For those that have left bedside nursing.

  1. Just curious. For those who have left bedside nursing:
    Where did you go?
    What do you do now?
    Do you enjoy it?
    Do you miss bedside care?
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  2. 39 Comments

  3. by   KeniRN
    I worked bedside on a peds onco unit and left to go to a pediatric primary care center. I enjoy the oupt setting and I especially enjoy the hours! 0830-1700 Mon through Fri. OFF on HOLIDAYS. A "normal" schedule.
    I DO miss bedside care however. Part of me very strongly wants to go back. But then I remind myself of the hours-the "shifts".
    Sadly, I often encounter the "you're not a REAL nurse" attitude from those who still work inpt or in an ED.
  4. by   PhantomRN
    Thanks for your reply. I have applied for a job away from clinical nursing and wanted to make contact with other nurses who have left the bedside. I expect to receive an offer and I am very excited.
  5. by   BeachNurse
    Hi, there....I left the bedside in October, 2000. I am a clinical research coordinator for a major FL University in their Peds ID Department. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my job. I feel extremely lucky to have it. It's M-F 7:30-4, no nites, weekends, or holidays, or call.

    As much as I enjoyed doing bedside Pediatric nursing, I hated the hours and the fact that I had no respect or autonomy. At this job, I am respected as a member of team. I have the opportunity to be exposed to all the latest research findings and to take part in them. My boss is a PA who respects and supports us.

    I have almost complete autonomy in my job..no one hassles me...if I need an hour or two off for a child's Dr. appt it's no big deal and I am not charged my PTO.

    I have my own desk, computer, business cards...I give presentations and attend rounds and meetings..etc. I feel like an important person who matters here, and I never got that from the bedside.
  6. by   RNKitty
    I left last Friday. Saturday, I was a little emotional.

    I did L&D for 5 years and loved every minute of the job. My husband is a student, and we always managed to have one of us home with the kids so we never had to hassle with childcare. However, he is in his last year of his Master's and life just got too busy.

    Now I am a housewife, or stay-at-home mom, or homemaker, or domestic engineer. Whatever you want to call it. Part of me really misses the moms and babies. However, I get to be home with my kids, take care of my family, and get to sleep at a decent hour every night. If I do go back next year, it will only be per diem day shift. We'll see.

    I am still, and will always be, a nurse.
  7. by   NurseDennie
    I left bedside nursing a couple of years ago for a couple of reasons. Well, maybe three reasons. Maybe more. First, Too many injuries to be able to carry on. I'd gotten to the point where I felt like every time I turned a patient in bed, I needed to fill out an accident report in case I'd re-injured my back and just didn't know it yet.

    Second, the attitude of the hospital and my boss(es) about the injuries. I hurt my back and stayed home two days to try to recover. The day I came back, I got sciatic a$$ lock, foot drop as I was turning very quickly to leave a bedside, FELL on my FACE, breaking my right arm. I was dazed, but I'd filled out and signed an accident report and went to employee health, where the Workers comp NURSE (yeah, thanks, sister nurse!) changed the cause of that accident from sciatic a$$ lock to "tripped over phone cord." I'd already signed it!! So that was a big thing.

    Third: Lack of staff on the job - made it more dangerous for me, and for my patients! One particularly heinous day, I'd asked charge nurse for help - I was drowning. Not a hand was turned to help out. The tech on my team had a wild-eyed, panic look on his face, and the only think I could tell him was not to panic. As long as WE didn't panic, it would turn out okay. The whole floor was in chaos and nobody could spend a minute to help, and *I* Couldn't spend a minute to help my co-workers. I think there were a lot of tears shed and more than a few glasses of wine drunk that night.

    Fourth: The absolute, certain knowledge that the reason for the lack of staff available was because the NM was getting a lovely salary bonus for keeping HER floor under budget. Being pulled from that floor was like a day off - all the other floors had much better patient/nurse ratios.

    Fifth - Money. $$$$. Cash dollars American. Everytime the NM said "in order to give you more than 3% (for role-model 'reviews') I'd have to go to the upper management. I'd just say, Okay, let me know when you're back.

    Sixth. Schedule - you couldn't catch a decent schedule, and by the time I left, they weren't even *pretending* to be objective anymore.

    Seventh - ahhh, I guess nothing. There is no seventh reason.

    I'm working in clinical research as well. I don't love love love it like Beachnurse. My friend who kind of got me into this line is like you are, Beachnurse. I asked her how she liked her job, and she said that on a 1-10 schedule, she likes it 27! I love having the office hours, and the holidays off. I also often have a lot of freedom as far as hours, etc. I love my office and my big, mean computer.

    I do miss bedside nursing. Who wouldn't??? I loved the fast pace and I loved being right in the thick of things (if it's thick, that's where I belong! heh heh) I miss being really good at something so very difficult. I miss being the 'pro from dover' on starting IV's on the really difficult sticks. I miss being able to figure out that somebody's afraid of pain medicine, and either help them accept some relief (if appropriate) or being so good in positioning and other techniques that they get relief anyway. I miss being so comfortable with other human beings that I feel free (and know I am welcome) to tweak their toes in bed as I leave the bedside. I miss the really high feeling when you've headed off a crisis. I miss having the urge to tell my fellow nurses "good show, kids" even when there was a code, and maybe it didn't go so well.

    I am, at this point in my life very comfortable that I don't make life and death decisions umpty-dozen times a day --- OMG how long has that lab report printout been hanging on that door?? Yeah, I've lost my nerve. Especially now that nurses are being arrested and prosecuted (persecuted?) for errors. I don't miss working EVERY bloody holiday.....

    I'll always be a nurse. I came upon a MA telling a very frail old lady "we've got you" when she and her hubby were trying to help her up to a scale in a doc's office. Even with my bad vision and even at a distance, it was obvious that the way this MA "Had" that lady would have broken her arm if she couldn't keep her feet under her. She couldn't. So there I am, in street clothes, RUNNING down somebody else's hall to get behind and under an elderly lady. You know, that was a big fat nothing, as far as my effort went, but the elderly hubby had tears in his eyes when he thanked me, effulsively. I've risked my life to help people before, with never a word of thanks. No big deal.

    So, you might get (or just feel) looked-down upon a little bit by the bedside nurses, but your education and your background and experience and training will never leave you. Even when you think it has. Your instincts are tuned and probably polished, if you've been doing bedside care for any time at all. You'll see - they'll pop up whenever you need them. Plus, they will be a benefit to you, whereever your non-bedside care career takes you.

    Love

    Dennie
  8. by   NurseDennie
    But you know what? On more sober consideration, I've decided I might have been a bit too sentimental about my missing bedside nursing. It is difficult for me to force myself to make a change, and I think that has a lot to do with it. (G)

    I even have days that I miss working in the entertainment industry, and so that tells me that I'd probably have days that I missed working in a snake pit or a sewer system or anything like that!!

    Love

    Dennie
  9. by   BeachNurse
    Dennie..with my job, I am not necessarily in LOVE with the TASKS that I do...but the people, the hours and other perks are great!
  10. by   Zee_RN
    I left bedside nursing in November. I'm the nurse recruiter for my facility now. I really miss bedside nursing. Still deciding if I'm going to continue in my non-bedside role. Of course, part of this may be that recruiting nurses in today's environment is just so difficult, it's making me long for the days of bedside care. I do love ICU nursing though. I work at least one day a month in the unit still, just to keep up with it all and get my "nursing" fix. And I do resent it when people say "when you used to be a nurse." I will always be a nurse.

    I do not miss working nights.
  11. by   PhantomRN
    You are so funny Denny. I just love reading your posts.

    The reason I had asked if people who left the bedside missed it, is because I do not think I will. Bedside care is not for everyone and it certainly is not for me.
  12. by   NurseDennie
    Yeah, Beachnurse!! Perks! Investigational meetings!!!! I've never been to one. I've had a very strange career in clinical trials. I've always taken over somebody else's study and I've Never had a trip or even training for that matter.

    I had one study I was trying to turn over to another nurse. I was the fifth CRC and I'd had to go a recruit the fourth PI - you can't tell me that's the way things are supposed to go. The new PI is in a different department and would have had to pay me by the hour, and didn't want to. So I called the nurse who was going to store the binders, etc., She tells me that she'll take it after it's been officially closed - she didn't want to be monitored on a study she didn't know anything about. Wow. I didn't know that was an OPTION??? I know that *somebody* got some training and information about the study and what all they wanted documented.... But I also know it wasn't *me.* Also trying to figure out the filing systems (and I use that word incorrectly!) of four other nurses. Ewwwwwww

    But one of the nurses I work with went to Puerto Rico last winter, AND the sponsor gave all the CRC's really expensive (like $300) digital cameras!! Not too bad!

    Love

    Dennie
    Last edit by NurseDennie on Feb 23, '02
  13. by   Huganurse
    ..
    Last edit by Huganurse on Jun 30, '02
  14. by   AHRN
    I left NICU bedsides in 1996 after almost 25 years! I was still doing 8 hour shifts, but most RNs were doing 12 hours. I felt like I just couldn't keep up the pace until retirement and was dreading going to work each day.

    I found a job in Telephone Triage that I love! We were just opening the call center, so I have seen it grow almost from the beginning. I still use my assessment skills, nursing process and get to do parent teaching, only via the telephone. The job is much less physical, the downside is I've gained weight sitting on the phone in front of a computer all shift. We still have our stressful, busy times, but I wouldn't trade it for going back to the floors.

    I thought I'd really miss the babies, especially the preemies, but found I did not miss it that much. I guess it was time to move on.

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For those that have left bedside nursing.