you start to become comfortable, things change. Perhaps you’ll move up the ladder in your career. Perhaps, you’ll advance  from Med Surg to Trauma or Critical Care. Perhaps you’ll progress from BSN to MSN. Then guess what, you’re at the bottom again, questioning things, possibly making mistakes, and learning all over again. Learn to deal with your anxiety, or PTSD, because it may never go away if you don’t learn how to deal with it. Show yourself a little mercy. And, learn to respect yourself, because others will respect you, if you respect you.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Great post. I recently posted in my blog about emotional exhaustion and it is right in line with this. It definitely wears us out and I think it is helpful for new nurses to read posts like this so they realize they aren’t bad nurses for feeling this way. In fact, I worry more about the nurses who don’t stress about their actions and decisions.

  2. lorenawebber says:

    Thanks Josh!! Great point. I always love to hear what other nurses have to say, so I’ll check out your blog! Have a great night.

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