Triage Corner: How to Cope When You’re Feeling Defeated

Welcome to the Triage Corner! The Triage series of posts are designed to answer questions from YOU! My fellow nurses. Hopefully some of the advice I’m giving can help you too! Today we are discussing feeling defeated as a newer nurse, and what you can do.

If you’ve got a question or need some advice, head to this form, and share it with me! Don’t worry, all submissions are confidential and any identifying information will be been removed. Please note: All posts are edited for clarity and brevity. 

Let’s get to it! 

Background: 

I’ve been a nurse for 3 years and am on a med-surg floor. I went into nursing because I wanted to help others, but I’ve been nothing but defeated and bullied.

Symptoms:

  • I feel like I love what nursing is supposed to be, but don’t like what it actually is. 
  • I hate that you basically run around all day, get dumped on from others, and it still isn’t good enough. 
  • There’s a bullying culture, and the workplace is toxic. 
  • I feel so drained each day and I feel like I’m not really making a difference. I can’t imagine doing this for the rest of my life.

Problem: 

I feel defeated knowing I’m still a “baby” nurse and already want a break.  Have you ever felt this way? I’m just not sure what to do.


Solutions for Now:

The running around and getting ‘dumped on’ by others: 

Try to find an ally at work. Even if it’s just one person. Find the one person you know will give you a straight no B.S. answer. Someone who will show you the tricks of doing something more efficiently and who you can go to with questions. 

It doesn’t have to be someone you work each shift with. And they don’t *need* to know you picked them to be your go-to, but just having one solid resource person can make a huge difference. 

Having someone you trust to chat things over with, or ask if you need a second opinion can help you feel more confident. Just make sure you aren’t adding extra to their workload in the process. 

The bullying:

Honestly, try to just keep your head down and don’t engage, especially in the gossip or drama. Both are a huge energy sink, time waster and morale killer. 

I’ve been in nursing long enough to know there’s always someone trying to put someone else down or “game the system” for an easier assignment. Or someone who’s just trying to pass as much extra work as possible to the next shift. 

Try not to engage as much as possible. You can still be pleasant and friendly, but focus on your patients. If you can, maybe just pull the curtains and chart in a patients room or empty room to avoid the drama at the desk.

Feeling defeated:

Consider keeping a record of the moments or days when you felt most impactful and confident. The days you really felt you made a difference.

Keep your thoughts in a notebook or even in a memo on your phone (no HIPPA info of course). Then use this as a resource to reflect back on and remind yourself how awesome you really are, especially when you’ve had a rough day or start feeling defeated.

The Take-Away: 

Hopefully some of these things are helpful and give you a place to start. Try the tips above, even if they are uncomfortable or if you think they won’t make a difference. 

Give it a week and see if you feel any differently.

Make sure you’re spending time thinking about any old patterns or habits in your day that you want to break, so you aren’t going back for each shift with the same approach and mindset. 

If you want different results, be willing to try a different approach.

A Longer Term Prescription: 

If you need a plan, a solid blueprint, and strategies to help you take back your energy and reignite your passion for nursing, let me help you! I know what it’s like, because I’ve been there before.

I’ve created a 6 week exhaustion ending course that will help you rethink those negative thought patterns, put a name and more importantly, a solution to what you’re feeling, and give you the tools and tips to really take back control. 

You can find out more here. Let’s make today the day you take back control and tuRN Up Your Health!

If you’ve got a question you’d like me to answer in the Triage corner, submit it here! Can’t wait to hear from you. We are in this together. 

In wellness, 

Dee

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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