Successful Non-Nursing Job

  1. I've come to the realization that nursing is just not for me. I've tried 3 different times within the year and I've pretty much made up my mind. At this point I owe many student loans and scholarships specifically for my nursing degree, I have other bills, can't afford to go back to school for anything else, and get the "no call back" from non-nursing jobs I have applied for (3 different jobs have point blank told me that I am "over qualified" and will leave their job soon to go back to nursing for more money! They all seem to be hung up on the money thing and my Bachelor's degree).
    I was wondering if anyone could possible give me some pointers. Has anyone on this board completely left nursing (I mean not a director of nursing, not a nursing case manager, NOTHING in nursing) or do anyone of you know someone who has? Specifically WHAT jobs are you doing and what jobs did you apply for? This is the second time that I have tried to get out of nursing. The first time was a big gigantic flop, I went back to it, hated it still and quit again very soon. I feel totally closed in. It seems like people in other professions can leave their professions and move on to other things more easily than those trying to leave nursing.
    Can anyone help with job suggestions? Thank you very much.
    •  
  2. 30 Comments

  3. by   arciedee
    I don't have any specific advice for you as I'm actually going INTO nursing from another profession, however I know in my old company they hired a lot of people with the only real requirement being that they had a bachelor's degree in SOMETHING (these were primarily customer service positions in financial call centers, however the upward mobility was tremendous and people who did well were promoted very quickly and had lots of opportunities to move into other areas of the company outside customer service).

    I think the key is using your cover letter and resume to highlight skills that you honed in nursing that would be applicable to other fields. Don't bash nursing, but honestly say that you found that it wasn't the profession you wanted to pursue and that you're very excited about the position you are applying for and feel that your skills are an excellent fit with what they're looking for. You've got lots of communication, analytical, and interpersonal skills that you can highlight. Good luck!
  4. by   jjjoy
    Persistence! Not one of my strengths, unfortunately, but I managed. I tried to mentally frame my BSN as a general health science degree so that I didn't also pigeon-hole myself as a nurse when looking for and applying for jobs.

    I have frequently experienced the assumption on the part of interviewers that I'd sooner or later return to clinical practice because the pay is better. It is frustrating. What worked for me was targeting a hospital and applying for several non-nursing positions. Someone in HR took a liking to me and forwarded my resume to positions I wasn't aware that I was qualified for. Also, if you do get an interview, follow up with them and let them know that you're still interested.

    Do you have a BSN? If so, you'd probably fare better targeting jobs that require a bachelor's degree. Otherwise, you've got two strikes against you in the "overqualified" zone.

    It's a tough position to be in, that "overqualified" curse... patience and persistence... too many will assume too much, but you only need one good offer...

    Good luck!
  5. by   pnurseuwm
    Joy, I've been doing just that. I've been applying to hospitals and clinicsfor medical secretary, health unit coordinator, billing, HR assistant. I've recently found out that I was being considered for some and then rejected :angryfire
    I've sought out the help of a career counselor and even THEY are like, "There's got to be SOMETHING in nursing for you." Sighhhhhhhhhhh....... Like you said, I've just got to keep fighting it.
    For some people marrying the wrong guy is the worst mistake of their life, for others having children too early is their worst mistake, still for others moving to the wrong city is their life's worst disaster. I must honestly say that becoming a nurse was the worst possible mistake I've made in my entire 27 years of living... the financial ramifications (loans), the social ramifications ("girl you mean to tell me you're giving up all of that money?"), and obviously the ease of career changing consequences... this is the worst thing that I could have done to myself.
  6. by   arciedee
    What are you interested in doing? More business-oriented stuff? Not sure? Are you set on staying in healthcare just not nursing? I was thinking if you were interested in more administrative type work you could look at doctor's offices... I know the large practice I go to looks for nurses to work in less clinical positions and more administrative type stuff. You might be able to use a transition job like that to leverage into what you really want to do. Also have you tried contacting any headhunters? They can sometimes get you in a door that you wouldn't have gotten into otherwise. Just make sure they're absolutely clear what you're looking for.

    I know this is a really trying time for you, but please try not to view your experience as a big mistake. I worked in an industry that sucked my soul for over six years, hating it all the way before I got into school. But despite how much I disliked it it did provide me with a lot of knowledge (both specific and knowledge about myself), helped me learn what I DID want to do, and gave me the financial resources to meet some other goals of mine. So... it wasn't a total loss. And I don't think this experience will be for you, either. I really wish you the best of luck in pursuing your dreams.
  7. by   jjjoy
    Who makes it through life without making mistakes? If anything, the worst mistakes I've made have helped me be more sympathetic to others. I used to be much more judgemental, thinking things like "well, they should've known better!" Not anymore!

    Where you are IS a frustrating position to be in. Hang in there and keep on keeping on.
  8. by   caliotter3
    When I got downsized out of my first FT nursing job, I had a hard time finding any kind of a job due to the job market and my half-way qualifications. It also didn't help that I was being actively blacklisted. Everything that you have described I encountered. Overqualified. Not qualified. Why would you want to do anything other than nursing? (Uh, like I'm tired of being unemployed?!) I ended up back in nursing because nobody else would hire me for various reasons. Right now, I'm recovering from illness so back to nursing again, after some experiences that would send me running, if I only had somewhere to run to. But since I've been there, done that, I know that if I want to work at all, it will be in nursing. Good luck. I hope that you can find a situation that you can live with.
  9. by   kangaroo621
    Hey, I have the opposite perspective as I am switching careers to begin nursing... but will offer this anyway : )

    What are you interested in? Are you trying to get out of health care & science completely? Could you try going into some sort of clinical research? How about more lab-based research?

    I am transitioning from genetics research (purely lab-based, not clinical) into nursing and honestly, it has been fairly smooth changing over. There are SO many different areas you could look into as a Lab Assistant or Research Technician... oftentimes if you have a bit of a science background, labs are happy to hire & train you with the things you are unfamiliar with. Granted, it will be a bit of a pay cut at first, but that's the sort of job where you can slowly gain experience, responsibilities & pay grade (at least this is the case in the large research universities I've worked at)... The who knows, maybe you'd be interested in going on to grad school?

    Think carefully about what you want -- what DO you like about nursing & what don't you like? It can be really difficult starting over (as you already know) and you want to make sure you're not transferring to yet another field that will make you miserable... like if dealing with dozens of whiny patients a day drives you batty, maybe avoid as much patient/customer interaction (labs are GREAT for avoiding people ), or if the stress is getting you, make sure your next position will be fairly consistent/laid back...

    Sorry if this is all really obvious or not helpful -- just trying to make sure you don't move from one bad situation to another!!
  10. by   jjjoy
    There are SO many different areas you could look into as a Lab Assistant or Research Technician... oftentimes if you have a bit of a science background, labs are happy to hire & train you with the things you are unfamiliar with.
    I'm interested in research but the lab-type positions almost always require a degree in biology and some lab experience. Are you saying that if one has enough background and interest that one might be hired into such a position even without all the requirements? I'm sure some areas are more strict than others but I've avoided looking at those types of positions altogether because I don't fit the qualifications. I was a biology major starting out and took all the pre-reqs for science majors except O Chem.

    I've discovered that I'm quite fine working quietly most of the day. I'm actually more interested in the data management side of research. I do like some degree of working with others and having a chance to see where my work fits in the big picture. My clinical skills aren't strong which is why I'm reluctant to seek clinical nurse research jobs.

    Any advice, kangaroo, coming from research yourself?
  11. by   kangaroo621
    Joy,

    My lab has hired several non-bio grads in the past as Lab Techs or Assistants. One was a psych major with a bunch of bio & chem classes, one was a geology major (science, but a lot more chemistry than bio), etc. It may mean you start out doing very routine lab maintenace stuff (making stock solutions, media plates & stocking) but you could certainly find a position where the PI (principle investigator) is willing to train someone. We had a lab manager who started out as a tech who didn't have any sort of college education - just a willingness & interest in learning.

    If you've had health care experience (even if you've hated it) you have probably picked up more than you think -- you could look into labs that study these areas (virology, immunology, micro, etc...) so that you DO have a background in the subject matter, but simply from a different perspective.

    Clinical research does NOT always mean you need clinical skills. Okay, that sounds terrible, but what I mean is... there are lots of labs out there (oftentimes associated with a hospital, if not located in one) that do clinical research by collaborating with Doctors within the hospital. They receive samples (whatever the heck they are) from patients & proceed to do their work... without ever having to touch the patient themselves

    OR... would you be interested in going into some sort of diagnostic lab? That could be a great way to transition into more of a research-based job... You could build your lab skills (molecular biology, genetics, micro, etc) with hands on experience that also exposes you to some of the research going on in the area. It could be a lab studying HIV or Hepatitis C for example, that also does commercial diagnostics for a local hospital.

    These are all just examples... I have no idea where you live -- this certainly dictates what sort of research opportunities are around : )

    let me know if you have any questions... but really, it's all about your attitude & how you present your skills & experience. Don't assume you couldn't get a research job until you try
  12. by   jjjoy
    Thanks, kangaroo! I'm in the LA area so there are opportunities in research - though it might mean a little relocation to avoid a miserable commute. I'm not actively seeking employment right now but am scoping out what direction I might want to head next. I appreciate your input!
  13. by   pnurseuwm
    Thanks for the suggestions. Anymore suggestions? Every time I find something interesting it "requires" like 3-5 years of whatever type of work they're asking for. I would prefer an office-type job. I want to go to work and come home ON TIME and not have to bring any work home. I really don't want to spend the days running around tyring to accomplish 50 million things in 8 hours. I've been trying to network, but no leads yet. As an ex-nurse I really don't know what skills to play-up and dumb-down on my resume. There's just got to be some way out.
  14. by   ohioln
    I hope that both of you will be able to find work outside of nursing. Try calling a few collages in your area and see if they can suggest any place to get career counseling that doesn't lead to more education, unless you want that, also ask if they know of any place where you can get help with writing a resume that reflects things other than nursing and where you could pick up any job interview skills. Search for these things on google,maybe they'd have something if you ut in key words to reflect type of work you are looking for and/or willing to take. Hope this helps, best of everything to both of you.

close