Why I'm leaving nursing Why I'm leaving nursing | allnurses

Why I'm leaving nursing

  1. 48

    I have decided to leave the profession I once loved dearly, due to the infamous nurse "burnout" no appreciation, frustration at the profession. Any nurses who feel the same as me please comment.

    Why I'm leaving nursing

    Ive taken the very hard decision in my life to leave nursing. Im writing this as anonymous as I want only to be heard. I qualified as a nurse 6 years ago. I enjoyed the course and could not wait to qualify.

    I remember thinking "when I qualify I will make a big difference and help people the best way I can". I became a nurse as Ive always loved helping others and enjoy being around people and making a positive difference to their lives.

    I used to go into work so happy at the thought of seeing my patients and seeing their progression (I worked in a stroke unit). Id have my fob watch pinned on to my uniform with pride like a solider with a medal. To me at that time there was no greater joy than seeing my patients walk out the door, when a few months previously they were unsure if they would ever walk again.

    Fast forward 6 years and I shamefully hate to admit that I loathe what nursing has become.
    It seems to me that nursing is all "ticking boxes and notes" and being a "skivvy" for management. I love my patients and i know that I am (was) a fantastic nurse and I still take great pride in the fact that at the end of my shift my patients ask me "when are you next back on shift" to me. I still have all the thank-you cards (from patients).

    This is not a rant or a dig at a profession that I worked so hard for. This is why im leaving the profession..... No appreciation or gratitude at all..... Obviously the odd patients who may be upset but mainly from fellow Nurses, management, other healthcare professionals etc.

    Im going to share some of my experiences so that people have an idea of why I've taken the decision to leave.

    In my first job as an acute stroke nurse, it was routine that we were pulled out of our ward to cover shortages on other wards (very stressful in itself). I would go into my shift only to be pulled out and asked to cover gyne, a&e etc. One day while covering Gyne, I went into a side room to administer Fragmin. After injecting the patient, she grabbed my arm and stuck the needle back into my hand. I went to the nurse in charge to inform her and was promptly sent to a&e..... Because the patient was HIV positive (something I was not told or aware of as I was NOT a regular member of staff.... It also was NOT on the nursing handover sheet).

    I was put on very strong medication for about two weeks which made me feel extremely ill, but what angered me most was that this patient was supposed to be have a 1-1 nurse due to violent outbursts another factor I was NOT made aware of. But hey, the management didnt care they just needed someone to cover.

    A few months later I was nurse in charge of a night shift. We were a nurse down and only had two nurses and one HCA. We had very confused patients, and the ward was divided into 3 bays and two side rooms. Nurse one was in bay 1 doing observations, nurse two (me) was in bay 3 doing my IVs, the HCA was in a side room tending to a patient so that left one bay and one side-room unattended.

    I called the bed manager for assistance and was told "sorry im on my break" and that she would call back.... She had been made aware we were short at the beginning of the shift also. That night, an elderly man escaped out of bay two and was found wondering the roads, thankfully unharmed but extremely confused. I cried on that night shift due to the shortages and the stress we were all under. We also had no break and worked through the full 12 hours.... All while bed management was calling us to transfer patients to discharge lounge as a&e was "pilling up" and they needed beds. The next morning I was called into the matrons office and asked "why did YOU let this happen"and was told how irresponsible I was.

    A few months after I handed in my notice (after being signed off for a week with severe exhaustion and stress) I started a fantastic job as a palliative care nurse. The ward manger who was responsible for doing the rota gave her friends who worked on the unit the pick of the shifts, and worked the rota around them. I did flag this up with senior management but nothing was done about it. When I went to speak to her in person to voice my concerns I was told "if you don't like how I do my rota you can leave.... Your not irreplaceable" a few months later 5 nurses including myself handed in our leave.

    This is just the tip of iceberg of some of my experiences of being a nurse. The guilt that I have felt over the past few months of making the decision to leave the profession that I once loved are still there. Ive decided to leave for my own piece of mind. I do not hate the profession but I hate how we are treated. A month ago I was put on a course of antibiotics due to a recurrent UTI was was caused by me not getting the time to drink while on shift or going to the loo. The job has affected my health emotionally as well as physically.

    These are some of the things I've wanted to say in my job in the past month at work but didn't; these are not the reasons im leaving the profession but it has contributed to how I feel;

    To the family members that shouted at me for not getting the bedpan to their mother on time "I did not "neglet" your mother". The lady in the bay next door with a history dementia and falls was trying to climb out of bed, plus we were two staff down.

    To my patient with MND, i understand your frustrations at your illness. I understand that your angry and hurting. But please understand that Ive worked through my lunch break to help hoist you into a chair while being kind and smiling at you, and don't need to be a called a "wicked witch" for not being able to hoist you back into bed 5 minutes after you asked to be sat in the chair as I had pain relief to administer.

    To the lovely cleaning lady last week, I was not aware that you were not allowed to mop urine off the floor. But thank-you for giving me the mop and cleaning products I needed to do so during my drug round. I understand that it's not your fault and that health and safety precautions are needed.... Again enforced by management.

    My advise to the NHS and other organisations is this: Listen to the concerns of your staff, make them feel valued and appreciated. Stand up for your staff because the patient is not "always right".Also, paid sickness in my opinion is what's ruining the health service, as this is turn leaves staff shortages. Yes, people are genuinely sick. There are many who aren't.

    Full pay for staying in bed? Why not eh? When I worked as a clinical lead (matron post) for a private hospital you would be surprised at the low level of sick leave... Probably as it was unpaid?

    I really went into nursing to make a change. Im not complaining about the pay as I would gladly take a job in a coffee shop as I know that I would get a simple thank-you at the end.
    Im 28 years old and I work two nurses jobs at times. I take verbal abuse on a daily basis, I work sometimes 7 hours a week of unpaid overtime if a nurse calls in sick and we need to wait for cover. I rarely get my full lunch break. Ive stuck it out for 6 years and now my time is done. Ive looked after and loved each and every one of my patients, but now it's time to look after myself.

    Yours sincerely "Burnout Nurse"
    Last edit by traumaRUs on Oct 6, '16
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  2. Visit UK nurse88 profile page

    About UK nurse88

    Joined Oct '16; Posts: 9; Likes: 99.

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  3. Visit  BSNbeDONE profile page
    #1 24
    Aside from the needle stick from an HIV patient and the mop/urine incident, I've experienced everything that you have, and can only admire your decision and courage to move on.

    You're so correct in that nursing had changed drastically. As bad as we have it, we still have it better than working conditions of Florence Nightingale. During my 30 years in nursing, I can honestly say that the days before lawsuits became the latest everlasting trend, it was a joy to be a nurse....very prestigious career. Now, well, no comment. Just know that you are not alone...
  4. Visit  UK nurse88 profile page
    #2 12
    Thankyou.
    its something ive had to do for my own self. I still love people and love to help others....... It's management and everything else that goes with it that has worn me down.
    I work very hard at my job, but kept thinking this is a blip and things will get better..... They didn't for me.
    im opening my own clinic next month doing aesthtics and possibly in the future I would like to get into lecturing, so helping people in another way.
    Nursing is a fantastic job and I will miss i greatly but I know things won't get better x
  5. Visit  NuGuyNurse2b profile page
    #3 22
    I always say this, people who go in for a higher calling and expecting gratitude from patients...going to be sorely disappointed.
  6. Visit  UK nurse88 profile page
    #4 16
    I agree 100%, however it is not the lack of gratidude from patients that has enforced my decision...... It's for the reasons I have stated above.
    My patients are the reason I woke up at 5.30am to begin my 7.30 shift..... My patients are the reason I stayed in nursing.

    Yes, there are patients who are "difficult" however, given their conditions this is expected.
    It's the lack of support for nurses, its the management, it's not being able to be a nurse, it's shortness of staff, it's the system, it's never finishing my shift on time due to staff shortages.

    may I also mention, that the hospital i work in does not employ housekeepers on weekends so it's up to the nursing staff to dish out the food put on an apron and carry around trays of food. Hospitals where I am do NOT allow cleaners to clean urine, feaces, vomit so that also falls on to us.

    We do these extra jobs on a ward that is short of staff.
    i am fed up of trying to care but not being able to give 100% into the care I want to give.
    look at the NMC website and look at how many nurses have not renewed their registration, why is this?
  7. Visit  Kamkuad60 profile page
    #5 7
    I can understand you feelings. Out of curiosity, what other field where you looking at switching into? I ask because I know of others who have had the same desire but were unable to find a job that would give them enough pay to support them without going back to school and racking up debt.
  8. Visit  Buyer beware profile page
    #6 3
    Quote from NuGuyNurse2b
    I always say this, people who go in for a higher calling and expecting gratitude from patients...going to be sorely disappointed.
    Yes. I go to work each day and it's like floation on a column of compassion air.
    Being an optimist and the most compassionate human being that ever lived, I can tell you that despite the HIV stick, and exposure to other infectious diseases, I do have hope that in the near future the NP will be required as the entry level degree for the nursing profession leaving the scut work to robots and those who may be too mentally deficient to know the difference.
    By the way, is there any nursing research on the rate of potential cyborg burn-out as it relates to debillitating back pain, compassion overload or hospital exploitation or am I just jumping the urine puddle on this one.
    Last edit by Buyer beware on Oct 6, '16 : Reason: w
  9. Visit  UK nurse88 profile page
    #7 10
    Next month i start a Level 7 (masters cert) in aesthtic injectables. It's only only open to nurses, dentists, drs etc.
    Novemeber 13 I will have my insurence and lisence in place to start doing botox and dermal fillers. I have managed to find a clinic to practise from and a Dr to prescribe my Botox untill i can go back and do my Independent nurse precribing course to have and run my own clinic.
    yes, you need to be a nurse to do it, but I won't be a "nurse" so to speak.
    after I do this, Id like to obtain my Pg cert and go into lecturing part time in palliative care...., as palliative care in my opinion is fantastic and Id love to share my knowledge and help others.
  10. Visit  tyvin profile page
    #8 15
    Congratulations! You go girl. I've experienced everything you have and more (except I refused meds in one situation where the person was not + anything). Yet, we both know you experienced more as well. It's all the stuff you talk about and with me it's the inability to protect the patients.

    I've come to work and found patients in very extreme conditions, when report assured me they were fine. It got to a point at the one place where I would physically go into each room prior to report and also talk to the CNAs. A quick 5 minutes, than at report I could get to the bottom of it.

    The hard part for me is seeing and knowing that nurses and doctors have covered up injury that was directly linked to them by changing the story or blaming the patient (sometimes I have to wonder if they realize the reality of what they've done). Anyone can chart anything they want to; doesn't mean it's the truth. I investigate to much and find out more than I need to know. If I would just let well enough alone I would probably never find out much of the stuff that makes me wretch. It's that 6th sense that keeps me looking. Many times that I've reported things to management; they do not disappoint by sweeping it so far under the rug my cognitive status would come under review if going up the chain of command any further. I know that they've ripped up a few of my incident reports.

    I did the good fight for a long while, but I'm done as well. My psyche cannot take the abuse any longer. I need a calm mind. I've come to terms that I can't save them all. I was actually looking into some kind of career change that you've done. I don't know the laws in the U.S., but I'm checking it out.

    I understand completely. Good luck to you
  11. Visit  NuGuyNurse2b profile page
    #9 4
    Quote from Buyer beware
    Yes. I go to work each day and it's like floation on a column of compassion air.
    Being an optimist and the most compassionate human being that ever lived, I can tell you that despite the HIV stick, and exposure to other infectious diseases, I do have hope that in the near future the NP will be required as the entry level degree for the nursing profession leaving the scut work to robots and those who may be too mentally deficient to know the difference.
    By the way, is there any nursing research on the rate of potential cyborg burn-out as it relates to debillitating back pain, compassion overload or hospital exploitation or am I just jumping the urine puddle on this one.
    no back pain here but my feet are on fire at the end of a shift. I started doing the whole changing of shoes completely mid-way into a shift. people think I'm crazy but it works better than any pair of expensive Dansko's or Alegria's.
  12. Visit  Kelley Keys profile page
    As a nurse myself I APPRECIATE YOU!! I know what you go through everyday. Things change constantly in our field. Sometimes its so bad I have realized it is only a truly bad day when someone passes away that was not expected. That rarely happens when your a nurse who goes through burn out because you care for your patients! Patients appreciate you too although they may not verbalize it to you. I also know when I am burning out someone else is too so I try to step up and encourage others because it helps me too. I'm not trying to convince you to stay in the role your in but there are lots of other areas in nursing to work in. I never thought I would like working the floor but after years in ICU ER and PACU I went to the floor and I love do love it although its challenging in its own special way. Have you had a decent holiday? Have you realized if your ill stay home they will survive one or two days without you I promise (I Know I Used to think my job couldn't lol ) Burnout generally means your a great nurse and take or want to take the best care you can of your patients If someone rarely or never goes through it rest assured their patients would rather have you take care of them!!
    So REMEMBER I APPRECIATE YOU! AND even if unsaid your patient to do (although we know there are those patients we can never make happy) I also love you because you are a nurse! Not everyone can be one!
  13. Visit  TheCommuter profile page
    Although I am still in the nursing profession, I have left bedside nursing and the realm of direct patient care behind. Hopefully I can stay away for good.

    It is a breath of fresh air to be extricated from verbally abusive family members, clueless managers, and physicians who want you to drop everything you are doing to get something done for them that really could have waited.
  14. Visit  nutella profile page
    #12 4
    Quote from UK nurse88
    Next month i start a Level 7 (masters cert) in aesthtic injectables. It's only only open to nurses, dentists, drs etc.
    Novemeber 13 I will have my insurence and lisence in place to start doing botox and dermal fillers. I have managed to find a clinic to practise from and a Dr to prescribe my Botox untill i can go back and do my Independent nurse precribing course to have and run my own clinic.
    yes, you need to be a nurse to do it, but I won't be a "nurse" so to speak.
    after I do this, Id like to obtain my Pg cert and go into lecturing part time in palliative care...., as palliative care in my opinion is fantastic and Id love to share my knowledge and help others.

    I do not understand why you consider lecturing in palliative care. First of all it requires some solid experience in palliative care to be effective as a teacher or nurse. Secondly, it is a burn-out field and you do not seem to do well with the whole stress in nursing. Let me assure you, palliative care is a very emotionally charged area where everybody is stressed out around you...

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