Anyone Else Feel Trapped in Nursing?

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    I have been an RN for 22 years. I have not worked consistently over that period of time, but in spurts of four years, a year, a couple of years, etc., always on a contingent basis, and taking breaks in between to be at home with our kids.

    Fast forward to today, our kids are now 18 and 20 and I began a full-time 7p-7a Med/Surg job almost two months ago. I told my husband that I feel that it is my turn to work full-time now, to help out with expenses, especially with two kids in college. He still works full-time too. The problem is, I am finding that I hate what I do! I love talking to the patients and offering them support and comfort, but I hate passing meds, calling doctors, being short staffed, and running my legs off every night. I did work a part-time office job as an intake nurse for much of last year, but sitting in an office all day and dealing with stressful situations and short staffing didn't agree with me either.

    I guess what I'm saying is, I LOVE the people part of nursing, but I hate the technical, stressful part of it, and now I feel trapped into working full-time for the foreseeable future doing something that makes me dread every shift. The only thing that keeps me going is that I'm only working three nights a week.

    Anyone else in this predicament? Any suggestions? If you think I sound like a big baby, I won't necessarily disagree with you, but how do you know if something is just undesirable because it's stressful or if you are truly doing the wrong thing with your life?
    newhospicern likes this.
  2. 13 Comments so far...

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    Same story with me. 25 years of it? I'm sooo fed up with the entire healthcare field I can't see straight. I have to figure out what to do, gotta pay my bills. There's not one single area of nursing that I would want to do. I cannot imagine doing 12 hr noc shifts in acute care, omg. Been there done that thought I was going to die. It's terrible for your health, too. You're not being a baby; you're a realist. Healthcare in the US is a mess. Everyone's running around like mad, short staffed, freaked out, underpaid, angry all the time. Yikes. I have a master's degree, did psych for awhile after that, hated rx psych meds -- always off-label, shooting from the hip. I've worked in healthcare starting first as a darn volunteer/candy striper, every little step of the way up to a master's. All that time and money, and it seems like there isn't a job anywhere that I can fit into. Still 40k in the hole in loans from grad school.
    Sorry to rain on the parade of the new grads or anyone else, it's just the way it is. Somebody's got to do it though. I'm hanging up my cap, I do believe. Yes, I have one of those buried in my closet!! LOL.


    --JC
    ICUman likes this.
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    Thanks for your reply. It's good to know that I'm not alone. The thing is, when anyone from our unit tries to talk to any management about how things are and how frustrated we are, all they get are excuses, or made to feel like we're a bunch of wimps who just need to suck it up. They have also made it known recently that anyone who complains can be fired for their "bad attitude", which seems to be something new they have come up with. I have not personally complained to anyone because I am so new to the unit and I don't want to seem like I'm already unhappy at this point, and also because I still go into work every shift hoping and praying that it will start getting better.

    My dream would be to go back to school, get a Bachelors degree in History, and get a job at a museum or historical venue. I already have a ton of undergrad credits and would only really need the specific history major classes. However, we now have two kids in college, so we really can't afford for me to go back right now too. We are in that huge class of Americans who can't afford to pay for higher education outright but earn too much to get grants, so it would be all out of pocket for my classes, meaning student loans, which I don't want to do right now, plus, I am making good money so I feel like I owe it to my husband to continue to do this full-time and bring home a good paycheck while our kids are in college. I have been thinking about taking, like, one college class a semester, just so I feel like I am working towards my goal, but I'm not sure if it would be worth it, as I'm already 47 now.
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    I like the idea of taking a college class a semester. Keeps the mind goal oriented. Have you tried subscribing to John Maxwell's "Minute with Maxwell"? He is pretty uplifting and today's subject about "mindset" is pretty good. I don't know if the leadership training he provides is something you are interested in but give it a try.
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    duplicate, sorry.
    Last edit by Parkerone on Aug 1, '12 : Reason: duplicate by mistake
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    It seems you've run your course in the busy aspect of nursing so maybe it's time to take it down a notch & do something a Little more laid back such as homecare...a lot of nurses seem to go this route towards the some nurses that work from home; home visits is also you just go in & do watever tx or whatever is needed & leave.....nursing is such a broad field so before given up on it I would say explore & research as many different options.
    Last edit by Esme12 on Aug 2, '12 : Reason: TOS txt speak
    newhospicern likes this.
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    Seems like if you could pay cash for it and take one class at a time it would be a nice diversion from the misery and give you more options down the road. Hey, if we are going to have to work until er drop you may as well start working toward somethign you won't hate.
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    Quote from mrshoskins
    It seems u've run ur course in da busy aspect of nursing so mayb it's time 2 take it down a notch & do sumthin a Lil more laid bac such as homecare...a lot of nurses seem 2 go dis route 2wards da end of their career for a more laid bac environment/piece of mind...also, I no sum nurses dat work from home; home visits is also good 2 cuz ur in & out, normally only @ clients hse for 1-2hrs cuz u jus go in & do watever tx or wateva it is & leave.....nursing is such a broad field so b4 given up on it I wuld say explore & research sa many diff options unless ur
    PLEASE comply with AN terms of service... NO "chat speak". Use English. Trying to decipher this message is giving me a headache. It is not appropriate for this forum.
    Not_A_Hat_Person likes this.
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    I've found myself to be unchallenged and somewhat dissatisfied, unfortunately, I'm not at that point in life where I can make drastic changes. Don't have the time left, nor do I have the money to support a career change, or even the inclination. When I tried to support myself outside of nursing, I was unable to find work at all, so back to nursing. Sorry, can't offer any advice about making it better. Guess you just have to make it a priority to change your mind set.
    Not_A_Hat_Person likes this.
  11. 0
    Well, here's another wrench in the works; over the past couple of weeks, I have developed increasing pain in my shoulder and arm from an old cervical disc injury for which I have had two surgeries in the past. I have not had these types of symptoms in over four years, but now that I'm working full-time on a busy Med/Surg unit, I am in pretty much constant pain. I am scheduled for an MRI next week to see what is causing the pain, but I know that I probably can't keep doing this job with things like this. However, I just started a couple of months ago, and I hate to let my supervisor, who is very nice, down, and right after they finished training me. I would like to go back to the hospice company that I worked for a couple of years ago and ask if they would take me back, but I will feel like a big loser if I quit this job already, and especially if I let my new supervisor down.

    Can anyone offer any suggestions? I am almost in tears over feeling like I am letting my boss down (I had to call off for tonight), not to mention disappointing my husband, and yet I am in a lot of pain at the same time. It literally feels like someone is standing on my shoulder and there is a hot wire running through my shoulder blade. Help!


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