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Don't Be Afraid to Make A Change in Your Nursing Career


A career change does not have to be scary.  As a nurse, we have many talents and are in demand in all areas of nursing. There is no reason to stay in a job that is not satisfying when there is an array of choices in the nursing profession to choose from.  This article will outline ways to find a new satisfying position in nursing to start you on a path that will refresh you as a nurse and get you back to loving your career.

Specializes in Health Writer, School Nurse, Nurse Practitioner. Has 18 years experience.

Are You Sick of Your Job?

Don't Be Afraid to Make A Change in Your Nursing Career

Do you feel like you are at your wit's end in your current nursing position?  Are you burned out or feel unappreciated at your current job?  In general, nursing tends to burn out good employees, and we as nurses keep sticking it out even though we are tired and dissatisfied.  But there is no reason to continue to work at a job that drains you and makes you unhappy day after day. 

As a nurse and mother of 2 daughters in the medical field, I have felt like I need to model healthy work habits for them.  And that has meant that I have had to change jobs when the position has made me miserable.  I have told my girls that there is no reason to stay in a job where they are unhappy.  With their talent and ambition, there are many other good opportunities to pick from.  Read on to find out ways to break out of the toxic job that you are currently in and find a new career that you will love!

Ways to Get Out of Your Nursing Rut

1.  Go Back to School

When my children were in elementary school, I was working for a home health company that was expanding quickly.  As the company grew, I was promoted higher up the chain of nursing until I became the Director of Nursing.  This position entailed setting up offices, training, and overseeing nurses in many states. Although the pay was excellent, and I enjoyed the satisfaction of my employer supporting my talent and hard work, I was spending more and more time away from my family due to extensive travel and work commitments. 

When I began to miss my children’s sporting events, I decided that a change was needed in my career.  After some soul searching, I decided that working as a school nurse would best fit my needs as a working mother.  To realize this goal, I needed to earn a certificate as a school nurse, which meant returning to college for specialized nursing courses in this field.  I was able to find a school nurse certification program close to home, and within 6 months, I was a certified school nurse.  This certificate took me on a 26-year career course as a school nurse, which I found very fulfilling and fit my life and passion as a nurse.

2.  Look Around and See What Else is Out There

After 26 years in one school district, I once again began to feel the inkling that I was due for a change in my nursing career.  I was beginning to grumble and feel unhappy where I was working.  The job was the same.  It was me that needed to go.  I felt stagnant and no longer derived joy from work each day. 

If you are experiencing similar feelings, there really is no reason to continue down the same avenue day after day.  Nursing is in such high demand that you will be shocked at how many job offers you will receive once you “put yourself out there".  I signed up on LinkedIn and received daily offers for numerous nursing positions.  Many were very interesting and offering excellent pay.  I quickly found my “dream job” nearby at a private school that offered both inpatient and outpatient services to challenge me daily.  I found great satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment in my new position that utilized all of my old skills and presented me with an abundance of opportunities to grow as a nurse.  I was happy and excited again about my career as an RN, which never would have occurred if I didn’t bravely step out of my very convenient comfort zone.

3.  Consider an Entrepreneurial Opportunity as a Nurse

Do you feel like you are “done” with bedside nursing?  Have you had it with the inflexible work hours as a nurse?  Recently, I had reached the point where I was sick of the strict hours that nurses need to keep.  Many times, we cannot come in late if needed or take off a little early if our kids are ill.  In most Nursing Jobs, calling in sick is frowned upon, and we can get penalized.  I always dreaded the pressure from calls from the nursing administrator to come in to work extra hours, weekends, and night shifts due to short staffing.  After years of working under this type of pressure and regimented schedule, I felt like I was at a point where I deserved some flexibility in my life without the guilt associated with so many nursing jobs.

But what could I do as a nurse where I could make my own schedule?  I wanted to work when I felt like it and take time off when the mood struck me.  As luck sometimes happens, I came across an advertisement to become a nurse health content writer.  I had always loved to write, so I figured why not look into this unique nursing career.  I paid my $500.00 for the course, found a few “anchor” clients” to write for, and my career as a freelance nurse writer took off.

The hardest part of my entrepreneurial job was learning how to set up my business.  All of the trade "lingo" was foreign to me.  Words like LLC, business bank accounts, PayPal, domain names, and contracts were not “fun” for me as a nurse as I had never dealt with working on the business end of things.  Once I got past the business set up of my new career and just started to write, I once again found immense satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment in my new career.

The Take-Away

As you can see from this article, changing nursing careers can happen at any time in your lifetime.  It is not something for just young nurses or old burned-out nurses.  You will know when it is time to start looking around when you are no longer happy in your current job.  As I said before, there are so many opportunities for nurses out there today that it is senseless to not take advantage of a new opportunity that may bring you immense fulfillment in your career.  All it takes is a little courage, some thought and maybe creativity, a sense of adventure, and a gentle push to help you on your way to a job that you will love.  Consider this article your “little push”.  Here’s to you and your new nursing career!

Ways to Change Career in Nursing1.docx

Donna Reese MSN, RN, CSN is a freelance nurse health content writer with 37 years nursing experience. She has worked as a Family Nurse Practitioner in her local community clinic and as an RN in home health, rehabilitation, hospital, and school nursing. She utilizes her personal experiences to write from the heart to apply to her writing for various health publications, including BLOGS, newsletters, and educational materials and videos. Donna is passionate about the profession of nursing and supporting others. Self-care and work-life balance are the focus of her BLOG, Nurses Need Care Too. In addition, Donna runs an online support Facebook group, Polymyalgia Rheumatica USA-Our Stories. Her book “The Other Side of the Stethoscope - A Guide to Empathy in Healthcare from a Patient and Nurse Perspective” is in the final editing stage and will be available on Amazon soon. A Pennsylvania native, Donna, loves to explore new places with her husband, “glamping” and spending time with her two daughters and large and extended family.

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2 Comment(s)

I just quit my job after 33 years of nursing, almost 20 at my last place. At 60 everyone assumes I’ve retired but I’m not done. Writing is my second love & I've been researching to see if I can move in that direction. 

dareese, MSN, RN

Specializes in Health Writer, School Nurse, Nurse Practitioner. Has 18 years experience.

Yay, that is awesome!  There are some great inexpensive nurse writing courses online, if that will help you. I advise that you get on LinkedIn and see what other nurse writers are doing.  I was very fortunate to land a regular gig for a nursing publication that gives me plenty of work.  It does not always happen that way.  But nurses are in demand for health writing.  Feel free to look at my website for some ideas.  nursedonnareese.com

Good luck!  I hope that you love it as much as I do!