Finally Leaving Nursing...For Good!

Nurses General Nursing


Well, I did it. I turned in my two weeks notice. I'm finally leaving the nursing profession, for good. I had planned to do this months ago, but I decided to persevere a few more months to see if my opinion of nursing changed. It has not. These last few months fully confirmed for me that nursing is not where I belong in healthcare. I applied, interviewed and shadowed in various other nursing specialties, including ICU, outpatient clinics, case management, oncology/hospice, dialysis, and even outpatient psych, and none of these were right for me. I thought my problem with nursing had more to do with my specialty (cardiac step-down) being the wrong fit for me, but now I know that I honestly do not want to be a nurse, at all.

Like most nurses, I dislike the short staffing, high nurse to patient ratios, the demanding families with their unrealistic expectations, needy, rude, and manipulative patients, patient satisfaction surveys, the increasing demands being placed on nurses, healthcare politics and drama, and so on. I know I'm not alone on this. But I dislike the basic elements of nursing, I don't like my role in healthcare with so much responsibility and so little power.

Surprisingly, I don't mind patient care. I have no problem cleaning up a patient, helping them to the bathroom, feeding them, or cutting a little old lady's food for her. I have no problem doing this. I also like collaborating with MDs and NPs (well, most of them), I enjoy learning from them and trying to advocate for my patients. I have been told I do very well with critical thinking and problem solving. I don't mind charting. I absolutely love my dementia patients. These are the few positives I have with nursing.

Now on to the negatives.

My biggest issue in nursing is resuscitating a terminally ill patient, not because it is what the patient wants (I would not have a problem with the patient's own decision), but because the family is selfish, unrealistic, and refuses to let go. I have had several instances where a patient in a persistent vegetative state, with a trach, peg tube, and no quality of life is kept full code by family, even though the patient is in that state because family insisted that "everything be done." :banghead: I have had several patients who died peacefully, were DNR, but family insisted that we "do everything" and we had to. I have serious moral and ethical issues with this.

On a smaller note, I'm a perfectionist, leaving work undone is extremely difficult for me. I dislike the routine of passing medications over and over again; how impossible getting everything done feels with 6 high acuity patient and the many issues and problems that come up; running around the entire shift with very little food and rarely my full 30 min break (considering that I've lost 10 lb since becoming a nurse, and I was underweight to begin with). Being genuinely uninterested in what I'm doing/learning as a nurse, while also feeling super stressed and overwhelmed. The lack of hard science in nursing also contributes to my lack of interest.

I also cannot stand dealing with constant issues for 12 hrs and "customer complaints" among the thousands of other things I need to do. I honestly dislike most of my patients (however, I never let this show). I absolutely hate talking with family members. I hate small talk with patients and dealing with patient/family drama. I hate getting blamed for everything (even if I have no control over it) and feeling like a human punching bag. I hate that I feel no connection or sympathy for 99% of my patients, and that nursing has made me see the worst in people. I always feel frustrated and angry. Every minute of my shift I hate it, and then I dread going back to work on my days off. Since becoming a nurse, I feel like I haven't been able to enjoy life anymore due to how much nursing drained me. After being diagnosed with anxiety/depression about 2 month ago (I was crying every day and getting to the point where I thought dying would be a relief - thankfully that has passed and is under control now), I realized I didn't want to live my life like this anymore, and for my physical and mental well-being, leaving nursing would be the best solution.

Since I've "officially" made the decision to leave nursing, I have felt better than I have in a long time. I feel alive again, like a weight has been lifted off my chest and I can finally breathe. I will always remember and value what nursing has taught me, but I sincerely believe that I am one of those people who is just not right for nursing. It does not mesh well with my personality, interests, and especially not my mental/physical health. I have the highest respect for nurses. Everyday, you are able to do what I cannot. I felt like a failure and a horrible nurse for a long time because of this, but I came to realize that it is best for myself (and my patients), if I find something else to do. I also realized that there is no shame that nursing is not right for me, as long as I did my best to take care of my patients, didn't let my disdain for nursing show, and continued to be a responsible and dependable employee while working as a nurse.

I'm going to be moving on to a new career, with no patient/family interaction and way more science involved (Masters in Biomedical Engineering). I'll still be around on allnurses because, well, I love you guys! :)

*Way Too Long to Read: I'm leaving nursing, it wasn't for me at all. I'll still be around. Nurses are awesome, thank you for all you do!!*

Specializes in Med/Surg, LTACH, LTC, Home Health.

I went on my interview exactly one week ago today. If all goes well, I am right behind you, and I only work one day per week. Hold the elevator!!!!

Specializes in Travel, Home Health, Med-Surg.

Ditto for me too! Bedside nursing is extremely hard work and nurses get burned out fast. Thank-you for your comments, I am sure that they will help many nurses who also feel this way. Good luck to you where ever the road leads...

Specializes in Critical care.

Best wishes on your next journey! I know exactly how you feel and the instant relief upon making your decision to leave- I felt that way about my old career! Sometimes we need the wrong career to show us the right one. I know the leap of faith it takes to make that decision and I hope it turns out for you as well as it has for me (nursing was the right choice for me).

It's also more common than I knew that people want to go back to school for new careers. People that know I've done that have reached out to me and I was able to provide a neutral ear and things to consider (pros and cons). I am definitely of the mind though that one should not feel absolutely miserable with their job/career (they don't need to love it, but it shouldn't cause them to go on anxiety/depression meds).

That's just cool! Congratulations and wishing the best of everything be upon you!

Specializes in Psychiatric Nursing.

Wishing you all the best of luck and success as you move on! I'm happy for you, and I share in your excitement! Although I have not turned in my notice yet, I have finally admitted to myself that school nursing is not my niche, and I have decided to return to mental health nursing, my true passion! I noticed an interesting psych nurse position that is available, and your post has inspired me to apply for it! And why not? Life is too short to be unhappy! Let's celebrate!

I am working on getting out now. I won't leave it until I gain acceptance into the degree program that I am aiming for. I figure what is the point. I already know I am leaving so that gives me a peace of mind when I am at work. I will save money as well. I can handle another year or two of working as a nurse. Good luck to you!

Good for you! I finally couldn't take it anymore after 30+ years and turned in my resignation. I felt like the world was off my shoulders. My husband says I'm like a new person (in a good way - lol). I can't say it as eloquently as the OP, but when I started nursing we were treated like people. We had authority to stop our patients from making bad decisions (like eating a whole bucket of KFC that their family brought for visitation, knowing that the patient was diabetic). We could decide to let a patient sleep through a med pass and administer it when they woke up. We were allowed to tell idiotic visitors to knock it off or leave. We had enough staff to care for the patients and our time was spent at the bedside, not at the computer. In other words, we did patient centered care before it was a thing. Now "patient centered care" has run me out of nursing. I can't stand to see my patients suffer because the powers-that-be want me to act like a Hooters waitress instead of providing good care. I have no nursing autonomy. If I'm 5 minutes late with meds it shows up on the computer like a giant scarlet letter and I asked one of the younger nurses if they still teach nursing autonomy and she was like "what's that?" I'm done with it. Luckily I have enough of a retirement saved up that I can let my nursing license go inactive when it's up for renewal. I'm free, and I'll never go back to that life of horrors that was modern nursing.

After 30 years of hospital nursing, I hit the wall. I no longer enjoyed pt care. I hate the politics, the lack of adequate staff. I took a leap and now work in an outpatient endoscopy facility. I love it!! No non stop call lights, screaming families, no foleys, no death. I feel better than I have in years. weekends or holidays. I've never had a job I didn't work them. Good luck to you OP!

Specializes in geriatrics, dementia and like, insurance.

Although I'm not an RN, similar experiences have kept me from wanting to pursue my nursing education beyond LVN. I even went so far as to get a Bachelor's degree in a non-nursing field. I currently work in insurance review utilizing nursing experience and judgment but even that has not satisfied. I stopped bedside nursing several years back and although I also loved my dementia patients and working with patients directly, everything else just left me feeling burned out.

I'm considering switching fields altogether but it's scary when all you know is the medical field and it would be essentially starting over.

I wish you the very best and hope your new direction is exactly what you need to find joy and satisfaction in your career.

Wishing you well in whatever your new endeavors bring you. Enjoy your new time. :up:

Thank you so much!

The most sincere & well thought out exit post I've seen here cocoa_puff (full disclosure, we prefer Count Chocula at our house)

I've often wondered if I could have coped with the job had I started with nursing as it is today. I won't offer anything in the way of your possible options within the field as a whole as you've already been diligently exploring alternatives.

Your mention of disliking patients and families is a symptom of the other stresses you described. You're not and never were a horrible person.

All the best in your new career path.

nursel56, I appreciate this so much! Thank you!

Specializes in public health, women's health, reproductive health.

I must say I am happy for you. Just two years into this profession and I can agree with much of what you said, which is pretty sad. I think you are brave to move on and I wish you the absolute best in your next career!

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