What careers are out there for nurses other than bedside nursing?

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    I have only been working as a nurse for about 8 months. I work on an orthopedic inpatient unit. We have mostly post-op patients but also a lot of ortho trauma. I work nights. I feel like this job is ruining my life. I absolutely hate it. I have no life, I feel like I am slipping into depression because I never see anyone. I barely see my husband because we have opposite schedules. My family lives in a different state so I never see them. I can never switch back to a day schedule, so even when I'm off I just sleep all day and stay up all night bored bc the rest of the world is sleeping. Plus, I hate my job itself. The management is horrible, the unit is way understaffed. I dread each night of work...sometimes driving to work in tears. Even on my nights off I just sit and think about how little time I have before I have to go back to that awful place. I feel like I'm doing a good job, and everyone says I'm doing great for a new nurse and that I handle the tough assignments well, but I am just so unhappy.
    Anyways, I know I should be thankful that I even have a job, but I really feel like its ruining my life...and my husband agrees. It took me 8 months to find this job, and like I said, I only have 8 months experience. I really want to find another job, but I can't find anything. Plus, I'm afraid that I will dislike another job just as much. I really feel like I need to get out of hospital/staff nursing in general, but I don't know what else is out there...especially for someone with little experience. Are there non-hospital jobs out there for someone in my situation?
  2. 5 Comments so far...

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    I have seen posts here by new grads who found jobs in dialysis centers such as Fresenius or DaVita. I don't know if you would like that any better, but at least it would be days and I'm pretty sure you rotate Saturdays but don't have to work any Sundays. There is also home health or hospice nursing where you go to the patients' homes instead of being stuck on the same inpatient unit every time you work.

    I recently returned to Med/Surg inpatient nursing after taking seven years off from it and then working home hospice and LTC before I could get another hospital to hire me. If I wasn't contingent and a float nurse, I couldn't handle it either. The patients are so much more acutely ill than I remember them being before, and the staffing is the same. I have several years of experience in this type of work and I still don't get a real break most nights, unless shoving junk food from the vending machine into my mouth while I chart is considered a break. I recently interviewed for a hospice job within the same hospital system and if I get it, it's bye-bye Med/Surg. I wish that some of these nursing management people could be made to work a couple of shifts at the bedside once in a while to see what it's really like. Somehow, though, I don't think that they would like it too much. They're probably used to getting long lunch breaks and sitting down once in a while, lol.

    Good luck to you, whatever happens. I know that I personally find hospice nursing to be extremely rewarding and suprisingly less stressful than inpatient, so maybe it would be a good place for you too.
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    I understand your pain as the floor I am on is the same way. It seems like management finds all fault but never acknowledges the things done well or even sees your real performance because they are never there. Good luck in the future...
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    Sorry to hear you are so unhappy! Nights shift can be hard, no matter your specialty. I worked nights before I was a nurse, and it just about made me turn into a sad vampire. (Though some folks love it). I worked in acute care 12 years. I tried 3 different departments on dayshift and evenings. Some units I liked more than others. The best advice I could give you is to think about all the areas that interest you (outside the hospital if that's what appeals to you) and start looking for jobs to try out. I was feeling so miserable in med/surg that it was making me want to quit nursing. I finally decided I had nothing to lose by trying anything and everything that *might* be a better match. I will be honest, it took me over a year to get interviews for the jobs that I really wanted. I work part time as well, by choice, so that I don't feel too "burned out." I may make less money than FT nurses, but to me the work/life balance is well worth it! What do you want to do? Hospice, home health, school nursing, administrative, private duty, clinic, ambulatory surgery, case management, telephonic/advice, nurse educator, etc? Whatever area sounds good to you would be worth investigating! I finally just left the hospital setting myself, and am working in phone triage.It is very different, and I am new and feel like a "new grad." However, it is interesting work, and I am liking it so far. Change can be a good thing! Good luck! I hope you find a place you like better.
    Last edit by Genista on Sep 24, '11 : Reason: clarification
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    I to gave up on floor nursing its horrible, all you said is true in every hospital, RN's are treated like dogs, worse than dogs, anyway nursing just about ruined me, my back hurts knees feet siatica is bad, and management just keeps dumping more and more on you, well good luck to you.
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    It would be a really good idea to stick it out and get at least a full year of experience in your current position. That will make you a more competitive applicant for other positions.

    There are kazillions of nursing career paths other than bedside nursing, but most of them require a significant amount of experience to be considered qualified. Can't hurt to look around and apply for things, though. Best wishes for your journey!


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