I agree with the writer on the “great” side of bedside nursing, and its rewarding nature. However, I am also sympathetic to those who struggle with bedside nursing, may be because I am one of them! I have been at it for 20 years, licensed and worked in 4 countries on 2 continents. I felt from early on in my training that although I did enjoy many of my clinicals and nursing courses, much of hospital nursing did not appeal to me. I have tried to fall in love with the bedside for many years, but it just isn’t happening for me. Continually piling expectations, apparent lack of understanding by management and heavy workloads are additional frustrations. But please do not expect me to just run… like everyone else, I have invested time, money and effort, and I am a pretty good nurse too.
Now, I have great admiration for those of you who have found their niche on the hospital floors- there is nothing satisfying even to me than to see a nurse who not only is good at what they do, but is also passionate about it!
I stand corrected, but my experience with many great nurses is that they often misunderstand those of their colleagues who struggle with floor nursing. We the “black sheep” find it hard to express our true feelings in the presence of our colleagues, for fear of being dismissed as malingerers who need to just get the # out of the profession. I find this very contrary to what nursing stands for- compassion. The phrase “I hate nursing” could just be a cry for help, to be understood and supported.
For those like me who really feel differently about floor nursing, it might be that you are inclined to some trait that bedside nursing generally tends to lack to some extent, such as autonomy, innovation or other such challenges. The great thing about nursing is that it provides a huge variety of specialties, some of them offering opportunity to exercise more of these characteristics than say, med/surgical nursing. You may also want to look outside the box- run your own health related business, be a freelance speaker/writer, academics, clinical or community research, Start own health related non-profit, medical sales/ marketing, the list is endless. Do not let anyone intimidate you out of “nursing”, you can always be a “nurse” and utilize your people skills, time management and priority setting skills etc far away from the hospital bed. Many of these may require only minimal short, non academic courses or community seminars or enquiries from community resources. Be pro- active and venture out there. You can also take a more moderate approach and work part time as you take up another non-hospital career, such as teaching or NP.
But most importantly, you need to relax more and don’t let your dislike for bedside nursing cloud your much needed clarity of mind to re-assess yourself and consider the options. You may also find coping at the bedside easier while you figure out which way to steer your career if you are more relaxed & focused on the "joys" rather than the crappy moments. This isn't easy, I know, I live it day to day, but it helps. Many new nurses end up delving into more and more degrees just to discover they don’t like them either, and end up where they started. Each person is different, one may only need a specialty change, another may need a more drastic change; if you are older or have invested much time already, I would stay "close to home" where pre-existing skills may be useful rather than start a completely new career.
I would have liked to share my own interesting journey “searching for me” in my career, but this is already too long!
Finally, students and those aspiring to jump in, nursing is a great career with many possibilities, so almost everyone may find their niche. Do not be discouraged by the ugly realties, you may be the one to change nursing for the better!!