Well, I did it. I turned in my two weeks notice. I'm finally leaving the nursing profession, for good. I had planned to do this months ago, but I decided to persevere a few more months to see if my opinion of nursing changed. It has not. These last few months fully confirmed for me that nursing is not where I belong in healthcare. I applied, interviewed and shadowed in various other nursing specialties, including ICU, outpatient clinics, case management, oncology/hospice, dialysis, and even outpatient psych, and none of these were right for me. I thought my problem with nursing had more to do with my specialty (cardiac step-down) being the wrong fit for me, but now I know that I honestly do not want to be a nurse, at all.
Like most nurses, I dislike the short staffing, high nurse to patient ratios, the demanding families with their unrealistic expectations, needy, rude, and manipulative patients, patient satisfaction surveys, the increasing demands being placed on nurses, healthcare politics and drama, and so on. I know I'm not alone on this. But I dislike the basic elements
of nursing, I don't like my role in healthcare with so much responsibility and so little power.
Surprisingly, I don't mind patient care. I have no problem cleaning up a patient, helping them to the bathroom, feeding them, or cutting a little old lady's food for her. I have no problem doing this. I also like collaborating with MDs and NPs (well, most of them), I enjoy learning from them and trying to advocate for my patients. I have been told I do very well with critical thinking and problem solving. I don't mind charting. I absolutely love my dementia patients. These are the few positives I have with nursing.
Now on to the negatives.
My biggest issue in nursing is resuscitating a terminally ill patient, not because it is what the patient wants (I would not have a problem with the patient's own decision), but because the family is selfish, unrealistic, and refuses to let go. I have had several instances where a patient in a persistent vegetative state, with a trach, peg tube, and no quality of life is kept full code by family, even though the patient is in that state because family insisted that "everything be done."
I have had several patients who died peacefully, were DNR, but family insisted that we "do everything" and we had to. I have serious moral and ethical issues with this.
On a smaller note, I'm a perfectionist, leaving work undone is extremely difficult for me. I dislike the routine of passing medications over and over again; how impossible getting everything done feels with 6 high acuity patient and the many issues and problems that come up; running around the entire shift with very little food and rarely my full 30 min break (considering that I've lost 10 lb since becoming a nurse, and I was underweight to begin with). Being genuinely uninterested
in what I'm doing/learning as a nurse, while also feeling super stressed and overwhelmed. The lack of hard science in nursing also contributes to my lack of interest.
I also cannot stand dealing with constant issues for 12 hrs and "customer complaints" among the thousands of other things I need to do. I honestly dislike most of my patients (however, I never let this show). I absolutely hate
talking with family members. I hate small talk with patients and dealing with patient/family drama. I hate getting blamed for everything (even if I have no control over it) and feeling like a human punching bag. I hate that I feel no connection or sympathy for 99% of my patients, and that nursing has made me see the worst in people. I always feel frustrated and angry. Every minute of my shift I hate it, and then I dread going back to work on my days off. Since becoming a nurse, I feel like I haven't been able to enjoy life anymore due to how much nursing drained me. After being diagnosed with anxiety/depression about 2 month ago (I was crying every day and getting to the point where I thought dying would be a relief - thankfully that has passed and is under control now), I realized I didn't want to live my life like this anymore, and for my physical and mental well-being, leaving nursing would be the best solution.
Since I've "officially" made the decision to leave nursing, I have felt better than I have in a long time. I feel alive again, like a weight has been lifted off my chest and I can finally breathe. I will always remember and value what nursing has taught me, but I sincerely believe that I am one of those people who is just not right for nursing. It does not mesh well with my personality, interests, and especially not my mental/physical health. I have the highest respect for nurses. Everyday, you are able to do what I cannot. I felt like a failure and a horrible nurse for a long time because of this, but I came to realize that it is best for myself (and my patients), if I find something else to do. I also realized that there is no shame that nursing is not right for me, as long as I did my best to take care of my patients, didn't let my disdain for nursing show, and continued to be a responsible and dependable employee while working as a nurse.
I'm going to be moving on to a new career, with no patient/family interaction and way more science involved (Masters in Biomedical Engineering). I'll still be around on allnurses because, well, I love you guys!
*Way Too Long to Read: I'm leaving nursing, it wasn't for me at all. I'll still be around. Nurses are awesome, thank you for all you do!!*