No More Bedside Nursing, I Quit!

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    I just recently graduated with my BSN in '04. i will be completing my 1st year this october working as a Registered Nurse. After 1 year working on the floor i have decided i'm going to quit bedside nursing. I worked for 8months in Boston on an acute medical surgical floor(eve shift). We had extreme staff shortage and not enough nursing assistance on the floor. I'm currently in Georgia in a "prestigious" hospital, facing the same problem in a step-down surgical icu. On this floor they have 30 patients, 2 nursing assistance and 6 patients ( very sick patients) to a nurse. Nurses have to get report do their own vs and even do morning care, pass out meds, prep patients for OR, and each nurse usually gets an average of 3 admissions per day. I spent 4 years in college learning about the art of nursing and i can't practice 1/2 the things i learned. Talk about hypocracy. Hospitals don't care about their nurses well being. I'm extremely burned out and exhausted after each shift and underpaid. I thought the hard part was the nursing school, it seems as if it gets worst after you graduate. My friend was just telling me one time she was running back and forth on the floor, she fainted and she had a heart attack. I'm 23 years old i'm smart enought to realize this is not for me early on. My sister who is 25 w/ 1 year experience agreed with and said she can't do it anymore. She is actually going back to school to do Legal nursing. I love the act of caring in nursing but if i stay on the floor i will eventually hate nursing and i don't want that. So what are my options here, what can i do with a RN, BSN degree if i don't want bed side / hospital nursing. I'm already considering private duty nursing, anything else i can do?
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  4. 3
    I hear your same complaints frequently on this board and in person. One sad trend I continue to see is that young talented nurses such as yourself are burning out at the bedside and many see the answer is more education to "get away from the bedside". So then we are flush with educators, managers, and others who are still nurses but are so detached, they can not see the problems the bedside nurses face.

    I have been a nurse 32 years, mostly at the bedside. I can't offer any specific advice for you, just comfort that you are not alone. That may not be much comfort at all! Nursing has been good for me. I grew up with it, as a new RN at age 19, it is all I know. That said, I never encouraged my children to go into nursing. Neither have the personality for it. My daughter in law has been asking questions about it and I have encouraged her to look elsewhere.

    Many are entering nursing as a guarantee of job security, decent pay and flexibility. All of those are true, but they come at a high price. Many administrators, educators, and paper pushers in general still have the mindset that nursing is a "calling" and we should behave like the nuns of old and selflessless sacrifice our lives for the good of others. They do not look at us as professionals who have needs of our own!

    While I enjoy what I do (ER travel nurse), I completely understand the frustration and sorrow of those who do not. I would not survive 3 months in most areas of nursing, nor would I want to. My backup is to drive a forklift at Home Depot! You may find your niche, you may not. It is not for everyone, sad but true.

    But before you give up completely, look into other aspects of nursing. There are many. You have put in your obligitory one year of hell and can now branch out. Good luck, wish I could be more insightful and supportive, but I recognize the limitations of trying to work under adverse circumstances without backup.

    We have all of the responsibility, and none of the authority!
    artistnurse, NewTexasRN, and Skeletor like this.
  5. 0
    Quote from diva4life
    I'm already considering private duty nursing, anything else i can do?
    I would recommend trying ICU work before you leave the bedside for good. You've had almost a year of solid med-surg training and that should help you transfer over to intensive care. It's a different world - yes, busy and sometimes staffing isn't great - but overall it's wonderful to only have one or two patients per shift to deal with. You can devote all of your time to them and really get into their care. Yes, they're much more critical and that comes with it's own stress, but then again every job in nursing involves stressors. Spending a shift running like crazy after a half dozen patients and spending a shift not leaving one crashing patient's bedside...it's just different. Some love it, some hate it. You sound like someone who will enjoy it because you really do want to use all the skills you learned about in nursing school. Give it a try!
  6. 0
    I would also encourage you to try another specialty before calling it quits on the hospital. The OR sounds interesting. You wouldn't have 6 patients there. I work NICU and love it.

    If you want to get out of the hospital, you could always look into home health/public health, clinic work, etc.
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    I hear ya loud and clear...and totally empathize , as do most nurses here no doubt. It is increasingly difficult to find sufficient reward to justify the difficulties out there. Only by finding a 'niche' can the positives outweigh the negatives in modern nursing, I've decided.

    Best wishes...and hope you find what makes you happy whether it is in or out of nursing!
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    I hear you too. But I would investigate other kinds of nursing - there are so many.

    I mention this all the time but it works so well for friends of mine with young kids. A surgery center. No weekends. No holidays. A friend of mine works part-time 2 days a week. Her schedule never changes. She makes good money. And has time for her family.

    As Fergus mentioned, there is also NICU nursing.

    Or you could come to California and work in rural nursing . .. we have a 5:1 ratio. We have a CNA. We do a little bit of everything (med/surg, OB, ER, pre-op and post-op).

    steph
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    I totally understand. I felt the same way at my first job out of school. It started out OK, but after a couple of years, the hospital got itself into "financial trouble" and decided to rearrange staffing. Ended up being about 12:1 on a cardiac tele floor nights, 1 aide if we were lucky. It got to be where I was irritated with my patients if they called me away from my mountain of paperwork. My idea of an assessment was 1) they're breathing 2) they have a stable rhythm 3) they're not bleeding. Anyway, I decided to move on. The job I found in ICU at a different hospital was way better, but has it's own drawbacks. I think if you don't enjoy using your clinical skills, move away from the bedside. As others mentioned, there are clinics, home health, private duty, insurance, phamacutical, etc... But if you like the interaction and clinical aspect of bedside nursing, try another unit - or another hospital. They're not all as bad as you describe. Good luck!:wink2:
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    When I went into Med/Surg right out of nursing school I was excited. That wore off quickly. Bedside nursing was frustrating, stressful, and felt more like I was a servant instead of a nurse. I hate being pulled in different directions and being yelled at and humiliated by nurses and patients because their priorities werent the same as mine. I left after 6 months because I was having health problems. And I felt guilty for the longest time for hating nursing. I still havent been able to find what area I feel I belong. I have tried Blood Bank nursing, public health clinic nurse, NICU, OB, and now I am a dialysis nurse. Some day I will find my niche and I hope you do too.
    Bionic Woman and Wsmith16 like this.
  11. 0
    You could do Psych nursing, Home Health, or public health. You could work for a public health department and spend some time at a desk, design your own programs for the community like programs to help prevent child abuse, things like that, work with WIC and talk to moms and teach them about healthy pregnancy. Do health screenings at schools with a high population of underprivleged kids...things like that. (I had an internship at a public health department).

    At home health you work on your own and get to drive around, but pay is not as good and still heavy pt. load and hard work.

    You could work as a school nurse, once again pay not as good and the time I spent with a school nurse I was bored out of my mind--okay, another tummy ache, call mom....But I am sure there are some challenges and excitement once you do it all the time, especially since pretty soon 90% of our children will be obese diabetics with the crap they shovel in their faces at school and the kids I see guzzling soda on a daily basis, oh sorry, little off topic, I have a bit of an issue with that I just have to say though, when I worked with the school nurse the choices they had for lunch were pizza, nachos, hamburgers, soft pretzels with cheese, mushy canned green beans, and an entire rack filled with chips and little debbies. I thought I was going to have a heart attack. They at least offered healthy choices when I was in school.

    Okay, sorry, back to the topic. I can't think of any other areas that I know much about. I hope you find something you enjoy. Life is too short to spend hating your job, especially when you spend so much time there.
  12. 0
    Quote from Happy-ER-RN
    You could do Psych nursing, Home Health, or public health. You could work for a public health department and spend some time at a desk, design your own programs for the community like programs to help prevent child abuse, things like that, work with WIC and talk to moms and teach them about healthy pregnancy. Do health screenings at schools with a high population of underprivleged kids...things like that. (I had an internship at a public health department).

    At home health you work on your own and get to drive around, but pay is not as good and still heavy pt. load and hard work.

    You could work as a school nurse, once again pay not as good and the time I spent with a school nurse I was bored out of my mind--okay, another tummy ache, call mom....But I am sure there are some challenges and excitement once you do it all the time, especially since pretty soon 90% of our children will be obese diabetics with the crap they shovel in their faces at school and the kids I see guzzling soda on a daily basis, oh sorry, little off topic, I have a bit of an issue with that I just have to say though, when I worked with the school nurse the choices they had for lunch were pizza, nachos, hamburgers, soft pretzels with cheese, mushy canned green beans, and an entire rack filled with chips and little debbies. I thought I was going to have a heart attack. They at least offered healthy choices when I was in school.

    Okay, sorry, back to the topic. I can't think of any other areas that I know much about. I hope you find something you enjoy. Life is too short to spend hating your job, especially when you spend so much time there.

    All great ideas. Don't forget consulting! I've been a consultant for all of 3 months now and I love it. However, ultimately I'd like to get a degree in public health.


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