Need A Change In Career… Having A Nursing Career Crisis. Where to next?

Nurses Career Support


I've been a registered nurse for 4 years, just turned 40, started on a high acuity tele floor and recently transitioned into quality management as sepsis coordinator. I think I'm having a mid life crisis with my career as I obviously am too indecisive. My new role is exempt and  I work 72 hours, so every other Friday off. It's flexible and  I love the teaching, rounding and  collaborating aspect (but there's only about <20% of time for all that) as the bulk of my job is chart review and  finding missed documentation to send to the coders. I focus on sep-1 bundle and  mortality measures for 2 hospitals. I hate chart review! There are hundreds of charts and so many opportunities for improvement. I could read charts 6-7 hours a day and still not get to them all. Anyway, I have an 8 month old and  6 year old so family time is important to me, but I feel like it's too early in my career to give my skills up.I've been off the floor for 10 months now.

I've had a few interviews and  have more coming up. My current organization has a pension, which I'm mildly vested in, but there are opportunities elsewhere. 

I miss patient care but not bedside. I also miss precepting, being charge and resource and building relationships with excellent physicians who are great teachers. 

I don't miss my plantar fasciitis and  back pain that finally got better after I left the bedside. 

Possibilities I have based on interview I had or have one coming up:

-PACU, 3, 12s plus call (2 weekend shifts a month and  2 weekday shifts a month). Sounds exciting! But will my plantar fasciitis come back and  haunt me? So much standing is hard on my body.

-Infection preventionist at a newly built SNF, 4, 10s no weekends or holidays. 

-Phone triage with my current organization (keep my pension, remote from home, mon-fri, live calls)

-Palliative care coordinator -  inpatient 

-Infusion clinic (Mon-Fri)

-cath lab (being considered to be trained but don't have critical care experience) 4, 10s plus call. 

-Break/resource nurse, mid shift, 3 12s, but this county hospital doesn't pay as well (I live next door). Also, how can they always have a break nurse? I'm sure short staffing will require a bedside assignment. 

-Keep my job since I've only been at it for 6 months, and  transition into another role in quality?

I'm grateful to have all these opportunities but so indecisive. I know it sounds like I want to have my cake and  eat it to. Please share your experiences in these positions. I need something in between the chaos of the floor and  silence of quality.

Thank you!

Specializes in ICU.

I don’t know what to tell you other than Good Luck! I’m in the same boat I think. 40 years old mid life crisis. I actually left the nursing field all together about six months ago. I have a desk job. But I miss it tremendously (I don’t know why LOL) and I am considering going back to the bedside. 

Specializes in Med-Surg, Oncology, School Nursing, OB.

Trust me when I say I’m as indecisive as you and always trying to figure out what job I’d enjoy the most. I’ve been in a job for years (school nursing) that I don’t love or even enjoy most of the time. It’s just OK. I feel unfulfilled and more like a social worker than a nurse most days. I’ve left several times and go back.
I’ve learned there are no perfect jobs that will have everything you want. There’s always good and bad with each one. You need to figure out what is most important to you in this time of your life. Is it family time, flexibility, money, career growth to like management, skill growth, further education,  etc. Also in there is what are your long term goals with your career? Then choose the job most in line with what’s most important to you and what is most likely to get you where you want to eventually be. Bear in mind priorities can change with different stages of life. Then remember whatever you pick it’s not going to be perfect so don’t dwell on the negatives but what it’s giving you. 

Now that my kids are grown and I don’t necessarily need a family friendly schedule I’m trying to decide if I want (and have the energy and drive) to make a change or if I can be content enough to stay where I’m at for another 10-15 yrs. I’m not sure and still trying to figure it out. People say don’t do anything you’d regret yet I feel like I’ve made many decisions I regret so I never know which decisions I’ll regret and which I won’t. LOL!

Specializes in School Nursing, Home Health.

Sounds like you have quite a line up! Good luck! 

I do have to say it would probably be good to just see what your priorities are. What are your TOP things you look for  in a job - flexibility, schedule, pension?

For me it has always been flexibility as I'm like you and have small children AND my husband is stay at home finishing his degree.

So flexibility is my priority right now, I'm like the previous poster, been working as a school nurse for years now. I'll never get rich, but have good hours, good co-workers and I like my job about 80% of the time so we shall see (currently casually looking). 

Good luck! 

I'm right there with you. I'm trying to figure out if I should stay or if I should go. I don't see a lot of good on the horizon for nursing in general or where I work. My department used to have certain experience requirements for hiring RNs but now have instead gone to the pulse check method of hiring because we're short staffed.

Nursing skills translate to basically any type of work, so we've got that going for us.

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