Unhappy camper looking for some advice from nurses

  1. 0
    Currently I am a geologist, and I work in a big fancy office for a big oil company. I sit in front of a computer Mon-Fri 8-5. I go for coffee breaks, and workout at lunch. It is pretty easy. I get stressed when there are deadlines or presentations, but other than that it is pretty stress-free. I am close to making 6 figures in my 3rd year out of university. Sounds pretty awesome right??

    But I am totally miserable. I have no passion for it. It bores me to tears. The thought of working here for the rest of my life makes me want to jump off the 30th floor. Geology is different in that there are no right answers and you are making stuff up and then presenting it as if it were the absolute truth. I really don't like that.

    Sorry for the lengthy post, but I have been racking my brain for the past 2 years on what I might like to do instead. Discovering nursing has been like a light going on in my brain, but I am still unsure if (what I think are) my needs and the nursing profession will be a right fit. Here they are:

    I want to be doing something different and exciting everyday, no sitting around and surfing the internet out of boredom.
    I am an extrovert and am energized by my relationships with others.
    I think it is totally awful that I am sitting 8-9 hours per day, sitting in the car, sitting on the couch at home.. even though I work out regularly I don't think humans are meant for this much sitting.
    I want a career where I am doing something meaningful (ie. NOT finding oil in the ground)
    I want to use my brain... I am a science geek.
    I always want people to be comfortable and happy, and if I had a career doing that I think that would be amazing.
    I have always been interested in healthcare, I initially wanted to be a doctor but my dreams of getting into medical school are long gone now. I've looked into phyisotherapy and occupational therapy as well.
    I want the opportunity to work anywhere.
    Monotony freaks me out.

    What I am hoping to get with this post is some honest feedback from those who are nurses.

    It is greatly appreciated
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  3. 36 Comments so far...

  4. 40
    Stay on the 30th floor. Enjoy the breaks.

    Discover other interests.

    Take a sabbatical and join the Peace Corps, do volunteer work.

    Nursing isn't what you think it is.
    are_you_a_llama, calivianya, Madras, and 37 others like this.
  5. 5
    I would certainly not encourage you to continue in your current position if you are miserable doing it, six figures or not. However, I would encourage you to look at lot more closely at healthcare before making a big leap. FWIW, the physical and occupational therapists I have known have been a lot happier about being PTs and OTs than most of the nurses I have known have been about being nurses (I have no complaints, myself, but lots of people do).

    Best wishes for your journey!
    NutmeggeRN, NurseDirtyBird, Kipahni, and 2 others like this.
  6. 7
    I was a longtime office worker who left my field of 12+ years for nursing, for all of the same reasons you mentioned. I'm a newish grad--working since Feb, on my own since June, so take my opinion for what you will. I'm sure some will say I haven't had time to become jaded, but I hope I won't, because I plan to be a nurse for a long time.

    In my prior positions I received a good amount of praise from employers, coworkers and clients. I made roughly the same money as I make now (but I would make LESS than I made before if I worked days.) Like you, I spent 9-10 hours behind a desk, although my days were largely fast-paced and stressful and I worked through lunch many days. I worked out regularly after work because I was so sedentary during the day.

    As a new nurse, I rarely get any acknowledgement for anything I do unless it's from a patient, in passing (which is really the most rewarding feedback anyway.) I definitely don't get treated (by fellow medical professionals) with anything approaching the respect and professional courtesy I was accustomed to in my previous career. I work 12-13 hour shifts, and I often chart during lunch. I never work out after work any more (night shift), but I do try to go at least 1x a week. I feel unsure on a regular basis. Others make it their mission to correct me regularly. This is often the reality of a new nurse. Do you think you can take it?

    For me, the answer is yes. I was telling my husband the other night that despite feeling insecure and unsure of myself most of the time--something I've never dealt with in any previous position--my level of life satisfaction is much higher, now that I am no longer working behind a desk 5 days a week, getting up early, fighting traffic, and wearing conservative clothes, not to mention no longer dealing with people who act like first world inconveniences are the end. Of. The. Flipping. World. Give me a full load of 5 truly sick patients over my entitled former clients, any day of the week. YMMV.
  7. 13
    The grass is always greener? Maybe. I doubt it. You have an awesome gig and should stick with it. I would love to be making close to 6 figures so young, and to not have my knees aching after every work day. Your motivations for joining the nursing profession are about spot on to why I chose to pursue nursing in college.

    I've heard stories from nurses, in what I approximate to be a 5:1 ratio, that more find the job to be just labor than the touching Florence Nightengale, Jean Watson, hand-holding, wiping-the-sweat-and-toil-off-of-your-sickly-patient's-brow-with-a-cool-towel-as-they-smile-and-thank-you type experiences non-nurses and J&J commercials have aggrandized the profession to entail.

    Do you see different, exciting stuff every day? Yes, especially in the beginning. But don't be disillusioned by this. As you're learning from these experiences, you're expected to deliver safe and effective treatment that can affect a person's life - all the while there's a hoard of malpractice attorney's out their poised to take your hard-earned license away for the smallest mistake. You miss a deadline in your current job, you get chewed out. You miss a medication as an RN and your patient ends up with some severe symptoms, your license (ie your career) is on the line. On top of all that, your facility will go ahead and send you up the river if if saves them from a lawsuit. Then it's back to school anyway.

    You're right that you aren't sedentary all day in nursing, but the physical activity isn't as cut and clean as working out either. Moving an obese liver patient up in bed or side-to-side to clean them up after their 3rd BM in 8 of your 12.5 hour shift post all the lactulose they've been getting isn't quite the same as running a 5k. It's back-breaking and exhausting after a while, body mechanics or not. And as a previous poster said, 3 12s (the most common breakdown of a nursing work schedule) aren't exactly conducive to a regular exercise schedule outside of the hospital. I used to run 40 miles a week in nursing school, now I'm getting flabby and gross because I have no time or energy to run.

    You do use your brain, that's true. A lot of the time that means realizing a value is outside of normal limits and calling the doctor so they can intervene. Sometimes it's realizing a patient is allergic or intolerant to a medication so you call the doctor to intervene. Sometimes you pick something up in your assessment and.. well.. you call the MD to intervene. The critical thinking is hardly as science-based as nursing school makes it seem. Shoot, you could be #1 in your class with a science knowledge equivalent to that of a med student, but the patient will want to hear what you're saying from a doctor more times than not - you being just a nurse and all. You gain this sense of a lack of significance pretty quickly. They say there is a net nursing shortage across the country (are they still saying that?) Tell that to all the new grads who have to move to farm country hospitals or work in SNFs to get jobs, cuz city hospitals are saturated. So add "replaceable" to the list of cons.

    Making people happy and comfortable is good. I love doing that too. I usually make it my goal to get a laugh or at least a smile out of all of my patients. You have to realize though that, when you don't have AMS patients or obtunded nursing home patients, people are often at their worst in the hospital. They're (understandably) sick and miserable. I would be too. And this wears down on you over time when you genuinely want to make people happy and comfortable. It's like "what could I be doing? what am I not doing?" Then there are those that complain no matter what you do. And those that threaten to report you for any old thing. And those that micromanage your every care because they've been in the hospital long enough to know how everything's done.

    I had a patient (who was a very hard stick and positive for very dangerous blood-transmissible diseases) condescendingly guide me through the steps of phlebotomy, then insist on me not using the only vein I could find because he "had a bad experience with a nurse using that site in the past." So I spent another 10-15 minutes finding another iddy biddy one I miraculously got, only for him to scream bloody murder and violently jerk his arm away and nearly get me stuck in the process. He asked "did you get it?" When I replied "well you pulled your arm away and the needle came out," he became extremely irate and requested to speak to my manager. By the time I left the room I was sweating, frustrated, and behind on all my other patients. His reaction to needles later got a coworker and friend of mine stuck, and she is now on prophylactic medications with nasty side effects. Of course this doesn't define every patient, and there are plenty of rewarding interactions too. However, if you are an extrovert who is energized by relationships with others - it shouldn't take too many patients like this to beat you into the cynic that many nurses unfortunately become.

    Good luck with your future endeavors!

    TU RN
    onemoreday, are_you_a_llama, Madras, and 10 others like this.
  8. 19
    If you really, really must change, either suck it up and go to medical school, or become a PA. You are not going to get the kind of science in nursing that it sounds like you crave. There's a lot of monotony involved in nursing, even in the ED and ICU, and I don't think you're the kind of guy who is going to be happy fetching blankets and turkey sandwiches for grumpy patients and demanding family members.

    Choose wisely.
  9. 6
    I would start by taking an EMT course at your local community college, and join a local fire department as a call EMT. It will give you a lot of what you crave, and you can do it on your "off" time. You may find you love it, and go on to be a Paramedic. If you love that even more, you can then go on to be a PA.

    Job security is huge. Unfortunetely, the job market for nurses is not ideal in a number of areas.

    As a complete aside, ever thought about getting your masters in education and teaching science? If kids are not your thing, getting your PHD and teaching at a college level? AND you can "test" it out by getting involved in your local school's science club, tutoring, judging science fair competitions--there are young science junkies out there who would perhaps think that you are the coolest thing going, and ready to soak up all that stuff you are hypothesizing on......
    Madras, Tina, RN, bebbercorn, and 3 others like this.
  10. 1
    I just want to add, I am quite sure I would go on to become a nurse practitioner if I choose nursing. Would have liked to get into med school but my grades aren't up to snuff. And I am a female btw.

    I like the idea of a paramedic.. I don't think the pay is as good as nursing though. I will check it out.

    Is a PA a physician's assistant?

    For me, the answer is yes. I was telling my husband the other night that despite feeling insecure and unsure of myself most of the time--something I've never dealt with in any previous position--my level of life satisfaction is much higher, now that I am no longer working behind a desk 5 days a week, getting up early, fighting traffic, and wearing conservative clothes, not to mention no longer dealing with people who act like first world inconveniences are the end. Of. The. Flipping. World. Give me a full load of 5 truly sick patients over my entitled former clients, any day of the week. YMMV.
    This is really ringing true for me..
    Last edit by skigirl8 on Nov 6, '13 : Reason: clarifying
    bebbercorn likes this.
  11. 0
    So basically, you want to be an NP?
  12. 2
    Quote from elkpark
    I would certainly not encourage you to continue in your current position if you are miserable doing it, six figures or not. However, I would encourage you to look at lot more closely at healthcare before making a big leap. FWIW, the physical and occupational therapists I have known have been a lot happier about being PTs and OTs than most of the nurses I have known have been about being nurses (I have no complaints, myself, but lots of people do). Best wishes for your journey!
    This!!! See if you can shadow a nurse. Not saying it's all bad but it is extremely challenging. When I went to nursing school I wish I would have known about other healthcare options besides nursing. Take the time to research all your options and check on the job market in your area before you take the plunge.

    Sent from my iPhone using allnurses.com
    Wise Woman RN and Fiona59 like this.


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