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.