Thinking of leaving management to return to bedside nursing

  1. 0
    I have been a nurse for 20+ years. Since 2004 I have been either a charge nurse or a Clinical Supervisor. One year ago I completed my BSN. During the time that I worked on my BSN I started to miss bedside nursing. Currently I am very unhappy in my job as a Clinical Supervisor of a small department. To make a long story a little shorter... lately the desire to return to the bedside has been consuming me. I have not been able to sleep, I am always thinking about it. I have interviewed with a floor I used to work on as a Charge Nurse, the job is mine if I want it. The new Manager seems great, he is willing to give me whatever orientation I feel is needed, even 3 months or more. I think I would have great support from some of the co-workers that are still on the unit - I have been gone about five years. The money is less... I would be working night shift to make up some of the difference since I have a son in college and another to start in three years.
    I am interested in Management but feel like I have lost clinical skills. I want to be able to do the job that I am the Manager of. My plan is to get my Master's degree while working at this job. My current job is five days a week and this would be three 12 hour shifts.
    I am very nervous about the decision I need to make. I have been on numerous websites doing refreshers on such things as Ventilators, medications, ABG's and such.
    Is this a wrong decision? Would it be looked at as taking a step backwards in my career? My husband who is a Nurse Practicioner seems to think this is a step backwards.
    Has anyone done this that can give me some advice?

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  2. 14 Comments...

  3. 2
    You are the one who has to get up and go to the job...not your husband or anyone else. If your desire to return to bedside nursing is so strong then you should go back - bedside nursing - like management - will always be there in some form or another so if you find you don't like being back at the bedside you can look for something else - your degree plus experience will almost certainly insure something. Also, if you are wanting to become a NP bedside nursing WOULD benefit you much more than management given NP are usually hands on so you would need the updated/refreshed experience I would think.
    leslie :-D and bboopRN4 like this.
  4. 2
    I just finished doing something similar. Went back to bedside, ER, after working in Case Management/Utilization Review for the last 8 years.
    Had 10 weeks of orientation, clinical interspersed with some didactic thru a new internship program my hospital is trying.

    Being away from the bedside did in fact slow me down, and there have been a lot of changes over the years in little things that you don't even really consider while transitioning back- like type of IV catheters, wound cleansing supplies, etc.

    But, I'll figure it all out, and I am lucky to work with a group of people who know my background and are supportive enough to help when I encounter something I am not familiar with.

    You may or may not need 3 months, ER was entirely new to me, and I am still working on a lot of cardiac stuff which is all new to me as well.

    I found that I lost "muscle memory", i.e. opening a package used to be a one handed 1 second thing, when I first started, I was struggling. It's all coming back, like riding a bike.

    It was the best decision I've ever made as far as my nursing career, and I am very happy I went back to direct bedside nursing.
    leslie :-D and bboopRN4 like this.
  5. 3
    I have known quite a few managers who have returned to the bedside. The most common comment I have heard is, "I wish I had done this years ago". The nice thing about nursing is that you are not stuck in one job your entire career.

    Embrace the variety. I came back to the ED after 5 years in home health and needed minimal orientation. Do what YOU think is right. If it doesn't work out, you can always change again.
    leslie :-D, bboopRN4, and xtxrn like this.
  6. 1
    Same story for me. I was management for 5 years. I returned to a relatively easier paced out patient surgery unit so that made the return to (kind of) bed side nursing easier.

    It sounds like you are getting a lot of support from your manager and co-workers. I know I was scared to death at the time, but now I just remember how easy the job was and how much I enjoyed it.

    Actually I remember my biggest fear was while I was still a manager. I obsessed over the thought that I was losing all my nursing skills. I don't even remember any problems once I made the change!
    bboopRN4 likes this.
  7. 1
    do what makes YOU happy!

    bboopRN4 likes this.
  8. 1
    I say go for it. If you really miss it that much do it. Nursing really isn't about the money(though you did say you have a son to put through college) and taking care of someone, helping someone feel better and depending on the day or unit helping save a life...nothing like it. You even mentioned the boss you would have would be great...what do you have to lose? if you dislike it that much I am sure you can always go back to management.
    bboopRN4 likes this.
  9. 2
    I bounced back and forth, depending on what I was sick of at the time And, having gotten the chance to try a bunch of different types of nursing increased my marketability a LOT. With 'bedside', and the end of the shift, you're DONE. Management? It. Never. Ends. Either at the facility, on call, deadlines, projects, etc.
    hoopschick and bboopRN4 like this.
  10. 0
    Honestly, I've done the management route, and went back to staffing in my home unit... now that is a challenge and another subject. After 16 years of 12 hour 3 nights a week schedule, I have taken a 4 day 10 hour job change and am now enrolled in school... so I feel that my experience might help you. My children are all over 18, and the loss of night shift differential is causing issues for us.

    That being said. i'm doing online classes, no physical time spent in class, just the work at home. Having three days off a week, I spend my whole day off, all Saturday and Sunday doing school work.

    When I worked nights, I stayed up and did homework until about 11am then went to sleep, many people I worked with who went to school, went to bed, then got up at 1pm to do homework, prior to going to work.

    I loved nigh shift work, loved the money, but found school work more challenging working nights, remember I had been doing nights for over 15 years so I was adjusted to it, you aren't.

    If you plan on going to a classroom, ignore all my advice, as I have no idea how you can spend additional time in class AND THEN have time for the homework. In fairness my internet classes are 5 weeks long, so they are very intensive.

    So you can go back to staffing, but learning and adjusting to that is stressful enough, and honestly you'll need to read, and research for a year to catch up to that level of care you left, and add that adjustment, plus nights, plus school.......?

    Only you can decide... but most nurses take 3 months to adjust to night shift, 6 months to get comfortable with the acuity and they aren't in school as well.
  11. 0
    I love the nurse patient relationship. I would be torn also. More money does not matter to me, happiness does.


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