Job Flip-Flopping: When Will I Find My Place?

This is just a short story about how my career has gone so far. I have a hard time staying in one place; I constantly chase the perfect position and sometimes, I feel like I just can't be happy with anything. Nurses General Nursing Article

Job Flip-Flopping: When Will I Find My Place?

My career has been marked by one main constant - change! Can change really be constant? Read my story and decide for yourself.

I started my career as a home health nurse. I was really happy with it for a while because I got to spend one-on-one time with my patient and I made (what I considered at the time) good money. But after about a year, I was looking for something else.

Home health nursing was wearing me and my car out. I was putting about 600 miles on my car every week and I was working about 80 hours a day. My poor husband told me, "I feel like I live alone because you are either at work or working at home." And he was right! I had a huge territory, and I saw 7-10 patients a day. I was constantly being asked to pick up extra work because there were not enough RNs. This got old, and besides, I became a nurse to work in a hospital.

This led me to my second job: working on a cardiac step-down unit. I loved this too! My job was 10 minutes from home, I didn't have to bring home any paperwork or documentation, and (what a privilege!) I was given health insurance and paid time off. I thought I was in heaven (again).

So what happened? I was working with some really snooty nurses who didn't like new people at all, it seemed. This made me feel sort of lonely for 36 hours a week, and my pay actually went down.

My husband and I had always wanted to do travel nursing, so I got signed up with an agency and off we went! That was a really fun time in life, filled with so many adventures, good pay and more choices. Travel nursing is full of change: a new hospital every 13 weeks. This was good for me. I guess I'm sort of gypsy at heart. I loved moving around all the time. I loved the change. Every new place was a new start and by the time I started being temperamental about the hospital, it was time to go and start over again.

What could possibly go wrong, you ask? Well, living in an RV or a hotel most of the time started feeling cramped. I missed my (grown) kids because I was away from home so much of the time, and about this time I was also feeling really burned out in hospitals.

To give myself a new change, I decided to go back to home health. Here is my current problem. Working in home health requires being available 5 days a week to make enough money. I thought it would be a good trade-off for the reduced stress compared to the stress level I was feeling hospitals. But it has been less than 6 months and already I am tired of working 12 hour days 5 days a week. I am tired of having to call doctor's offices on my days off. I am tired of working all day in the field only to come home and have to document, answer emails, call patients to set up my next day, and I'm tired of being tired. I miss having 4 days off every week.

Yes, I have applied and been offered another hospital job. Will this make me happy this time? I sure do hope so.

Before the comments start - I have considered other types of nursing. I have looked at and applied to many non-hospital and home health jobs. Unfortunately, I have not been able to get an interview for a single one. Additionally, I really do love 3-12s, and I have only seen that in hospitals. I realize that I am going to have to accept the fact that no job is going to be perfect. I think I've done that. I hope I've done that.

If I am to be 100% honest here, I know that working for myself is the only answer that is going to make me feel satisfied in the long run... and I am working on it ?

Melissa Gallant has been an RN for over 6 years. She has worked in cardiovascular step-down for the majority of her career. As a travel nurse, she also has experience with med/surg, tele, ortho, float pool, and med oncology. Melissa is also the co-owner of Etheria Wellness where she offers nursing consultations, health and wellness coaching, meditation and mindfulness classes as well as other health-related classes.

3 Articles   91 Posts

Share this post

Share on other sites


Have you considered Pediatric private duty nursing? It’s home health but it’s 1 patient/day for up to 12 hrs a day. I work M-F days, 8hrs and day and it’s wonderful!!

Also, it’s all electronic charting on a tablet. So no charting to bring home or doing anything work related after your shift is done !

Specializes in Dialysis.

The flip-flopping may be what is killing your chances at other jobs. Just keep on trying and hang in there! Your dream job is just around the corner. I loved HH, but driving the tires off of my car is what killed that. As you've already learned, pay isn't everything. That's the reason HH pays a little more, they know that there are going to be out of norm hours worked.

Specializes in Cardiovascular Stepdown.

Thanks to both of you. I know that can not works PEDs. I solute every nurse who does because you must be an angel. My heart would just break too much.

I know job changes are not good. I don't think the travel part hurts, because that is the definition of the job. However, looking for a new job after only a few months isn't helping me. I have to though... Not getting enough hours.

To further complicate things, I have an interview today which is only going to confuse me if offered the job... I will have a hard time choosing between the two offers. But, I'm going anyway.. so it's all on me.

Specializes in oncology, MS/tele/stepdown.

The struggle is real after travel nursing. I've been looking in to getting a regular position, but I've been too spoiled through traveling and now in-house traveling. I don't want to take a pay cut AND increase my commute AND sign a two-year contract (if I want to change specialties) AND work nights. It's hard to know what to prioritize when making that transition. I hope you do get the opportunity to choose between two positions!

Specializes in Cardiovascular Stepdown.

That was a great way of expressing some of the things I have feeling. I have one offer on the table now. It is not my dream position - med/surgery after years of cardiac step down? They would not train me in ER or ICU, even though I would be quick turn around to independent in either of these positions. However, I also applied for a supervisor job at a SNF/rehab. They called after I got the other offer, and I interviewed today. I am expecting an offer.... I am not sure how I will chose. AND I don't want to burn the bridge to the first place.

Oh, why can't I just win the lottery... Then I could just go around volunteering to what I want when I want it! Lol

You are being abused which is so common for employers to do to their employees.

I think you like the Home Health Care. Be firm with your employer about your working schedule and not to call you on your day off.

It is intrusive, disrespectful and unprofessional.

I know it is easier said than done......but, we really need to stand-up to these type of employers!

This is what you can do....legally.

Write down on an employment form the schedule you are available to work.

Anything having to do with extra work/overtime....check...No.

This is VERY important!

If your employer won’t respect this and keeps calling/texting during your days off......document. Complete screen shots and call logs, etc. If you can have these ‘are you available to work?’ conversations on texts...even better!

If your employer takes action against you (such as starts to give you less hours to hurt you financially) or fires you....

Then you have a legal claim for wrongful termination and even retaliation.

I know this can be seen as drastic......but, as you know some employers have no shame and will try to work you 24/7/365....not, giving a care about your quality of life.

They just want to make money exploiting us!

Specializes in Cardiovascular Stepdown.

You are correct! Home health is full of this type of behavior! These are great suggestions, thank you.

Specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory.

I think you enjoy your work wherever you go, if only there was a little less of it. It's not that you can't find a place to land; you can't find a place to land where they won't suck your soul in one way or another. I think it's just the sad state of nursing today.

I really don't have anything helpful to add; just wishing you well.

Specializes in Cardiovascular Stepdown.

Sadly that really is the truth.

Specializes in ER.

TinyRN72, this is exactly what I'm going through, too. I stay for a couple of years, then I leave because I burn out. This is odd, too, because I've loved my work as an ER nurse, a med/surg nurse, a sub-ICU nurse, a float nurse,etc. It is so nice to see I'm not alone. Thanks so much for your post, and if you find anything worthwhile that does not suck the soul out of you, pls pass it along:). I am considering dialysis nursing or CCT nursing, not sure if the stress is less but have never been out of the hospital. Have you looked into these?