Yet another burned-out nurse question...

  1. 0
    Hi. I have worked as a nurse for 17 years (long term care, psych, med-surg,oncology, hospice, cardiac stepdown) and think am officially burnt out. I first suspected I was starting to burn out (gradually) 2 years ago but managed to somehow pull myself up thru the occasional "dips of doubt" (thru travel, rest, diversion with creative pursuits, exercise, spiritual retreats etc you name it.) For the most part it worked. I used to love nursing and arrogantly bragged that thank God I'm not one of those nurses that can't wait to retire . I used to job-hop but found my niche in cardiac nursing and a great hospital to work in where I was pretty sure I would stay until I retire (been here 7 yrs, my longest in any place). I still feel and care for my patients but before where it was easy for me to give my 101%, now even if I want to, I feel like I am just too tired or don't have enough to give anymore. I have always worked nights and did request to work days for awhile (to see if this would solve the problem) but it was more crazy- I had no time to talk to patients!.. My manager won't give me part time or per- diem status either.... on my off days, I hike and spend as much time outdoors and am really happy but when it's time to work, I dread it.I don't know what is happening and don't really know what to do (quit nursing ???.. I have checked out the myriad possibilities in our profession but honestly, all i can think of is to "peace out" of nursing for awhile.)... ..one thing I absolutely will NOT do is to jump to another job/field until my mind/body/soul is a little less wrought up....so I thought I would quit my job. take care of 'me" for about 2mos (i.e. rest, exercise, do all the things I always dont have time to do). then take about a year off to travel (Latin America mostly. and also to learn Spanish). I honestly don't know what comes next--either i rediscover my love for nursing or take the plunge and do something else. I am single have no debt, no mortgage, parents are still healthy. I have enough saved to pull this off. I know it's a risk in this economy but I think it's the right thing for me to do....what do you guys think?
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  3. 29 Comments so far...

  4. 6
    Is saying YOLO appropriate for this? Lol

    Honestly I think you should do what you need for yourself. You will only hurt yourself and maybe even your patients if you cannot give nursing your 100%. There will always be jobs (even in crap economies) and with your experience I'm sure you'll find one, whether its in nursing or something else. Go for it, it would suck to live the rest of your live with regrets and "what ifs" and resent nursing.
  5. 1
    You need to do what you need to do for you. With as much experience that you have, and not being in debt, you could do any per diem or part time gig you want to after your "me" time. Doctor's office, urgent care, school nursing or case management to name a few--it may just be institutional nursing that has gotten you burnt--but you won't know that until you take some time, then take some time to think about what you like--If you were not going to be a nurse, what were you going to do? If that is something like writing, uhm, hairdressing.....I don't know, it is funny what people would like to have been if not for a nurse--then maybe you can think about online courses, or something of that nature. I have also known nurses who got their masters in social work and became LICSW. You could then work in a school, as a social worker in a hospital if you miss the atmosphere, or counseling. Good luck to you!!
    DSkelton711 likes this.
  6. 1
    I can relate. I haven't been a nurse as long as you but I have been in direct patient care for 11 years with 5 of those being a nurse. I was going back to school for a graduate degree next fall but I'm so burnt out I have decided to get another bachelors in something else then go to grad school in 2014.

    You have to think about yourself. I'm not saying to be selfish but if your heart isn't in it then you aren't doing yourself or the patients any favors. And again I can relate. I work the bare minimal now to pay bills and squirrel away some money. I used to work a lot of OT but I physically and mentally can't. I would love to take some time off and do something fun.

    So if you can do it then I say go for it!! And this will allow you to discover what you are truly passionate about.
    DSkelton711 likes this.
  7. 3
    Congratulations on being insightful enough to know you need a life-change and being brave enough to pursue it! I think it is a positive move and believe you will learn a lot about yourself and what is best for your future.
    salvadordolly, DSkelton711, and SHGR like this.
  8. 2
    Sounds fantastic, I'd certainly do it!!!
    IowaKaren and DSkelton711 like this.
  9. 1
    I say follow your heart and travel! Take some time for you and the answer to what steps you should take with your life may come to you when you have the time to focus on YOU. You are lucky not to have different things tying you down and taking away this opportunity. Traveling and seeing a different part of the world may give you a fresh new outlook on life that you are looking for. Good luck with whatever you decide
    DSkelton711 likes this.
  10. 3
    I admire your intestinal fortitude. Go for it!!
    IowaKaren, DSkelton711, and joanna73 like this.
  11. 0
    I just wrote a burnt out nurse post myself. Only I'm almost 7 years, not 17!!!If you can take the time for yourself, do it. I'm a single parent, not an option for me, but I can tell you, if I could, I would break, get myself back, rested and in the right state of mind.Perhaps you can be per diem. Work one weekend a month. Some spending money, no real commitment and the time to do what you need for yourself.Best of luck. I can definitely sympathize
  12. 6
    You are in an enviable position. Examine what nursing means to you.
    There are MANY avenues available to you.

    Sadly, hospital nursing is NOT what it was when you (and I) started. We are slaves to corporate American greed.
    It is no longer do-able to stay at the bedside.

    And that's OK!

    After 25 years of floor nursing... that progressively became unsafe for me and my patients.. I found two positions that enabled me to stay in the field. I telecommute for an insurance company and travel for a medical supplier as a super user for their equipment.
    It can be done. Feel free to PM me.
    tokmom, brandy1017, DSkelton711, and 3 others like this.


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