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Counsel me Nurses!!!


I'm looking for various avenues you can use your nursing in the case of burn out. I have spent time doing Med/Surg, Outpatient Surgery Clinic and most recently floating through an extensive critical care department in a local large hospital. About 2 years into being a critical care RN, my oldest son was diagnosed with a brain tumor (he was 15 at the time). At that time I was a pool nurse and able to take the next couple of months off to get him through brain surgery and a very bleak prognosis. I have to say, it sucked something out of me. Prior to that experience I could see that I was "made" for critical care. Absolutely loved it. As of October of last year, I resigned that position to come home and care for my recovering son. We are to a point now, even though he's not completely healed, I am capable of re-entering the work force and I have NO desire to bedside nurse anymore. During the war to save my child's life, my ICU experience gave me an advantage of more control of his care but it also allowed me to see the bare ugly that most lay people don't have to face. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss I think. On the rare occasion that I covered a shift after he was released home, I found that I was grieving with every intubated patient and their families and it never seemed to fail that I would have a neuro patient and the dark cloud would get even heavier.

My personality, in general, is I bore easily. ICU gave me the ability to have no time to get bored. I loved the constantly changing environment. Another thing I LOVE to do is teach. Teaching in general is fun for me.

I'm trying to rack my brain to find an avenue that I can go down (even if it requires more schooling as I only have an associates at this time). If I don't figure this out soon, I'm going to have to drop nursing and go back to school for something entirely different and I'd hate to see such potential wasted.

I'm lost in the middle--part of me is nurse, the other part just wants to throw up before she does another neuro check, hangs another BP drip or suctions another OETT. Surgery isn't an option either bc I don't want to have to face a family that stood where we did for 8 grueling hours while their loved one is on the brink of death. I'm tired of death. However, clinic nursing feels redundant for me and not really challenging.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!!!

Miss Rayanne

Specializes in LTC/Rehab, Pediatric Home Care. Has 9 years experience.

Maybe you should get your BSN and teach nursing.


Specializes in critical care.

I just want to reach through this screen and hug you.

Perhaps school nursing would be a good change of pace. Away from the redundancy of a clinic, using your nurse brain, working with usually stable patients. I also think teaching is a great option, if you are able to get a masters degree at this point. Community health, disaster preparedness, really a lot of what the health department does might be a great option.

I celebrate these victories your son has had, and offer you hugs. I can't imagine how hard all of this has been.


Specializes in Emergency Dept. Has 10 years experience.

Everything I think of would require additional education - but have you thought about becoming a nurse educator? If you don't want to go the route of teaching nursing students - do you have large hospitals in your area? The hospital I work at has an education department, plus every unit has their own educator. You could keep up with critical care without the stress of the 1:1 interaction.


Specializes in nurseline,med surg, PD. Has 50+ years experience.

Maybe try telephonic nursing?. Its not fascinating but it would give your soul a rest.