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I hate what I'm doing, help

Nurse Beth   (525 Views | 3 Replies)
by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Writer Innovator Expert Nurse

Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho.

18 Followers; 103 Articles; 234,745 Profile Views; 2,059 Posts

Dear Nurse Beth,

I am coming up on year 2 of my nursing career. Currently, I am doing bedside (med/surg) nursing. While in nursing school, I knew that I did not want to be a bedside nurse. I chose this because all of the experienced nurses were saying “you need at least 1-2 years of med/surg experience before you can move on”.

Also, I had no idea what I wanted to do out of nursing school. So, now that I have been doing this for almost 2 years, on a very high paced, micro-managed, med-surg/oncology floor, I am about to be in need of a rx for Xanax soon . Now I feel as if I’m stuck here since I have decided to enroll in a NP program that starts in June (and the jury's still out on if I want to be an NP, I’m enjoying the freedom of not having to study for anything), because of the flexibility that the unit will provide for studying.

I love being a nurse, I just hate what I’m doing as a nurse right now, for all of the reasons I’m pretty sure you’ve heard before about bedside nursing. Is there anything else I could do other than bedside nursing that will still provide flexibility for studying if I ultimately decide to become an NP, or is there anything I could do that would make me feel fulfilled without having to to go back to school?

Your response will be greatly appreciated.

Dear Stuck,

  • You don't want to be a bedside nurse, but you are.
  • You don't want to stay, but you feel stuck.
  • You're not sure you want to be an NP, but you're enrolled in an NP program.
  • You hate your job but you love being a nurse.

It is time for you to figure out what you want, career-wise. I do not know what will make you feel fulfilled but what if you hate being an NP after you've invested significant time and money?

As far as flexibility for studying, many if not most nurses who pursue advanced degrees are adult learners with full-time jobs. Programs are designed for adult learners. It's true that once you start doing clinicals, you need flexibility, but the most important question here is, is an NP program right for you?

I want to very kindly say that you are not yet taking responsibility for your happiness. You present as somewhat powerless, when in truth you are an educated, grown-up professional.

What I'm getting at is, look inward. What are your passions, your gifts, your talents? Picture yourself in a work setting that brings you satisfaction and even joy at times. What is that setting and what is that role?

Maybe you love teaching, or enjoyed research during school. Perhaps you are an outgoing person who'd thrive in product sales, or you like to write and create content. Staff Development. Do you like to analyze and present arguments? Legal nurse consultant.

There are countless roles as a nurse, and I hope you find the right fit for you.

Best wishes in your choices,

Nurse Beth

Author, Your Last Nursing Class-how to land your first nursing job...and your next!


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JenMH88RN has 1 years experience as a BSN, RN.

1 Article; 44 Posts; 1,611 Profile Views

I guess I forgot to mention that I haven’t enrolled in the NP program yet. I was just looking for some other ideas before I decide to do that.

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442 Posts; 1,272 Profile Views

There have been so many conversations on this site about options for non-bedside RN jobs.  The NP programs are too intense to pursue if it's not something you really want.  If you want to go to grad school, there are non-NP options that can open a lot of doors for you.

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kbrn2002 has 25 years experience as a ADN, RN and specializes in Geriatrics.

3,003 Posts; 29,385 Profile Views

It sounds like you are having a  "I did what I was supposed to do, now what?" moment.  You have given your current job a year so you should know by now if you like or not and the answer seems to be a resounding not.  I'm not one of those that necessarily agrees that it takes a couple of years to get comfortable in a job so I won't tell to to just tough it out if you know it's not for you. 

Problem is not loving your current job does not necessarily mean you know what you will love. There's just SO MANY options for jobs in nursing, it's an extremely diverse field!  You might find your perfect fit the next job you take, it might take a few job changes before you have that A-Ha moment when you know it's the job for you.  

Another potential problem is your desire to get away from patient care.  If you knew as far back as school that you didn't want to be a bedside nurse you'll have a harder time finding a job you'll like or at least adjusting to enough to thrive. Those non-bedside jobs aren't going to be that easy to find, at least at this point in your career. Jobs away from direct patient care are usually coveted and difficult to get without way more relevant experience or education than you currently have. I'm not saying it'll be impossible for you to find a non bedside job now but it won't be easy.  Maybe if you know you want to get away from bedside, think about what area of nursing away from bedside you would like and focus your education that direction instead of jumping into an NP program.  


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