Leaving the Bedside as a New Nurse: Is It a Good Idea?

Nurses General Nursing Nursing Q/A


Leaving the Bedside as a New Nurse: Is It a Good Idea?

I have been a nurse since August 2021. I graduated in May 2021. I landed my first job on a Med Surg/COVID unit and have been there about 5 months now. However, I seriously cannot take it any longer. The whole floor is COVID (we no longer get med surg cases anymore), I do not get lunches, I barely can take a moment to pee, co-workers gossip about each other, we get 6 COVID patients each b/c of the nursing shortage (which makes me feel like I'm putting my license in jeopardy), and my manager won't help anyone. She just sits in her office all day. On top of all that I usually don't get out of work until 8 or 9 pm (I work 12s 7A to 7P), so the 12s turn into 13 or 14 hours and doing that back to back is KILLER. My work life balance is non existent at this point and I feel so overworked and drained. I feel horrible saying that I can't do this anymore, because I know my unit is SUPER SHORTSTAFFED and needs help... and I'm young and should have energy, right? But I don't have any more energy... this job is wearing me out to the point where I am starting to hate nursing all together. I can't even transfer to a different unit yet because I don't qualify until 6 months and even if I did qualify my manager has the right to hold us for a few extra months due to the staff shortage. 

On the bright side of all of this, I have been applying to new jobs all month and ended up landing an outpatient family practice RN position. I am so excited because I have always had a passion for preventative care plus it is great hours in my opinion. Should I take it? I need advice. I don't want to ruin my career by working outpatient as a new grad. Is it true that it is career suicide to work outpatient? I just really need something that provides a good work life balance, allows me to take a lunch/bathroom break, and has normal hours. Any advice would be appreciated ?

21 Answers


I'm just scared that if I change I'll end up hating it. 

Considering you hate where you are, that is a moot point. You KNOW you hate where you are. Of course you need to finish your first year. You have 5 months to go... while you research your soul and future opportunities.

Best wishes.

ThePrincessBride, MSN, RN, NP

1 Article; 2,594 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, NICU.

What are your plans for your career? Do you see yourself become an NP, CRNA? 

If you don't see yourself wanting to progress into advanced practice, then leaving acute care before one year isn't that big of a deal. I personally would at least get a year or two of acute care experience before leaving to outpatient care for future flexibility,  but it sounds like you've made up your mind.

Best of luck!


4 Articles; 2,537 Posts

Specializes in New Critical care NP, Critical care, Med-surg, LTC.
14 hours ago, thehappynurse98 said:

I'm worried if I take the outpatient position will I ever be able to get hired in an inpatient setting ever again?

If you leave without giving the appropriate notice you may be put on a "do not rehire" list. If you give the appropriate notice per your hospital (my hospital is three weeks, not two), then you would be eligible for rehire. As for the likelihood of getting back to the hospital if you leave, that's hard to say. In this current climate you're more likely to find a hospital job, but there have been threads lately with nurses posting that their previous hospital experience is not translating into a job. But if you think you want outpatient, this sounds like a good opportunity. Good luck. 

Specializes in ER/School/Rural Nursing/Health Department.

I agree with belle.  I would see if you can stay with the hospital PRN to keep your skills and pad your resume a bit. 

Not all nurses want the same things though--if preventative health and outpatient is your niche, then that is where you should be.  Depending on the office, you will still get practice with ekgs, sutures, drawing blood, possibly infusions (so IV starts), etc.  Plus you will get to do a lot of education and make long term relationships with patients (I admit I loved the ED for LACK of patient relationships but that's just me LOL). 

The beauty of a nursing degree is the plethora of opportunities.  Everything from hospital-outpatient-mental health-school-teaching-to public health.  And each place needs someone excited to perform in that position.  If outpatient is your jam, then that is where you will truely succeed and enjoy your career.  Once you are there for a bit I'm sure you will find places to spread your wings-whether its with developing packets to give patients regarding heart health or being the "go to" person for a certain disease your office deals with often.

Specializes in Critical Care.

Take the new job!  You are miserable and suffering at the hospital because of their poor management.  Don't feel guilty.  It is not your job to sacrifice your life and your health to make up for hospital administrations refusal to staff appropriately!

Enjoy the new job.  Many hospital jobs have been known to be stressful and toxic and that was before covid push everything to the brink.  You are only one person, you can't save the hospital and it isn't your responsibility anyway!

I hope this nurse inspires you to move on, give your two weeks notice and find happiness!  Give yourself the permission to be happy!



718 Posts

The world needs good outpatient nurses, too. I think there's a misconception that only acute nurses are "real" nurses, and nothing could be farther from the truth. I'm usually an inpatient nurse, temporarily working outpatient, and it's been a really big learning curve. It's not harder, exactly, just really different. It's no less valuable to the patients I'm working with. So, if you're interested in outpatient, go for it.  

That said, after you have worked exclusively outpatient, it might be hard to get another inpatient job. But is that career suicide? Only if you WANT go go back inpatient. If you want to keep that door open, you can always stay PRN, as others have suggested. It will keep your inpatient skills up to date, and give you an "in" if you decide outpatient isn't what you want. But if you do that and decide you just REALLY don't want to do bedside, there's absolutely nothing at all wrong with that. Go and be an awesome family practice nurse!

Specializes in Telephone triage.

I left full-time bedside nursing at 18 months to work in an outpatient infusion clinic. At first, I felt guilty for not “working in the trenches”, so I stayed on PRN for another 6 years.  The longer I did outpatient, the less I felt I needed inpatient nursing to validate me.  It was also taking up a lot of my well-deserved time off. 

You can still be an excellent nurse in an outpatient environment whether it be outpatient infusion, clinician, or telephone triage.  It takes a different set of skills to assess a patient over the phone.  Asking the right questions takes time to develop.  Learning how to deal with insurance companies so your patients get what they need in a timely manner is another valuable skill you’ll learn. You can work in a clinic and still advocate for your patients.  

I’ve been in the outpatient environment for 17 years now.  At 52, I’m sure that my body would be wrecked at this point had I stayed at the bedside.  In summary, you are not less of a nurse if you’re not in the hospital.  

Specializes in General Surgery Assist.

Absolutely not!! I have NEVER worked hospital and I have been an RN for 7 years. I went from clinic float nurse to first assist in the OR. Bedside is not for me. Follow your heart !


4 Articles; 2,537 Posts

Specializes in New Critical care NP, Critical care, Med-surg, LTC.
On 2/5/2022 at 12:36 PM, Debbie0305 said:

In summary, you are not less of a nurse if you’re not in the hospital.  

YES!! Nurses everywhere, inpatient and outpatient, home care, specialty, whatever you choose, you're important to the patients that need you. I think one of the worst things in our profession is some invisible hierarchy that makes anyone feels like they are less of a nurse because of where they work. 


4 Articles; 2,537 Posts

Specializes in New Critical care NP, Critical care, Med-surg, LTC.

I'm not saying there aren't NUMEROUS problems with my current work environment, but at the end of the day, I love my job. I love walking in with a critically ill patient and knowing that in most cases when I leave 8, 12 or 16 hours later, I will have made some positive impact in their care. They may never even meet me or know that I was there, but I know. Fortunately, I have a pretty low bar for what makes me happy. For example, last night one of my patients had a wound that I didn't think was dressed properly, I left this morning knowing that what I did will improve that healing. My other patient had a fever that was resistant to any medications (these COVID fevers are relentless), the doctor was very happy with the interventions I put into place that didn't require MD orders. While the patient was still febrile, I was pretty confident that I was doing everything possible to improve the situation.  Those are the reasons I still love my hospital job. 

But I do not ascribe any more importance to the work that I did than the work any of my coworkers in any area of care. We are all doing our best in whatever environment we choose to practice, and our patients need us there.  

Specializes in orthopedic/trauma, Informatics, diabetes.

If you really are miserable, leave, make sure that you leave as "eligible for re-hire" and give appropriate leave (I have been told RNs give min 30 days). 

It does sound like you are in a bad situation. 


182 Posts

I graduated May 2021 and started working September 2021 as PCU nurse. I also work the night shift (shoot me). The thing is my schedule is all over the place as there's no option for self scheduling and I work every other weekend and on holidays. I don't like it. I want my weekends off and holidays off and I don't think I'll mind working 5 days a week anyway. I also do not see myself lasting in my unit for more than a year, I'm just scared that if I change I'll end up hating it, I was thinking of changing to the day shift where I work, but I'm used to my night colleagues, and I'm thinking I'll just rather leave than change to day shift. I'm so confused 

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