New Nurse, Thinking About Throwing in the Towel

Updated | Posted
by NurseLindsey NurseLindsey, BSN (New) New Nurse

Specializes in IR. Has 2 years experience.

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I went to nursing school as a second career move, I thought I wanted to be an acute care NP. After working as a nurse for just a month Covid hit and everything changed. I went back to my desk job that I had before nursing school after 1.5 years of Covid, mainly working in a procedure area but floating to Covid floors to help.

I have always wanted to be an ICU nurse so being back at my desk job got a bit boring and I missed traumas, etc so I applied for a SICU position and started working in May. Now that I'm a little over a month in I have some major regrets... I just don't think I actually like being a nurse. Or maybe it's the bedside thing that I don't like because I was procedural before.

I find nursing a bit impossible. Always asked to do more with less, more documentation, more demands from family, more orders from the team, trying to transport one pt to CT while the other needs just as many things, everything that goes wrong is your fault, I'm an idiot because I don't have 'MD' next to my name according to most family members and even many providers (sorry but the PAs have by far been the worst)... The support for nursing is just not there from an administrative level, no matter what hospital you're at because I am at a 'top ten' hospital and it sure doesn't feel like it...

I'm starting to think the healthcare system is broken beyond repair and my lifelong dream of becoming a provider in medicine is just slowly being crushed by the mega business that healthcare has become. I don't know whether to stick it out longer or just go back to my peaceful, 9-5 public health desk job before I lose that for good and get stuck in nursing.

Seeing so many people leaving and hearing the complaints and seeing the exhaustion from my coworkers who have been doing this for years is just making me want to run, especially when I can honestly say my heart isn't in it. Or maybe I don't want to be in the ICU, or bedside for that matter, after all. 

I'm really torn, I don't want to give up too early, maybe I just need to give it a chance, but on the other hand I have been in and out of the medical field for years (just not as a nurse until about 2 years ago) and maybe what I've always known is just clicking -- that healthcare, and now I can say nursing, just kind of sucks. LOL I'm being a bit facetious but seriously, is it just time to throw in the towel on healthcare?

I'm not scared at work or terrified (although there are moments) I'm mainly just blah about being there and dread going in because of how much running I'm going to do without ever feeling like I accomplished anything, getting attitude from pretentious family members, and how tired I'm going to be by the time I get home just to do it all over again the next day. The excessive, BS liability charting literally makes me want to bang my head against a wall just thinking about it. Please help.

ThePrincessBride, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in Med-Surg, NICU. Has 7 years experience. 1 Article; 2,556 Posts

You came into nursing at the worse possible time, during the worse of the pandemic. Nursing was bad before but Covid took nursing and her brothers and sisters (medicine,  respiratory therapy,  etc) to hell.

It is totally okay not to want to work bedside anymore. Although,  I personally have seen some positive changes in nursing (wages are skyrocketing where I am and the ratios are better due to travelers and insane OT incentives), bedside is still dysfunctional. I am expecting a baby girl soon in a few months and if she told me she wanted to follow in her mommy's footsteps, I would do everything in my power to convince her otherwise. 

I would recommend at least keeping your license active. Also, there are so many non-bedside nursing positions to explore that will allow you to continue using your education without the bs that is bedside.

NurseLindsey

NurseLindsey, BSN

Specializes in IR. Has 2 years experience. 13 Posts

I sincerely wish I could go back to 2018 me and stop me from enrolling in nursing school. I have to say I have made a lot more money as a result of getting my RN (working Covid OT and nursing as a side hustle while maintaining my 9-5 when I stepped away from clinical for about a year) than I would have otherwise but I can't say it's worth it. I'm tired. 

Does is hurt

Does is hurt

2 Posts

I am regretting it too. Nursing has changed so much. Covid has just exacerbated the negatives in my opinion. I so wish I’d become a PA. All that education to be treated so poorly. Just sad. I’m not throwing in the towel though, I can’t afford to. I’m looking for options within nursing that will make me happier.

TAKOO01

TAKOO01, BSN

Has 6 years experience. 1 Article; 239 Posts

On 6/18/2022 at 9:06 AM, ThePrincessBride said:

I am expecting a baby girl soon in a few months and if she told me she wanted to follow in her mommy's footsteps, I would do everything in my power to convince her otherwise

Congratulations!! And I would do the same thing.

TAKOO01

TAKOO01, BSN

Has 6 years experience. 1 Article; 239 Posts

On 6/17/2022 at 7:51 PM, NurseLindsey said:

I wanted to be an acute care NP.

 After reading your message,  this is one of the main takeaways for me. I am not an NP, but my understanding that it is very different than bedside RN nursing. I think if you hate being an RN, it doesn't  necessarily  mean you will hate being an NP. If it is still your dream,  research your preferred NP schools and find out what type of RN experience they want for admission. Get a job in one of the areas that the school requires. Do your required time as an RN and then head to NP school.

Whether you choose to remain an RN (maybe go back to a procedural job?), become an NP or go back to the public health gig, please do leave the current job. There are no prizes for "sticking it out".  It sounds like it is torture for you.

CommunityRNBSN

CommunityRNBSN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Community health. Has 4 years experience. 801 Posts

I know others have said this too, but-- leave the bedside.  The last time I stepped foot in a hospital was my last day of nursing school clinicals.  No, it's not a solution to the problem; somebody has to work there.  But it doesn't have to be me.  I work in a low-income clinic (FQHC) and it's a disaster as far as the administration is concerned, but nobody's life is in my hands, my coworkers are pleasant, and the patients appreciate me.

2BS Nurse, BSN

Has 9 years experience. 657 Posts

"The last time I stepped foot in a hospital was my last day of nursing school clinicals.  No, it's not a solution to the problem; somebody has to work there.  But it doesn't have to be me."

Ditto!! My clinical experiences were very telling. I knew the inpatient culture was NOT for me!

Mr. Murse

Mr. Murse

Specializes in Critical Care/Vascular Access. Has 11 years experience. 395 Posts

Well I'll be the contrasting voice in the comments here and say that I actually really have enjoyed nursing (I'm almost 11 years in). I've done med/surg, ICU, charge, travel nursing, and currently doing primarily PICC team/vascular access and float, and have found enjoyment in all of them. Nursing has provided me with so much growth emotionally, intellectually, and not to mention financially. It's a fascinating place to study people, and if you really look closely then the chance to meaningfully help people is constantly there........as long as you're not expecting thanks or praise. ha. Sure, there are some huge flaws with the field and things that bother me incessantly, but looking back over my decade in nursing I can say without a doubt that nursing has given me more than it has taken from me.

If I were you, I would first try exploring another facility or two before completely bailing on hospital/bedside nursing altogether. The culture at a facility can make ALL the difference in the a nurse's experience in the field. I currently float to 3 different hospitals in my area and they're very different from eachother even though they're all in the same network. It's not just the unit you're on either necessarily because usually the culture permeates the whole hospital. Maybe a different culture would change your perspective on it.

It's also not unlikely that bedside nursing may just not be your thing. In which case maybe look into nursing outside the hospital, or branches of nursing that are more office oriented. Or keep working towards being an NP as you mentioned because their jobs are definitely not the same as ours.

Anyway, good luck. It's interesting how drastically different of an experience one nurse can have from another. I hope you find a place that feels right.