Burnout and career indecision

  1. This is my first post and I'm torn between wanting to abandon nursing but feeling that I have too much invested and not being sure what else I want to do when I grow up...I should add that I'm 49! Anyone else feeling this way? Early in my career I worked on a rehab unit, then home health and then in home health management. When my son was born I wanted to work part-time and had to leave management. I started working part-time on an inpatient psych. unit mainly due to the weekend and evening shifts which kept my son out of daycare, my interest in psychology and being out of touch with high tech clinical skills. I worked as a part-time psych RN for 10 years. I initially enjoyed it but as regulations changed, we had more chronic, violent patients and questionably appropriate patients, I grew to resent working weekends and had little self satisfaction even though I am very knowledgeable and got excellent performance reviews. I feel like I have painted myself into a career corner because the area of nursing that I have expertise in, is the very type of work I no longer want to do. I have since left inpatient work, presently work psych home health prn (too many regs and paperwork!) and work part-time for a mental health residential rehab program. (low wages, poor public funding and admittance of more violent consumers) I did temp work doing chart auditing for a Medicare project which was interesting but the contract ended. I have no interest in any shift work, school or office nursing. Quality improvement seems interesting but all ads have required prior job and Excel experience. If I had another burning interest I think I would already be out of nursing as most friends my age have done. I am usually a decisive person but feel like I am stuck at this crossroad and am either afraid or unsure which direction to go. Sometimes I fantasize about things that seem exciting but are totally unrealistic for me or my family like working in the Foreign Service or for W.H.O. or U.N.H.C.R. at the U.N. or moving to Australia or writing and traveling for National Geographic. Maybe I'm looking for a fantasy job to put excitement in my otherwise routine, middle-aged, middle class, small town life?! Sorry for the long, whiny post...but this is my story and I'm sticking to it! Anyone else out there feeling like this?
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    About filer157

    Joined: Feb '05; Posts: 1

    5 Comments

  3. by   TitaniaSidhe
    Had a friend who got out of psych nursing, she had been in for over 20 years, & got herself a job with the state gov. in NJ auditing cases for home health care & welfare. She has much autonomy kind of like a community health nurse. Carries her laptop around with her to vaious locations doing audits of charting. She loves her new found freedom & says she is making decent money. Another thought might be working for a drug company as a nurse rep...I am hearing they too are making excellent $$, if you can get the position.
  4. by   Psychaprn
    Quote from filer157
    This is my first post and I'm torn between wanting to abandon nursing but feeling that I have too much invested and not being sure what else I want to do when I grow up...I should add that I'm 49! Anyone else feeling this way? Early in my career I worked on a rehab unit, then home health and then in home health management. When my son was born I wanted to work part-time and had to leave management. I started working part-time on an inpatient psych. unit mainly due to the weekend and evening shifts which kept my son out of daycare, my interest in psychology and being out of touch with high tech clinical skills. I worked as a part-time psych RN for 10 years. I initially enjoyed it but as regulations changed, we had more chronic, violent patients and questionably appropriate patients, I grew to resent working weekends and had little self satisfaction even though I am very knowledgeable and got excellent performance reviews. I feel like I have painted myself into a career corner because the area of nursing that I have expertise in, is the very type of work I no longer want to do. I have since left inpatient work, presently work psych home health prn (too many regs and paperwork!) and work part-time for a mental health residential rehab program. (low wages, poor public funding and admittance of more violent consumers) I did temp work doing chart auditing for a Medicare project which was interesting but the contract ended. I have no interest in any shift work, school or office nursing. Quality improvement seems interesting but all ads have required prior job and Excel experience. If I had another burning interest I think I would already be out of nursing as most friends my age have done. I am usually a decisive person but feel like I am stuck at this crossroad and am either afraid or unsure which direction to go. Sometimes I fantasize about things that seem exciting but are totally unrealistic for me or my family like working in the Foreign Service or for W.H.O. or U.N.H.C.R. at the U.N. or moving to Australia or writing and traveling for National Geographic. Maybe I'm looking for a fantasy job to put excitement in my otherwise routine, middle-aged, middle class, small town life?! Sorry for the long, whiny post...but this is my story and I'm sticking to it! Anyone else out there feeling like this?
    Been there, done that and got the tee-shirt! I went back to school, got my master's and APRN. Now I love my job again. I'm working in a group private practice with nice patients and staff. Good luck with whatever you choose.
  5. by   llg
    Quote from filer157
    This is my first post and I'm torn between wanting to abandon nursing but feeling that I have too much invested and not being sure what else I want to do when I grow up...I should add that I'm 49! Anyone else feeling this way?


    . Maybe I'm looking for a fantasy job to put excitement in my otherwise routine, middle-aged, middle class, small town life?! Sorry for the long, whiny post...but this is my story and I'm sticking to it! Anyone else out there feeling like this?
    I am also age 49 and can relate to what you are saying. Sometimes I ask myself "Is this all there is?" As you seem to already understand, that may just be the stage of life we are in ... and our careers are not totally "to blame" for our feelings.

    Part of the problem may be that you are simply too weary of working to invest much more time and energy in doing what it takes to make a dramatic change in you life/career. If you think that is the case, perhaps you can find a way to make a few small changes that will increase your satisfaction and start you on an upward spiral (as opposed to being on a downward spiral).

    Can you build on your current career (and expertise) ... perhaps even keep the same job to keep the paycheck coming in ... but find a few special projects that would give you some personal (or professional) satisfaction. For example, can you join a charity organization ... or a committee at work that will make a real improvement in something ... start a scholarship program for nursing students ...do a little teaching... take a class (either professional or for a hobby) ... go to some professional conferences ... get certified ... take up a new hobby... etc.

    Sometimes making a couple of small changes that don't require as much investment can "perk us up a bit" and help lead us toward a better frame of mind, with one little change building on the last. In time, they add up to significant change.

    Good luck,
    llg
  6. by   live4today
    (((((((filer157))))))) :hatparty: You and I should get together for a serious PAH - TAY because I totally get where you are coming from. It makes my heart skip a few beats when I read post like yours because it's exactly how I've been feeling of late.

    After a five year absence from nursing (due to a shoulder injury), I decided I missed nursing and all the autonomy it provided me in a job. So, when the time was right, I'd return.

    Wellllllllllllllllllll.....I returned a couple of years ago, and as time passes, I'm more and more convinced that I'm in serious need of a "career makeover".

    I'm a few years older than you, have worked many different jobs prior to becoming a nurse, and tried a few non-nursing jobs since being a nurse, but I'm torn between giving up nursing and staying in nursing. I know that I need to move away from inpatient nursing, so I'm job hunting now for jobs that are daytime jobs.

    The most recent job I've had required me to work the nightshift, and I was sick all the time. I had to inform the hospital that I could no longer work nightshift, but would be more than happy to stay on per diem or prn for days and/or evenings. Don't you know that hospital would rather lose a good nurse than be flexible with me on the shift changes! They NEED nurses badly, yet won't budge in working with the nurses who need to work other shifts.

    As for me.......I must do what is best for my health. If I don't take care of me, who will.

    Thanks again for sharing your feelings. You are not alone. :kiss
  7. by   tricia1
    I can SO relate to the burnout. I agree it is feeling more and more unsafe in psych. I am thinking to change area of practice. I am thinking Hospice as it would be lower medical type nursing and heavily still using my psych skills. My biggest issue is I do not like home health. I don't like to drive around, I don't like the lack of contact with peers etc. Would welcome any feed back.

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