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Advice for Burned Out Nurse: Quit Now or When New Job Offer Comes?

Nurses   (241 Views | 5 Replies)

YankeeRose11 has 3 years experience as a ADN, RN and specializes in Geri-psych, Corrections.

604 Profile Views; 13 Posts

Hi, apologies for the length of this post, but I wanted to give good background. I’ve been a nurse for almost 3 years, the last year of which has been spent on night shift on a geriatric psych unit. I love the benefits I get from our hospital’s parent company, my nurse manager, and my coworkers. 
 

However, there are major staffing issues. We typically have a minimum of 4 patients on 1:1 for safety reasons. Being short a psych tech has become a nightly occurrence. In addition to huge amounts of paper charting (this facility has no EMR), I also have to assist with ADLs, cover lunch breaks, and sit with 1:1 patients so a tech is free to take vital signs toward the end of shift. I am by no means “above” helping techs with their duties, but myself and the other nurses can only do so much of their work without neglecting tasks we can’t delegate. 
 

I’ve had insomnia for years, but it has recently worsened to the point I fear getting behind the wheel after work. I even had an incident recently involving my side mirror and a street sign. I dread each shift because the understaffing is extremely stressful, especially on nights I end up having to be charge nurse and coordinate the techs’ assignment schedule. I’m so mentally/physically exhausted that all I do on my off days is sleep. 
 

I feel like I’d be better off working day shift someplace where the environment isn’t quite as chaotic. My primary care doctor also strongly suggested I transition to working days. 
 

I’ve spoken with my unit manager, and she is aware that I’m burnt out and looking for change. She informed me there are no day shift openings at the mental health facility. I’ve been applying to other jobs in our hospital’s parent company, whose hiring process is notoriously slow. I know it’s bad to leave a job without having another lined up, but I don’t know how much more of this I can take. 

If I don’t have a job offer by, say, the end of the next schedule period (beginning of May), would it be acceptable to give my 30-day notice and continue my new job search? Or should I stick it out, however long it takes? 

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Davey Do has 41 years experience and specializes in Psych, CD, HH, Admin, LTC, OR, ER, Med Surge.

17 Followers; 1 Article; 6,700 Posts; 83,046 Profile Views

 

1 hour ago, YankeeRose11 said:

If I don’t have a job offer by, say, the end of the next schedule period (beginning of May), would it be acceptable to give my 30-day notice and continue my new job search? Or should I stick it out, however long it takes? 

Only you can answer that question, YankeeRose, but I would assume you're asking for feedback. I would suggest you examine your priorities and focus on maintaining that area of your life, be it your health or finances.

On the geriatric psych unit where I work, administration came up with a viable solution to the short night staffing: If a patient generally sleeps though the night and is a 1:1 for safety, put that patient in a room with one similar. Obtain a doctor's order for 1:1 while awake, LOS (line of sight) when sleeping.

It's not a perfect solution, and the facility attempts to staff the LOS as a 1:1, but if push comes to shove, it is definitely doable, freeing up a tech to work the floor as is possible.

Good luck to you, YankeeRose!

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YankeeRose11 has 3 years experience as a ADN, RN and specializes in Geri-psych, Corrections.

13 Posts; 604 Profile Views

55 minutes ago, Davey Do said:

 

Only you can answer that question, YankeeRose, but I would assume you're asking for feedback. I would suggest you examine your priorities and focus on maintaining that area of your life, be it your health or finances.

On the geriatric psych unit where I work, administration came up with a viable solution to the short night staffing: If a patient generally sleeps though the night and is a 1:1 for safety, put that patient in a room with one similar. Obtain a doctor's order for 1:1 while awake, LOS (line of sight) when sleeping.

It's not a perfect solution, and the facility attempts to staff the LOS as a 1:1, but if push comes to shove, it is definitely doable, freeing up a tech to work the floor as is possible.

Good luck to you, YankeeRose!

My priorities right now are to better my physical/mental health; the hours I work are a huge barrier to that. Finishing my BSN, the cost of which is offset by my employer, is my other priority; it’s also the reason I’m confining my job search to our parent company. 
 

I wish your solution could work. Unfortunately, none of our 1:1 patients right now sleep all the way through the night. They tend to wander and are massive falls risks. 

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HappyCCRN1 has 6 years experience as a BSN and specializes in Burn and Surgical/Trauma ICU.

56 Posts; 749 Profile Views

If your priority is getting a job with your parent company, I personally would not leave just yet. Ask yourself what would happen if you give your notice, quit, and then there are no availabilities on a unit you prefer or with hours you prefer? You’d lose that benefit of your BSN cost being offset. 

I was miserable in a job working night shift with a little over an hour commute that I had to do by bus, 2 trains, and a shuttle. I quit with nothing backed up. But I also had 5 years of experience and was in a financially sound situation to be able to do that. My priority was happiness and overall well-being, too. I found work immediately. With your 3 years of experience, you should be fairly marketable to find another job quickly. Although if you did quit with nothing backed up and you lose your paid BSN benefit, this might cause more stress to your life. 

Could you do some research into other companies and facilities in your area to see if they would offer this same benefit to you? What about dropping down to part time or per diem with your current employer—would that benefit still be available to you? If so, you could stay on but work less hours there and then work elsewhere with an agency?

Best of luck to you!

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YankeeRose11 has 3 years experience as a ADN, RN and specializes in Geri-psych, Corrections.

13 Posts; 604 Profile Views

@HappyCCRN1 Other employers in my area do offer tuition benefits, but I would have to pay out of pocket and wait for reimbursement. I’m getting married this fall and can’t afford more student loans or out of pocket tuition with the wedding/honeymoon bills. You can’t really beat my employer’s tuition benefit: 6 free credit hours per semester if you attend the university that oversees our hospital system. 
 

I have thought about going PRN, but the paychecks would be too inconsistent. If our hospital is overstaffed, they cancel PRN employees before they start asking regular staff to volunteer for cancellation. 
 

Agencies where I live really push on sending you to rural areas that are 2-3+ hours away from where I live, or out of state entirely. Not feasible when planning a wedding. 

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HappyCCRN1 has 6 years experience as a BSN and specializes in Burn and Surgical/Trauma ICU.

56 Posts; 749 Profile Views

So not agency then, but maybe you could go full time at another facility and stay prn where you’re at now (considering you’d keep the tuition benefit).

I wish I had a better solution to offer. It sounds like the tuition benefit is great and something you don’t want to lose. Solely for that reason, I would hesitate on quitting just yet and continue searching within your company, maybe email HR to get the ball rolling a bit. 

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