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Feeling lost in my career...need advice!

First Year   (398 Views 4 Comments)
by Nursey3239 Nursey3239 (New Member) New Member

Nursey3239 has 2 years experience .

51 Visitors; 1 Post


***Long post ahead***

So a bit of background about myself:

I have been a nurse for just over two years now and am 24 years old (I know this thread is for the first year after licensure, but I thought this might be a good spot to stick this because I still feel relatively new). I graduated in spring 2016 and landed my "dream" job as a new grad in L&D. My mother was an L&D nurse, and this was my passion all through nursing school. Needless to say, I was ecstatic when I landed this job the day after I interviewed, and immediately took the offer. Unfortunately, I was naive at this time and learned of the many flaws of my unit. I worked on a 16-bed high risk inner-city L&D, extremely understaffed (received a minimum of 2 help texts per day asking for more nurses to come in, incentive contract after incentive contract being offered), flawed leadership (unit manager left, interim manager for 6+ months, maternal/child health director had left her position as well). I was constantly anxious and overworked during my shifts. I told myself that a lot of my feelings were attributed to me being new, and that I obviously needed more confidence and experience in order for these feelings to dissipate. Needless to say, I miserably stuck this position out for 1.5 years and left the hospital this January with such a bad taste in my mouth.

I was at a crossroads because I was so stuck on L&D, I had no backup plan, no alternative. I knew I wasn't interested in med-surg/older adults. Not looking for ED/ICU either. I do enjoy maternal/child health overall. Maybe I could enjoy pediatrics. Regardless, I left and convinced myself that I would enjoy a position as a public health nurse with the local health department. We have a nurse-run clinic on most days of the week, with clinicians here 1x/week for family planning. We offer birth control, paps/breast exams, and immunizations as our services to name a few. This was a big schedule change, too, and I work M-F, rather than three 12's/week.

I have been at my current position for 8 months and I enjoy it. Do I love it enough to be my forever job? No. Is it more tolerable than the last job? Absolutely. This feels like a more transitional position to me while I figure my stuff out, if that makes sense. So, what do I have to complain about? I understand that no job is perfect. But, I do feel like something is missing. Now that my nervous system has calmed down from my last job (I suffered from a lot of anxiety post L&D position), I feel a bit bored. Worried I'll lose my skills. Worried I am not a "real" nurse being in this position. I'm so young, and I know I have a lot to offer. Ideally, when I left school, I wanted to get my L&D experience and then do travel nursing. Now, travel nursing seems so far away from me.

Things I have learned about myself as a person, and career traits:

-I have a love and necessity for travel and adventure. I frequently fantasize about quitting my job to travel long term for a bit.

-I am very into the self-care movement, holistic practices, and spiritual realms.

-I love education. Whether it's for patients, peer-to peer, or self-learning, I am there.

-I like being able to take my time with my patients when possible.

-I have learned that I enjoy a moderately predictable environment. Meaning overall I can know what to expect, but enjoy changes and challenges to make the day interesting.

Lately, I have considered going back to a different hospital to try mother/baby, but I am cautious because I am getting frustrated of hopping from position to position with no real passion or love for it. I am also taking some master's classes next spring to get general courses out of the way for when I eventually decide to go back to school.

Any and all advice/wisdom is welcome, and thank you so much if you stuck around to read this in its entirety.

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315 Visitors; 28 Posts

Well if it was me and I was planning on returning to school I would want to stay in the mellow predictable job if it works. That being said could you just try out a mother baby unit as a per diem. You could get an idea if the unit would be a good fit with your lifestyle and future plans and not give up the security of your regular job until you knew for sure. Good luck with whatever path you choose.

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not.done.yet has 8 years experience as a MSN, RN and works as a Professional Development Specialist.

307 Likes; 4 Followers; 42,898 Visitors; 5,178 Posts

You aren't necessarily going to find a job that is your "passion".

Read that again.

Most people don't get their "passion" from their employment. Your generation in particular is extremely focused on this, to the point of anxiety and depression when it doesn't happen that way. The world has not yet caught up with your ideals.

You love to travel. You love education. I would suggest you get back into an acute care position. Work 2 years while knocking on the door of your MSN. Then look for positions in professional development for L&D/Women's health, which has a more reliable, traditional schedule, pays decently and will allow for PTO time and/or flex time to travel for pleasure.

Good luck. I think whatever you do, you need to get back into acute care if you want your career to advance.

Edited by not.done.yet

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KelRN215 has 10 years experience and works as a Complex Care Manager.

38 Likes; 67,263 Visitors; 7,344 Posts

The idea of "forever" jobs is so 2 generations ago. So few places offer pensions anymore and it's generally wise to move around.

You Should Plan On Switching Jobs Every Three Years For The Rest Of Yo

The idea that nursing outside of the hospital isn't "real" nursing bothers me. A lot. I haven't worked as a bedside nurse for 6 1/2 years (nor do I intend to again if I can help it) but I am still very much a nurse.

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