working for an insurance company now (I'm in clinical program design, so I interface with the review nurses), I see just how much knowledge one has to have to work as a nurse in this sector. Don't let anyone look down on you for it! My sister interfaces with UM nurses in her job for another insurance company, and she told me, 'can you imagine what it would be like if the people making all these decisions *weren't* nurses? how would that make you feel as a patient?' I think it really draws on your critical thinking skills, creativity, and broad knowledge base. You have to constantly keep learning, right? And let's just think about a few examples of non-hospital/bedside nursing jobs:
Consulting (which is what I do)
Educator (community, facility, etc.)
Why is it that people don't balk when physicians have jobs that aren't hospital patient care-centered? I think a lot of people- even some nurses- don't realize or think about the fact that healthcare extends *FAR* beyond the hospital bed...and so does the need for nurses.
(My latest plan is to get my MSN in Nursing Informatics, what with all the legislation about electronic health records- there's going to be a HUGE demand for nurses in this field in the coming years!)
Oh, and don't apologize because you didn't like bedside nursing. Plenty of people don't! It doesn't mean you're worse (or better) than soemone who loves it- just different than they are.
I went to a Disease Management conference a couple of weeks ago, and let me tell you- the future is wide open for you if you decide to do other things than UM. Don't ever feel embarassed by what you do! So far, I'm loving my new job, too!!
To your original question, here's how I answered, when asked by a nurse at the hospital where I had an MRI why I 'gave up' on being a bedside nurse:
'Since everyone goes into nursing to have a positive impact on the health and well being of the patients in their care, I decided I could have the greatest impact in an area I was passionate about.' She thought about it for a second, then said, 'well, I never really thought about doing anything besides what i do now- you've given me something to think about!'
And (this is not meant as a slam to anyone, honestly), the money is usually pretty good in the insurance sector- and you don't run yourself into the ground physically like is so common in hospital staff nursing. I'm making more than double what I made at the bedside, and I have a desk job. I have a serious hip problem that would probably preclude beside nursing, even if I wanted to do it, so that's a HUGE plus for me.
Heh- I could go on and on, being a cheerleader for ya!
Last comment- I'm having major surgery next month- I can't tell you what a huge relief it is to me to know the knowledge and skill level the precert nurses at my company have. I'll be in the hospital most of the week, and I was initially concerned about being approved for it, but I knew the person making the decision was a well-educated nurse who could appreciate the complexity of the situation.
Be proud- other people may not really understand your job, but you ARE a nurse, and your practice is essential to the patient's care!