Should I quit my nursing residency program at 5 months?

Dear Nurse Beth Advice Column - The following letter submitted anonymously in search for answers. Join the conversation! Nurses Nurse Beth Nursing Q/A


Dear Nurse Beth,

Should I quit my nursing residency program if its taking a toll on my physical and mental health? Going 5 months into this job I ended up having depression, back injury and IBS issues. It has really affected my job performance and everyday life but I try to downplay whats going on because I would have to pay the hospital back for the relocation bonus if I were to leave before 2 years, do they usually give nurses a certain period of time to pay the fees back? And will I have a shot or chance at applying at a family clinic with only 4 months of experience working in a stepdown unit

Share this post

Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development.

Dear Should I Quit,

Your decision to quit a nursing residency program should be carefully considered, especially if it's affecting your physical and mental health. Here are some factors to weigh.

Your health is your top priority. If the job is causing depression, back injuries, and IBS issues, it's essential to address these health concerns. Prolonged stress and health issues can lead to long-term consequences.

There are often ways to address challenging situations with the proper support and planning.

  • Review your employment contract, specifically, the terms related to the relocation bonus and any repayment requirements. Hospitals typically have policies that require repayment if you leave before a specified period. This period can vary but is often around 1-2 years. Some hospitals do go after nurses for repayment, some say they will and do not, and some do both without consistent reasoning. Consult with HR about making payment arrangements.
  • Have you talked with your nurse manager? If your health issues are directly related to the job, it may be worth discussing your situation with your employer. They may be willing to work with you to find a solution, such as a temporary leave, modified duties, or other accommodations. It's important to maintain open communication.
  •  Transitioning to a different nursing role or facility with only four months of experience is challenging, but it's not impossible. The job market and demand for nurses vary by location. Be prepared to explain your reasons for leaving your current position during interviews and demonstrate your dedication to the profession.
  • Secure your next job before you quit your current job if at all possible. It is harder to land a job when you are unemployed.
  • Consider that starting a new job is going to be stressful. Be sure you don't jump from the firing pan to the fire.
  • Contact a trusted colleague or mentor for advice and support. They may be able to provide insights and assistance in navigating your situation.

Ultimately, your health should be the primary concern, and if the job is causing severe physical and mental health issues, it might be necessary to consider leaving.

However, it would be best to do so while understanding the financial implications and potential career consequences. Consider seeking legal or financial advice if necessary.

Best wishes in your decision,

Nurse Beth