PTSD from Nursing



Hi- new here so not exactly sure how this works.
I am a nurse and have been for a little over 2 years. I started as a new grad on the solid organ transplant unit and PCU which is critical care. My unit was filled with very toxic people that would give the sickest patients to the new grads because they said they were there longer and had to deal with it. I found myself with all of my patients tanking on me every night and I saw unspeakable horrors and had violence against me on the regular basis. Needless to say I developed PTSD. I have flashbacks and difficulty sleeping. I finally left that unit and I was just offered a job on a postpartum unit which I thought could be good for me because it is low stress. I went to shadow and saw some equipment and had a full blown flashback and panic attack. I keep it to myself but I couldn’t breathe, I felt dizzy and I was scared for my life just SEEING equipment. Idk what to do. I spent my whole life trying to get this degree, I need money! Idk what to do! Should I take the job and work through it or avoid it at all costs? I’ve applied for outpatient jobs and work from home jobs and I’ve gotten NOTHING. Either they say I haven’t been a nurse long enough to get the outpatient job or home job or I don’t have the skills if I try to apply for a job outside of healthcare and I can’t not work. It’s so overwhelming and I feel like horrible I’m like this. I just wish the thoughts would stop. Any other nurses or healthcare workers going through the same thing?
Needless to say I developed PTSD.
Hi @BamBam24, and welcome. Were you diagnosed with PTSD, and do you have a therapist now?
I spent my whole life trying to get this degree, I need money!
I went through nursing school many years ago. Just out of school I was put in charge of a secure psychiatric unit. Seems the practice of giving the new grads all the hard patients is universal.

I was in nursing for just 5 years. I got out--it wasn't what I wanted to do in the first place, and the staff was very abusive toward me AND patients. I hated it. Even though I had only worked in nursing, I found another job in customer service. Nursing is the ultimate customer service job--you just need to learn how to use those skills you learned to build a resume that would be good for other jobs. I did have to take a pay cut, but honestly? Best thing I ever did.
I don’t have the skills if I try to apply for a job outside of healthcare anbd I can’t not work.
If you were in nursing for two years, you have a TON of skills you can market for other jobs. If you want to stay in nursing, hospitals and offices all over are looking for nurses. How many resumes do you have out there? What kind of jobs are you looking for?

Sometimes, the psychological issues make doing the work hard. If you don't have a therapist, you might try looking for one; their support can be invaluable.
Hi there- I am so sorry to read about another nurse who has been crushed during covid. I am a nurse as well. I also started out in solid organ transplant and moved to a nursing supervisor role in a clinic after about three years in transplant. I LOVED transplant work but my body didn't hold up. I also left because our patients were getting sicker, they took any of our less acute patients to a short stay unit, and it was downright dangerous. I would be charge as a fairly new grad, have 3-4 patients, two fresh kidney's, and a student then be called to do CAPD across the hospital. It has been 7 years and I still wake up in a cold sweat thinking I am asleep at work and think I heard an alarm. I had also always planned on working my way back into the community. I had a previous career in community mental health.

Working in a clinic was a different kind of stress. In a lot of ways it was lower stress until COVID hit. Then I was juggling too many things. It literally felt like there was pressure on my shoulders crushing me. I started to have chest pain daily and one day almost went to the ED. I realized it was from the stress and started metoprolol which has been a godsend. I started coming to this website when I was so low I didn't think I wanted to live. I wasn't sure how to be anything other than a nurse (I really do love it) but I didn't know what else to do. Therapy and this site really helped me hang in there for long enough to get my bearings. It took a little while but I found a work from home job that is amazing. If you think you want to stay in the profession, the postpartum unit might be a really great option for you. You will get to see healthy babies and mommas. The patient sleep at night a lot more than transplant patients. There is more joy than heartache. And far fewer machines to manage.

I am not sure what country you are from (I am in US) but if you can even get another year under your belt, it seems like the world opens up a bit at three years. A lot of the at home jobs are looking for about three years. Feel free to message me if you want support from another nurse. I have been out of direct care for about 9 months and still have bad days but it is so much better. I have enough clarity to actually work through some of the pain rather than push it back just so I can handle another day.