Looking to change gears in my nursing career

  1. 0
    Background: I have been a RN for two years. Six months of that was spent in psych (not a huge interest per say, just really needed a nursing job out of school). For the past year and a half I have worked in a 12 bed ICU. I have 2 sons ages 2 and 6 months. Before my first pregnancy I had some issues with my lower back. My two pregnancies have made these issues much worse with me unable to really function after work.

    There are a couple positions open at a local doctors clinic and a position open in the documentation integrity department. As much as I LOVE critical care, I am thinking about leaving for the following reasons.

    1. We have vented patients obviously and I have a lot of trouble lifting them. We have bariatric patients and lots of them up to 400#. There are mornings that I don't think I can make it to my car because I can't walk upright. Asking for a lighter load is not an option as I do not want to be categorized as the weakest link. I am unable to take many prescription drugs because they make me too drowsy.

    2. I feel like I am missing my kids childhood. I work nights. When they get home from daycare, I am sleeping. We eat dinner and then I go to work. Yes, I get 4 days off but it seems like at least 2 of those are lost in some kind of sleep deprived fog.

    3. We are on call a lot. I know it's feast or famine, but it's been a lot of famine lately. I have had to use 45 hrs if PTO in the past 4 weeks because I have been out on call.

    4. I do not foresee me being able to get a day position for at least another year. We go by seniority and although I am only 2nd in line of those wanting to go to day shift, no one on days is leaving.

    Here are the cons for me leaving.
    1. Less money, obviously. We are a 1 income household.
    2. One of the positions is PRN with plenty of hours but I carry insurance on the boys and myself. I don't know anything about getting insurance.
    3. I will lose my skills! This has me nearly panicked!! If I want to return to hospital nursing in the future, I am concerned I will be an undesirable candidate. No offense to office nurses.

    If you made it through all that, I applaud you. Any advice is welcome. This decision has made me sleepless for the past few nights so I am hoping for some insight.
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  3. 4 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    You just have to figure out what's the most important to you between possible priorities and work.toward that. I have found in life that trying to do and be everything in every posssible direction will leave you doing a halfway job in both. If kids are a priority, take the job which accommodates them. They'll only be little for a short period. But kids are resilient too.
  5. 0
    Personally, i would jump ship- if the money was okay. I wouldn't want my boys to feel financial strain.

    Do what you would give your children advice to do.

    Skills...pfft... Learned them once you will again.
    Office work is a different set of skills.
  6. 0
    Obviously, you cannot continue to engage in any type of work that is causing you physical harm. BUT, before bailing on your ICU job please initiate the process of treatment for on-the-job-injury. It is very important that you do this to get it on record that you have sustained this type of injury. This will ensure that you receive the benefits to which you are entitled. Otherwise, in a few years, you may find yourself unable to work due to the cumulative trauma you suffered in the past ... without any recourse or options.


    PLEASE - everybody - opt for "no lift" environments. There is absolutely no safe way to lift any adult patient. Mechanical lift devices are the only safe way to do this. The cumulative trauma of continuous back strain can result in severe disability even if you don't experience any sort of dramatic injury.

    Best wishes to the OP for a safe, sane & healthy working environment.
  7. 0
    Quote from HouTx
    Obviously, you cannot continue to engage in any type of work that is causing you physical harm. BUT, before bailing on your ICU job please initiate the process of treatment for on-the-job-injury. It is very important that you do this to get it on record that you have sustained this type of injury. This will ensure that you receive the benefits to which you are entitled. Otherwise, in a few years, you may find yourself unable to work due to the cumulative trauma you suffered in the past ... without any recourse or options.

    PLEASE - everybody - opt for "no lift" environments. There is absolutely no safe way to lift any adult patient. Mechanical lift devices are the only safe way to do this. The cumulative trauma of continuous back strain can result in severe disability even if you don't experience any sort of dramatic injury.

    Best wishes to the OP for a safe, sane & healthy working environment.
    Sounds like OP had back issues before her pregnancy and before starting in psych. Doesn't sound like an on the job injury.


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