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The thought of leaving the nursing field brings me an overwhelming sense of peace....

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by efda3 efda3 (Member)

~Slightly long read. I apologize~

I'm only a newbie in nursing and, already, the thought of leaving this field gives me a strange sense of overwhelming peace. I almost feel odd for admitting it. I feel like I shouldn't even admit that. I'm actually a little nervous to see what kind of replies I receive based off my honesty. I hope that people aren't too harsh. It's a feeling I have been struggling with, yet pushing down deep inside of me.

Don't get me wrong, I am passionate about it, but I just have those days where I daydream of doing pretty much any job, but nursing. The thought of getting out of nursing and accepting a mundane, office desk job actually gives me this overwhelming sense of peace & relief. This means something, because I actually got out of the office environment to go to nursing school. I originally planned on going for my NP..but things don’t look so bright for that field either. I’m wondering if I finish my BSN if it’s even plausible for me to think that I would be able to transition to PharmD, MD, PA, or DDS (programs). I won’t lie, I have my eye on PharmD due to time. I also have a general interest in almost every specialty & health related career, so I wouldn’t be doing something I don’t like. I love science and really love math. I’m ok with fulfilling pre-reqs. I just don’t want to have to start all over again..and at the same time..I’m weighing everything out.

I thoroughly enjoyed (besides the corruption/disorganization) learning the human sciences, nursing process, etc. Dirty work, grumpy patients, and the chaos of it all never bothered me much. It's the fact that I go home feeling "less than". I don't feel like I was able to really reach out to my patients. The conditions that nurses work in..just seem to be going down the drain. Forget the fact that one can move around floors, specialties, states, etc. I have seen this pretty much everywhere. Some are just worse than others, but overall, this field is extraordinarily stressful for the ratio of pay. I'm sorry to say that I am not one of those nurses that thinks "But it makes me heart feel warm to know that maybe I just helped ONE patient". Don't get me wrong, I feel awesome helping others, but I don't think it's enough to keep me in the field. There just seems to be a lot of abuse, harassment, cattiness, bullying, work overload, burnout, and an overall ungrateful attitude towards nurses. I will always be a nurse at heart, but I am also a human being and my happiness is essential. If I had to take a pay cut of $15,000 less (for example) per year, I would..if it meant I would be happier.

I am not sure if this is normal. A few of my nurse friends have expressed the same thoughts. Some are new grads (BSN) and haven't found employment in the last year, so they don't have as strong of opinions. For some strange reason, I feel extremely pressured to stay in this field. Pressured by family, friends, and everyone. You're always hearing that this field is in high demand, has great pay..etc. I feel like everyone else cannot see what I see. So here is my Q...I haven't even finished my BSN yet...and I am hesitating doing so. I don't want to spend another 4 years in school, if I pick a different major..but I don't know of any different majors that I could apply most of my classes to, right now, and finish up a Bachelors in 2 years..so my BSN seems like the most logical choice. If it's not, please speak now! I was looking into a Bachelors in Health Care Administration, but I am unsure if it's even more difficult to find work in that field. I know some of this has to do with the economy.

My question is...if I finish my BSN (as that seems to be my only choice..unless I want to start all over again for a new major) would the transition to PharmD, D.D.S, or M.D. programs be possible? What about P.A.? If I had it my way and could start all over again, I would have gone for Biology, straight out of highschool, and applied to one of the above at the age of 22. Sigh, I just want to live life. I would like to settle down, have a family, buy a home..but at the same time I am trying to be realistic and further my career/education.

Any feedback? Again, I'll be honest with you. I have these moments where I envy people who majored in a different field, and while they aren't making tons of money, they have stability and they are happy. It strikes me as unhealthy for me to already be growing anxious about a field in which I just entered. I'm just trying to find out if there are other options out there. I don't want to be "stuck" in nursing forever. If nursing was different, or improving, then yes...but I feel like I'm ignoring my basic instinct by staying in this field...regardless of the fact that I know I would do the best for my patients and perform well.I really feel sad that I entered a field where I felt I could make a difference in patient's lives and help them..only to find out that nurses are just seen as a way of affordable/cheap health care and many are practically slaved. It is a little upsetting to think of such bright individuals being subject to that. Nurses are intelligent beings, but not always treated as such. :(

Edited by Joe V

It is better for you to realize this now when it is easier for you to do something about it. I do not think you less of a person because you want to do something else with your life. Best wishes for finding fulfillment in your work life.

LuxCalidaNP

Specializes in Family Practice, Urgent Care, Cardiac Ca. Has 3 years experience.

Wow! These are some wonderful questions you're asking yourself. I commend you for your self-reflection and ability to weigh the options. PharmD programs often require a degree in a "hard" science like biochem, etc. before admission. PA school has virtually the same prereqs as med school, and then there is med school. If it's worth it, go for it...but DON'T underestimate the more "medical" roles that advanced practice might set you up for. ACNPs and CRNA do amazing work, which rarely resembles the negative elements of nursing and is MUCH more independent, plus it's less back-tracking in school. Perhaps shadow some of the different roles (NP, CRNA, PharmaD, DDS), and see what you could envision as a satisfying and interesting education and profession! good luck!

LuxCalidaNP

Specializes in Family Practice, Urgent Care, Cardiac Ca. Has 3 years experience.

"things don't look so bright for NPs?" how so?

KatieMI, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in ICU, LTACH, Internal Medicine. Has 8 years experience.

...if I finish my BSN (as that seems to be my only choice..unless I want to start all over again for a new major) would the transition to PharmD, D.D.S, or M.D. programs be possible?

PharmD, M.D., D.O. amd D.D.S. all want pre-recs generally not studied in BSN. You'll have to do either full Pre-med program, which is 4 years, or complete all required courses for PharmD. All that programs are generally very picky about transfers for obvious $$$-related reason.

What about PA?

Your BSN may be considered "clinical experience" if the program requires it, but you still have to complete pre-recs. PA programs want them being of pre-med style and level, so Nursing calsses are not transferable.

But... you know, if you really think that jobs of PA, MD, DO, DDS or PharmD are less stressful than bedside nursing, you're sadly mistaken. That's just the fact of life.

Edited by KatieMI
addition

I've been a nurse for 8 years and it has been the best and worst job I ever had. I am currently going to ADN school and hope I made the right decision, but like you I have had some awful experiences as a nurse. Most of them with administration. I have also had a few home health pt.s that were far less than thankful for the assistance they were getting.

People are people, but nursing is stressful and the demands made upon them legally as well as the work load almost negates positives of a good patient outcome. I am hoping that more opportunities will come my way as an RN and that it will help solve some of my difficulties. From speaking to many RN's, they say it's the same all over.

I have struggled with why nursing is like it is, with all the back biting and ill feelings towards others, but maybe that is human nature. We are all destined to be locked into a Jr. High mentality.

Thanks you guys. I'm definitely not looking for an easy way out. I'm willing to put in the work, either way. I lean toward Pharmacist. I wonder if they except Biology degrees.

Hi, pre-nursing student here aged 40. I've had a well-paying career all my working life since my first "job" after college. Let me just say that as someone who is now almost past the mid-point of my working life that all jobs "suck" to some degree. Unless you are one of a very few, every job you will ever hold will be stressful particularly if you are paid well to do it. Chances are that unless you take a job for which you are way over-qualified and as a result don't earn much money, you're going to be stressed and you're going to have a lot of stress and frustrations on a daily basis. Nursing may or may not be for you. Only you can decide this. But before you decide to make your exit I think you should talk to your friends who are in different fields and find out how dissatisfied they are with their careers. They could probably talk your ear off about how management sucks, nobody cares about them, etc, ad infinitum. Secondly, you say you are a newbie and if that is true might there not be many other types of nursing that you have not even begun to explore? It seems to me from the outside of this field trying to get in that the number of arenas I might work in is amazingly broad. I know the lay-person thinks of a nursing job as a job on the hospital floor or in LTC, but if this board has shown me nothing else, it has shown me that there are many colors in the nursing rainbow. Just look at the specialties thread for ideas! There was something that drew you to this field and you spent a lot of time and money getting into it. Be cautious and consider ALL options before deciding to exit because in general the grass is NOT greener on the other side. It's just different and it's still stressful. Good luck to you!

Oh believe me. I know that all jobs suck to a certain extent. You will always have to deal with that one "bright crayon" or have to do that one not-so-fun task. My goal is to commit to a career that has the least percentage of "sucking" ;) lol. Nursing really doesn't seem to be that career. I'm still weighing it all out though and attempting to be positive.

I have struggled with why nursing is like it is, with all the back biting and ill feelings towards others, but maybe that is human nature. We are all destined to be locked into a Jr. High mentality.

The thing is...I don't think that's human nature. I don't find that normal..and that's a lot of what I see in nursing. I understand, to some extent, we will always work with people like this. But for nursing school being so competitive and stringent, you would think it weeds out some of the "garbage" per se. It's scary to see such a high rate of professionals acting this way and, like you, I feel as though I am always trying to make excuses for it and tell myself that it's acceptable...all in the name of continuing nursing. It's gotten to the point where it's hard to deny and it all has me thinking twice. :idea:

Ruby Vee, BSN

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching. Has 40 years experience.

i'm not sure what sort of feedback you're looking for. do you want me to try to talk you into staying in nursing? or give you permission to leave it?

your line about "there seems to be a lot of abuse, bullying, harrassment, cattiness, work overload, burn out, and an ungrateful attitude toward nurses" is going to get you a lot of supporters jumping on that bandwagon. i disagree vociferously that the prevailing attitudes in nursing and towards nursing are so negative. (unless you're talking about patients and visitors.) i've always worked in large teaching hospitals, so it may be that things are different than in community hospitals.

i have always (well, since i got past my first two years, which were pretty miserable) been respected by colleagues, supervisors, physicians and ancillary staff. the bullying and cattiness that so many people complain about may exist totally -- or mostly at least -- in the eye of the beholder. what i have seen is a distinct tendancy of newer and younger nurses to categorize any interaction they don't like as "bullying" or "lateral violence." they often miss a very valid message in complaining about how they're being targeted or picked on. that's unfortunate, because they aren't learning what they need to learn in order to be successful, and the more they protest that they're being picked on, the less they learn and the less they learn the more likely they are to unsupported and disliked because "you just can't teach them anything." those folks who pay attention to the message even though the delivery may be less than optimal tend to learn faster and do better.

nurses who have a good, strong sense of self and an ability to avoid taking personally that which may not be -- or is probably not meant personally tend to get along better with their colleagues, be well-liked, more supported and happier nurses. those who are sure they've always been victims and will always be victims seem to see lateral violence everywhere they look. many of those folks tend to stay in nursing, but i can't say that they seem happy. it's unfortunate that the phrase "nurses eat their young" has gotten so much press because people who are looking for negative interactions are going to find them, whether they're there or not. (it's just like when someone wants to pick a fight, they'll find all sorts of things to make them angry -- things that on a better day they might not even notice.)

only you can decide what you wish to do. i've been at the bedside for more than 3 decades, and while i can't say i've enjoyed every minute, i do feel as though it's been an interesting and rewarding career. i didn't go into it to "help people," but that's been a nice benefit. i love my 12 hour shifts, and don't mind working weekends in order to have time off during the week. nights are a nice change sometimes, and holidays at work are holidays. we get to eat turkey at work on thursday, and it will be a fun shift with a potluck and a party atmosphere. and then i get to have thanksgiving at home on saturday . . . two holidays for the price of one! i'm at the top of my pay scale, and have a comfortable lifestyle. i've moved from the midwest to the east coast to the west coast and back and always found an interesting and challenging job. granted, that's not the case right now, but i expect it to turn around as it always does.

some folks say they can't handle the stress of nursing, and i understand that. they don't like shift work, or working weekends or holidays or 12 hour shifts. if you really hate that, you ought not to be doing it. some complain about no respect (in which case i'll say you get what you earn) or the necessity to clean up body fluids. again, if you cannot stand it, don't do it. some won't be able to get along with their colleagues for whatever reason . . . i don't believe it's always the fault of the colleagues. what i do not understand is those -- and there are many of them -- who denigrate the whole profession or an entire gender because they don't like nursing or they don't like hospital nursing. if you don't like it, you don't like it. but that doesn't mean the whole profession is full of mean, catty backstabbers who pick on newbies and are horrible teachers. (some of us are horrible teachers, but then we're nurses, not teachers.)

"things don't look so bright for NPs?" how so?

Many NPs are still working as RNs. Considering that they aren't paid much more, I see that as a slap in the face.

My initial dream was to "tough out" floor/hospital nursing. Gain my experience, and become a NP and open my own clinic...but it seems like there is so much red tape and suffering in between all of that. I am not sure if my vision is just warped.

I really had this strong desire to work with the elderly, but at the same time, I am at a point in life where I am finally no longer willing to compromise my health, happiness, and overall frame of mind.

tech1000

Has 2 years experience.

I have a friend at University of Florida who just started pharm school in August. He didn't even have a bachelors when he started. He had an an associates degree (from a community college near UF) and applied. He's a pharmacy tech in the Army Reserve and deployed as one, but still... and he did take heavy science prereqs, but the point is, he never had a bachelors of any sort.

KatieMI, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in ICU, LTACH, Internal Medicine. Has 8 years experience.

They can accept biology degree... but just imagine yourself trying "to fulfill the doctor's expectations" sometime at 3 AM in ICU when the aforementioned expectations are about making 2x2=5.725, precisely. Being expected to get meds working the way they do not and cannot work is the essence of clinical pharmacist, PharmD, in hospital setting.

Vtachy1

Specializes in BNAT instructor, ICU, Hospice,triage. Has 25 years experience.

Nursing is so incredibly tough. And there are not many jobs out there, I've been searching since I left ICU 2 years ago. I worked in the hospital 20 years. I love my job that I'm doing now, but again its midnights, holidays and weekends and I only make $15 an hour, and I have my BSN!!

I have thought seriously about physical therapy lately. I just don't know about NP. I throw around the idea of getting my NP, but I just don't know. When looking at all the job openings it seems that NP and PT are predominantly the most out of all the fields in health care in my area anyway.

i'm not sure what sort of feedback you're looking for. do you want me to try to talk you into staying in nursing? or give you permission to leave it?

your line about "there seems to be a lot of abuse, bullying, harrassment, cattiness, work overload, burn out, and an ungrateful attitude toward nurses" is going to get you a lot of supporters jumping on that bandwagon. i disagree vociferously that the prevailing attitudes in nursing and towards nursing are so negative. (unless you're talking about patients and visitors.) i've always worked in large teaching hospitals, so it may be that things are different than in community hospitals.

i have always (well, since i got past my first two years, which were pretty miserable) been respected by colleagues, supervisors, physicians and ancillary staff. the bullying and cattiness that so many people complain about may exist totally -- or mostly at least -- in the eye of the beholder. what i have seen is a distinct tendancy of newer and younger nurses to categorize any interaction they don't like as "bullying" or "lateral violence." they often miss a very valid message in complaining about how they're being targeted or picked on. that's unfortunate, because they aren't learning what they need to learn in order to be successful, and the more they protest that they're being picked on, the less they learn and the less they learn the more likely they are to unsupported and disliked because "you just can't teach them anything." those folks who pay attention to the message even though the delivery may be less than optimal tend to learn faster and do better.

nurses who have a good, strong sense of self and an ability to avoid taking personally that which may not be -- or is probably not meant personally tend to get along better with their colleagues, be well-liked, more supported and happier nurses. those who are sure they've always been victims and will always be victims seem to see lateral violence everywhere they look. many of those folks tend to stay in nursing, but i can't say that they seem happy. it's unfortunate that the phrase "nurses eat their young" has gotten so much press because people who are looking for negative interactions are going to find them, whether they're there or not. (it's just like when someone wants to pick a fight, they'll find all sorts of things to make them angry -- things that on a better day they might not even notice.)

only you can decide what you wish to do. i've been at the bedside for more than 3 decades, and while i can't say i've enjoyed every minute, i do feel as though it's been an interesting and rewarding career. i didn't go into it to "help people," but that's been a nice benefit. i love my 12 hour shifts, and don't mind working weekends in order to have time off during the week. nights are a nice change sometimes, and holidays at work are holidays. we get to eat turkey at work on thursday, and it will be a fun shift with a potluck and a party atmosphere. and then i get to have thanksgiving at home on saturday . . . two holidays for the price of one! i'm at the top of my pay scale, and have a comfortable lifestyle. i've moved from the midwest to the east coast to the west coast and back and always found an interesting and challenging job. granted, that's not the case right now, but i expect it to turn around as it always does.

some folks say they can't handle the stress of nursing, and i understand that. they don't like shift work, or working weekends or holidays or 12 hour shifts. if you really hate that, you ought not to be doing it. some complain about no respect (in which case i'll say you get what you earn) or the necessity to clean up body fluids. again, if you cannot stand it, don't do it. some won't be able to get along with their colleagues for whatever reason . . . i don't believe it's always the fault of the colleagues. what i do not understand is those -- and there are many of them -- who denigrate the whole profession or an entire gender because they don't like nursing or they don't like hospital nursing. if you don't like it, you don't like it. but that doesn't mean the whole profession is full of mean, catty backstabbers who pick on newbies and are horrible teachers. (some of us are horrible teachers, but then we're nurses, not teachers.)

i see what you mean and i am glad that your experience has been different. while i consider myself "younger", i have to disagree about the part where you state that younger nurses categorize interaction as bullying, etc. i have never been like that, myself. most of my peers seem to be pretty open-minded and eager to learn from the other nurses. i know the difference between tough love and bullying. i am a grown adult and what i have seen is, by far, bullying, harassment, and abuse. it's not always happening to me, either. i'm the one observing it. it's awful. i'm not sure if being at a teaching hospital would make a difference. maybe that's something i can look into.

i also see that you mentioned that some folks cannot handle the stress...i think it's more like some folks just don't want to handle the stress. they have respect for themselves and realize that it's not normal to be subject to undue stress. nursing is stressful, period. nurses deal with life and death situations, medications, patient procedures, etc. but what crosses the line, in the stress category, is all the extra nonsense they have to put up with. extra patients. being pressured to not take their breaks. dealing with bullying and cattiness amongst their coworkers. even if it's just a few that are like this...combine this already stressful career with that and you have..well, a disaster. just my honest opinion.

i truly wish that all nursing experiences/stories could be like yours. being nice, respectful, loyal, and sensitive to others hasn't seemed to get me anywhere in this field. in fact, it's backfired. i hate to say that, but it's the truth. it doesn't mean i will stop being the person that i am. i am still attempting to look on the bright side of it all. it's a little hard, i must admit. when weighing out the positives and negatives, it seems there is one side that is clearly heavier.

thank you for your reply. i appreciate it.

I have a friend at University of Florida who just started pharm school in August. He didn't even have a bachelors when he started. He had an an associates degree (from a community college near UF) and applied. He's a pharmacy tech in the Army Reserve and deployed as one, but still... and he did take heavy science prereqs, but the point is, he never had a bachelors of any sort.

I wonder how that is possible. I love science and I realize that a good career will be hard work. There's no way around it. I wonder if he enjoys it. :)

Nursing is so incredibly tough. And there are not many jobs out there, I've been searching since I left ICU 2 years ago. I worked in the hospital 20 years. I love my job that I'm doing now, but again its midnights, holidays and weekends and I only make $15 an hour, and I have my BSN!!

I have thought seriously about physical therapy lately. I just don't know about NP. I throw around the idea of getting my NP, but I just don't know. When looking at all the job openings it seems that NP and PT are predominantly the most out of all the fields in health care in my area anyway.

I have a friend in PT and one pursuing it. They couldn't be happier. Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy are among the top 10 jobs with the highest satisfaction rates :). I wonder if you can apply to a PT school as you already have your BSN. I'd imagine you have a few pre-reqs to finish and then you dedicate the 2.5 years to a DPT program :).