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Feel Like I'm Drowning

Nurse Beth   (531 Views 3 Comments)
by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Advice Column) Writer Innovator Expert

Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and works as a Nursing Professional Development Specialist.

14 Followers; 88 Articles; 226,271 Visitors; 1,755 Posts

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Dear Nurse Beth,

I am an RN, BSN with 7 years as a nurse. I've worked in tele, med surg/ortho, utilization mgmt, ED, hospice, home health, and now ltc.

I've bounced so much, been employed at two different hospitals 3x each. I feel I've really messed up my career at this point but just am not happy in nursing. 

At this point I am sending out apps with zero response except the travel agencies. 
But I seriously am unhappy. What should I do? Just give up on nursing entirely or suck it up and try to stay where I am? I hate feeling like I'm not giving the patients all they deserve; I do my best but feel I could be better if my heart was in it. 

Also- I should relate that my husband has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. I do feel that is contributing to my feelings. **I'm on the highest dose of an antidepressant.**


Help me please. I feel like I'm drowning and hate this feeling. :(


Dear Drowning,

I am so, so sorry about your husband's illness. I can't imagine what that is like for you.

I wouldn't make any big decisions such as changing jobs right now.

Staying put will accomplish a couple of things. It will give you longer tenure at one job, which your work history seriously needs. It will also take a lot off the table for you, such as applying for jobs and interviewing. 

Instead, focus on your mental and emotional health. See if your work or insurance offers employee assistance and get some counseling. In fact, do whatever it takes to get some professional help. You will not regret it.

You already know that a new job is not the solution to your unhappiness. Before the time comes again when you decide to change jobs, it's important for you to know what is driving you to change jobs so frequently.

My best to you and your family.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth

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

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42 Visitors; 7 Posts

I am so sorry to hear about everything you are going through.  I can relate to the feelings towards nursing that you have right now.  I've been a RN BSN for 8 years and feel like I've tried it all.  I, too, got to the point where I thought of quitting nursing because nothing seemed to bring me joy anymore.  I even bought a book about changing careers! 

I remember vividly being at work one night feeling like I was going to explode.  It was a quiet night and all my patients were "easy" so I had some time to think.  As I sat in my chair, I reflected on my courses and practicums from nursing school.  A light bulb went off when I realized I had the most fun in my community health courses.  After that, I looked up positions in that field and came across a position in corrections and I truly enjoy it.  Maybe try doing something like that.  Try to remember why you got into nursing in the first place.  I also highly recommend going to counseling as Nurse Beth suggested.  It really does make a difference.  I wish you and your husband the best.  

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kbrn2002 has 25 years experience as a ADN, RN and works as a RN Supervisor.

28,539 Visitors; 2,786 Posts

So sorry to hear about your husband's illness. Nurse Beth is absolutely right. There are enough stressors in your life right now to add job hunting to that list.  Dealing with the illness of a loved one is difficult. Physically and emotionally draining. This is no time to put yourself out there in the employment market unnecessarily. 

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