Temorary career change for sanity's sake?


  • Specializes in LTC, Med/Surg, ICU, clinic. Has 6 years experience.

Bear with me, this could be a long one...I'll give you a bit of background first.

I work in a part-time position and have a very high sick time use (eg, my rate of sick time used in the last year is 33% of my shifts). I am young (I like to think), have no children and have been happily unmarried to a wonderfully supportive man for nearly 7 years. I have been battling depression and anxiety (for which I recive treatment & counselling) for over a year (when I finally had help to recognize it). Recent events in my personal life have made me less able to cope, and I have trouble functioning at home, let alone at work. My husband has helped me recognize that, indeed, I'm angrier and more bitter about everything and perhaps I need to make some changes.

We have been planning a move to our hometown for awhile and are looking forward to doing that in about 5 months. I really look forward to working at my "old" hospital, especially since I have some different experience now.

I have been contemplating (even on my clearest days) working at the supermarket until the move, just for a break from the ever-increasing resposibility and demands of my current job. I've done the pros-and-cons-list thing, but there's still something I'm struggling with. Call me crazy, but 'm human, and I DO care what people think of me...so here's my question: Is it prudent of me to resign from my current job and make a switch to something unrelated temproarily? Has anyone done this? I'm anticipating big-time static if I do (eg, my family seeing me as having wasted a university degree--you know how mothers are...or the community seeng me as having abandoned my patients, etc.) I eagerly await your feedback!!

I would take care of yourself and if that means a hiatus from nursing go for it.

However, I have also worked in retail and it is neither easy nore stress-free. You are on your feet as long as is a floor nurse, for less than half the money, dealing with the public.

If you can afford it, why not just take some time off and deal with your emotional issues and restore your mental health? You deserve it.


396 Posts

If you are that burnt out then take a break from nursing. I personally have done retail and don't like it at all. But different strokes for different folks.

As far as being concerned about what family and community thinks, you just can't think about their opinion right now after all you are taking a break to save yourself. Since you are very depressed and anxious right now, it sounds like a fantastic idea for you to reflect on why you answer the call to save everyone but you. I care what people think about me as well but I have a boundary and I don't like it crossed. I think you have to start setting some boundaries as well. Your patients would most likely you prefer to get yourself together and won't perceive it as abandonment. Far as a degree wasted, nonesense to the naysayers, you have that degree as a reminder of the blood, sweat, and tears you put into getting that forever and no one can take that from you.

I am not encouraging you to be rude to your own mother or relatives but if you do decide to take a break let them respectfully and firmly know that you are going on "sabbatical" or "walkabout" and that is your final answer for right now. If they are relgious then remind them that even God took a break from working and so can you.

With your high rate of sick time and anxiety you could end up fired or make a horrible mistake that could throw you into a tailspin of increased depression and anxiety.

So maybe it is time to do something else and recharge your batteries and then come back to nursing when you are well rested and in your hometown.


1,062 Posts

Take a time out from nursing when you need it. Nursing is a

demanding profession with no "time outs" unless you

take one. Explore other careers and do a test drive.

If it involves taking a regular job, fine. No explanations


I left nursing for one year and went to school full time

for an aesthetics license. It was a fun but challenging

program that included taking a state license.

I found some nurses supportive and others not supportive.

It did not stop me from completing my goal.

As an aside, when I returned to nursing, the fact I had

the aesthetics license and real estate license (from before nursing)

helped me get the job. My manager appreciated that I was

experienced in nursing and other fields.

So, happy exploring and relax. Nursing will welcome you upon your return,

when you are ready.

Best wishes with your move and career explorations..


318 Posts

Specializes in ICU, CCU,Wound Care,LTC, Hospice, MDS. Has 43 years experience.

During a VERY difficult divorce many years ago, I tried working in the bakery of a large grocery chain. I never worked so hard in my life--- and for minimum wage! I was glad to go back to nursing!

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

226 Articles; 27,608 Posts

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 17 years experience.

I worked in retail during my late teens for two years, and was miserable. I actually was a cashier at two different grocery stores. At least 1/3 of the customers were verbally abusive toward the workers. The hours were unstable, because you could receive 40 hours during one work week, and only 18 hours the next week. The managers were less than desirable. In addition, the pay is not very good. At least I'm compensated more for my time as a nurse. This was my personal experience.

I would take some time off to relax, unwind, and rejuvenate your mind. If you feel as if you're losing your sanity, work should be the last thing on your mind. Your well-being and mental health are far more important. Good luck to you!

Specializes in LTC, Med/Surg, Peds, ICU, Tele. Has 15 years experience.

I was thinking of teaching skiing next winter for a change. I know a nurse I currently work with who worked in a plant nursery for a few years because nursing was wearing on her.


38 Posts

Specializes in LTC, Med/Surg, ICU, clinic. Has 6 years experience.

Thanks to all for your supportive words. As it stands now, I am to meet with my far-less-than-supportive manager (who views my sick time use a "problem dumped in [his] lap") to discuss my options. I would love nothing more than to hand in my resignation with another job lined up...I can't afford to just take time off, but do not qualify for disability...and I really don't want to burn any bridges...


2,719 Posts

It dose not matter what mom or anyone else thinks they are not dealing with the stress that you are. No I do not think this would be imprudent. You do for yourself. You can tell good ol' mom that education is never wasted and you are sorry she see it that way. You need a break. As for what the community think, since when does the community have a right to dictate that because you have nursing degree you now owe your life to patients. Besides communities do not think such things.

Ask mom for her compassion not static. You have been sick because of this job. You need a break.

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