Leaving Bedside Nursing

  1. Hello,

    I am in need of some encouragement/advice about where I stand right now with my job.

    I graduated nursing school in May 2016 and have been working on a general pediatric floor in a Children's Hospital for 1 year and 2 months. This job was my first choice and I felt so blessed and lucky to get the job, and initially I was super excited about it. Very quickly after beginning orientation I began to realize that bedside nursing wasn't for me. There are so many aspects about the job that I don't like, but the 2 main things that I don't like are 1. how much anxiety I get before going into work each time and 2. being so busy that my phone is ringing off the hook, running non stop, and RUSHING to get everything completed, all which makes me feel like I can't be the nurse I want to be and unable to do my job throughly. Other smaller reasons are the 13 hour shifts and working nights has taken a toll on me. The times that I am not running around like crazy, I enjoy the job more because I feel like I can check on my patients and complete tasks without being stressed about other things weighing on my shoulder.

    I have a 2 year contract and truly want to complete my contract on this floor because I am not one to quit and I know I will feel accomplished when my 2 year mark comes.

    One thing I have found interesting is that in this hospital we get pulled to other floors and a lot of the time its going to the NICU. I actually enjoy working in the NICU more than my own floor. I realize we are given the easier babies, but the NICU is 10x more structured than the floor, and I feel like I am making more of a difference in the NICU.

    I am very discouraged because I feel like I am the only one who doesn't "love" their job at this Children's Hospital. I am a very efficient person and I desire to be the best nurse I can be. I am going to stick this out until my contract is over and see where I stand, but my questions to you guys are if I don't like bedside nursing... then is nursing even for me? Do I not have the right personality if I have a lot of anxiety and worry with this kind of job? Where are some areas that you think would suit me better... or have suited you better rather than bedside nursing? Have any of you left bedside nursing for a clinic job or school nursing?

    I am shadowing a school nurse next month and have also thought about looking in to pediatric clinics. I have also thought about public health, but I don't know very much about it.

    Any advice, encouragement, personal stories are appreciated!

    Thank you!!
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  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   Agatha12
    Dont worry. Nursing is for you but you need to find your niche. I loved beside nursing when I was the student but had enough of it once started working on short stay surgical ward. Constantly rushing, answering complaints and demanding relatives, dealing with social issues. I was unhappy to go to work and I had few burn out crisis although being newly qualified. I had problem with night shifts as well. I wasnt so well and had headaches. I had 2 years contract too. Once the contract finished I applied for PACU position and now I love it so much. I have one patient at the time, time to look after patients, time to read their medical notes etc. Now when I transfer patient to the ward, I feel like it is not my world anymore and I am not going to go back there ever unless forced for some reasons. Go ahead. Look for some other options and dont give up
  4. by   FutureNurseInfo
    I will be short: finish your contract and see if you can transfer to NICU at your hospital. And no, just because you do not feel like bedside nursing is for you does not mean you are not meant to be a nurse. Upon completion of your contract, like I said, try to transfer to NICU, or any other specialties and see how that feels.
  5. by   addiewaad
    Kingusia,

    Do you feel like the PACU is quite different than bedside nursing? I have also thought about PACU but have been told that its very similar to ICU setting and I have not had ICU experience. Other than NICU but I don't get very critical babies.
  6. by   Agatha12
    I think that there are some similarity to bedside nursing but first of all, you have only one patient, occassionally two and for short period of time, relatives are not allowed in. I do only strictly clinical care no social issues etc. I work in community hospital and we dont have complicated cases in PACU. Mostly day surgery. Not sure about ICU experience, I didnt need one.
  7. by   Everline
    Please don't think nursing is not for you because you might not like floor nursing in a hospital. Nurses work in many different settings! It's good you want to finish your contract and opportunities will open up for you at that point. Like someone else said, if you like the NICU, try to transfer there. You can also explore your options outside the hospital setting. You mentioned pediatric clinics and that's another place you can try. I can't say that you will find a stress-free, worry free nursing job, but you can certainly find one that suits you better...one that you don't have quite as high anxiety and that you have a sense that you are being the nurse you want to be. I have said here many times that I left the hospital floor and went on to out patient settings. It was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I finally landed in public health, which I absolutely love. Do some brainstorming about what you like and don't like about your job and try to figure out what kind of settings you think would work better for you. Also, network! I got my first job outside of the hospital by making connections inside it! That would be especially true if you want to work on another floor or in another hospital.
  8. by   Boxer Mama
    I sent you a PM
  9. by   addiewaad
    Thank you all for the feedback I appreciate it so much! Everline, it makes me happy to see nurses feel the same way I do about the floor and left for somewhere outside the hospital. Could you tell me where you have worked outside of the hospital and more about what you do in public health? I have definitely done some brainstorming and will continue to do so about my job because I want to make sure I leave this job knowing why I left so that I can thrive better in my next job.

    Thank you!
  10. by   violetlauren
    We have a lot of similarities and I could have written many things about this post. I still get anxious before going to workand question daily if I've made the right choice, and I've been a nurse for about as long as you have. Just know you are definitely not alone! Is your contract for just the pediatric floor? If not, I'd ask about going to just NICU or what other cross training is available. Of course I say this to you but I can't take my own advice for myself! I think it is great that you are exploring your options outside of bedside or hospital nursing. I know that where I work, they really don't want to lose a nurse they worked so hard to orient (and paid so much money to do so), that they are pretty willing to work with you and at least get you to stay in the same hospital system.
  11. by   Penelope_Pitstop
    Please finish out your contract. I'm not saying that you will change your mind, but I never thought I'd do bedside nursing for as long as I did (and I did not have a contract). It does become easier. Is there a possibility of a shift change in the meantime? Some people can't do midnights while others would sink on a dayshift.
  12. by   LibraSunCNM
    Finish your contract, and start looking around for other jobs. NICU or PACU might be good fits, as others have suggested. Just because you don't like your first job doesn't mean bedside nursing is completely out for you. You just need to find your niche somewhere else!
  13. by   SobreRN
    Quote from addiewaad
    Hello,

    I am in need of some encouragement/advice about where I stand right now with my job.

    I graduated nursing school in May 2016 and have been working on a general pediatric floor in a Children's Hospital for 1 year and 2 months. This job was my first choice and I felt so blessed and lucky to get the job, and initially I was super excited about it. Very quickly after beginning orientation I began to realize that bedside nursing wasn't for me. There are so many aspects about the job that I don't like, but the 2 main things that I don't like are 1. how much anxiety I get before going into work each time and 2. being so busy that my phone is ringing off the hook, running non stop, and RUSHING to get everything completed, all which makes me feel like I can't be the nurse I want to be and unable to do my job throughly. Other smaller reasons are the 13 hour shifts and working nights has taken a toll on me. The times that I am not running around like crazy, I enjoy the job more because I feel like I can check on my patients and complete tasks without being stressed about other things weighing on my shoulder.

    I have a 2 year contract and truly want to complete my contract on this floor because I am not one to quit and I know I will feel accomplished when my 2 year mark comes.

    One thing I have found interesting is that in this hospital we get pulled to other floors and a lot of the time its going to the NICU. I actually enjoy working in the NICU more than my own floor. I realize we are given the easier babies, but the NICU is 10x more structured than the floor, and I feel like I am making more of a difference in the NICU.

    I am very discouraged because I feel like I am the only one who doesn't "love" their job at this Children's Hospital. I am a very efficient person and I desire to be the best nurse I can be. I am going to stick this out until my contract is over and see where I stand, but my questions to you guys are if I don't like bedside nursing... then is nursing even for me? Do I not have the right personality if I have a lot of anxiety and worry with this kind of job? Where are some areas that you think would suit me better... or have suited you better rather than bedside nursing? Have any of you left bedside nursing for a clinic job or school nursing?

    I am shadowing a school nurse next month and have also thought about looking in to pediatric clinics. I have also thought about public health, but I don't know very much about it.

    Any advice, encouragement, personal stories are appreciated!

    Thank you!!
    You said it sister! I give you 100 thumbs up on the realities of bedside nursing and why I left it including running around like crazy while a dozen mirco-managers who never missed a lunch break would be constantly monitoring the bedside nurses (is the yellow gown taped perfectly, counting the seconds for hand washing, counting the minutes it took to get them from the ER or out the door if DC'd)
    One of my pet peeves was having DC'd patients sit in a 'lounge', a room with only chairs; no water, no restroom and no food available. In the middle of a million things I would call the doctor and ask for an order that patient gets DC'd when their family arrives to pick them up. I had patients with draining wounds, pain, diabetics whose blood sugar would have dropped waiting in that lounge; I would still check on the Dc'd patients and a fair number ended up right back in the ER for pain/low BS. It was not safe and I essentially would be 2 patients over guidelines but I was not going to just ignore the ones in the 'DC lounge'. I would not call it a 'lounge.'
    We have staffing guidelines in Calif but between patient acuity, the EMAR and Press-Ganey still feels like non-stop running. I am soooo glad I got out and looked outside the box discovering all the non-acute care out there in case management, home health, occupational health, corrections etc...my only regret is not doing it 10 years sooner!
  14. by   HappytobeARNP
    Any nurse that hasn't shared the same feelings at some point in their career is truly a unicorn. It's OK to be unhappy with a position that doesn't allow you to perform at your best. The great thing about nursing is that it is so flexible. There are so many other options available and this is just your first stop. The things that you don't like aren't really even the core of nursing. You didn't say that you don't want to be responsible for patients or that you hated working with your colleagues. I think its a little premature to debate whether nursing is for you or not. Talk to your manager, suggest some things that can help the unit run smoother, self-evaluate to find out if there is anything you can do to be more efficient. If you can transfer to another floor and still honor your contract then go for it. You're over 1/2 way done now and often the first year is the hardest. If you can't transfer tough it out. Since this is your first job you will need them for a reference so don't burn any bridges. The great thing is that you've made it this far!! "Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations" - author unknown.

    Don't give up!

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