Burned out for good after 27 years

Nurses General Nursing


:crying2: I have been a med surg nurse for 27 years now. I have a good job working 6a-6p 3 days a week, have excellent benefits and pay, 4 weeks vacation and numerous holidays, personal days. I should be happy, right? Well, no. I have been in this particular position for 5 years and am exhausted. 12 hr shifts generally turn into 13-14 hrs. patients and families are more demanding and nasty than ever, hospitalists are crabby and hard to find at times, management is obsessed with the bottom line as we are in the hole financially. These days i am upset and a depressed wreck just thinking about going to work in the morning. and now my manager wants me to be on her new "permanent" team of charge nurses, which means have a regular assignment and run the floor, probably 2-3 days a week. Being in charge is way too stressful and takes me away from the bedside.

I wish I could change careers--difficult to imagine this for another 20 years! Any thoughts?

rn/writer, RN

9 Articles; 4,168 Posts

Look into a different unit where the stress level is not so high. If you can transfer within your facility, you should be able to keep your seniority intact. Yeah, there might be some challenges in "starting over" in another specialty area, but that can be a good kind of stimulation and a welcome change in perspective. Even if it's a pay cut, if you can still make it financially, the fresh air in your brain might be worth it.

One of the best things about a career in nursing is the flexibility. Look into choices like case management, legal nurse consultant, utilization review, even teaching.

It doesn't sound like the pure nursing part of the job is what's bugging you, but the peripheral crud that goes with it.

I wish you the best.


637 Posts

Well 20 years = retirement for a lot of people so if you mean 27 (twenty-seven) years then you've more than paid your dues on the floor. Surely you can take your expertise and graduate into something that's less physically demanding - e.g. teaching, consulting, or basically what rn/writer says above.


385 Posts

Specializes in Derm/Wound Care/OP Surgery/LTC.

When I was in nursing school, they were STARVING for nursing professors. Maybe something in education? Just a thought.


213 Posts

Specializes in Psychiatric Nursing.

I just have to start by saying anyone with 27-years of nursing under their belt is a hero in my book. Nursing is a very hard profession physically and emotionally and no doubt after that many years you probably are feeling rather burnt out. You may be in a situation where you need to work d/t your financial situation or are simply just not ready to retire yet and in that case I agree with the above posters in maybe try a different area of nursing. Being in med-surg as long as you have I would image you have seen SO much and would be more then prepared to dive into a new speciality with ease. While your supervisor is probably trying very hard to recruit you for this permanent position make sure you know what you want before taking it. Life is short and jumping into the unknown can be a little scary sometimes but new adventures and experiences are what makes life so exciting. Good Luck please keep us posted on what you end up doing.... :heartbeat


31 Posts

Run, Run, Run while you can, charge Nurse means, putting up with employees that don't show up, your responsible, if some one screws up, your in charge you'll need to fix it, your position will be filled by another Nurse and you will be eternally stuck in that position until you leave. If you are happy in your position stay where you are, it's not worth any amount that they will offer you. Where I work I became assistant Manager and now I have to worry about everthing on the floor and most of it doesn't have anyting to do with nursing, just the politics of running a floor, trust me you will be unhappy. don't do it.

take care.


122 Posts

Specializes in MS, OB, PEDI, VNA, TELEM.

let me explain more clearly--charge nurse on my unit currently means have a full pt assignment and run the floor. i do it about 1 day a week now. What my manager wants is a team of 4 RN's from each shift to be permanent charge people. So to be blunt instead of everybody takes a turn, thereby lightening the responsibility, she just wants her pick of the litter to do it. I've already been informed I'm one of the lucky 'chosen.' Just when I was hoping to maybe do it less, now I will get to do it more.


145 Posts

Sometimes it's time to move on


1,191 Posts

Specializes in COS-C, Risk Management.

It sounds like you'd make a wonderful home health nurse. :D


5,758 Posts

If you managed to do this for 27 years I can see why your are burnt out but I don't think you need to leave nursing completely. Sounds like you do need to make a change of some sort just to keep your sanity. They don't happen to have a float pool where you are do they? How about a MLA, maybe you could go to a psychologist and get a note to get 6 weeks of for mental health reasons. I think you could keep your bennies but of course you wouldn't get paid.


90 Posts

Specializes in Acute Care/ LTC.

i am sorry you are feeling like that. heck it has only been 13 years for me and i feel that way more and more lately. i actually have been thinking of advancing my career and working in a different specialty. maybe that is an option for you?


5,758 Posts

There is one other thing I have thought about in this situation. Is it possible you could have a conversation with your manager about your concerns? It really is to MUCH to be charge and have a full patient load. That is really your problem and the situatition sucks. They will probably take the line of thought that you are making such and such and have good bennies and if you can't do it we will get someone who can and who makes less. That seems to be the line of thinking these days.

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