Thinking about taking some time off, after my experience. new nurse life crisis.

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    Hi Guys, many of you can see from my other posts about how difficult of a time i am having with nursing, mostly my location. Noone can understand fully how i feel, but my mentality, emotional, physical, health has been under attack for the past year. Although i have had very good days, i have had extremely bad ones, all because I am feeling stuck than ever. I can never decide what I even want to do next.

    I am close to my one year experience, and I was thinking that a break would be helpful. Although in my mind it seems like a good idea, i wanted to know from anyone on here please, who was stressed and feeling depressed some how as a new nurse and took time off. Honestly, was taking time off helpful for you, and did your transition back to the field after the break help you in any way. I need an intervention, because I am going INSANE.! please and thanks.
  2. 5 Comments so far...

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    First, if possible, I would suggest maybe seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist..therapy, medication or combination maybe helpful to you during this time.

    Second, taking time off..if you can, I say do it. I have done so twice in the past and yes, it helped me tremendously to ease back and give some thought to what I wanted to do. Heathcare/nursing has changed a LOT since I started in the early 1990's and frankly, I don't see if getting better for the nurses - for a lot of reasons.

    What I can tell you from my time off is this...IF (& that's a HUGE "if") I ever went back into the hospital setting it would be non-clinical in nature - education/infection control etc - that's what I mean by non-clinical. A specialty unit or a med/surg it would be PRN only. Period. I would not work FT in direct patient care.

    LTC..this again is not an area for me. Neither is a M-F 8-5 weekends/holidays off type schedule. I want..balance..steady income where I can use my nursing skills/experience/degree but not be so stressed out/anxious and miserable at work on on days off and for the record, I am not a sensitive person so to have reach the breaking point w/nursing - it took a lot for me.

    What I am doing now is interviewing a lot of places - home health, hospice, dialysis and a doctors office. I'm down to the last of the interviews this coming week. I have been offered one position already (home health - part time). Once I finish the others, if job offers come through I will weigh out the options for each and decide from there. If none materialize, I will accept the HH one and give applying/interviewing etc. a rest for the rest of the year.

    Like you, I am not in a position to relocate. I do think, if I could, I would be able to find a position that would suit me more - there would be way more opportunities than where I'm living but I have to make do w/what is around this no man's land of a place I live.

    Also, like many on here, if I could get completely out of nursing I would - but as a lot of us have found - a nursing degree locks you in and while there is flexibility w/in nursing to the point the current economic situation allows - there is little outside of nursing that is available or pays well enough to hit the basics of simply living.

    After I settle the job question, I will look at school/education for something in addition to nursing or that I could move into w/o much effort. No FNP, no PA - nothing along those lines.

    What I've had to come to terms w/is the guilt I have felt over not "loving nursing" or shouting from the roof tops that nursing is "my calling, who I am" and that I don't care for hospital nursing anymore. There has also, after 20 plus yrs in this, been a sense of sadness that what I once loved (which was working in a hospital) has changed into something I hardly recognize and is no longer about the patient but about the bottom line.

    I don't know if any of what I said helps, but you are not alone and there is nothing wrong w/you - you are overwhelmed and need a break. That's ok.

    Good luck.
    Last edit by Marshall1 on Jan 6, '13 : Reason: date correction
    dodoy and VivaLasViejas like this.
  4. 2
    Taking an extended time away from work at this point of your career is very risky. You might find it hard to get a nursing job if and when you decide to return to nursing. The current job market is not what is was even 5 years ago -- and the competition is tough to get a good job in most places these days. You would be in competition with people whose knowledge and skills were more current and more extensive than you. You would also be hard-pressed to explain the break in your career history.

    Can you afford to take a partial break? For example, could you switch to a part time employment for a few months? If you tell your manager that you have some family/personal needs to take care of, perhaps you could switch to part time for a while with your current employer. Or perhaps you could simply find a new job that is part time. That way, you would have less stress and more time to sort things out for yourself -- without "losing your place" in your career trajectory.

    You could even go "per diem" and just work as a nurse a couple of shifts per month. That would be sufficient to keep your knowledge and skills current so that you would have the option of returning later.

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
    poppycat and VivaLasViejas like this.
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    If your employer has an EAP (employee assistance program), you may want to take advantage of it, as it's free and confidential. The last time I worked in acute care, I hit a wall just like you did, and even though I ended up quitting I still got to use the EAP. The psychotherapist I saw helped me sort through the wreckage, and encouraged me to take some time to decide what I wanted to do next. Luckily, I was able to draw unemployment due to the extreme nature of the stress that had forced me to leave, and I had two blessed months to rest and regroup before going to work in a different nursing field.

    I'm still working as a nurse, but I know I'll never work in a hospital or direct-care position again. I'm not up to the physical challenges anymore, and I can't take the stress or the fast pace. Nursing has changed a great deal since I became an RN in 1997, and not for the better......I honestly don't know how much farther nurses can be pushed before they explode and leave the profession in droves. In your position, OP, I would find out if your hospital has an EAP, and if not, I would definitely seek help from a mental health professional. It's not normal to go in to work every day feeling like you're going insane. It's not good for you OR your patients to be so frazzled that you're either battling depression or wanting to run away. Or both.
    dodoy and Marshall1 like this.
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    Shoot I wish every day I could have the means to take a break...but I am a single mom. I say go for it if it will help you mental health. I feel like I am about to go insane myself from nursing. I constantly look at ads for jobs that have nothing to do with nursing, but unfortunately need to keep making the nursing pay at this point. If you plan to stay in nursing I wouldn't make it a very long break though...maybe a month?
  7. 0
    Quote from llg
    Taking an extended time away from work at this point of your career is very risky. You might find it hard to get a nursing job if and when you decide to return to nursing. The current job market is not what is was even 5 years ago -- and the competition is tough to get a good job in most places these days. You would be in competition with people whose knowledge and skills were more current and more extensive than you. You would also be hard-pressed to explain the break in your career history.
    This! A thousand times over. Get some psychiatric help first before you make any decisions as important as this. You WILL be shooting yourself in the foot if you don"t approach this very carefully.


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