am wanting to leave nursing

  1. I've been a nurse for the past 7 years and can't imagine doing it much more. The trouble is am not sure what's to become of me. I'm an oncology nurse who on a good day loves to take care of pts. actively living and dying of cancer. The trouble is between my co-workers being insensitive and management treating me like i'm just a body to fill their staffing needs, I'm feeling lost and depressed and am very rarely having a good day. I look at the want-ads for other jobs and few and far between other me half of what I now make. BTW I live in IA where the last time I checked led the nation in lowest nursing salaries. What do others do when they feel burnt out and need of change. A change in depts. or locations just doesn't make my heart pitter patter. A few years ago, I started taking computer science classes. Unfort. I didn't have the time and now energy to complete my degree. It's hard to write programs when I come home from work crying. I cry alot and very little pertains to patients dying. I went into nursing so I could feel wanted. These days I feel invisible. When I try to talk to my nurse manager about my frustrations, she asks me if I have talked to the EAP person (yes I have). There's more to the story, but right now its just too painful to go into. Please help me, even if its just a caring eye on the other end of these words. --- R
  2. Visit reese-2000 profile page

    About reese-2000

    Joined: Apr '02; Posts: 4
    oncology floor nurse


  3. by   Brownms46
    I have been where you are now, more times than not, during the last 23ysrs. And there is a whole lot more out there, who have gone thru it, over and over again also.

    I think this profession just kind of drains you, and you have to change directions every so often, to keep yourself sane.

    One day I decided I had had enough of nursing. So I sat down and thought about kind of position would make me happy. I decided I loved talking to people, and helping them. So what could I do, that would allow me to do that, but not cause me to go to the poor house at the same time.

    I looked in the newspaper, and low and behold there was an ad for flight attendents. Now I hate flying, but I also couldn't see continuing to be a nurse either. So I called the American Airlines number, and to my surprise, not only where they hiring flight attendance, they were also looking for reservationists. Now that I could do.

    I lived outside of Dallas, TX at the time, and guess where they were looking for people at?? You got it, the SRO office in Euless, TX, which was a ways from where I lived. So I decided I would go for it. I did, even moving before I got the job, to an areas only 15 mins away. I eventually got the job and loved it. But I also did a little PRN on the side. I found I was a lot happier doing this, but the constant schedule changes, caused me to have to leave AA. But it

    sure was fun while it lasted, and the flight beenies were great! The first time I ever flew 1st class, and only had to paid $3.00 !!!:chuckle Then I started traveling, and the constant change, and the great money and beenies were awesome. It kept me fresh, and on my toes. And if the situation was bad, I just thought about the money, the perks, and the fact that it was only 13 weeks!

    I hope you find something that will help you to have more joy in your life, and maybe even be able to follow up on your original goal in programing. Find out what really would make you happy, and then go for it
  4. by   Rapheal
    Keep looking for another job. Sounds like you are in a bad place right now. Also, could you be clinically depressed? If so then you will have a hard time making decisions that could help you out of your situation. I urge you to make an appointment with your doctor and find out if you are clinically depressed. I hear a tone of hopelessness in your post which leads me to suspect clinical depression. Please let us know how you are doing. Feel free to pm me if you want to talk.

    You are a valuable person who is doing an awesome job in caring for people with cancer. You are truly needed in our society. You are an angel of mercy to your patients and their families. When my family member had cancer it was such a worldwind of activities, treatments and emotions. I do not believe I thanked any nurse who helped him. Later, after he died and the dust settled I was able to think back to all the nurses who helped him. It has been years now but I thank God for them. I do not know their names but they were truly needed and did a wonderful job without aknowledgement or fan fair. I am sure your efforts are more appreciated then you know. I am sorry you are sad right now. Please take care of yourself.
  5. by   live4today
    First.......((((((((((warm hugs go out to you reese)))))))))) :kiss

    Second, even if you are the only one standing, stand up for what you believe is right for yourself and your patients. Know that SOME people thrive on creating havoc for others. They haven't yet outgrown their need to get over "sibling rivalry" as a youth, so they hold onto that emotional imbalance as a "security blanket". Pray for them if you believe in prayer. If you don't pray, then send positive thoughts their way and KNOW that ONE DAY something will happen in their life that will literally force them to "GROW UP"!!!

    Third, take inventory of the reasons you went into nursing in the first honest with yourself about this. Write down your thoughts about this and list your reasons in order of priority, need, heartfelt desires, etc. Take this list and ponder it in a quiet place. Be aware of what you are feeling as you do this...jotting down those feelings. Spend some very quiet quality time doing this in order for it to be beneficial to you. No t.v., no radio, no music, no phones, no anything........just you and your thoughts with pen/pencil and writing pad.

    At the end of your "time out for yourself to think session", how do you feel? Still want to be a nurse? If the answer is "No"......change your career to something more befitting to your taste. If the answer is "Yes", go sign up for an Assertive Training Class so you can learn how to productively give of yourself without putting up with BS in the process. Others will pick on you if you allow them to due to your inability to stand alone in your decision making. Every decision we make cost us something. That "something" can be good...or not so good. There's consequences for everything. This is why it is so important to stand on what you believe in and not back down. You have to live with "YOU" every breath you breathe. It's up to you to protect "YOU" because in reality when the shift you work is over...or the job you leave is behind you...."YOU" are all you have to contend with. If you're happy with yourself at the end of a day's journey, then all is well in your soul. If at the end of a day's journey, you are punishing yourself for things you ALLOWED others to inflict on you, then sit down with you and you alone and figure out why you allow others to feed you BS like they do.

    Don't be afraid to use your voice! Make what you say count towards something...otherwise when we speak, we are only speaking "chatter" to ourselves. If you are satisfied with how you handle your life, then at the end of the day, pat yourself on the back and say "Reese...well done! You did good today! I'm proud of you!"

    Just being human entitles us to "FEEL"...........PERIOD!!! Analyze yourself and why you allow so much abuse into your life. Most times, the abuse we tolerate on our jobs happens to us because somewhere growing up and well into adulthood we have continued to allow that cycle of abuse. You must go deep into your psyche and heartfelt emotions to figure out why you are not as strong and kind to yourself as you expect others to be to you. Are you abusing yourself? Are you allowing yourself to be abused? Why?

    The first step to healing oneself of self-abuse which emits the aroma of "hey guys, abuse me" when others look upon you, is to recognize this fact is true. Once able to acknowledge the abuse, we must step up to the plate and clean house "within" before we can expect anyone else to respect us and recognize we are not their "punching bag" for their own insecurities that they walk around carrying with them wherever they go........including to work.

    Most times, it is NOT about the "JOB" that we are unhappy. It is about WHY we take what we take in life.

    Mostly women are in nursing. Women have been conditioned for years to take and take and take. And we are conditioned to give others (husbands, parents, children, siblings, friends, coworkers) a second third fourth....chance. We may get mad, pissed, scream at the top of our lungs, cut eyes at one another, gossip about each other behind each other's backs, and so forth, but one thing SOME women will continue to do is take it and take it and take it............... Men fight back! Women cave in, give in, and keep on *****ing about the crap without coming to a positive solution with the issues confronting them.

    There is NOTHING wrong in being TOUGH and TENDER at the same time. That is what being ASSERTIVE is all about! You stand your ground in a tough, yet tender professional manner on the job. You never lose sight of who you are professionally on the job, but you let others know that you are NOT their "sacrificial lamb" for their "nurses dining in" ceremony either.
    Last edit by live4today on Sep 13, '03
  6. by   renerian
    I worked oncology for over 6.5 years and it is so hard. So rewarding but the burn out rate is very high. Maybe some home health might be good? Have you ever thought of that?

  7. by   RN-PA
    I'm really sorry for all you've been going through and there's some great advice on this thread already.

    I wondered if your facility would allow a leave of absence, perhaps using the Family and Medical Leave Act. You could take the time to think, get a good physical and screening for depression as Raphael mentioned, perhaps get some counseling, and just nurture your body, mind, and spirit. If you haven't taken a vacation in a while, it can also give you new perspectives as well as refresh you. Hopefully, you have friends and family who can be of support through this difficult time. Many of us have been there or are close to where you are, so I hope you will find some answers and direction, soon. We know about the pain you feel and can certainly empathize. :kiss
  8. by   Noney

    Everyone has given you good advice. I worked as an lpn for 9 years in a nursing home. I was feeling a little like you are now. I went back to school for RN the whole way year I was in the program I kept thinking "Will I like being a nourse again when I'm done?" After fininshing I went to work on a med/tele floor. I've been there for 2 years and " Yes I like being a nurse again"

    What I'm getting at is that sometimes you do need to change to be happy. I hope you can find something that makes you happy. I hope it's in nursing, but if it's not so be it.

  9. by   Genista
    I know several former oncology nurses who found happiness in hospice nursing. You mentioned liking to care for dying patients & still wanting to give. Just a thought. As others stated, maybe you might need a break from nursing? Are there other careers/jobs that excite you? Take care of yourself. Hope things turn around for you. (((hug)))
  10. by   renerian
    Kona wonderful point and idea.

  11. by   Agnus
    Follow your heart. Go on the grand adventure to something else if that is what you need.
    Perhaps, one day you will return with a new perspective. Perhaps not. Crying everyday is not the answer.

    Sounds like you need to renew and refresh yourself. Do whatever it takes. If you find bliss in flipping a burger or selling securities, or in managing a business do it. God speed. Your nursing experience will serve you well where ever and what ever you diecide.
  12. by   Cmyst
    If at all possible, take a break. If you have vacation time, use it. Or the Family Leave Act, that was a decent suggestion.

    Over the years I've found it to be true that people are creatures of habit. It is hard for us to imagine any way different than our own. Nursing is so varied, and so rich, that I can't help but feel that you are closing your eyes to many possibilities, because you might have to give up your "expertise" in oncology or in floor nursing in order to explore them. Some excellent suggestions have already been made: Hospice, for one, would use your skills and is *so* different from institutional nursing! If it is "politics" that is getting you down, be aware that Home Health and Hospice allow you to pretty much avoid the office most of the time, and I have never worked for a Home Health agency that wasn't supportive when I needed them. You work out of your car and your nursing bag, and the patients are usually very appreciative. It's very holistic.

    I remember going through a similar time in ER. I dreaded work. It was making me physically ill. I had a family to help support, and I was so tired! Ultimately, I took a job in Home Health. And then, a year later, I got a license from California and moved my family out here, and it was the best thing I could have done. I knew I couldn't deal with floor nursing stresses, so for years I worked Home Health, then Telephone Triage, then Clinic -- and with the exception of one Triage job, they were all lovely jobs with lovely co-workers where I made pretty good money. In the last 2 years, I've *finally* gone to floor nursing on a Med/Surg floor, because I wanted to travel and none of the companies would hire me without that floor nursing experience. The big shock was the horrible schedule! So, after 18 months, I now work the Float Pool with total control over my schedule and making 25% more money

    Life is a risky business, but some risks are infinitely more rewarding than others. I feel for you so much! So many of us have been where you are!
  13. by   FlipFlops
    I know exactly how you feel. I've been an ER nurse for 5 years....went right into the ER out of nursing school. I had worked there 6 years as a receptionist beforehand. I'm totally burnt out and no longer have the desire to be a nurse. I've been thinking of what else I could do and make the same money, and unfortunately, there's not much out there. So now I'm looking at the idea of changing the "type" of nursing I do. I'm looking into PACU or amb surgery. It's a shame we dont hear "thank you" or get any praise at all for what we do. Not to mention, get paid enough. I came into work the last 2 nights I worked and the first patients I came into contact with, laid me out because of the "hours" they had been waiting, etc, etc, etc. I just stood there looking at them and thinking to myself "why do I do this?" My fiance's father recently passed away and he is from Egypt. We are looking to move there so he can take over his father's business....maybe that will open up a new path for me.

    I started traveling 2 1/2 years ago thinking that would help, but it hasn't. All I can say is keep your chin up, and I will do the same. I'm still looking......
  14. by   Spidey's mom
    I'm kinda in the same place for alot of reasons. I appreciate reading everyone's posts.

    Take a long hard look at all this great advice. Especially the thought that you may be clinically depressed and it isn't just nursing that is effecting you.

    Take care of yourself and try to focus on how much you mean to your patients. My 11 year old nephew has cancer and has been through so much. Nurses are heros to him.