Need advice Please- Call Center RN job?

  1. Hi all,
    I am a RN that hasn't quite found my "niche". I have done one year in OR, one year in cardiac outpatient, and am currently in my 4th month on an Acute Transplant/Med-Surg floor. I have considered leaving my current position for two main reasons:
    1) due to the stress level, frustration and extreme acuity of the patients we see. Our patients are very sick and the ratio is usually 5:1 or 4:1, which sounds great but is still somehow unmanageable with all that has to be done all day. I rarely eat lunch or take a break before 3pm and run around wearing myself out all day. I should mention that I am at a really prestigious hospital (also Magnet) so I don't want to act impulsively.
    2) The most pressing reason-- I am trying to get pregnant and don't feel that this is the healthiest environment for my situation. I have already had one miscarriage since working there (which could have been from anything, but the stress didn't help I'm sure). PLUS, most of our patients are CMV and a ton on isolation, high-risk Hep C/HIV, etc. I was also recently exposed to active TB before anyone knew the patient had it. So, my anxiety around becoming pregnant again in this type of work setting is REALLY unsettling, even though I know RN's do it all the time on the floor. However, I am in 30's and so I don't really have the time (or want) to wait to start our family, and I'm at a crossroads where I don't know if personally putting myself -- or my future child-- at risk is worth it, just to say I stuck it out...

    SO, I have the opportunity to work at a call center (for a Great insurance company) where it would be M-F and the pay is surprisingly 10k more a year than I make now, which is a huge incentive. (I forgot to mention that in my current position I also have to find a second job to make ends meet, in addition to the three 12 hr days). It seems like it might be the perfect fit for me right now while we are starting our family-- I am just SO scared to make the wrong decision, leave this great hospital and regret it....does anyone have any advice on how hard it would be for me to go back to a hospital in another year or two if I end up hating the call center? I know the setting is different than "traditional" bedside nursing, but feel I could make a difference with the patients over the phone. I really do enjoy education and patient interaction. I really don't know what to do given the current situation. If we weren't trying to get preggo ASAP I would stick out where I am for another couple months and try to transfer back to the OR maybe....that's where I liked the best so far, and since I know now I hate bedside, I would be able to appreciate it more. I have no clue, I go back and forth so much on what I want to do when I grow up!

    ANY advice on call center nursing in general and/or what I should do is GREATLY appreciated. Does anyone know if call-center/phone triage nursing can really be a long-term nursing specialty? Does anyone stay in a position like that very long? I am so confused and just want to do what is best for my family and my future career as a RN.
    Thank you to all of you in advance =)
  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   brujacakes
    I would take the call center job in a heartbeat. Less risk to you and your future child & less stressful than running around like a chicken w/ your head cut off on these hospital floors.
    Where do you find call center type jobs?
  4. by   MA Nurse
    Hello. I have worked in NICU for almost 25 years. I just started training at a call center for Kaiser. I loved the babies, but I was ready for a change, due to stress, difficult commute, etc etc. So far, I am happy I made the choice to try something new! I havent taken live calls yet, our training is 6 weeks long. I would make sure you get enough training and go for the new job. Just my opinion, of course. I know 2 nurses who work in a call center and they like it. They have been there 10-15 years. You can always try it and if you don't like it, the hospital will always be there!! Good luck in your decision!!
  5. by   ORRN0808
    Thank you both So much! I appreciate the feedback and it definitely validated my concerns so that I know I'm doing the right thing. I just accepted the position and started to panic thinking I made the wrong decision-- once I checked this site and read both of your responses, I immediately felt better and it reassured me that I'm doing the right thing. =)
    Kimbalou- it is also really reassuring to hear you are enjoying it so far and that you have friends that have been doing it for years! Thank you and I hope you continue to love your new position!
    Brujacakes--I found the call center job through the website Indeed that has job listings. From reading some of the threads on here, another place to try would be the actual insurance websites for career opportunities. A lot of them have recruiters that can work with you on finding the right position. Good luck! =)
    Last edit by ORRN0808 on Mar 13, '15
  6. by   MA Nurse
    Glad to hear you took the position! Is it full time?
  7. by   ORRN0808
    Yes, full time =) I didn't know when I interviewed, but the position also has ability to work from home after 6-9 months if you are performing well. So that's another good perk!
  8. by   NCRN2010
    I currently work as a Call Center nurse for a very large insurance company. I have been doing it for 4 months. It is not all rainbows and unicorns. It is extremely mentally taxing. The money is great but some days I don't think it is worth it. Good luck to you.
  9. by   MA Nurse
    NCRN2010: I think all nursing jobs can be like that. There are pros and cons to every job. Nursing isnt easy.
  10. by   favthing
    I interviewed at a call center this afternoon, and I was so impressed! I have been a nurse for about five years-LTC, rehab, and now med-surg in a hospital. I have taken a major pay cut at the hospital, working 3-12s in addition to an hourly pay cut, and I don't like the hospital job. I plan to go to NP school next year, and I applied for the call center to make ends meet for the days I'm off, but also I think it would be great for when I'm in NP school. I'm tempted to quit the hospital job and take a full-time position, but I feel obligation since I've not been at the hospital long. I'm just glad I started my career outside the hospital setting, as I'd probably not be a nurse now had I started in the hospital! It's a mean business. Anyway, I was hoping to hear an update on your new job as a triage nurse?
  11. by   2Bretired
    I work for large clinic in Midwest and our insurance plan has a call center or "Nurse Line" as we call it here. They have nurses working both in clinic at the center and some from home. Many of the nurses have been there for 15 yrs. I think most of them would never return to staff nursing or even a clinic staff nurse job, they are too far removed from bedside nursing at his point. If you are OK with not seeing your patients or sitting for long hours, this job is great. I don't think it is for everyone, I did Telephone triage for 10 yrs but in an Internal Med department and I also still did procedures and worked with patients face to face. That was the best fit, we got a little of everything without the long hours, lifting and running to catch call lights! You need good assessment skills to do this as the patient is not visible to you so it is key that you have a strong clinical background. I think it is a great job, hope you like it.
  12. by   pfchang
    I like my call center triage job. It can be taxing and people yell at me, but some of that is due to the mental health issues with our population which makes it easier to deal with and understand so I don't take it personally. It can be hard to get sx from callers. They say, "I am sick," and expect me to know what they mean and get angry when I need to ask questions. But all this is easier with experience.

    I use triage software but RN judgment is critical, too. The software can not take everything into consideration that I can and I will upgrade or downgrade the triage decision depending on my assessment of patient and sx. It is not an easy job and I think experience is critical to success in my workplace. Several of us RNs have been there for many years. I have learned a lot and still learn new things everyday.

    We are not micromanaged and have a mostly cohesive group of RNs with whom we can collaborate when needed. I get some negative feedback as mentioned above, but I also feel very rewarded from the positive feedback I get from the patients. I am able to look back in charts and see how things turned out for the patients I have spoken to. I feel like I make a difference in people's lives and that is important to me.
  13. by   2bTraumaRN2008
    I know this post is OLD, but I am interviewing for a call center RN job this coming week. I too am ready for a change, but yet I'm scared to leave the bedside. This job is working from home, big plus for me since I drive 50 miles one way to get to work...over the mountains and trough the woods in WV, lol..I would like to know how you guys are doing in your jobs, those of you who did go to the call center jobs. Any feedback if greatly appreciated.
  14. by   CaliLvr000
    That is great! I too am considering making a change. I have been in the operating room for 7 years and I just had my second child. I am just dreading going back to work and it is not a good feeling! I applied to a Kaiser position, but those are near impossible to get. I have been researching online trying to find a work from home tele triage position. I don't even know if anyone will want to hire me due to OR experience. Sorry for rambling... I am just so excited that I have the ability to change specialties as I have felt "stuck" in surgery for awhile now.

    Where can I find these positions?