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Leaving Management

by Daisy Daisy Member

Specializes in Critical Care, and Management. Has 30 years experience.

I would love to hear from anyone who stepped down from a management position. I just returned to floor nursing after 5 very hard and only getting harder years. I found the work to be very stressful and unrewarding. I decided to try the floors again for some peace, predictability and some appreciation for good work. thanks

I know where you are coming from. I not only stepped down, but left nursing management entirely when I could no longer support policies and agendas that continuously and adversely (in my opinion) impacted upon the patients and the nursing department. In this organization, the primary customer was not the patient-it was the physician; the bottom line was the driving force and nurse tongue.gifatient ratios were viewed as a scalable item (adjusted according to profits). Even so, many dedicted individuals gave 100% daily. The personal toll was high for them and for me. I only hope my successor is more successful in achieving the professional goals than I was. I chose to leave because of my love for the profession and for the individuals in the profession-and for the patients. The result? My enthusiam is back, the future is brighter and my hope for the future of the profession is renewed.

Know exactly what you mean! After 11 years in supervision, I moved to the ER at the end of November. I just couldn't take another winter of too many patients and never enough help to go around. I actually like to go to work now! I'd forgotten how much I enjoy actually taking care of people. After 20 yrs in nursing, this is exactly where I want to be!

I've done the same thing twice in the last 25 years. It seemed to be the only way to revive my dying feelings for nursing. It seems that I have to get back the the bedside to remind me what it is really all about! It is not about stupid rules, regulations, or standards, but about making just one person feel better for a little while, perhaps by rubbing their back or listening to their fears about surgery, or giving them a few ice chips when they are NPO, or fluffing their pillow and smoothing the wrinkles out of the sheets. All persons in management positions and positions that take them away from the bedside for long periods of time (are you listening JCAHO suveyors???) should be required to do patient care for at least 6 months every five years, just to REMEMBER what is is really all about! Good luck to you and enjoy.

I worked in management for years.... and it was TOUGH!! I caught hell from upper management and then again from staff!!! I considered stepping down and going back to regular staffing, but decided to test the waters outside of the hospital setting.... It's NO SHAME to step down!!!! Each individual should do what's best for them!!! GOOD LUCK!!


[This message has been edited by bshort (edited February 23, 2000).]

I have been a nurse for 30 years, and I have practiced in all levels of nursing, from staff nurse, middle management and upper management. I have heard the same complaints today, as I heard from all levels when I first started out in nursing. Do we ever really learn what is best for our profession? I believe we all have to do what is best for ourselves, in whatever position we are practicing. I also worked as a manager for a nursing department that I could no longer support the management team I worked with, so I resigned and went to another hospital to work and worked as a staff nurse. It was an enjoyable break for me, and I too, liked working with patients. It gave me a new insight into what the staff nurse does. I really enjoy management, and went back into a management position within 6 months. I think alot of your happiness, regardless of your position depends on the facility where you work and the attitudes of the management team. I work with an excellant group of managers and middle managers. We still hear "grumbling" from some of the staff, but I don't think you can ever dismiss that completely. Good luck.

I am trying to find a management/eadership theory that would support a case study that involves just what you all are discussing. In the case study 2 units merge and the staff morale is low, the nurses from the previously seperated units are not getting along, and the one nurse that is causing the most unrest is your best friend. And, oh yeah, you were promoted to nurse manager 6 months ago, and now are the nurse manager for the combined new unit. Lots of problems in this study. I need a good management/leadership theory (not nursing theory) to support this case study. Please respon with any suggestions. Thanks, Naomi, RN


Specializes in Critical Care, and Management. Has 30 years experience.

As the initiater of the discussion, I would like to say to Naomi and any others that I was a Med/Surg Manager in charge of two units. We had to float staff all the time and it seems like no one gets along anymore. I ended up being a referee for fights amongst the nurses. Remember these are adults who claim to be professionals!! Sometimes I felt I needed to get my Masters in Psychology to help these people.Management today is giving total energy to everyone. You are expected to come up with all the answers to everyone's problems. What happens is that over time you don't realize but you are having your own problems. You are being pulled in two directions by the staff and administration. Plus you have to do all that paperwork too. I tried to tell administration that I was having second thoughts about staying in the position and she thought I was just having a bad day.Well when we had a major patient issue, she told me I wasn't doing enough to prevent this kind of problem. That did it. When I resigned she almost died. Now they miss me.I also didn't have a good management team to work with. They all went their separate ways to solve their own unit problems. My former boss, a good person at heart, lives and breathes for the organization and I was expected to do the same. I ran out of steam and re-evaluated my feelings for the profession and re-evaluated my personal life. I needed to feel like I was helping someone. I was not helping those helpless nurses. They need to grow up. I wish anyone all the best of luck in management especially middle management. Nursing can be a rewarding profession. I have been back on the unit as a staff nurse now for a month and I have left my job everyday knowing that I gave excellent patient care. My phone doesn't ring anymore. GOOD LUCK.

Hi, its Naomi again. I was disturbed by all the negative responses about nursing management. For those of you that have left management and returned to floor nursing, I have some questions. I am thick in the middle of a management and leadership class at an RN to BSN program, and your responses and our lectures have me confused. I want to better understand what processes in our educations, our profession, our values (especially caring), unions, and professional organizations, that has had the ability to keep good nurses out of powerful positions? Why aren't nurses empowered to be the true leaders/managers of healthcare in this country? Why do nurses not believe that they could effect great change and be even more effective at providing safe, professional and compassionate care for our patients anywhere but at the bedside?

I would appreciate introspective, honest replies to this querry. We all know about the harrassment of staffing etc. I am trying to find out the real reason that so many nurses cannot ascend the ranks without being trampled down?

Thank you in advance for your thoughtful responses,

Naomi, RN

I am currently leaving management/consulting also but since I have been in a management/consulting position, I am having a hard time finding a hospital nursing position. I do not have 1 year RECENT hands-om nursing experience. I do have 7 years experience as a critical care RN from 1987 to 1994. What can I say in the interview or on a cover page to let them know this is what I want and my skills and knowledge aren't dead..just a little rusty. I have continued to keep up with my critical care journals and the new procedures by reading, but this is not enough. I would really like some suggestions. Thanks and Good Luck.

Naomi, it is my feeling we are not allowed to be effective because nurses are expendable at any level. My personal experience in management has been as Director of Nurses in a long term care skilled rehab facility (quite successful). It is as Daisy says, it is driven by the bottom line. Quality of Life and Quality of Care are secondary except when state surveyors are in and everyone knows how to "act." Along the same lines we have administrators and owners who are clueless about healthcare. A quote from an owner on an occasion when he thought we were spending too much money on gloves,"Wear them, wash them and wear them again!" Sad, but true. Some administrators are also very young, fresh out of college, (my latest one and the one that made me rethink my position), are intimitated by your knowledge and instead of growing and learning, fight you every inch of the way. I just want to go to work, take great care of my patients, go home feeling good about what I've done. Yes, there is always stress in every job, personality issues will always crop their ugly heads, but as a floor nurse you don't have to solve this problem and a million others at the same time. I am not sure if I really answered you question. I rambled on a lot, but hope it helped a little.


Specializes in Critical Care, and Management. Has 30 years experience.

Unfortunately, Naomi and any others that are getting into leadership,there is nothing wrong with the drive to be a good leader. What happens in organizations today is that money is the real driver. Instead of being a leader to the staff and finding what you have done a rewarding experience, you are instead completing projects, payroll, hours of staffing problems, interviewing, tons of paperwork, and preparing for inspections. When there is no one to work staff ( which is very common today in most hospitals) you are now the staff nurse. You have just worked 50 plus hours of a 40 hour paid week and now its Saturday and you don't get overtime. I worked two holidays this past year as a manager. It's also quite a mix of values when it comes to nurses. We still have nurses near retirement who are just biding their time. We also have the new grads who are surprised that they have to work weekends and holidays and only want day shift. If they don't like the work or the pay they move to another hospital. The turnover these days is incredible. I can say that I tried to do the best I could but the desire to do more just left me. I cried for weeks when I was leaving because I wanted it to work. If you have the desire and the spirit go for it but always remember to take care of yourself first.

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