Career Direction

  1. Since I have been reading this BB, I think there are a lot of thoughtful people on here, and have come to realize that I am not alone in most situations that come up related to nursing.

    I am feeling sort of direction-less right now. I started out working for a Tenet hospital that really is a steretype for the hospital from hell. I worked on the huge med-surg floor and I think I learned a lot, but I hated it so much that I dreaded going to work the night before and would almost feel desolate when I looked at the clock and it was only 10:30. The thought of doing that for the next 20 years almost put me under.

    I left that hospital at the beginning of last year, and since then, have not found my niche. I don't know what is out there for an RN that doesn't involve the hospital, and having seen the managment behavior and job, I don't want to get on that path.

    My mom is also an RN who has been at the same place for 20 years, and she doesn't understand my job hoping at all. I don't really like it much myself. I know I could make some decent money in some areas, or could go for a cushy job that pays next to nothing. I just don't know where to start when looking for all the opportunities we nurses are supposed to have.

    Anyone else out there who has run into this kind of blue funk? Care to share your secret? I could use some commiseration right now.
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  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   globalRN
    TheLionessRN, I feel for you. Bedside nursing seems to have really deteriorated in terms of support for nursing...and it was getting bad when I left bedside nursing in 1986. If you have worked in med/surg...try applying for specialty nursing areas like
    ICU, CCU, OR, ER, pediatrics etc. Then with those skills you can move more easily to employers who treat nurses better. There are many institutions which will sponsor you for specialty training with pay( and the education can be used as university credits
    towards a degree. At least in BC, Canada)
    The other way out is to get a degree so you have more employment options as well.
    When you start dreading going to work, is it the work or the working conditions? If it is the working conditions, it is time to move on. Best of luck to you.
  4. by   OriginalWmn
    Hey, I hear you. I've been in nursing for 2.5 years and many times go home thinking that I want to do something else. That I should have listened to those people that told me not to go into nursing. However there are so many aspects of nursing that I love. I work in pediatrics and I don't know if I could work in any other area. Although it may sound contradictory since I too am expressing doubts about continueing on in nursing, I would recommend pediatrics. At least in peds you get to work with kids and the patient ratios are so much better than adult m/s especially at a teaching hospital. I used to work at the children's hospital in nashville if you are in the area and want info on it feel free to e-mail me.
    Hang in there. I know it is tough. Sometimes I think the key to nursing is frequent vacations.
  5. by   TheLionessRN
    Thanks for responding. I have my BSN, but have thought about going on to grad school, so I can expand my scope. In answer to the question above, I dreaded going to work because of both the work and the conditions. I hurt my back one year out of nursing school, so every time I go into a patient room and someone needs to be boosted in the bed, I wonder if this time is going to be the final straw on this camel's back. The hospital conditions were also a big reason for dreading it, because the admin were so pro doctor that they refused to take the side of nursing even if a doctor was abusive. I did leave that hospital, but unfortunately, it was the most local one around here, which means I have to drive more than 30 miles to get to the next closest hospital.

    I have an application in for an ER position at the VA in Nashville. Hoping to get that job, cause if I can't take care of my friends and neighbors, then caring for our nation's veterans is an honorable job.
  6. by   dazedandconfused
    I am in the exact same boat at this time as you are. I am fried. I don't want to work in the hospital for a while. And my mom is a nurse -20 years in the same place. But at least she is getting frustrated with the red tape they are giving her.

    I just sent my resume to the health department, I am hoping. I would love to get into the school system and work with kids(all my background is adults). Have you thought of doing a skills/ wants/needs list of some sort? Like what do you like to do in your spare time, do you like the teaching aspect of the job, the interaction that you have.....
    all that info can be swirled somehow to help you figure out what area might lead to a corner for you.

    Good luck
  7. by   llg
    Here's another suggestion:

    Take a look at some of the other roles in nursing. For example: if you you like to teach, then perhaps being an instructor in a nursing school might satisfy you more -- or a position in staff development -- or a job that emphasized patient education (eg.diabetes education, lactation consultant, etc) What about something like Infection Control? or Quality Assurance? or Case Management? Public Health nursing? school nursing? etc. There are lots of different types of jobs out there in nursing, not just the one that you have personally experienced. I would check the classifieds in your regional newspaper as well as nursing journals -- just to give you some ideas. Then you can contact people who might know more about the positions that interest you and ask them what type of education and experience you would need to get to qualify for that type of job.

    Another sad fact of life is that you might have to move from your current house to find a job that appeals to you. Maybe that hospital 30 miles away (or 100 miles away) is worth moving for. If it gives you a career that you love, wouldn't moving a little -- or making the 30 mile commute be worth it? We can't always find what we want in our local neighborhood. Sometimes, we have to broaden our search a little.

    llg
  8. by   TheLionessRN
    I love to teach! Let me tell you about my experience with teaching over this past summer.

    I got a job teaching LPN school in May. I came in during the middle of one quarter as a clinical instructor then picked up classroom teaching when the new quarter began.

    When I was interviewed/offered the job, I was given the choice of teaching either OB or Peds. Since I have spent more time on peds and have children, I accepted a position teaching pediatrics....in spite of the fact that I am NOT and have never been a peds nurse. I thought I could do it.

    When the quarter started and we got ready to go out for clinicals, I was informed by the director of the program that about half of the class had not had their OB clinicals because of a snafu with a clinical site the previous quarter. In order for these students to graduate at the end of the present quarter, it was up to ME to get these students their OB clinical hours as well as their Peds hours.

    The hospital that I was doing clinicals at agreed to let my students do observation on their OB floor, and in their L&D. So, for my very first teaching assignment, I was floating between the pediatric floor where part of the students were, and the OB floor, where they were observing. The clinical coordinator came to me one morning to yell at me that I was not spending enough time with the students on peds because I was always checking on the students on the OB floor. She arbitrarily decided right there that there would be no more OB observations allowed, and to keep all these students with me on the pediatric floor. 11 students I had, and the census on peds never got over 5, and was usually 2.

    The director of the program blamed ME!! And this was the beginning of the quarter!! I am not going into the rest of the fiasco, but, suffice it to say that I have a bad taste in my mouth about teaching right now. Since I only have a BSN, I can't teach university level, so I think I better just find something else to do.
  9. by   Alley Cat
    With Med/Surg as your background, have you thought about going into a practitioner program? It still may mean relocating, which may not be a direction you want to take if you have kids, etc., but surely there's something in the area that would work.

    Does your mom work at the same hospital? Sometimes there's a difference in perspectives and job expectations just because of the differences between nursing programs now and years ago.
  10. by   Allison S.
    One of the reasons that I went into nursing in my thirthies after two other Bachelor's degrees and lots of work experience in a variety of environments, is the VARIETY of nursing positions available. Granted, I live in a big city, but even smaller places must have clinics, homecare, school nursing.

    If you love caring for people, but find the hospital intolerable, you are in good company. Don't give up on the special part of you that IS a nurse.
  11. by   TheLionessRN
    Allison,
    thank you for your kind words
    I can't imagine being anything else. It is who I am. I just can't seem to find a spot with a paycheck to go along with who I am, lol. I am going to keep looking, that is for sure.
  12. by   globalRN
    How about outpatients?
    I did BMT/hematology outpatients and loved it.
    There are a lot of surgical daycares that would be M-F. days.

    I did teaching with a BSN as well....no upward mobility without a PhD or DNSc. Plus the pay isn't very attractive.
    I did go back for my masters with a major as an FNP. The pay isn't wonderful and there is a lot of responsibility but you may like
    a different scope of practice.

    I think most nurses have either bad backs or bad legs from bedside nursing.
    Best of luck to you. PM me if I can be of help
  13. by   MICU RN
    I feel your pain. I have been a RN for 4.5 years,all in critical care positions and I am ready for a change. I like the clinical aspects, but can't stand the BS aspects of it, for example having to also do all the nurs. aid work, this is very common in the ICU's and ER's that I have worked in. I plan to go to grad. school and work in a advanced prac. role. Hang in there, I am sure you can find a role for you. Many nurses I know with less than five years exp. are trying to get away from bedside nursing mainly because of the pay and the conditions. I think this current shortage will be different from the ones in the past simply because females now have all the professions open to them. And why would they put up with these work conditions? The nursing schools and hospitals will have to work together to improve the status of this profession. The days of having a constant influx of bright college bound people going into nursing are over, half the med schools and law school are now female. Many young people today don't want to become nurses bad enough if they have to put up with these conditions. And I have also observed that the nurses perspective has alot to do with it, if the new nurse is just looking for a job that pays twenty something a hour and has benifits and job security then they tend to be satisfied with it, however if they are looking to get an education so that they become professionals they are often disappointed with the conditions. That why I have so much respect for the people that stick with it.
  14. by   Genista
    Lioness-
    I can relate! I've been an RN 4 yrs now. I have battled episodes of burnout since I first hit the understaffed med/surg floors in 98. I'm at my 2nd job in my nursing career. I've been on my current floor 3 years...and about to transfer to another specialty unit next month.It's time for a change! I am sooooo burned out on missing my breaks, working short, overtime and mandatory meetings, paperwork, audits, etc. I feel like management doesn't value nurses, and we are just worker bees on an assembly line. We are expected to care and give 110% to our patients, but we are expected to neglect ourselves by missing breaks, and working over, and doing free projects (unpaid) for the hospital.

    I even went so far as to apply to college for Spring of next year to retrain for a new non-nursing career. I felt like I have had enough of this horrible nursing nightmare! But I am having second thoughts about that. I feel so conflicted. I really enjoy being a nurse, just not the lousy working conditions we all face. I like being in the hospital, but it's so freaking stressful and long hours. We never get any breaks.It's just wrong.

    One thing that I did recently has been a huge help in my burnout...I cut my hours back at work. Don't know if you have that option. I make enough money to afford to work one less day a week. I started a few weeks ago with my reduced hours. And that one extra day off per week is making a big difference! I feel so much lighter...not as burdened.On my days off I am doing fun things & taking time to enjoy life outside of work. I am even thinking I might be able to stay in nursing! LOL!

    Like a lot of new grads, I entered the nursing workforce full of energy and idealism. I am a hard worker & right there in the thick of it, but holy cow, I never knew it would be this grueling! ;-)
    The bright side of nursing is we do have options. I am still not sure where I will end up either...whether to stay in nursing or not.

    It's so nice to hear everyone's comments & know I'm not alone. Nursing is a hard profession these days...much is expected of us.

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