Antsy in the Office - Thinking about applying to ED

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    Leave my easy job for more challenges and stimulation, when more challenges= more stress and a worse schedule?

    I have been a nurse for about 9 years, most of those spent in outpatient or unlocked psychiatry. I have always wanted to work in the ED and have thought about switching to 'medical' hospital nursing, but I really didn't like m/s in school.

    A little over a year ago, I applied to M/S, ED and primary care/outpatient medical jobs and got a job floating between different primary care offices, 1 specialty, and urgent care. The job has great perks- M-F 830-5, no weekends or holidays, OT when I want it, 45min lunch break- most times, I can leave the building, I can come in a few minutes late without worrying that someone is waiting to hand off an assignment, etc. It is generally very low stress and the people are nice. Although I've learned a lot, particularly in urgent care and doing phone triage, I'm becoming antsy.

    I feel like a lot of times I'm just a high paid medical assistant and not working to the top of my license. In the position Im covering now, I do mostly paperwork, phone calls, prior auths, and give some injections. Besides phone triage, Coumadin management (which I only did at one office), and nursing tasks in urgent care, I don't feel very stimulated or engaged.

    I have thought about applying to the ED (I was offered a job there after I accepted my current position, so I am pretty sure I could get in) or the CDU/obs unit at another hospital, but I will give up my day schedule and weekends off (I am not a morning person and would do 11-11/3-11 instead of 7-3). Plus, I know there will be a lot more stress, missed lunch breaks, etc.

    Any tips on making this decision? I’m in my early 30s and have been somewhat unsatisfied with my career/path for the past few years. I feel like nursing's not a great fit in general, but I haven't found anything Id really rather do. If I switch to something higher acuity, what if I still don't like it *and* am more stressed?

    Any thoughts or tips would be appreciated.



    Dear Antsy in Office,

    You really aren't going to know if acute care is for you unless you try it. You may fall in love with ED, or you may hate it. You can always go back to a less stressful position.

    You are right to be concerned because at your age your career is ahead of you and you don't want to end up with regrets.

    Another 5 years or so in an office setting, and you will no
    longer receive offers to work inpatient.


    Best wishes with your decision,


    Nurse Beth



    Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!
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  2. 2 Comments

  3. by   Pixie.RN
    I would recommend shadowing in an ED first to get a clear sense of the role. Best of luck!
  4. by   BeverlyMeetze
    Again, Beth is right: you won't know until you try! Again, I would suggest a temp agency where you can work weekends to dip your toe in the water so to speak. You won't have to leave current job until you know what you want to do, but it would mean temporarily losing some weekends. However, that is worth it to find out if you would like it. Plus EDs are busier on the weekends.
    Last edit by BeverlyMeetze on Sep 30 : Reason: Left out a word


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