Those Who Have Left Nursing


Do you know a nurse who decided to settle for a lower-paying job like a cashier because they were desperate to leave nursing? Know anyone who has successfully left this career field? If so, how did they do it? I'm interested to know these kinds of stories. Feel free to share them and other stories related to these questions.

Davey Do

1 Article; 10,290 Posts

Specializes in Psych (25 years), Medical (15 years). Has 44 years experience.

Back in the mid 80's, when I worked at WRTH (Weed Rover Township Hospital) as a Psych LPN, I lived in the same neighborhood as an RN who worked in Hospice. We were chums and would sometimes ride to work together. She disappeared by moving South for a number of years. She came back and took care of her Mom until she died and then went to work in the Family Hardware Store.

I see her now and again when I stop in at the Hardware Store and she seems happy enough. I never asked her why she moved South or why she gave up Nursing.

I figured if she wanted me to know, she'd tell me.


901 Posts

Specializes in public health, women's health, reproductive health.

In my first year of nursing I dreamed about this. I envied every cashier I saw and fantasized about quitting nursing and getting a job as a bus person at Sweet Tomatoes. I decided to figure out the nursing thing, though, since I'd been through so much to get that license and I'm very glad I did. I do know of a person who graduated and either never did work as nurse or had a very short career. Last I heard she is currently a manager at a supermarket and is happy enough. I have no idea what occurred to make her go that route.

Emergent, RN

2 Articles; 4,111 Posts

Specializes in ER. Has 30 years experience.

I knew a gal who worked in LTC for a long time, was a Resident Care Coordinator before she threw the towel in and finished her working life with a job in the deli at Safeway.

She had a decent house paid for, her daughter was raised, and she was sick of the BS. Her last nursing employer was wringing the life out of her.

She looked very happy at Safeway whenever I saw her.


8,343 Posts

Has 18 years experience.

A classmate worked for three months and quit. Works in a men's clothing store. Happy, works part time. Goes to all her child's events, gets vacation when she wants, never has shifts cancelled.

ruby_jane, BSN, RN

3,142 Posts

Specializes in ICU/community health/school nursing. Has 14 years experience.

Nursing classmate of mine had a job in a nice OR all lined up....took six months off after nursing school and never went back. Last I'd heard she moved to a state where they can ski. She was a second-career nurse, went through school in advance of a divorce. Maybe the settlement coincided with graduation. Two other classmates got married, got pregnant, and quit nursing after the kids were born.


7 Posts

Would love to hear more success stories (not just quit/had kids). I want to get out of this profession so badly but I can't afford to take a huge pay cut either.


385 Posts

I came from a high-paid factory job, and went back to it several years later (after banging my head against the wall in nursing, particularly ltc) and I love it. I miss nursing but ain't no way in holy hell I'm going back if I can help it. I make more than the 20 + nurses I know well, and enjoy much better and more plentiful benefits and vacation/personal/sick time off. If you think about it, that's pretty sad that the industry I'm in treats it's people better than any healthcare job I've had. I've gotten one of my old unit managers a good job in this field.

Sad but very true.


231 Posts

I've left nursing twice, and both times I have come back. The reason being, I'm trained and educated as a nurse, and I was a good one. An RN is important, no offense, but a cashier is not (from a jobs perspective, I mean). In fact, few things are as important as being a good nurse. That's why they are highly valued by society. Pay is irrelevant. A factory worker may make more, but heck, a football player makes a lot more than that, and Justin Beiber makes a lot more than most football players. So, pay is not really what it's about. But, I get it, not everyone is cut out to be a nurse.

Has 21 years experience.

When I was in nursing school I worked retail. One of my coworkers was a "retired" nurse. She was probably in her late 40s or early 50s. She would laugh when the employees would say it was "stressful" around Christmas time. Nope. Not stressful to her. She said stressful was working as an RN in the OR with two vascular surgeons in the same room together. She had worked home health doing visits for a little while before she left the field. I remember her saying she decided she was done when she was told that she had to refer to her patients as 'clients' not patients in home care.

She was a good worker though when she came to work with us. Always on time and reliable.

Before I became a Nurse my co-worker was a RN who worked at AAA with us. She kept her license up to date but refused to work in Nursing. She just always said it was too stressful.


5,039 Posts

An RN is important, no offense, but a cashier is not (from a jobs perspective, I mean). In fact, few things are as important as being a good nurse. That's why they are highly valued by society. Pay is irrelevant.

I don't agree with this at all. That cashier is pretty darn important to me when I have a raging headache and I'm out of Advil.

A life lesson for you. Saying "no offense" does not make your words less offensive.