Burned out/ nursing hiatus (vent)

  1. I've been an RN 4 years. I work med/tele dayshift. I have battled rounds of burnout, but this time I am soooo fried. I just know I need to get off the floors. Don't get me wrong, though. I love direct pt care/bedside nursing. I love most of my coworkers. I am sick of the B.S. of the floors- short staffed, high turnover, following a few crappy nurses who must've got their license out of a Cracker Jack box. I'm sick of being the doctor's babysitter, the resident housekeeper, waitress, Physical therapist, counselor & RN all rolled into one. I feel I am a bright, caring, team player. Most of my coworkers would be surprized to hear it, but I am thinking of working in another profession for a change. I would stay in nursing, if I could find a job with less stress and direct pt care. I don't want to do home care or Public Health...have heard some bad things about it & am not interested. Not interested in management. I was hoping for a clinic RN or ambulatory care RN job, but haven't found anything in the past 2 years of looking.

    Call me crazy, but I am thinking of trying something else for a change. I can always head back to nursing if it doesn't pan out. But the instant I shared my "enthusiasm" with friends, aquaintences & family...all I hear is flack. Hey, I KNOW this career change would mean a $10,000/year pay cut, and require 1 year of additional college education. But I think I might like it, fool that I am.

    The thing is, in my current role, I wake up every day feeling so depressed. I KNOW I probably won't be getting a break. I'll be running my a$$ off nonstop from 7a-16:45 p. I have floated to all the other floors & they have the same B.S. as mine. I was hoping (since 1999) that we would get some better staffing (AB394?!), but no such luck.
    I am tired of seeing new RNs go from enthusiastic to bitterly disappointed. I'm tired of giving 120% and being told to give more.

    I know some of you have been where I am. I feel like my family & other "non nursing" friends have NO IDEA of the stress & responsibility nurses face. Yes, I make good money. But I am unhappy! I am stressed all the time! I have nightmares!
    What thoughts or suggestions do my fellow RNs have for me? I was excited about trying something else, and still keeping my license current "just in case."

    I just wanted to vent a bit, to someone who might understand...
    Thanks for listening!
    Last edit by Genista on Jul 11, '02
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    About Genista

    Joined: Nov '99; Posts: 829; Likes: 166
    Registered Nurse; from US


  3. by   l.rae
    l like the ER better than the floors....we work hard...but a variety...
    seldom the same pt 2 days in a row.....this helps some....but l know what you mean....been feelin' kinda toasted myself lately...............LR
  4. by   sharann
    Kona, if you truly feel burned out and are aware of it, you should be congratulated. If more nurses recognized the signs of burnout, they would take off some time or get some help...When we are burned out we are not good for our patients, but at risk of being (heaven forbid)selfish, I think WE are as important as our patients and deserve to feel human. Listen to your nurses gut instincts about this. You may just need a change of scenery like the cliniic idea you put out, or maybe you just need a leave of absence. It's YOUR health at stake here.
    Take care, ok?
  5. by   Heather56
    kona, you might want to consider talking to someone ie a counselor. I've hit the wall a couple of times over the last 10 years and after getting some counselling found it was a whole lot of things getting me down not just work. It made a huge difference and helped me make more informed career decisions.
  6. by   NancyRN
    Kona, I am exactly where you are. I've just accepted a job at an Assisted Living facility where there are no IV's and no incontinent patients. I'm staying PRN in the hospital (telemetry) but will cut my days to the minimum for now. I don't know if Assisted Living will be any better but I need the break. Have you thought of this type of facility? (You can negotiate for higher pay than they originally offer. I'm getting just $1/hr less than at the hospital)
  7. by   spineCNOR

    Sounds like in your present situation you are being faced with a never-ending escalation of expectations which no mere human can meet. You are right, you need to think of YOUR mental health first when you are working in a situation that no matter how much you do it is NEVER enough. You, and every other nurse in hospital practice, deserves better.

    Your family and friends may think you are nuts to consider leaving nursing and taking a huge cut in pay, but think of the long-term savings in taking a job which will be less taxing to your body, mind and spirit.

    The above replies are all right-- it would be wise to consider counseling (does your employer have an employee assistance program?) or a less taxing job within nursing, but ultimately you need to do what is best for you. Bitter, burned-out nurses aren't much help to their patients or co-workers.

    I wish you the best in whatever your decision is. Good luck!
  8. by   Hardknox
    Life's too short to be so unhappy. Go with your gut feeling. I changed careers at 40 and have never regretted it! Good luck.
  9. by   ERNurse752
    Kona, your post sounds exactly like something I would have (or probably did) a couple months ago...

    I went from excited new grad, to bitter and burned out in about 6 months for the exact reasons you named, so I transferred.

    Now I do After Hours Occupational Health. It's still at night, in the same ER I was in before. When I don't have Occ Health pts, which is often, I help out in the ER. So I really do the same thing as before, which is good b/c I still get more ER experience, and I like the ER...but, I don't have all the headaches of trying to take care of 6 critical pts, wondering who will die first b/c of my neglect.

    It's only part time, so I still have to pick up extra hours in CICU/CVRR, where I worked as a student and GN...but it's better than before, and I don't hate my job anymore.

    Good luck finding something....
  10. by   Cherry Soda

    That could have been my post. Especially the part about "hearing flack". Listen. No one knows what you are going through except YOU. Do what makes YOU HAPPY. Don't feel guilt for not living up to OTHER PEOPLE'S expectations. We have one life. Be happy. I will take my own advice too. I decided this morning that I am not taking it anymore. I am looking for another job. Cherry
  11. by   CATHYW
    Have you considered a Cardiac Cath lab, or Employee Health, or Industrial Medicine, or Occupational Health?