Should I stay or go? 1st Year RN wanting to quit without another job in place.


I am a 1st year RN doing what I thought was my dream job. I'm in my 40s, went back to school to obtain my BSN to become an ED/ER Nurse - its been my dream since I was in high school. The only problem is that my job is physically making me sick (after 11 months into it). I understand ED nursing is stressful, but when the department I work for is so completely understaffed, no sufficient resources (Techs/NAs, seasoned nurses...), daily texts for RNs to come in for additional shifts and so completely busy that it is physically making me sick and not to mention miserable. I ended up with an ulcer on my vocal cords, which the ENT specifically attributed it to stress. I'm nauseous going into work and nauseous and stressed out every shift.

Seasoned nurses are leaving left and right, we had 6 nurses leave in December 2015 (just on nightshift), and another 5 in January 2016. Soon we will be staffed with RNs with only 2-3 years experience at max, and it scares me. Senior nurses have warned me to get out, because this is not the way an ED works (and these are travel nurses who have worked many different ED's. They state, "If you can work here, you can work any where!").

I had given myself until today 2/9/16, this is the day that I am to give my notice, making my resignation effective 3/13/16, but I have mixed emotions. Should I tough it out or should I alleviate the ridiculous amount of stress and sadness this job is causing me.

I have submitted resumes, within the last 2 weeks and have an interview schedule for next week. I want to give my notice even without a job secured for me to go to, because I cannot stand it any longer. Yes, I have a husband and children and although we would have to tighten the expense belt, we could manage without my salary. What are your words of wisdom on this topic?

Specializes in Vascular Access, Infusion Therapy.

Never wipe back to front and never leave a job without another lined up.


14,633 Posts

Don't quit a job without another in hand. You are much less attractive a job candidate unemployed, and you could end up being unemployed for a long time. Can your family manage without your salary indefinitely?

Has 33 years experience.

I have quit jobs without another lined up. No problem finding another one. Only you know how much more you can take.

Thinking that just knowing you are nearing the end of this nightmare, could ease up on your stress.

Best of luck , whatever you decide. Let us know how it's going.

verene, MSN

1,790 Posts

Specializes in mental health / psychiatic nursing.

I see several posters suggesting not leaving if you don't yet have another job - however if you've developed an ulcer from stress is it possible for you to have your doctor authorize a short-term medical leave to get your health back under control? It would be leaving short-term with out actually leaving. It would give you a little break from stress, build up your health, and give you a few more weeks to be locked in on another job before resigning. Just a thought.

That being said, I totally understand wanting to get out a horrible situation even with out a job lined up. Leaving with out a job may make finding a new job take longer, but if your family can survive it financially, the boost to your physical and emotional well being from leaving a toxic and draining environment may well be worth the risk.

l.a.m.b, ADN, RN

1 Article; 80 Posts

Specializes in ER. Has 6 years experience.

By any chance are you working for the county in Ventura??!

Specializes in ED/Trauma/Field Case Manager. Has 1 years experience.

No, not sure where Ventura is.

Specializes in ED/Trauma/Field Case Manager. Has 1 years experience.

I understand, you are less attractive without a job. As I mentioned I do have an interview coming up next week, and hope to continue to apply for positions, luckily I'm in a metropolitan area with many different hospitals and options. Thank you for your wise words.

Specializes in ED/Trauma/Field Case Manager. Has 1 years experience.

As I replied on the post before, I totally get it that you are less attractive when not currently hired. I'm willing to volunteer and help others (that's why I became a nurse in the first place), while I look for another job.

Yes, our family could manage without my salary, indefinitely, although I'm sure at some point I will be able to get another job. I have a lot to offer any employer and as I also mentioned in prior reply, live in a metropolitan area with many hospitals/facilities to apply to. Thank you so much for your insight, I really do appreciate it.

nutella, MSN, RN

1 Article; 1,509 Posts

As an "older" nurse myself in my 40s I want to put out that it is harder to find a job when you are in your 40s. Even though you are still more like a new grade in terms of payment (and therefore affordable), it might turn out to be difficult. Of course they are not allowed to age-discriminate but reality tells other stories.

It is easier to find a job when you have one but as already written above - only you know when you can't take it anymore.


59 Posts

Has 6 years experience.

I have been in your shoes and I took the best way out for my situation, I resigned. It was the best thing I have ever done because I was able to stay home for 8 months and be a stay at home mom and wife. I was able to collect unemployment and we were fine. At the end of my time off, I got hired at my dream job in the perfect location. Sometimes you just have to leap out on faith. Good luck to you.


14,633 Posts

I was able to collect unemployment and we were fine. At the end of my time off, ...

Someone else on another thread recently mentioned getting unemployment after resigning. I'm certainly no expert on unemployment, but since when can you collect unemployment for choosing to resign a job? How does that work?