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Just wants to cry and quit

Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Columnist Innovator Expert Nurse

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

Dear Nurse Beth,

I am currently feeling lost and let down by nursing. I feel like I made a huge mistake by taking a gamble with a nurse manager job at a facility I did not know was failing (I did know that there was an issue with them keeping managers, so that one was on me and my inexperience in leadership positions to see it as a HUGE red flag) before the pandemic hit, but they were in a state of transition. So many of the issues that would come to break me I did not realize were the norm, not a product of the transition.

The job I had at my other facility was one that I was well suited for and paid well but the commute was taxing and I was in school for my MSN in leadership and management and I viewed the open position at the new facility as an opportunity to grow and learn, I also had the new nursing team at the new facility asking If I would put in for the position so I confidently took the leap. Fast forward through 2020 and after being asked to give more than I ever wanted or agreed to, after being pushed and demoralized and asked to cross lines repeatedly that I did not agree with and forced to ask my staff to give and give when there was nothing left and told we didn't have value over and over and over again, I stepped down from the position.

I am now trying to piece together PRN jobs for survival, the job I left at the old facility no longer exists and has been broken up and given to 5 other people, I have a useless masters degree as I will never ever again seek out a management position and I am completely disillusioned with the whole thing. Working in a rural area my options are extremely limited, I'm just so very disappointed and don't know what to do, I'm tired, nursing is exhausting and it feels like it just isn't going to get better anytime soon.

I screwed up and lost on a huge career gamble, I have chosen to go back to school for my NP because at the end of the day I really just want to take care of people and to help the system be better, but after this experience, honestly I just want to cry and quit. I guess I really just want to ask how after all of that do I even start to love nursing again, how do I reset and re open my mind to giving more than I will ever get in return, maybe, why is it expected that we break ourselves for facilities that will never really value ones personal sacrifice and treat nurses that want a healthy work like balance like they are selfish and difficult, why can't it be better?

Dear Demoralized,

I had a very similar experience years ago. I took a high-level job at a poorly-run facility as soon as I completed my Masters degree, eager to change the world.  Turns out they wanted a yes person, definitely not someone like myself who raised questions and wanted policies in place.

Chalk it up to a learning experience, my friend. Do not let them win by breaking you down and squashing what you have to give. You were not let down by nursing, you were used by an employer. There are many good organisations out there that would appreciate your skills and dedication.

A Masters degree is never useless, and opens many jobs.  Often employers who list a Masters degree as required or preferred just want to see a Masters in nursing, no matter the specialty.

If you decide not to pursue your NP or need a supplemental job, you could teach online with your Masters since you live in a rural area, or look on indeed.com for remote jobs. 

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth