I apologize if this will be a long post. I just need to vent my feelings and am wondering if anyone else has ever felt the same.
Ive been a nurse for 5 years. My very first nursing job was on a med surg unit. The unit and hospital had particularly high nurse turnover. At the time, I was not in a good place in my personal life. I had a lot of anxiety and personal things I had not dealt with - the unit I was on just multiplied the anxiety. I loved the actual job, but the realities of the hospital were just too much at that time.
I left that first job after about one year. I thought I hated nursing and swore I would never work in the hospital again. I formulated my exit plan from nursing - I got a job in an outpatient clinic and started working on a masters in public health. I worked in the outpatient clinic for several years. I actually had a pretty good experience as a nurse at that job. Meanwhile, i did a lot of soul searching, worked on myself, and found myself in a better place than I was at that first job.
I decided I was not ready to give up on nursing. I ended up getting a job as a public health nurse, where Ive been working for a while now. A lot of things have changed in my personal life. I am in a way better headspace and place in life than I was as a brand new nurse.
Despite the good place im now in, I struggle a lot with trying to figure out my career path. Ive debated a lot over the past 5 years wether or not I want to be a nurse. I love helping people and I love science/medicine. I love the learning opportunities as a nurse and the flexibility of the career. On the other hand, i hate the realities of nursing. Its frustrating how hospitals are run and how little time for patient care nurses have. Even outpatient practices are like this to a degree.
I was recently accepted to a program that will allow me to change my career. Without getting in too much detail, it will allow me to learn the skills take a non-clinical role in health or public health where I can use computer programs. The potential job opportunities pay higher than nursing. I cant say I would feel as passionate about the potential job opportunities as nursing, but they would pay more and some would interest me.
Throughout my whole nursing career I have found myself, at times, wanting a way out. Now that I have a concrete way out....I am getting cold feet. Im scared to leave nursing. I love feeling like I am making a difference as a nurse. Im worried another job would not give me that fulfillment. I also feel kind of guilty for wanting to leave at times - how could i leave such a caring profession? If nurses keep leaving the profession - will there be anyone there to care for me or my loved ones if ever in need?
I also have always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to try the hospital again, now that I am in a better headspace and place in life. Im worried that I will always have this “what if” in my mind if I change careers.
Has anyone else ever felt this fear or guilt about leaving nursing?
Anyways - I decided to make an appointment with a career counselor to help me figure all this out! So im not looking for anyone to solve my quarter life crisis.
I just wanted a space to vent and wondered if anyone else ever has felt the same about leaving nursing.