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Leaving the bedside

Updated | Posted

Maybe it’s the COVID, maybe its the stress of being a new nurse, but I am considering leaving the bedside after my two year contract is up.

So, If you are an RN who’s left the bedside, what career path did you choose and why? Any regrets/advice for others leaving the bedside?

Numenor, BSN, MSN, NP

Specializes in Internal Medicine. Has 9 years experience.

To do what? Public health, community health, education and care management are all options

OUxPhys, BSN, RN

Specializes in Cardiology. Has 4 years experience.

I will eventually leave the bedside, either for case management or a procedural area or a specialty clinic. My buddy is also considering leaving the bedside and is interested in the EP lab.

9 hours ago, Numenor said:

To do what? Public health, community health, education and care management are all options

Thats the issue, I’m not quite sure what I want to do. I think I’d like something with more regular hours, don’t think I’d be a very good teacher. I want to learn from people’s personal experiences about transitioning to another role

Use the search function for this site. This question comes up weekly and there have been so many examples given.

Katie82, RN

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, PH, CM. Has 39 years experience.

I worked bedside while my husband was active duty military, because it was easier to find a quick job at each new duty station. Once we stopped moving, I left bedside and never looked back. Public Health, Admin, Case Management (where I finally found my niche). There is life outside the hospital.

calwen, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg Tele. Has 24 years experience.

I have worked many areas in acute care, and then transitioned to community health and case management roles. It really depends on what you are interested in, and what your strengths are. For example I really liked teaching patients/families about their health conditions, medications, etc in plain English in the hospital. That interest brought me to the role I do today working for a nonprofit agency in a community health/nurse liaison role.

Do you like flexibility or structure? Do you like researching and finding answers to questions? Do you like working with a team or more independently? What have you been praised on in your performance review or by peers? What successes have you had working at the bedside ( seeing a complex patient heal and go home, saving a patient in a crisis, heading off an error, etc) and how did it make you feel (proud, relieved, dread you would have to do again, etc)

There is a lot out there besides bedside nursing, but none of it is perfect of course. There will always be some things you don’t really like about any job. And your boss and the team you work with our extremely important- it will make or break a position in any realm. But acute care nursing is one of the more stressful areas for sure, and our current health care system treats nurses as expendable (even when they are being hailed as heroes). Be patient, keep your mind open, hone in on what you really like about nursing, and keep searching.

Nursy Nurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency Room. Has 12 years experience.

Look into Occupational Health. Pharmaceutical/Manufacturing companies hire nurses to oversee their medical surveillances, worker's comp claims, LTD/STD, etc.. It's a field primarily made up of old nurses. Almost all of the companies are M-F, day shift and you never have to worry about getting a day off or vacation approved. It's worth looking into, especially if you have ER experience. The employees you care for are nothing like hospital patients and the companies like ER nurses because it shows you won't rattle easy and you've proven that can multitask under stressful conditions.

scuba nurse, BSN, MSN, RN

Has 31 years experience.

I left for school nursing because I was burned out after almost 20 years, and the hours worked well with my family. And I love it!! No regrets!

I left for Poison Control and I love it! Find your local center's website and look into it. I'll never go back to the floor.



Has 31 years experience.

I left bedside nursing about 5 years ago, no regrets, no interest in going back. 

Have mostly worked case management. Worked briefly in hospice but it wasn't for me.