Which nursing field?


OK. So, here's the deal. I just turned 50. I'm a retired USAF officer and went into nursing to do something meaningful, stimulate my brain, earn some travel monies...

So, here I am, two years into my career. I work PRN in two different hospitals here in the Denver area. Love my coworkers in both hospitals. But, here is my sort-of secret. I'm not sure how long I can do floor nursing on Med/Tele units without wearing myself out, not as much physically as psychologically. Granted, I'm fortunately PRN so if I can take time off, I do that. But I don't want to be a slacker either.

Then, in the middle of my night shift last night, I had an epiphany of sorts. Here it is. Nurses that are in great jobs that they love don't leave. Sometimes for decades. These are the awesome *secret jobs we floor nurses grinding away with a difficult patient population don't hear about.

So, here is my question. What are the great nursing jobs out there? The ones people don't leave. The ones where our time is valued. Where we aren't ground into the dirt by the work and we love what we do.

Excited to hear some ideas!


Double-Helix, BSN, RN

1 Article; 3,377 Posts

Specializes in PICU, Sedation/Radiology, PACU. Has 12 years experience.

It's going to vary greatly based on the facility and the culture of the unit/department. There are inpatient floor nurses who feel valued and supported, feel like they have enough resources and practice safely. There are outpatient clinics who feel overworked, understaffed, and underpaid. There's not a single specialty that I can guarantee will be great” no matter where you work. Visit the school nursing forum here and you'll quickly learn that many of them get treated like glorified babysitters, with little respect and even fewer resources to help them provide adequate care. Even home health and hospice nurses, who generally care for only one patient at a time, can be overwhelmed by lack of supervisor and physician support, unrealistic time constraints, etc.

It would be one thing if you said you were looking for something less physically demanding. But asking us to throw out a specialty area that will make you feel valued” across the board is simply not realistic.

It's true that jobs outside of the inpatient setting tend to be less physically and psychologically stressful. Outpatient clinics, case management, telephone triage and quality/safety positions may be good places to start, but it's not a guarantee they will give you what you're looking for. The truth is that people tend to stay in specialities they truly enjoy, especially when the salary/benefits meet their financial needs and the schedule fits their lifestyle. This is going to be different for everyone. A nurse that thrives on the pace and critical thinking of the ER may never find it fulfilling to have a job in a doctor's office, even if she gets paid well and has a great schedule. Find out what aspects of nursing you like the most, decide how much money you need to make to be satisfied, and what hours you need to have the work/life balance you desire. Then start hunting for jobs that best meet all three of those criteria. When you find that, you've found the secret.


14,633 Posts

The catch is that that "awesome," perfect job that you never want to leave is different for everyone. I'm pretty sure I would hate school nursing or mother/baby. prnqday would probably hate my perfect job. That's the great thing about nursing -- it's the ultimate "big tent;" there truly is "something for everyone."

Best wishes for your journey!

Has 33 years experience.

I have never felt valued by administration or management. If you are floor nursing, you WILL be ground into the dirt. Healthcare is a corporate machine that flogs nurses like mules.

Ask to shadow other hospital positions like endo, PACU, etc. Think about clinic nursing or other positions outside the hospital.

Working from home for an insurance company works for me. You need to search out what works for you.

Best of luck, it's a jungle out there.

Specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia. Has 46 years experience.

I think it's not the great job you're looking for, it's a great facility and manager. THAT is the secret sauce.

Also: Home care private duty was a balm for me. 1:1 client, plenty of time to 'fluff-and-buff'. If you get a great client, it is not like work at all.


112 Posts

Has 3 years experience.

I agree there isn't one "perfect" job. I do appreciate everyones' feedback. I also agree that the people make the job. That being said, I was looking just for opinions on what people really like and stay at. In the hospitals I work at, most people don't remain floor nurses for for much more than a few years. Also, regarding school nursing, would I have to work with kids? :/

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

226 Articles; 27,608 Posts

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

I work from home for an insurance company...

I must be honest: my work is not very fulfilling or pervaded with deeper meaning. Thus, I thoroughly enjoy this job and do not want to leave it. The flexibility, combined with the low stress levels and work/life balance, are unbeatable.