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Tired of sacrificing my needs for others

Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Columnist Innovator Expert Nurse

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho.

Dear Nurse Beth,

I have been in Med/Surg for my entire nursing career, for the past five years. I recently sustained a lower back strain and have been on workman's comp. I am wrapping up my recovery. The thought of having to return to work with the neuro population of patients is overwhelming (physically and mentally very heavy, demanding work). I feel the need to find a job less physically demanding. I am considering working part time in my next role, I am so burnt out.

I have become very jaded due to recent budget cuts, feel exhausted from the customer service aspect, and now, recognize this line of work has taken a huge toll on me emotionally and physically.

I am an empath. (Just discovered this about a month ago, however). I have a creative, sensitive spirit. I love to write. As a nurse, I value being an educator. I want to feel like an expert in my field, and have a skill set I feel confident about. The hospital is so rushed. I realized as well, after working with medical patients, at the end of the day I enjoy helping make others happy not just healthy. This time on workman's comp has helped me recover; I am tired of having to sacrifice my needs for others.

Do you have any recommendations for the next step in my career? My thoughts so far have been: injections/cosmetology would please my aesthetic/creative spirit; Dermatology to promote self care, prevention, education although working in a clinic isn't super appealing to me; or finding a job that includes writing - I was really good at working with NCLEX material? My neighbor had recommended working for insurance companies as well.

Appreciate any inspiration, feeling frazzled and lost even after being a nurse for five years.
Thank you!

Dear Lost,

Sometimes in life, you have to step back in order to gain some insight into your own needs. Like you have been forced to do with your injury.

It's actually an exciting time for you because you are on the brink of moving on to something new, which will take care of your MedSurg-induced burnout.

Working in cosmetics/plastics satisfies a lot of your requirements. It's less physical, and for the most part, you are making people happy. The pay will typically be less than acute care, at least to start with, but your salary will grow with your expertise. Training is on the job. Be sure and go with a reputable employer.

Once you leave acute care, it is hard to get back in. Once 3-5 yrs have passed, you may need a refresher course to be competitive and there's still no guarantee. Be sure you are comfortable with leaving the hospital setting.

Try a writing job part-time or on a freelance basis to develop your writing skills. You can search for "nurse writer jobs". HealthStream, GNOSIS, Prophecy, and many other companies use item writers to write test questions.

Being an empath means you have a high degree of empathy and feel what others around you feel. You want to heal other's pain which makes you an excellent caregiver but can leave you exhausted. Your recovery time after these intense connections is key.

Put out some feelers into the job market and see what the search brings you. Go on interviews and you will get a better idea of what appeals to you.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth

Author, Your-Last-Nursing-Class-how to land your first nursing job...and your next!

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