I'm a Nurse, Without a Job, Without a Purpose. Why Can't I Find A Place in the World?

  1. Hi, everyone.

    I've been a nurse in one specialty, psych, since 1978. I have my MSN from an excellent program. I've worked on and off through most of my life, but haven't worked as a nurse for about eight years due to the fact that I'm bipolar, unstable, with rapid cycling, and have fibromyalgia.

    I'm a "clinical person", not an administrator. I love patients and not paperwork. I think I have too strong a need to be liked to be a manager. You knew me....I was the one always getting in trouble in meetings for cutting through the c__p and telling it like it was when no one wanted to hear it. People didn't like my "style", but when pressed to explain what that meant, they never could really say.

    When I was working, I was good at what I did. My performance evals were fine. I got good feedback from patients, their families, my students, peers. I never let my illness get in the way. If I was too ill to work, I knew it before anyone and didn't work. I got fired at least twice for extended absences. I was a good public speaker and author. My last hospitalization was 3 years ago, when I required ECT. I remain on a fair amount of mood stabilizing and antidepressant meds. Self disclosing is out of the question-the stigma of mental illness is all too real.

    But I can't work as a nurse anymore. I can't handle the stress, pressure and hours. I can't do shift work because I can't get my days and nights mixed up (it aggravates the bipolar). My hands shake from the meds. I panic easily. It's hard to find casual work. And I don't drive.

    That being said, it seems to me that a master's prepared nurse with more than twenty years experience and a good record ought to be able to do SOMETHING with her life related to nursing. I love nursing. I wish there was something I could do in my chosen profession. I want a job! I need a job! My finances are in the pits at this point.

    Does anyone have any ideas? I'm so depressed thinking about what a waste my life is and how I could be so much more than who I am. I know I still have a lot to give. I'm just so frustrated and lost.
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    Joined: Aug '03; Posts: 21; Likes: 2


  3. by   Vagon
    First of all, you have a masters and twenty years as a nurse under your belt. Your life was a grand success by the sounds of it, be proud of that and what you've accomplised. Now, as for where to find less stressful work i'd check out the small family doctors offices in your area and the like, though I've never worked in one I'd imagion that they are more easy going. If that isnt enough, go back to school! It's never too late to go further than where you are now. Specialize in a less physically demanding feild of nursing to fit your own health.

    Keep in mind i'm a nursing student and may be wrong on the family doctor thing, but hey, chin up!
  4. by   traumaRUs
    What about case management? Telephone triage? Outpatient mental health facility? I too know that you have a lot to offer - don't give up.
  5. by   Mulan
    What about looking for a job in a hospital in professional development? It's a day shift job, giving classes to new hires and employees. A MSN should be good for that.
  6. by   medsurgnurse
    Have you thought about health insurance work? I also knew someone who did health evaluations for a life insurance company part-time. Jumping into a pressure cooker full-time job is probably not what's best for you.
  7. by   nursejoelle
    Have you thought about teaching? Maybe in a nursing school or any health class? I don't know how stressful that is but at a college level, maybe it wouldn't be so bad and if your not feeling well, you could always find a sub to take your place? In order to teach in a university, you need a master's degree, which you already have. Try to focus on the positive and all of the things that are good in your life...attitude is half the battle...I know that if you want it, things will look up for you soon! Good Luck!
  8. by   Little Panda RN
    What about teaching distance education classes. I am a graduate of distance eduction and this seems like it might be a good fit for you. I am sure they are always looking for teachers in this area. You have all the qualifications and expirence. The best of luck to you!