Burned our ER nurse needs new home......any suggestions???

Nurses General Nursing


I've been an ER RN for the past 10 yrs, and I'm totally burned to a crisp. I have at least 15 more years to work before I can retire and desperately want a change. I've actually been a nurse for 30 yrs and have done home health, and clinic work before I realized the ER was the place (at the time) for me. It still would be except the horrible staffing levels, increase in responsibilities, etc., has finally done it for me, so I'm trying to decide what to do next. I'm not one who likes to job-hop, so I'm doing alot of soul searching and thinking where someone with my experience, age (47), might do well. I wonder where nurses with like attributes have "ended up". I've always had a curiosity about PACU or CATH lab. I have never wanted to work the floors and still don't (no offense anyone) so that's not an option. I like getting the pt in, taking care of the "problem" and sending them to the floor or back home, type of nursing. Anyone with any suggestions or where did you go when you had to make a change?

ERNurse752, RN

1,323 Posts

Occupational Health? Still get to see various injuries, but less stress. Involves drug testing and physicals, etc as well.

All of the PACU friends I have looooooove it. Pretty much the same for CL too.

Good luck.

Dixielee, BSN, RN

1,222 Posts

Specializes in ER.

This post could have been written by me! I have been a nurse 30+ years and have done a variety of things, primarily ICU/ER. I have been an ER travel nurse for the past 5 years and that has offered enough variety to prevent burnout. I think PACU is a great place to go to regenerate also. I have done PACU intermittently with the stress gets to me. It offers regular hours, quick turnover of patients and enough acute/critical care to keep you interested and stimulated. Most PACU nurses do their share of recovering critical care patients, so it is not a "no brainer" job, but it is generally well controlled, something ER is definately NOT.

Another NICE thing about PACU is that most of your patients are clean, not drunk and obnoxious and probably not armed or high on drugs. They generally appreciate you instead of scream at you like your ER patients. Best of all, you rarely get frequent fliers!

Find an outpatient surgery center if you want even better hours and less acute patients. I don't think I want to do PACU all the time just yet, but I can see in my future, as an older nurse who may get tired of the physical labor of the ER, it may be an option.

Urgent care centers may also be an option unless you are really sick of ER stuff. They also offer better hours.

allnurses Guide

JBudd, MSN

1 Article; 3,836 Posts

Specializes in Trauma, Teaching.

If you just want a break for a while and can afford it, how about camp nursing for the summer? Use lots of assessment skills, someone else does all the cooking, get to be in the mountains for the summer. The 2 summers I did with the Girl Scouts were great. Lousy pay though, but you do get room and board.

Some of our burned ED folks went to cath lab, but came back after a while, said it was only exciting at first, then got old real fast.

Private Urgent Care? scheduled hours.

Here's one for you: cruise ships! There was a medical staff on a cruise I went on, they need good critical skills if something goes wrong while out to sea, and they take turns having days off in different ports. Our ship staff got to go on the tours with the passengers for free as ship reps (and those things cost $800 to $1200 sometimes). :balloons:


4,516 Posts

I think PACU is a great alternative for you to consider. :)


1,164 Posts

Maybe you need a nursing break period. Are you able to and can you take some time off? If not, the other suggestions so pretty good. you just may need the break from the ER.


97 Posts

Thanks for the great suggestions and for not making me feel like this was a dumb post. I have nursing "in my blood" but the last few years has really made me feel so much more like the old timey nurse-maid, who's told (like all of us are) "you need to do more, do it fast and with no errors, make your patient and families feel good about the hospital and the care their getting, don't complain, and if you don't like it.....don't let the door hit you". I hate to gripe but it's CRAZY out here! And I'm one of the oldies nurses that remember when hospitals really catered to their nurses with attractive salaries/benefits and schedules and listened when we had concerns about staffing issues. Now, at least in our hospital, our "manager" who was an RN e for 3 months before becoming nurse manager, bends to whatever management tells her to do. They have recently cut another RN slot because someone decided we weren't seeing enough patients to warrant the staffing we had. We were dumbfounded! Our numbers have increased due to the colder weather.....as always....and it has always been that we have to hire winter staffing to help us out. But not this year. We are working shorter and leaving absolutely no room for employee illness/call ins. And to top it off, the nurse managers get end of year bonuses if they meet certain budget criteria, so it all figured out. So this 20 somethin yr old nurse manager who has never triaged, never charged a team for the day, will get a bonus on OUR BACKS! Really ticks us off. Last night we found out 2 of our night shift nurses put in their 2 week notices. One had 12 yrs ER experience and the other 5 yrs. I feel like I'm not far behind.


121 Posts

Unreal, I feel for you.

How did your manager ever get that position with 3 months experience. Is she a great gorgeous actress? Seen it, been there, disgusted.

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