Nurses that change their jobs often. Is that common?


  1. How often is acceptable for nurses to change jobs?

    • 16
      every 1-2 years
    • 4
      every 2-3 years
    • 7
      every 4-5 years
    • 3
      plan to retire from current job

30 members have participated

I have been an RN for 25 years and have changed jobs on average every 2-3 years. I have family who occassionally make remarks about my frequent changes, although I have also moved about to 4 different cities during that time period. I say nurses do change jobs more often because of better pay elsewhere when local hospitals do decide to compete for nurses or when working conditions are hard to tolerate. I just don't see this profession as one that creates longevity in the work place. How do you feel?


5 Posts

I have also changed jobs every 2-3 years. I find that yes the pay is better when changing jobs, but I do it for different experiences and more knowledge. I want to be the best nurse I can be and sometimes that means switching jobs. I think that is is pretty common for nurses to change jobs often. Good thought provoking question.

hoolahan, ASN, RN

1 Article; 1,721 Posts

Specializes in Home Health.

My family would give me the lifetime achievment award if I stayed more than six months!

I was at one facility for 13 years, but had to travel 45 min to and from, so when one of our surgeons announced he was coming to a very local hosp to open a new Open heart unit, I went with him. It was very exciting to be in on this project. Unfortunately, I thought we would be able to take the best parts of the former place and mix them with the best parts of the new place. It was not to be. Much politics interfered, starting with new place leading thier ICU manager to believe she would be also managing this unit, so imagine her surprise when the new manager our surgeon picked showed up. Then we were not under the nursing dept, we were under the dept of CT surgery, so nursing dept had no control over our staff, like pulling, etc... Hey, at least our doc recognized the reason his pt's did so well was due to his nurses and good ratios.

Anyway after 6 months of unbearable politics, I took my first out, a day time (my first) PACU spot. This unit was great, but I was on the staggered shift, and so, being a trauma center, since I was last shift 10-6, I never got out on time. By the time I got out, and all pt's had beds, it would be 8, my husband had already ate with the kids and taken them to their activities, so I never saw them until they got home, then they had baths and bed. Not my idea of family time. So, I decided I really wanted to get in on an insurance case management job, cushy, no w/e or holidays.

I applied for dozens of these jobs. They wanted home health or d/c planning experience. So finally, after 6 months of wacky PACU schedule, I decided let me try this home health thing. I loved it. But, I was still shooting for the CM job.

After 6 months, I took one last shot at CM, NOW they wanted me. So, I left and did it. Yikes!! Talk about night and day. Went from freedom and autonomy of homehealth to complete micromanagment and no flexibility in my schedule at all. Went back to VNA.

Liked it, but wanted to move into management (or so I thought) was kinda promised a spot, when they gave it to someone else, I got PO'd and left, for another HH agency, for a supervisor position. This company was great. Great people, etc, but very small. I was intake, took all calls from docs, insur co, pt's, and did scheduling for weekend and into the next week (set-up, it changes daily.) It was so stressful, being there with so little clerical/support staff, I went back to VNA.

Still looking for that silver lining, I decided to try a stint as a CHHA supervisor. I have just decided , no more. I'm going back to VNA, if they will take this prodigal dtr back, and staying there at least until my kids get into HS!!!

I just cannot beat the flexibility. All the paperwork hassle is , to me, a small price to pay for such autonomy. I have been at this work for 20 years now, I don't need someone looking over my shoulder every step of the way, thank you very much.

I may be thick-headed, slow to learn, whatever, but I am TIRED of this changing stuff. I also finally realized that management is not enjoybale and is only more stress. While each job has been a challenge, and I have learned a lot, since each one has been different and required me to read and learn more, I just want to coast for a little while. I will of course read and keep up with new treatments, but for learning complete new roles, NO MORE!

I wanted to "use my BSN" that I worked so hard and so long for, now I see I should have just been content with the gift I had in front of me. (Remind me of these words when I start b***hing about VNA in a month, OK?? LOL!!)

I was only at this last job for 4 months, since I stayed per diem with VNA at the same time, I am not even going to put it on my resume. Of course I won't have to, since I will be staying put!!! I have to completely swear off want ads and! I meet with my DON and super tomorrow to see about a FT spot with VNA. Keep your fingers crossed!!!

Thanks for letting me vent.

To answer the question, I don't think it's common! LOL! At least not as frequently as I have in the last 4 years.


101 Posts

First job I stayed 2 years. Left because I didn't like staffing. Didn't feel "supported" by administrator's. I actually stayed there longer than I should've.

Present job I've been at for 4 years. Though I'm actively looking for a new job. I stayed at my current job so long because of flexibility, excellent peers/afternoon supervisor. Now I'm looking b/c I'm a little bored and not happy with the change of matrix over the year's.


2,709 Posts

There used to be a time that a nurse with so much job changing was looked down upon & assumed to have been a problem because she couldnt keep a job & probably wouldnt stay in the one they were interviewing you for either - so they wouldnt take the risk of investing in your orientation & such frequent job changes were a liability on your resume. NOW having had different positions is considered to be a widely diverse experience & a positive on your resume. So dont regret it. Just think of how marketable you are! You can do anything.


6 Posts

Thanks for your support JT. I do often feel like I need superglue to fix me to one job for a while. The last one I left was one I thought I would retire from, but I needed to move due to my husbands job relocation. BooHoo But I will find another somewhere I like ... I hope! Nursing offers plenty of options that other professions do not offer, yet so many of those positions are not what we as nurses are really wishing for. uhmmmmmm...

Trauma Columnist

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN

153 Articles; 21,232 Posts

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 31 years experience.

My husband was in the air force for 23 years, so I have had several nursing jobs.

First one was in Las Vegas - ER LPN, 2 years.

Second one in Indianapolis, IN - LTC LPN - 3 years, ICU RN - 1 year

Third job in Peoria, IL - ER RN for almost six years now.

I don't mind changing jobs, but also like to keep things in perspective and not just change for change's sake.


299 Posts

My first job I only stayed for 2 months, staffing was awful. The next job was for over a year, now I have been on my current job for almost 3 years.

I do not think I will retire from this job however. I am sure I will get bored soon and move on. It is a matter of time.

Hey TraumaRUs I was born in Peoria and raised in E. Peoria and the Pekin area. Have not been there for years though. Good to see a Midwesterner.

canoehead, BSN, RN

6,841 Posts

Specializes in ER. Has 30 years experience.

I've tried several per diem and part time jobs since moving to Maine while keeping my spot where I currently work. I haven't found anywhere I like as much but I think sometimes I want change because I'm bored, or feeling unsatisfied- not necessarily with the job. I also hear about all the money travellers are making and I'm tempted, but once I get down to actually signing a contract I realize that I wouldn't be happy making a choice for money alone. So I've also made a lot of job changes, but always come back to the same place. It doesn't seem to have a negative effect on my career, as I've kept a position in one place in spite of all the wandering on the side.


951 Posts

Specializes in Hospice, Critical Care. Has 17 years experience.

Been at my facility 6 years. Expect to stay.

Grass is not always greener on the other side. It's just different grass.


280 Posts

I've worked in 5 hospitals in 5 years. Three jobs I liked, I had to leave because our family moved. One hospital (last year) was so unsafe to work at I had to leave.

Now I love my job, but I will have to leave again in 3-4 months due to another move. I may stay home for a few years, of just do per diem one day a week. Mommyhood is calling loudly, and my two boys are young and FUN.

I really enjoy the flexibility of nursing as it has allowed me to bring in an income and medical insurance for the family, while not having to put my kids in childcare. However, for the next ten years, it just might be my hobby.

SharonH, RN

2,144 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg, Geriatrics. Has 20 years experience.

I've had at least 8 jobs in the past 11 years not counting my agency assignments. Just a couple of days ago, a co-worker asked me why I changed jobs so often. My answer: because I can. That is one of the few really good things about nursing, you have so many opportunities, there is no reason you can't move around and learn new things and if a job sucks I just quit. I do however try not to burn bridges. After 11 years in this profession I have concluded that there is no "perfect" job for me. I am trying to change the whole way I look at nursing, with one of my options being entrepreneurship or independence. But whatever I do, I'm going to continue to exercise my options. I don't think there's anything wrong with changing jobs often as long as it's voluntary and you're not being fired every time.


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