So unhappy, then a huge life change--is this a sign?

  1. 0
    I just graduated from nursing school and immediately started a job in a cardiac surgical stepdown unit. I spent many days in orientation, which was fine, but then I got to the unit. It is just not what I want to be doing. I love reading journals, but I can't get interested in heart meds or the newest therapies. I do love procedures and look forward to learning to remove chest tubes and pacer wires, but that's 3 years off. The patients are great (always my favorite part of any unit where I've had clinical), but I am discouraged that so many think they can go back to their old lifestyles after CABG surgery. I think I could master the time management part with time, but I have absolutely no joy about this situation.

    One night this week I journaled about how I was dreading going back for my third day on the floor and just praying for a way out, and that night, my own mother died suddenly and unexpectedly of an apparent MI. So now I am dealing with all those logistics and emotions, and truly, the absolute last place I want to go is my cardiac unit. My employer has been great, telling me to take the time I need and they will adjust my orientation schedule, but I don't know if I even want that.

    I should be happy to have a job at all, I know that. So many on this board would take this job in a heartbeat (pun intended). It is a good place to work and to learn. My mom was so sad when I came home from my first day on the floor so dejected about it not being what I wanted at all.

    I know that one should not make big changes in the year after a big life event like this, but I don't know if this was a sign that I'm not supposed to be there in the first place or if it's an opportunity for me to grow as a nurse and as a person. I don't want to give up this soon, but I also don't want to be there. And of course, mostly I miss my mom.

    Get the hottest topics every week!

    Subscribe to our free Nursing Insights newsletter.

  2. 14 Comments...

  3. 1
    How sad. I'm so sorry for your loss. I do go along with not making big changes until you have had time to grieve. From your post I think that is what you are saying too. I would hold off on changes.
    VivaLasViejas likes this.
  4. 0
    I'm so sorry for your recent loss of your Mom. If it were me, I would probably stick it out and give the job at least 6 mos- 1 year. If in 6 mos to 1 year, you still feel like that unit is not a good fit, then by all means look around. Bear in mind that the job market is very tight, and jobs are difficult to acquire,even for seasoned RNs. You have a great opportunity there before you. Maybe it's not your dream job, or where you want to end up, but maybe it will be a stepping stone to where you want to be. Maybe there would be another job within the same health system as well. I agree it is probably better to wait on making any major decisions. If the job still feels wrong for you in time, then the feelings will only solidify more. Or maybe, you may be surprised to find that you have grown to like this new role with time. Best wishes to you.
  5. 0
    I'm sorry to hear of your loss, I couldn't imagine the pain and heartache you're experiencing. Perhaps this life-changing event will come in some other form. Just remember to take time to yourself so you can grieve; if there are employee assistance programs to help with your grieving, that may be helpful too. And perhaps, one day your story can help your patients to change their ways. I wish you luck in your grieving...best wishes to you and your loved ones experiencing these hard times!
  6. 0
    First, let me say how truly sorry I am about your mom.
    As far as going back to the heart unit...my own experience was similar to yours though my parents died of cancer. When my Dad died in 2002 I continued working in a hospital setting but soon realized I needed - emotionally - something different so I went to home health and an out patient surgical center. After a few years I returned to the hospital setting. In 2009 my Mom was diagnosed w/cancer and died w/in 2 weeks. Again, I tried going back - I was a float nurse at the time so my employer was willing to not float me to the oncology floor - unfortunately, I was floated to the pulmonary unit and assigned the exact room my mom was in when we were told "the news" - let me say too when both my parents died I made the mistake of returning to work w/in 3 days - stupid I know - at any rate, I tried for a long time to hang in w/the hospital but to be honest, since my Mom died I have felt very overwhelmed w/even being in a hospital - I think the care giving in my personal life coupled with the care giving professionally, seeing what other family members/patients are going through etc, is, for me, too close to the flame. I have tried LTC but I just can't handle it - at least not the facilities in my area...I am work PRN now at a hospital though its not a medical/surgical floor and I am actively seeking FT employment out of a hospital setting - even if that means M-F because for whatever reason, right now, working the hospital is still too much for me. A LOT changes for those of us who are/were close to their parents when they died so for a long time I felt like something was wrong w/me and guilty because I didn't want to go back into the same arena as before. Those telling you your experience will/can help others is true to a point BUT think about what would happen if someone codes etc. I could go on but I will say my humble, personal opinion is you find another unit or another job - at least now - you didn't care for the job before and now w/your mom...I personally think its asking too much of yourself to continue down this path. Good luck.
  7. 5
    please accept my sympathies on the loss of your parent.

    as regards your job: i cannot envision a world in which i could afford to just quit my job because going to work after my mother died was "difficult." my father died three years ago, and i went back to work a month afterward -- after a month of caring for my mother in her home before i could find the appropriate assisted living facility for her. that month "off" was far more difficult than going back to work could ever have been.

    you're fortunate in that you have a job, and you're right in that many others would love to be in your place.

    the first year of nursing sucks. there's just no getting around it -- it plain old, outright, just sucks. but the only way to get through it is to go through it. go to work, learn as much as you can and stick it out for a year. then if you still hate it or think it isn't for you, start looking around for other opportunities. this may sound harsh, and i don't mean it to be so but can't think of another way to state it: parents die. it's the natural order of things. do not let that be an excuse for you to stop going to work even if you don't like your job right now.

  8. 1
    I pretty much agree with the previous posters. While I sympathize with you for the death of your mother ... do not use it as an excuse to throw your job away. "Being strong" and "sticking it out in hard times" is a part of life. We all have times in our lives when things don't go as well as we would like (like you and your job) ... and we can't just run away at the first blush of diappointment if we want to thrive.

    And yes, I do know what it is like to lose a parent. Both of mine are dead. And I lost my father to heart disease 2 weeks after taking a new job that I hated. In neither case did I have the luxury of taking an extensive break from my job. I got a few days off to go home for the funeral ... then it was back to work. That year with that horrible job just after my dad died was probably the worst year of my life. But I had to go through and I am a better person because of it.

    You are tempted to use your mother's death as an excuse to leave your job. Other people might see it as a sign that you should stay. That you should be should be inspired to save the lives of your patients to prevent their future deaths from the heart disease they have. That you should want to learn as much about heart disease and the treatment of it as you can -- to save others from your mother's fate -- and possibly save yourself and other members of your family.

    As others have said, don't any big decisions now. Give it some time. Go through that first year as a nurse that is hard for everyone. Learn how to help those people NOT go back to their old, unhealthy habits. Learn how to save them. Become a competent nurse. Then decide where you want to go next. But don't just throw it away without taking advantage of the terrific opportunity for learning that has been given you.

    I wish you and your family peace.
    VivaLasViejas likes this.
  9. 1
    From personal experience, I can tell you that now is not the time to make big changes. Also, when the time does come around, keep in the back of your mind, that it is also possible to go to something worse instead of something better. Better to err on the side of caution for awhile. And so sorry to hear of your loss. It is especially painful when it happens around the holidays. Give yourself time for the pain to lessen.
    gonzo1 likes this.
  10. 1
    I don't believe the universe gives us "signs" in the form of killing our parents. And yes I do believe in signs and have seen many. I lost my mom last year and it leaves a huge hole and I am sorry for your loss. Even a year later I have trouble with taking care of the same type of patient that my mom was. But now I can be a guide and a role model for those going through the same thing.
    If you are in a financial position that you can quit, then go ahead. Most of us aren't that lucky though. Life is hard and there is no easy button.
    Hugs and prayers to you.
    gaylarn4 likes this.
  11. 3
    Please accept my condolences on the loss of your mother.

    Whatever else you do, first be gentle with yourself and don't make any major decisions now. Who knows, the sign you're looking for could actually be pointing right in the direction you are already going, but you won't know that for a while, and if you change jobs in the midst of this life crisis, you'll never know.

    Because of the connection between your area of nursing and the manner of your mother's death, you may one day become a magnificent cardiac nurse who inspires her patients to make the lifestyle changes needed to regain their health; after all, some of the best nurses in any area are those who have intimate personal experience with that particular health issue. I have a friend who for years was a top NICU nurse in a prestigious Eugene hospital, and until she retired last year, she was known throughout the region for her skills and compassionate care. She had lost her second child, born two months premature, to NEC a few months before we started nursing school. She pursued this course because she needed desperately to understand what had happened, and she wanted to save as many babies as she could from going through what hers had. It became her passion.......her mission in life.

    Perhaps this will happen for you as well; perhaps not. It's way too soon to tell. Just don't make any snap decisions when your emotions are still so raw from the shock and pain of loss. You already have enough on your plate as it is!
    gaylarn4, gonzo1, and Spidey's mom like this.


Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and Create Job Alerts, Manage Your Resume, and Apply for Jobs.

A Big Thank You To Our Sponsors
Top