Career Dilemma: Outpatient Setting - Will I like it or not?

Dear Nurse Beth, I have a dilemma regarding a position which I have just been offered. I have been a nurse for 20 years at a hospital setting. However, I was searching for an outpatient setting and finally found one at a nearby facility. My dilemma is I don't know whether I will like the job or not. It is 5 days a week, no holidays or weekends. And I was used to 12-hour shifts, and the off days in between, but the hectic bedside work was too much for me. If I don't like the outpatient setting can I go back to bedside 12-hour shift? Would it be difficult to transition back? How long should I wait before I know whether I like my new job or not? Looking for your response. Thanks.


  • Career Columnist / Author
    Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development. Has 30 years experience.
Career Dilemma: Outpatient Setting - Will I like it or not?

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Dear Dilemma,

Congrats on your job offer!

It’s natural to have concerns when changing jobs.

Eight-hour shifts will fly by for you since you’re used to working 12’s. It will take a while to get used to working Monday through Friday, because you may feel you’ve lost some “me” time during the week. Instead of easily making your personal appointments on your days off, you’ll be fitting them in around your 8 hour days. Then again, this is what most working people do.

You’ll be joining the majority of workers who are off on weekends and holidays. You may enjoy actually being in sync with the rest of the world.

Working 12-hour shifts at the bedside has a relatively short life span and much as many of us love it, there’s a time to move on. You are wise to make this transition at the 20-year point, rather than waiting until the point of injury or illness.

It takes time to adjust.

Expect to go through a grieving process when you leave the inpatient setting.

Depending on your new job, you may be giving up some patient contact, challenging practice situations, and skills.

You can always change your mind, but give yourself several months, at least, as you will feel differently as time goes on.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth

Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!

Career Columnist / Author

Hi! Nice to meet you! I especially love helping new nurses. I am currently a nurse writer with a background in Staff Development, Telemetry and ICU.

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Nunya, BSN

771 Posts

Specializes in NICU/Mother-Baby/Peds/Mgmt. Has 41 years experience.

Please think long and hard about this. While I agree 12 hour shifts are long, and you can't really do much after them, 8 hours can be long too, especially on Fridays! I thought I could do so much working 8s...workout, grocery shop and make dinner, not be too tired to go out. I found out none of that was true.... I was still tired after work and those are the times everyone else is working out and shopping. I missed my long weekends and days off during the week. Everyone is different but I hope never to have to work M-F 8s again!

allnurses Guide

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

2 Articles; 6,840 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development. Has 12 years experience.

It really depends on the job. Bedside nursing for 8 hours? Exhausting. Clinic nursing for 8 hours? Generally not so bad 80% of the time (or so. I pulled that number out of my flexiseal).

I switched to outpatient, was bored out of my gourd. Returned to acute care 18 months later and had no trouble getting interviews to do so. Now I work four 10s most weeks and it’s the best of all worlds. The key will be to be honest with yourself either way and act accordingly. Eighteen months is plenty of time to know if it’s for you.