Taking Job Hopping to a New Level

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    I think I have taken job hopping to a new level. I am an RN of 27 years who has had ten jobs in the past eight years, some for as briefly as a few months. Seriously. The longest I have stayed at any of them was 2.5 years and that was a job doing phone triage from home that I also came to hate.

    I can honestly say that I haven't liked any of these jobs; the responsibility of having people's lives in my hands, the emotional stress, the ridiculous workload (I had an acute dialysis position where I was sometimes required to work 20 hour days!) and feeling incompetent because I took several years off of nursing before jumping back into the pool eight years ago...and on and on and on.

    I am currently working at a hospice inpatient unit which I also don't like, although I am, and always have been, very kind to my patients and their families because I don't blame them that I hate what I do. My employers have all liked me and were unhappy when I quit, but I just couldn't stand what I was doing.

    So here is the same old million dollar question: I feel like I can't go on anymore in nursing but I can't find anything else that I'm qualified to do that would pay even close to what I'm making now and provide benefits, and I don't have the option of working somewhere that pays much less because my husband is currently laid off and finding it hard to find a job due to his age.

    My job requires doing some laundry and dishes and these are actually my favorite part of the job because there's no stress and I don't have to be a nurse to do them.

    Help! Am I stuck? I am getting really depressed and I don't know what to do. It is 7 am and I am already feeling depressed and anxious because I have to work tomorrow evening, not even today!




    Dear Stuck,


    Honestly, I feel that your best solution now is to re-frame your view. You need to work as a nurse to provide for your family so that's your starting point.


    Rather than spending your energy looking for a high paying non-nursing job or letting your dissatisfaction take over, spend your energy focusing on what you do like about your job.You make a difference because you are kind. You get a mental break when you do laundry and wash dishes.


    Sometimes I tell myself I am lucky to work an an inside job, when others work outside in the heat or the cold. Your job provides benefits for your and your husband, and that's huge.


    Reinvent yourself at work. How can you make even more of a difference? Improve the unit, help others? You may not fall in love with your job, but you may find you no longer hate it, either.


    Best wishes,


    Nurse Beth



    Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!
    Last edit by tnbutterfly on Dec 28, '17
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    About Nurse Beth, MSN, RN

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 1,480; Likes: 4,359

    13 Comments

  3. by   AngelKissed857
    My first job was corrections in a incredibly busy county jail. After a few weeks, I was the only RN in the building for 8 hours, with several hundred potential patients, observation cells, mental health holds in crisis, infirmary, and 50+ new medical intakes. Can we say unsafe conditions?! I felt it was only a matter of time till I got into real trouble. Now going into Community Health position where they will pay for me to get CWOCN and CFCN, which is my goal. It's a much better environment for me at this time. If a new nurse is going to go into corrections, it needs to be a reasonably small facility, which another RN on. Just my opinion. Gotta realize, incoming are potential patients will lots of chronic comorbidities, very possibly acute issues, 60-80% with at least one diagnosed psych issue, and the lowest health IQ you can imagine. This is a very unhealthy population, and anything can happen at any time.

    The OP needs to be in an environment that can support her growth, but maybe she needs to identify some arenas that make her heart sing. I think if you love what you are doing, feel a passion for that environment and population, you can grow and experience less stress.
  4. by   Forest2
    I fully understand. It is very depressing to be doing a job you hate, the kind that you just dread going to days in advance.
    I know you don't want to stay where you feel work is sucking the life out of your spirit. So you have to cut expenses to the bare minimum and get your husband off to work somewhere. Either go part time or find something that pays half where you don't want to kill yourself just thinking about work. It sucks, I know. I am working at 14.00 an hour now in a non nursing field. I have one hour lunches daily and plenty of time to goof off in the day. No weekends, no holidays, no overtime, no stress. I answer the phone and take care of customers that wander in from time to time.
    After 33 years of nursing and I couldn't find a hospital job, I decided to try and just be satisfied with less. Though it is not ideal, it is a choice. If you have to sell your house, then do it, down size. Your mental health is worth it. I know it is a tough choice, I didn't buy Christmas gifts this year and no one cared.
    Just sick of the pace and stress of nursing. I hope something changes in this field or there will be no nurses one day. Good luck.
  5. by   1indat
    There is something for everyone in Nursing. Have you thought about being an educator? YOu have a wide variety of experience to share. Or how about home health? Or maybe get into the regulatory aspect and become a state surveyor? Perhaps office based nursing would be interesting. Don't give up or feel that you are stuck. The right job is out there!
  6. by   Amber, BSN, RN
    Agree with 1Indat 100%. I'm sure there is something you will enjoy in nursing. I am currently working at the bedside but just accepted a job that will involve no direct patient care and occasional patient interaction which will involve teaching about preventive care. It is with the public health department in my county. After becoming quickly burned out at the bedside, I think I've found something I will really enjoy and that will be very low stress. You have years of nursing experience, make that work in your favor and know that your experience brings so much value to the table. Try public health you may love it, so many nurses do!
  7. by   SavingGrace007
    Hello Everyone,

    As I read the message along with the suggestion my heart broke for the nurse who wrote saying she hated her job. The reason why it broke was because she poured out her heart regarding her hatred towards the job and didn't get any answers but instead was told to think differently about her job that she said she dislikes! I know how that feels because as a Patient Care Tech/ Medical Assistant in a hospital who works around nurses and patients I have come to hate my job as well and I as well as the OP dread going to work. I have even quit nursing school because I dont think I want to spend any more time and money on a field that I dont believe I would enjoy. I am so thankful that I found this out BEFORE spending a fortune on nursing school! I work along side many nurses who hate their work. Feeling stuck is a horrible place to be and I believe that if you don't like your life... your job... then you shouldn't be told to disregard or stuff that feeling and just "feel better" by thinking another way! Isn't that called denial? The nurse has obviously tried various avenues in her nursing career all with the same result... dread about going to work... and again that is a terrible place to be. Your suggestion was like telling someone to like eating meat when their a vegetarian and they don't like meat. You wouldn't tell them to find something good about meat and just eat it! Or would you? Clearly the OP doesn't like nursing and she needs something else or another option which you didn't provide. Is there another field that she can perhaps get into that uses her degree with minimum training, etc? Please could someone give her some hope... some encouragement? Thank you!
    Last edit by SavingGrace007 on Jan 30 : Reason: misspelled words
  8. by   SavingGrace007
    That's the best answer here! Happiness and peace are waaay more important then "things". Amen!
  9. by   SavingGrace007
    What a GREAT answer! I'm glad you found a job that brings you peace! Money means nothing when your miserable and dreading a job.
  10. by   StarletRN1
    Quote from SavingGrace007
    Hello Everyone,

    As I read the message along with the suggestion my heart broke for the nurse who wrote saying she hated her job. The reason why it broke was because she poured out her heart regarding her hatred towards the job and didn't get any answers but instead was told to think differently about her job that she said she dislikes! I know how that feels because as a Patient Care Tech/ Medical Assistant in a hospital who works around nurses and patients I have come to hate my job as well and I as well as the OP dread going to work. I have even quit nursing school because I dont think I want to spend any more time and money on a field that I dont believe I would enjoy. I am so thankful that I found this out BEFORE spending a fortune on nursing school! I work along side many nurses who hate their work. Feeling stuck is a horrible place to be and I believe that if you don't like your life... your job... then you shouldn't be told to disregard or stuff that feeling and just "feel better" by thinking another way! Isn't that called denial? The nurse has obviously tried various avenues in her nursing career all with the same result... dread about going to work... and again that is a terrible place to be. Your suggestion was like telling someone to like eating meat when their a vegetarian and they don't like meat. You wouldn't tell them to find something good about meat and just eat it! Or would you? Clearly the OP doesn't like nursing and she needs something else or another option which you didn't provide. Is there another field that she can perhaps get into that uses her degree with minimum training, etc? Please could someone give her some hope... some encouragement? Thank you!
    I couldn't agree more. I was completely relating to the OP because I feel the same way about nursing. It is frustrating feeling like you're stuck in a career that you hate because of the insurance and pay that comes with it. I also don't have any other skills except waitressing & customer service jobs. With my husband also unable to work, there would be no way I could make ends meet with what a waitress brings in.

    Feeling trapped is no way to live. You are doing the right thing not attending nursing school. If you don't like it as a MA, it is doubtful that being a RN is going to change that. I wish I had started out as a CNA or MA before attending nursing school because I might have come to the same conclusion you did and saved myself years of unhappiness and stress.
  11. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from SavingGrace007
    Money means nothing when your miserable and dreading a job.
    Money means quite a lot when your husband has been laid off and cannot find a new job, there are bills to pay to keep a roof over your head and your family has a powerful need to go on eating. In that situation, I think I'd keep doing the job I hated until I found one I didn't hate so much.
  12. by   MrsK62
    Can you do something drastic? Downsize your housing as someone else mentioned? Move to a cheaper part of the country? This is no way for you to live. I've been doing travel nursing for the past few years. There's no commitment beyond the contracted 3 months or whatever you agreed to. And if you like it you can usually stay longer. My husband and I have a camper and we stay in it sometimes while I'm doing a contract. This eliminated that feeling of being trapped doing something you hate (I tell myself I can do anything for 3 months). I don't know if I said anything that helps but I hope you find an answer that makes you happier. Please let us know what your outcome is
    Best of luck.
  13. by   Kansasmomandnurse
    So here is a thought in response to your situation about job-hopping and hating your job: first, I've felt this way and it's miserable. Colors your whole outlook and can be so awful knowing that you hate your job. My idea? Find a " weekend option" job. Doing something you dislike for two shifts and done may be doable! Check in your area- are these available? Trust me, life looks a lot better when you're only committed to two shifts but can support your household and get full- time benefits. I know for me it's the difference between a terrible attitude and a good one! I worked 5 days a week and hated it. Now, I do essentially the same thing but only 2 days a week for the same $. I'm a lot happier! Try it if you can and feel free to message me if you have any q's. Good luck. I feel for you and one more change where you can settle down and stay might be a great thing.
  14. by   feelix
    Being asked to suck it up and report to work is what is wrong with nursing. It is like being ordered to close your eyes and sleep with someone you can't stnd the sight of. I have been doing the same for a long time. Job hopping to the next safe environment, decent colleagues I could not find. We need to brainstorm for our colleague.
    Depending on her age, experience, and training she could do a lot else. Her problem is, she wont make the same kind of money. It will also need some retraining or college as well as downsizing.
    I got my masters and became an educator. The money is comparable and the stress is cyclical not daily. Home health is a catch 22. It pays well only if you work full time. Full time is very stressful as they chase you over the phone and there is call at all hours but it beats bedside.
    Look into wound and ostomy care. Nursing homes will live you.
    If you can, go back to college and become a PT or OT assistant. You will earn as much as an RN. Work in a gym and cut down on the stress. It is cheap as community college tuition is affordable.
    Ask hubby to find any job he can to pay the bills.

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