Realizing that Nursing is Not for Me

  1. Hello,

    I received a BA in psychology in hopes of becoming a clinical psychologist. After I graduated, I got a job working on clinical research trials at a wonderful hospital in Nor Cal. I really enjoyed being in a hospital and after speaking with the clinical staff, I believed I could really enjoy a career in nursing. I must admit I also liked the idea of working on my feet rather than at a desk and not to mention and I really want to work with patients. I shadowed some nurses and decided to go for it.

    I decided to get a CNA certificate and applied to the same hospital as a CNA, per diem. After my first CNA orient, I was a wreck. I had a major break down and realized that I do not want to be a CNA and do not want to purse a future career as a RN. It was overwhelming and I felt like my CNA training in a skilled nursing facility did not prepare me for acute care at all. Also, I do not like working on the hospital floor setting. You never know what can happen and that stresses me out. It is also very fast paced and you must get in and out of each room as quick as possible. I would rather get to know my patients on a mental health level. I believe my first instinct to be a clinical therapist is more for me. I need to take my time in my work and need a calm environment. I have very bad anxiety. I know I don't want to be a RN. However, I just completed my first orient and have four more to go. It is per diem so I could work as a CNA while I explore other career options. However, the thought of doing this for a long period of time stress me out. I truly hate it and know I will have some much anxiety every day going into work and I don't want to waste anyones time and money. Ideally, I would like to quit the CNA job (esp. because i know I don't want to purse RN) but I don't want to burn any bridges. Is it best to stick it out even if i'm miserable and will potentially do very poorly or should I quit now?

    Please help, feeling very upset and lost,

    - Sophie
    Last edit by S.Loft on Nov 13, '17
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    About S.Loft

    Joined: Nov '17; Posts: 6; Likes: 6
    from PA


  3. by   jodispamodi
    I'm not sure what your question is?
  4. by   S.Loft
    Sorry, i've updated the question so hopefully it makes more sense. Im unsure if I should stick with the job or not. I know I am unhappy, stressed and do not want to to be a clinician. However, I've accepted the job and completed one orientation along with other hospital trainings and I fear that if I quit now, I will burn bridges and disappoint my department.
  5. by   Sour Lemon
    I'm confused about whether you're a nurse or a CNA?? If you've invested in nursing education, that's one thing ...CNA training is less consuming and easy enough to move on from if you find it's not working out.
  6. by   dishes
    Are there CNA positions available in patients homes? If the patient has a physical disability but is cognitively intact and able to direct their own care, you might get both your desires for slower pace and ability to know the patient well answered. If you are in the right environment you might enjoy the CNA role. You could also consider going to school to become an occupational/physical therapy assistant. Or since you have a BA, you can go for a MS in social work or occupational therapy, both can lead to work in mental health.
    Last edit by dishes on Nov 13, '17
  7. by   S.Loft
    Yes I did receive home health career as well. However, I'm unsure if It is too early to quit this job I just began. I don't want to burn bridges or upset the manager.
  8. by   S.Loft
    I am a CNA. I wanted to work as a CNA while I completed my prereqs for RN school. But after starting my orientation, I know that this is not for me.
  9. by   dishes
    Quote from S.Loft
    Yes I did receive home health career as well. However, I'm unsure if It is too early to quit this job I just began. I don't want to burn bridges or upset the manager.
    If you know it's not the right environment/patient population for you, better to leave early before the employer invests more money into training you. The manager will soon forget about you.
  10. by   NurseSpeedy
    Are you already on the schedule soon to work on your own? If so, I would definitely at least work out that time to not burn a chance to work for that hospital in the future.

    Ask your clinical manager if you can set up a time to talk. Explain your situation open and honestly (with tact of course) and see how they would like you to proceed so that you leave the position on good terms.
  11. by   brandy1017
    If you are still on orientation as it seems I see no problem with just letting the manager know that this isn't for you and they will probably let you go. CNA work is hard and fast paced and not for everyone and it is a good thing if you realized now that nursing is not for you. This saves you time and money and helps you make the right decision. A Masters in Social Work with a specialty in therapy or counseling is a viable option. Physical Therapy might be also if you like to work with your hands. Physical therapy or ultrasound tech make much better pay than you would in counseling or social work. Ultrasound tech is another option you might consider. It is also hands on, but only one patient at a time.

    I worked a few shifts as a CNA in nursing school and regret not quitting after the first disastrous night. My first clinical instructor had a side business and recruited us to work as CNA's for her. I was sent to an awful nursing home, with too many patients and the CNA's were telling me there shortcuts such as perfume and powder to change the patient less often, not good! Still for some unknown reason I went back several more times and the last time I was so overwhelmed I had a breakdown and the manager there wouldn't let me quit. When I finally was allowed to go home I cried so hard in the car I couldn't even breathe. It was the worst experience of my life. I never worked as a CNA again. I wish I had quit after the first night and not put myself thru the rest of it. It was such a bad facility it was no surprise they were closed down by state within a short time.

    Do yourself a favor if you know its not for you just resign now. It should be ok they haven't invested any real time in your training yet anyway.
  12. by   S.Loft
    Thank you for the helpful advice,

    And for the other career options. I am definitely open to different things. I'm sorry you had such a bad experience in your previous CNA position. I guess I also feel guilty because it is a wonderful hospital and a wonderful team. They have been very nice to me and I can tell they truly care about each other. I feel as though many other people would be happy here but I know its not for me. Which is why I am looking for a way out.

    Thank you,

  13. by   jodispamodi
    If you are still on orientation I would leave sooner rather than waiting for them to put you on the schedule. Honestly I have more respect for someone who realizes early its not for them and leaves gracefully, than someone who tries to stick it out and ends up either having a meltdown, of just one day being a no call/no show, or someone who is just miserable doing it. The patients/residents quite easily pick up when someone doesn't like what they are doing. Best of luck to you.
  14. by   nursel56
    If you know in your heart nursing isn't for you, then follow that gut feeling. While it's true being a CNA is not like being a nurse, the things you mentioned that bother you pretty much come with the territory.

    There are nursing jobs that are not filled with multiple stressful factors and unpredictability, but that will complicate your job hunts at times you may not have the flexibility to devote the time to it, and gritting your teeth taking a hospital position merely for necessity-- not good at all.

    You may also hinder your ability to advance in salary and promotions compared to choosing a career where most available jobs would be acceptable as a whole.

    No need to feel bad about doing what's right for you sooner than later.