TLJRN2, I went through the same thing you are going through right now. I was not clinically depressed or anything like that. I just found that I hated going to work and I was so tired of dealing with patients, etc. I knew that when I got to the point where I lost alot of my compassion, the time had come for me to step away. I am not an RN. I'm an LVN and have been one for about 8 and 1/2 years. I made a jump out of nursing and into the insurance field. It took a huge leap of faith for me to do it and I felt so guilty for leaving nursing. I too am a good nurse. I loved my residents and patients so when I could no longer enjoy caring for them and lost interest in my work and had nothing good to say about it, I had to stop nursing.
I tried working agency for a while but found that even that was just too much for me. I enjoy the peace of working in a place where if I call in, there is plenty of staff to cover for me. I can take days off if I want to. I have actual benefits and flexible hours! I even have my own desk, phone, and computer. I started as a claims examiner and have since moved to auditing the claims. My nursing experience comes in handy when reviewing the claims. I digress. My point is that I have finally come to the point where I feel I may be ready to re-enter the nursing field but slowly. I am going to work agency again to feel things out and go from there. I am also planning on continuing my education but moving more into the holistic side of nursing and wellness. I'm excited because this is all new to me. I've been at the HMO for 2 1/2 years.
I don't know if this will help you but for me, moving out of the nursing field and into something different, helped me to get some peace and rest and perspective on what I wanted to do. I make more now than I did nursing (with the exception of agency) and have a better job all around.
So why am I considering moving back into healthcare you ask? Because it's in my blood. I miss it. I miss caring for others. I miss the whole atmosphere and energy that can come from it. I lost that along the way. Working short staffed with negative people and feeling overwhelmed left me one way. Completely burned out. sometimes you have to step away from the problem to find a solution. Other nurses may disagree but, like I said, this worked for me. Perhaps you will find your way back to nursing, perhaps you will find another road you wish to travel. The choice is yours. I wish you the best. I truly know how you feel so I send you hugs and prayers. Take care and let us know how things go.