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A less stressfull career choice

by jherd jherd Member

I am a new hire RN, that just started the nurse residency program in an ICU setting. It's day 8 and I sort of feel like I am a private in the Army again. No phones except on lunch, no drinks or outside of the kitchen or the manager will throw your drink away, miss more than 4 shifts in a year and get reprimanded, fight it out for vacations, you can't have a day off unless you get someone to work your shift and then you work theirs and you can't get overtime without prior approval, you can't clock in more than 7 minutes before your report time, clock in 1 minute late and it's counted against you.

I understand why those rules are in place, but I'm a grown adult. I've already retired from another career and I'm not looking forward to being treated like a child. I signed a three year contract but I seriously regret it, so far.

I was wondering if anyone could recommend any RN career paths that are less stressful and demanding and allow you to have a life outside of work.

loriangel14, RN

Specializes in Acute Care, Rehab, Palliative.

How are the rules stressful and interfering with life outside of work? The rules you are describing are pretty standard.


Has 25 years experience.

You are 8 days in. Give it some time!

I've had to "clock in" for a few of my jobs, no coffee on the med cart makes sense, hospital nursing is 24/7, of course you have to get coverage. This is what the job is, for most of us.

Everything you just described is common at any job you're going to work at as a nurse. Just accept it and move on.

Been there,done that, ASN, RN

Has 33 years experience.

Welcome to the (not so wonderful) world of nursing. This is the way it is.

Did ya read that 3 year contract.. before you signed it?

rearviewmirror, BSN, RN

Specializes in ER.

I know many people are going to throw at you the cliché "there's no such things as 'less stressful' career in nursing", but I say some are harder than other (coming from my floor to ED experience, I don't know about others), and naturally some more stressful and rule-oriented than the other; take inpatient hospital setting to something more relaxed (I didn't say easier!) like case management, I've seen people use phones in the setting and that was not a problem in that setting. Yes, some are definitely more relaxed and easy going than other, go out and find it, I hated inpatient hospital, so I got out of it. Catch 22 is the experience though.

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN, CNS

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 27 years experience.

Moved to First Year after nursing Licensure for more answers.

I think that you should hang in there if possible. Giving it a little more time will get you over the orientation period and thus give you a better idea of the actual job. For myself, I find orientation far more stressful than the actual job.

However, if you really feel you have given it your best shot, then start looking for something different.


Specializes in NICU. Has 6 years experience.

I would love to work at a hospital that allows me to carry my drinks and food around patient areas, clock in and out when it is convenient for me, don't feel like working tomorrow- no problem, want to work as much overtime as you want regardless of census- no problem.

loriangel14, RN

Specializes in Acute Care, Rehab, Palliative.

You would be hard pressed to find a job without those rules.


Specializes in Critical Care, Med-Surg. Has 7 years experience.

These really sound like standard policies, at least based on the places I've worked. If you're working in an ICU, and its the basic rules that are stressing you, then I think you are missing out on the bigger picture.

imintrouble, BSN, RN

Specializes in LTC Rehab Med/Surg. Has 16 years experience.

Standard rules where I work, as everybody else has posted.

I'm not sure why that's stressful.

Agreeing with everyone else. Those are like the most basic of basic rules and you'll find them everywhere.

I bet in three months, none of that bothers you at all.

Did you come from a field that was salaried? Maybe that makes these rules seem more crazy to you? Since we are all hourly employees for the most part, the clocking in and shift covering and vacations and overtime all make sense because the hospital is paying for that. Minute by minute.


Specializes in LTC.

You would be hard pressed to find a job without those rules.

This is so true. Just noticed that all the 'rules' you mention are the ones that are very easily measurable for non-compliance. Very easy for write-ups. So if you're in an 'at-will' state, they can nail you quite easily.

If they don't like you, it will be really easy for them to take action.

Just stay under their radar and you'll be fine after a while.

I figured I'd get a bunch of "put your big girl panties on and deal with it" responses....If those rules are standard everywhere then guess I have no choice then...I haven't gotten the signing bonus, but I think I'll put it in a savings account and give it back to them if I can't take the grind.

But, to for the person that asked if I came from a salaried world. Yes, I did, I was the head of my department and I could take a day off here and there if I needed. I haven't clocked in at a job since I was a teenager.

It's an adjustment for sure. Thanks to those that responded.

loriangel14, RN

Specializes in Acute Care, Rehab, Palliative.

Did you not learn about any of these rules during clinical placements? These are pretty normal.

Edited by loriangel14

adventure_rn, BSN

Specializes in NICU, PICU.

Lol, switch to nights. We've got a lot of similar rules at our hospital--they do tend to be standard--but they aren't enforced as rigidly when the managers have all gone home (particularly related to cell phone usage and having a drink sitting out the nurses station). It also probably depends on how strict or casual your unit is; I used to work in an ED where those rules were technically in place, but we'd have night nurses snacking at the nurses station all of the time.

Clocking in and out exactly on time is a pain, but it makes sense. Four days doesn't sound like a lot of time off (that doesn't include your vacation, right??), but I'd think about it this way: in nursing, your actions or inactions directly affect your coworkers. If you clock in five minutes late, that's five more minutes the oncoming nurses have to wait to go home. If you call out at the last minute, your coworkers will have to take a heavier assignment or somebody who is off will have to pick up extra time. This is pretty different from a salaried position where you only have to be accountable to your boss for your own work. Think about how you'd want to be treated and try to be courteous (not saying you aren't ;))

SarahMaria, MSN, RN

Specializes in Psychiatry, Forensics, Addictions. Has 9 years experience.

Phones only at lunch... At least you can bring them into your facility. We are not allowed to have them at all.


Has 25 years experience.

i agree these are pretty standard. i left the in-pt setting almost 20 years ago to go to an out-pt setting, but recently left there to go back in-pt. there are definitely less stressful Nursing Jobs out there, but you trade the good and the bad! out-patient is five VERY full days a week. i only had sat/sun off and with grad school, kids, family demands, studying, home keeping, etc it was really hard to keep it together. of course in out-pt there is no weekend/holiday, but in-pt offers incredible pay for those! i am glad to give up the 'ease' of out patient setting for 3 shifts a week, even if there are more rules.