Do new nurses experience anxiety?

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This blog answers: Do new nurses experience anxiety? What are the reasons for new nurses to experience anxiety? What are a few tips for new nurses to help decrease anxiety? Which are some low-stress nursing careers? What are the signs and symptoms of anxiety experienced by new nurses? What are the main triggers of anxiety for new nurses? What are some ways to manage anxiety experienced by new nurses? What are some ways to manage anxiety experienced by new nurses? What are the therapy options for anxiety experienced by nurses?

Do new nurses experience anxiety?

Many new nurses complain about experiencing anxiety within the initial few months of their orientation or their first year in the profession.

The nature of the nursing profession is in itself very stressful and requires a lot of assistance. New nurses usually need a lot of help in coordinating, evaluating the care of patients planning, and handling critical medical conditions.

New nurses may experience extreme feelings of anxiety due to the uncertainty of being able to achieve the best outcome for their patients.

It is believed that experiencing anxiety as a new nurse is completely normal and will pass once the nurse gets used to their job role.

What are the reasons for new nurses to experience anxiety? 

Some reasons for a new nurse to experience anxiety are:

  • Adjusting to the new job environment
  • Managing time and prioritizing work
  • Feeling incompetent in one’s new job role and being needy.
  • Communicating with the senior doctors regarding the patients.
  • Fear of making mistakes due to a lack of confidence.
  • Communicating with the patient’s family
  • Delegating tasks to junior staff and colleagues and
  • Learning to adjust to the systematic approach

What are a few tips for new nurses to help decrease anxiety?

Talk it out

New nurses can talk about their situations before it gets very overwhelming. New nurses can speak to their colleagues or mentors.

Get rest for at least 6-8 hours

Considering the nature of the profession it is suggested that nurses get at least 6 to 8 hours of rest each day.

Plan your day in advance

Planning one’s day will decrease the level of anxiety one experiences and give them a sense of control over a situation

Deep breaths

Taking deep breaths helps people to feel calm and relaxed. Understanding how to regulate ones breathing will decrease their heart rate and help one to remain calm.

Repetition

Repeating the same procedure, and the same routine for a couple of days helps to give a sense of confidence to the nurse.

Take care of yourself

The nurse needs to remember that to provide the patient with the necessary care it is required that they are in good health themselves.

What are the signs and symptoms of anxiety experienced by new nurses? 

Anxiety is characterized by a set of signs and symptoms such as:

 

  • Sweating
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sense of choking
  • Complaints of chest pain
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or Lightheadedness
  • Fear of losing control over oneself and their environment
  • Fear of impending doom
  • Hot or cold flashes
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Increased heart rate

These symptoms vary in severity from person to person. However, it is noted that many people experience anxiety attacks that are not significantly displayed.

Which are some low-stress nursing careers?

Some low-stress nursing careers are:

Nurse educator

Being a nurse educator is one of the least stressful nursing jobs that individuals can take up. The main role of a nurse educator is to help various nursing students to achieve their goals. Being a nurse educator requires reasonable hours of work and also lower levels of pressure. A nurse educator can be seen working in colleges, universities, and hospitals

Summer camp nurse

Those who find it easy to interact and work with children might find this as the best opportunity for them as a career. The main responsibility of a school nurse or summer camp nurse is to give initial care to the children in cases of injuries and also provide medication if required. As a school nurses candidates can also get reasonable working hours and long vacations.

Nurse administrator

Nurse administrators are seen working in hospital settings with more flexibility and independence. They mainly work with the administrative domain of running the hospital such as focusing on patient entries, records of the employees and regulating medical services, conducting various performance reviews, and working through the budget.

Public health nurse

Public health nurses are usually in charge of the communities rather than particular individuals. Their main aim is to bring about significant changes in the community’s health and to make sure of maximum care.

The major roles of a public health nurse are educating and informing people about the various disease, treatment, and prevention options they also take part in organizing educational campaigns.

Nurse researcher

Nurses searchers work in colleges and universities with very minimal interaction. Individuals who think about becoming nurse researchers will have to work towards contributing to the health care system by researching healthy lifestyles, treatment options, and the evolution of various diseases.

Being a nurse researcher is not easy but is not as stressful as working in a hospital and dealing with patients daily.

Home health nurse

Some individuals find it stressful to work in a hospital environment but work optimally with patients at home. In such cases, individuals can consider taking up the role of a home health nurse where they are responding to that patient’s daily routines and monitoring the various vitals.

What are the main triggers of anxiety for new nurses?

Even though anxiety is seen among many individuals, certain triggers make some people more vulnerable to anxiety than others. Some contributing triggers of anxiety are:

Health diagnosis

An individual is more vulnerable to experiencing anxiety in the presence of chronic or serious health diagnoses such as cancer or diabetes.

Triggers associated with health diagnosis tend to have a strong impact on an individual because of the strong negative thoughts and emotions that are associated with it.

Medications

It is believed that many over-the-counter medications may contribute to the symptoms of anxiety in some individuals. This is certainly because of the ingredients in this medication that makes an individual feel uneasy.

Use of caffeine

Even though it is said that the use of caffeine helps to activate an individual’s system, studies show that over-usage of caffeine might lead to adverse effects such as anxiety or even depression.

Apart from the overuse withdrawal from caffeine may also lead to anxiety. hence it is suggested that individuals take conscious amounts of caffeine per day.

Skipping meals

Apart from environmental factors, one’s eating habits might also contribute to an individual’s anxiety directly or indirectly. When an individual fails to maintain their food timings it might lead to fluctuations in their blood sugar levels.

These fluctuations might make an individual feel jittery which in turn triggers anxiety.

Hence maintaining a proper schedule and diet is important for various reasons not just for energy but also for maintaining one’s mood.

Negative thinking

An individual’s behavior and emotions are certainly controlled by one’s thoughts. When an individual is upset and dwells on negative thoughts it further leads to discomforting emotions and detrimental thoughts causing a vicious cycle.

These negative thoughts are then projected to various areas of an individual’s life creating an overall sense of lack of control over oneself and the environment which triggers anxiety.

Financial concerns

Many individuals experience anxiety due to their financial standing. Learning to manage financial triggers requires seeking professional help such as from a financial advisor.

Stress

Daily stressors as simple as traffic jams to major ones such as strained relationships might contribute to one’s intensity and frequency of anxiety and anxiety attacks.

However long term or chronic stress leads to long term anxiety and a build-up of negative taught processes and emotions that impact an individual’s mental health

 

Conflict

individuals might also experience anxiety as a result of interpersonal or intrapersonal conflicts.

The inability to resolve these conflicts might lead to the buildup of negative thoughts, emotions that overwhelm an individual and trigger anxiety.

Personal triggers

Personal triggers can be as minor as a smell, place, or even a song that reminds an individual of negative and discomforting experiences. Personal triggers can remind an individual of an unconscious or conscious dramatic event in an individual’s life that triggers their anxiety.

If you can identify and understand your triggers, you can work to avoid them and learn to cope with them. You can learn specific coping strategies to handle the triggers when they happen.

What are some ways to manage anxiety experienced by new nurses?

Identify and acknowledge the triggers

The most significant strategy that can be used to control one’s anxiety is by identifying and acknowledging those triggers.

Being able to recognize what makes an individual anxious makes them better equipped to take action.

Relaxation techniques

 

Even though anxiety can be bought under an individual’s control it cannot be predicted. In such situations, it is necessary that an individual actively carries out relaxation techniques.

These might include meditation, yoga, and deep breathing which helps to reduce the intensity of anxiety within a short period.

Socialization

 

A key to reducing the frequency and intensity of anxiety attacks could be spending time with close family and friends.

The kind of emotional and practical support provided by these social and personal groups help the person feel connected and aid in distracting one’s mind from negative and recurring thoughts that lead to anxiety.

Apart from friends and families, individuals can also consider speaking to groups of people that are experiencing similar problems.

Set realistic goals

When an individual is feeling overwhelmed, setting goals and targets keeping in mind priorities can help resolve overwhelming feelings of fear or panic.

Setting goals provides structure and routine to an individual’s life reducing space for uncertainty which can be a major trigger for anxiety in many cases.

Take up new challenges

Apart from doing activities that an individual is usually fond of and has expertise in, trying new and challenging activities that put an individual outside their comfort zone in a healthy manner may help reduce the stress and anger temporarily.

Signing up for new activities also provides a path to meeting people with similar stories and concerns.

Lifestyle changes

An individual’s lifestyle plays a major role in their experience of anxiety. An unhealthy and busy lifestyle usually leads to unhealthy eating, lack of exercise, lack of adequate sleep.

A combination of a well-set diet, exercise, and sleep can help to regulate an individual’s mood and equip them with a favorable coping mechanism.

These coping mechanisms in turn help to get control over once anxiety concerns in a more adaptable manner.

lack of proper diet, sleep, and exercise can make an individual sluggish, dependent, moody and vulnerable to anxiety attacks.

Making journal entries

Last but not least having a journal to write down how a person is feeling and thinking when they are anxious helps them to reflect upon their thoughts and feelings.

Putting down one’s thoughts and feelings onto a paper helps to provide a sense of temporary relief.

In the case of journal entry, a person does not even have to fear being judged by another person regarding their thoughts and feelings.

What are the therapy options for anxiety experienced by nurses?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps an individual to control their anxiety by using strategies like relaxation and breathing. It works on the principles of replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.

Exposure therapy

Exposure therapy is a kind of therapy in which an individual is exposed to a particular stimulus that they usually fear or are anxious about in a graded order.

As and when the individual gets comfortable with the situation or stimulus introduced or exposed to them with each session, individuals get more comfortable with a real-life situation that might have otherwise been a source for triggering anxiety.

Group therapy

 

It is based on the principle that when an individual interacts with other people who are suffering from the same fears they might not feel left alone or isolated. Group therapy usually involves a group of individuals who are experiencing similar symptoms and problems.

Medication

Anxiety can also be treated with the help of medication prescribed by a health care professional.

Though medication alone cannot help in reducing persistent anxiety it can help in restoring a sense of control and bring temporary relief. 

Online therapy  

In cases where reaching out physically to a professional is impossible or discomforting an individual can opt to seek help through the online medium. 

In this, the therapy sessions are carried out one-to-one over a video or audio call. Some individuals also prefer interacting with the therapist through text as well due to various reasons. One of the most common is the fear of being judged by the therapist or some personal hesitation. 

Online therapy can help individuals to regulate some aspects of their anxiety that aids individuals in carrying out a stress-free life over time

Conclusion

The mental health field can be stressful and anxiety-provoking for many nurses and doctors. being a nurse requires a lot of mental strength and tolerance to stress and disturbances due to the pressure that is caused by the health of a patient.

It is very common for nurses to experience a sense of anxiety whether be it related to the job rules or related to the patient’s health.

The nurse must understand that to take care of the patient they have to initially be in good health and maintain their health.

Avoiding anxiety in such a profession can be impossible however seeking help is available for everyone and must be utilized when required.

Frequently asked questions: Do new nurses experience anxiety?

Is being a new nurse stressful?

Being a new nurse can be stressful due to various job-related or patient-related concerns. A nurse can feel overwhelmed and delusional about their responsibilities during the initial weeks. Some also experience a sense of helplessness and doubt their abilities leading to withdrawal from the role.

Why does nursing give me anxiety?

While nursing comes with many advantages it is not stress-free. Nursing involves long working hours and even double shifts which can lead to physical and mental strains.

What can you do if you hate being a nurse?

If any individual regrets being a nurse they must first try and understand where these feelings are rooted from. If it is due to situational pressure they must try and understand that taking a break might help. However, if they aren’t comfortable with the rules and feel that they do not match their needs and skills then they must reconsider their career options.

Can you become a nurse if you have anxiety?

Becoming a nurse with an existing mental health condition such as anxiety is possible. Pre-existing mental health conditions do not act as barriers for individuals from being successful.

Citations

https://nurse.org/articles/new-nurse-anxiety/
https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety/anxiety-triggers
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10634350/

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