Hi Southern LPN. A few things I've learned from the miniscule amount of time I've been a nurse:
1. Staffing is management's responsibility. Not yours.
Constantly letting management ride roughshod over staff is called enabling
. If we constantly enable management to stuff us to the gills with work, the impetus for change shall never come and management will never stop and say "this isn't working. We need more nurses".
2. The easiest way to burn out is to work too much.
3. Family is important too. Your kids need you. Save the heroics for true emergencies - natural disasters etc.
4. This isn't a frivolous reason. Your work mates will understand. If they don't, they don't need your respect anyway.
Stop feeling guilty. I guarantee you, when you go to work tomorrow - the place will still be standing and there will be a full load of patients waiting for you!