alternatives to nursing

  1. I am curious, it sounds like many times nurses flee the nursing profession for burn out, change of pace, other reasons.

    What professions are they fleeing to? I would like to hear what friends and maybe even you have done as alternatives to nursing.
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   Genista
    I almost didn't post on this one, and you'll see why in a moment.
    I really do like being a nurse, but the stress and working conditions are burning me out. I was so burned out three months ago that I finally decided to go back to school and do something (anything else). I'm starting a elementary education teacher credential program in January. It will take 3 semesters, or 1.5 years.

    The fact that I am going into teaching is my "big secret." I hoped my friends and family would recognize how unhappy I have been in nursing the past few years, and would cheer me on, but they haven't. And yes, I know teaching has it's own problems and struggles which parallel nursing. The problem is, I am absolutley drawn to the helping professions. Call me crazy, but I love working with people. And I couldn't think of anything else I'd rather do besides nursing.

    All I heard from my family & friends when I made my big announcement was, "Gee, teachers don't make any money, and they work long hours. You'll burn out there too." (Except my dear husband who hears me out everyday...he SUPPORTED my decision, bless him).

    Well, what in tarnation do they (friends & family) think it's like to be a nurse?!! It's 1,000 times harder than they will ever know. I KNOW in my heart that if I can work a med surg floor on day shift, that I can certainly handle the struggles of another profession! Don't they know I was so depressed from nursing stress that I cried in our nurses lounge the days I was lead...because were sooo short once again, that I KNEW from the moment I walked in the door, that there weren't going to be any lunch breaks for anyone, and we'd all be overtime at least 1 hour?!No matter what I did, how hard I worked, we all were going to have a crappy day. Don't they know how awful that feels? Don't they know I stay over 30 min to 1 hour at least every day for the past 4 years and almost always don't take a break? (I can count on 1 hand the times I got off "on time").

    In what other job can I be mandated to work 3 weeks of NIGHT shift (I did it) and to come into work for mandatory meetings 3 times/month on my "days off" for skills lab? At least in teaching, I won't have to worry about "sentinel events!!!!!!" I was sick of it! I was so sick of nursing, I fantasized about doing any job, yes, even a clerk at the grocery store, yes, even the pizza parlour job looked good. Any job looked good that had breaks built in, and I didn't have to worry about people dying on me!!!!! I wanted out from nursing, even if only for awhile. I'm sure my fellow nurses know where I'm coming from. I am a hard worker, but I should have bailed out of the hospital scene or cut my hours back years ago when the burnout first started. Now, I'm crispy. I still provide good care, and still have my moments of joy at work, but the thought of staying in nursing really scares me. The paperwork gets worse every year.

    I decided that maybe there are long hours teaching kids, and yes, I will be taking a pay cut of $13,000/year, but what if I like it? What if it's stressful, but not as stressful as what I do now? My dream would be to someday say, "I love me job." My husband constantly reminds me that I have nothing to lose by changing careers, because if it doesn't work out, I can always go back to nursing. And yes, it does make me feel really sad sometimes and I secretly hope that maybe I would fall in love with nursing again (I've recently tranferred to a new floor/specialty). But in the meanwhile...I want to like my job! I'm going back to school to teach.

    :roll
    Last edit by Genista on Nov 22, '02
  4. by   sjoe
    Real estate, law, counseling, teaching, sales, business--you name it.
  5. by   Dr. Kate
    Librarian. There is a need for medical librarians.
  6. by   ShandyLynnRN
    Sometimes I think I would love to go back to work at McDonald's!!!!
  7. by   Rav_810
    If i wasn't doing nursing i would love to be a lawyer. One of the reasons people leave nursing for starters, the university education. I think a lot of people think it will be all theory and when they find out after being on clinical placement they run for cover. This is only one reason in my opinion, there just isn't enough information and support from educators, the uni i got to there is no support at all. This could be different at other universities. Anyway i have raved on.
    Next comment please.
  8. by   PsychoRN
    I'm currently working on a degree in accounting.
  9. by   oramar
    Once I saw an article about a motorcycle cop who was a former nurse. Also, there is a couple in my neighborhood who own and operate their own beauty saloon. They used to both be nurses. I knew an LPN once who realized the painters at our hospital were in a union, made more money, had better hours and were treated well by their bosses. She took the test and became a painter apprentence.
  10. by   cargal
    Originally posted by oramar
    Once I saw an article about a motorcycle cop who was a former nurse. Also, there is a couple in my neighborhood who own and operate their own beauty saloon. They used to both be nurses. I knew an LPN once who realized the painters at our hospital were in a union, made more money, had better hours and were treated well by their bosses. She took the test and became a painter apprentence.
    Oramar, you are priceless. I stated to my new DON, admin, and ADON the other day that there was not a nursing shortage and I think they almost all choked on our crappy lunch! When I explained myself, they all looked around and were dead silent. They believe what they want to believe because they don't want to think of themselves responsible for such behaviour as voting with our feet. A painter's apprentice- mmmm.
  11. by   Merry1
    When I hit the burnt point I went to an agency, where I got only as much crud as I would take, as some wise, sage person points out repeatedly. I also worked as a proffessional driver, including driving a school bus (it was a lot of fun and I drove for special needs children, used both of my tallents at one time). I love this proffession but I do not have welcome tatooed on my back either.

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