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Why doesn't any job seem to fit?? (AKA what is wrong with me?)

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Specializes in Dialysis RN. Has 2 years experience.

Hi all, 

I graduated in May 2019 from a diploma program and have since also gotten my BSN.  I LOVED nursing school and I excelled in both of my programs, graduating at the top of my class.  I've wanted to be a nurse my entire life and only finally went to nursing school in my 40's. It was the culmination of life long dreams. And then, I started working and I am so disillusioned at this point. I have yet to find my "fit" and I'm wondering if I'm just too damned picky or naive.  

I was hired right out of nursing school into a level III NICU. I thought I was going to love it.  During orientation, 2 babies died and I did their post mortem care and it was just too much for me.  I felt sick going to work and dealing with grieving parents really broke me.  I realized quickly that I was not going to make it as a NICU nurse, so during orientation, I asked if I could transfer to any other units. My background prior to nursing school was in psych so I transferred to a psych unit and stayed for the next 10 months.  I actually liked that job, but I quit when covid hit because I felt our unit wasn't prepared or safe and I live with an immune-compromised spouse.  Several nurses on that unit have since gotten covid, so I wasn't exactly wrong there.  

Immediately after quitting psych, I was hired into an outpatient dialysis clinic.  I started there in May 2020. I like dialysis fine, and I like the schedule but I HATE my unit.  The head nurse is mean, mean, mean, and undermines me and talks about me (and everyone else) to the patients.  She will tell anyone and everyone that she hates her job and is only there to get health insurance until she retires. The techs run the show and do things unlicensed people probably shouldn't do, and the whole unit culture is just very back-stabby and toxic.  I'm too old for toxic. The manager is a very nice person who is just not able to reign in the bad actors. Several good nurses have quit because of this tight-knit toxic crew.  I've asked about transferring units and was given the option of only one clinic and it's the local covid clinic for dialysis patients.  I can't do that because of my husband.  

I was just today offered an agency job making WAY more money than I was in psych or dialysis (50% more).  I would be working contract in LTC facilitates for 4-12 week contracts and then I could pick up another contract, or take some time off or whatever.  I'd never have to work another holiday because I'd just not take a contract over the holidays.  The schedule is perfect for me, but I just don't know about working in LTC or how it might be different in LTC as an agency nurse vs FT staff.  And I've made the mistake of thinking every job I've taken was the "right fit", and it wasn't.  

All I know is I haven't loved any job. And maybe that's normal in nursing?  Maybe I'm expecting too much or think the grass will always be greener.  I am also concerned with quitting my current job to take the agency job because that will technically be my 4th job in a year and a half. I have excellent references because my managers like me and I'm a very hard worker...but still.  Maybe I get too tired of the crap in any nursing job so the contract thing might be perfect for me?  As soon as I'm tired of their crap I can take another contract with new people's crap. I don't know.  I'm disappointed...in nursing...in myself.  I want so badly to find my niche but instead I feel like I'm just floating in and out of jobs without connecting to any.  I can't keep trying new jobs, can I?  I'm 48 - I'm working because I want to and to save for retirement.  I'm not working to put food on the table right now.....this makes me much less willing to put up with nonsense or unit drama - but I'm also at risk of being a job hopper and I don't want to be that either.   I love the actual job of nursing - what I don't like is all the extraneous crap from management, hospital systems, etc...And that's everywhere.  I'm wondering if agency work will take me out of that? 

I'm venting. Nobody can fix me. I'm just wondering if anyone else has job hopped or whatever it is I'm doing and did you eventually find your place?  Or should I shut up, suck it up and stick it out somewhere?  

myoglobin, ASN, BSN, MSN

Specializes in ICU, trauma, neuro. Has 13 years experience.

Keep trying, but take the focus away from finding a job that you "love" and instead focus on finding a job that you "hate less". I believe that we work to live not the other way around.  There is a reason that Disney World pays relatively poorly (and indeed they had many of their jobs filled prior to covid by interns who were essentially working for almost free).  That's because all things considered Disney World is a pretty awesome place to work (or at least it is perceived to be so). Conversely, there is a reason that nursing pays reasonably well and usually has jobs available (at least if you are willing to move and work night shift) in most any economy (up or down). That is because it is a difficult soul wreaking (or at least trying) experience in many if not most cases. Indeed, when I worked for Osceola Regional (an HCA hospital) there was a reason that it paid better than most other hospitals in the area (because it was more soul wreaking than most).  Search for opportunities for happiness, fulfillment, and meaning outside your job. Look at your job as the "meal ticket" that makes those other things possible and try to compartmentalize it as much as possible. 

Nunya, BSN

Specializes in NICU/Mother-Baby/Peds/Mgmt. Has 39 years experience.

There's nothing wrong with you, you loved your first job.  You just felt you had to quit because of something out of your control.  Try to find another psych job.  Edit: and yes, the grass is always greener.  Trust me, there's NO nursing job that doesn't have crap, either institutional or people.  If you're looking for a perfect job you probably need to get out of nursing.  And I totally understand the "I'm too old to put up with crap" attitude but.....

Edited by Nunya

RNperdiem, RN

Has 14 years experience.

It is hard for any real-life job to live up to a dream, especially a long-desired dream. 

Maybe instead of looking for a job you love, look for job satisfaction. Satisfaction is more of a practical goal. It leaves a little room for disappointment. The most satisfying nursing jobs are there, but they are a little harder to find, and often require some specialized experience or education; new grads rarely have easy access to them. 

Kitiger, RN

Specializes in Private Duty Pediatrics. Has 42 years experience.

I am truly happy and satisfied with my job doing private duty home care. 

Have you considered private duty?

amoLucia

Specializes in LTC.

STOP RIGHT THERE!

LTC is NOT for the faint-of-heart! And being agency at LTC is DEFINITELY not any bed of roses. How does a BSN RN get hired as agency in LTC? Which shift? And for which position? I just don't see LTC/SNF hiring RNs. LPNs, yes. And I'm guessing that you've NEVER worked LTC/NH.

The facility will have NO vested interest in your fitting in. And you'll just be ONE MORE agency 'floater' nurse to the staff who won't care one iota about you personally. You'll likely be assigned to whichever units many with the toughest pts and prob staff ancillary staff who can be real 'toughies'. And those assignments can change daily. You'll prob have no recourse in the matter.

Picture a med pass for 20 or more pts (dep on shift/unit) and all the txs, documentation, incl computer, pt assessments. Depends if a charge nurse does your phone calls, lab checks, physician visits with orders, and more. Just hope there's no emergencies like a pt fall, resp distress, seizure, low BS, acute decline needing transfer. Family interactions, and then add in any admissions & discharges/deaths.

As an agency RN, you'll most likely be being paid MORE than regular staff. Everyone will be expecting you to do the job - no cutting you any slack! You will be expected to EARN every penny of that bigger pay. It can be a cut-throat experience!!

Very importantly, you also realize that NHs are STILL experiencing very significant issues with C19 pts and PPE equip???? You will not be likely be 'specially opted-out'. So you need to assess your potential risks, which are very real.

I'm sorry as I say this, but to be very blunt, I think you're being swayed by starry-eyed promises of good wages and special scheduling. SERIOUSLY. But just know, that for EVERYTHING you hope for, there will be a trade-off. You may have the luxury of some wiggle-room to be a bit more selective in your job choices. But in the end, you'll be just another small fish in a big pond full of choppy waters. You've had some very unhappy responses to the sadly unfortunate reality situation of healthcare. That's why you're looking to job-switching again.

Also, think about it - why must the contracting facilities resort to AGENCY for staffing??? It costs facilities big money and the agencies make SUPER BIG money for your labor. I worked many years LTC, but I don't believe things have IMPROVED any since my retirement.

I just don't think this agency plan is for you. And I think that's something all the other PPs are indicating too.

I’d recommend against taking the agency gig. Why would LTC need agency nurses?  It’s going to related to poor staffing due to COVID, poor management, and/or ridiculous workloads.  Add that to the fact that agency nurses are often used as “relief” nurses for the regular staff (you get assigned the more difficult patients to give the staff a break from them).  So...I can’t imagine that’s going to be a good direct to go. 

Any public-facing job is going to deal with COVID. It’s everywhere. I’d rather work in the dialysis clinic with covid patients because you know you’ll get the proper PPE.

Stop chasing the dream job. If you like psych, find a psych job that has the proper PPE. At this point, most places are getting much better with dealing with COVID. Your old psych job likely has much better policies and PPE than a few months ago.  

speedynurse, ADN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in ER, Pre-Op, PACU.

1. Every job does have problems and sometimes the grass isn’t always greener....but sometimes it is!

2. You hit the nail on the head as to why the first job was hard for you. I actually felt the same way in my first job and actually loved my team and did very well at it. However, it was emotionally and physically terrible for me at a certain point due to other things going on in my life. Sometimes life changes and thus a job must change with it.

3. Sometimes teams are terribly toxic and it is important to get out from that or it will drag you down (this is coming from a relatively long term employee who only lasted a matter of months with a toxic team).

4. Not every job is perfect but some jobs are so much better! I do miss some of the critical care super high acuity from the ER....but I am in a job now with no holidays, few weekends, DAY shift, relatively stress free, and a team that is good to me and I really like them!
 

5. One thing I do suggest is taking your time when looking for your next job. Make sure it’s a speciality you will like. Ask to shadow. Also, do you keep in touch with your coworkers? Ask them for advice with units that have lower turnover rates (e.g. nurses are happier and treated well).

Nurse Magnolia, BSN, RN

Specializes in Dialysis RN. Has 2 years experience.

48 minutes ago, amoLucia said:

STOP RIGHT THERE!

LTC is NOT for the faint-of-heart! And being agency at LTC is DEFINITELY not any bed of roses. How does a BSN RN get hired as agency in LTC? Which shift? And for which position? I just don't see LTC/SNF hiring RNs. LPNs, yes. And I'm guessing that you've NEVER worked LTC/NH.

The facility will have NO vested interest in your fitting in. And you'll just be ONE MORE agency 'floater' nurse to the staff who won't care one iota about you personally. You'll likely be assigned to whichever units many with the toughest pts and prob staff ancillary staff who can be real 'toughies'. And those assignments can change daily. You'll prob have no recourse in the matter.

Picture a med pass for 20 or more pts (dep on shift/unit) and all the txs, documentation, incl computer, pt assessments. Depends if a charge nurse does your phone calls, lab checks, physician visits with orders, and more. Just hope there's no emergencies like a pt fall, resp distress, seizure, low BS, acute decline needing transfer. Family interactions, and then add in any admissions & discharges/deaths.

As an agency RN, you'll most likely be being paid MORE than regular staff. Everyone will be expecting you to do the job - no cutting you any slack! You will be expected to EARN every penny of that bigger pay. It can be a cut-throat experience!!

Very importantly, you also realize that NHs are STILL experiencing very significant issues with C19 pts and PPE equip???? You will not be likely be 'specially opted-out'. So you need to assess your potential risks, which are very real.

I'm sorry as I say this, but to be very blunt, I think you're being swayed by starry-eyed promises of good wages and special scheduling. SERIOUSLY. But just know, that for EVERYTHING you hope for, there will be a trade-off. You may have the luxury of some wiggle-room to be a bit more selective in your job choices. But in the end, you'll be just another small fish in a big pond full of choppy waters. You've had some very unhappy responses to the sadly unfortunate reality situation of healthcare. That's why you're looking to job-switching again.

Also, think about it - why must the contracting facilities resort to AGENCY for staffing??? It costs facilities big money and the agencies make SUPER BIG money for your labor. I worked many years LTC, but I don't believe things have IMPROVED any since my retirement.

I just don't think this agency plan is for you. And I think that's something all the other PPs are indicating too.

I was offered the job by the agency and told that I would work day shift and I could specify no covid + patients in my contract.  Who knows if that's accurate.  

I think you are right that the schedule is what has me most interested in this - otherwise, I wouldn't consider it.  And since I have the luxury to be discerning, I agree with your entire assessment.  I am very, very afraid of Covid because of my husband.  But if I am going to work I will have to deal with the risks that are everywhere I suppose.  

I'll have to either stick with dialysis and work the covid unit there (they have tons of PPE) or try to find a psych job somewhere else.  Psych patients are where my heart is for sure.....but those jobs can be mentally draining for me as I tend to bring it all home with me, and covid + patients end up there also.  In dialysis, I get to know the patients, but I am not taking their lives home with me like I do in psych.  

Thank you for your frank advice.  I needed to hear all of that.  I just don't know where I fit in in the world of nursing.....

Nurse Magnolia, BSN, RN

Specializes in Dialysis RN. Has 2 years experience.

45 minutes ago, beekee said:

I’d recommend against taking the agency gig. Why would LTC need agency nurses?  It’s going to related to poor staffing due to COVID, poor management, and/or ridiculous workloads.  Add that to the fact that agency nurses are often used as “relief” nurses for the regular staff (you get assigned the more difficult patients to give the staff a break from them).  So...I can’t imagine that’s going to be a good direct to go. 
 

Any public-facing job is going to deal with COVID. It’s everywhere. I’d rather work in the dialysis clinic with covid patients because you know you’ll get the proper PPE.
 

Stop chasing the dream job. If you like psych, find a psych job that has the proper PPE. At this point, most places are getting much better with dealing with COVID. Your old psych job likely has much better policies and PPE than a few months ago.  

Thank you - I hear you - The agency job is "too good to be true" which means it is, in fact...too good to be true.  I was lured by the $$ but I do have to wonder why they will pay so much.  The job must absolutely suck.  

TAKOO01, BSN

Has 3 years experience.

I agree with beekee. Can you get your old psych job back? They probably have better PPE protocol at this point. I also agree with everyone who says do not take the LTC agency gig.

I think that you are okay leaving another job as long as you can coherently explain "why" in a cover letter and an interview. I am probably considered a job hopper by some, but I don't think it has had an adverse effect on my job hunting. I usually get the jobs I really want, and interviewers do not question the fact that I have had several jobs in a few years. I chalk this up to them knowing the realities of nursing today, an increasing acceptance of a gig economy and the fact that the days of staying at one job for 30 years in any field are fading fast.

P.S. - There is nothing wrong with you. Nursing is a tough profession in general.

Edited by TAKOO01

15 minutes ago, Nurse Magnolia said:

I was offered the job by the agency and told that I would work day shift and I could specify no covid + patients in my contract.  Who knows if that's accurate.

Sure, you can specify day shift, no weekends or holidays, or COVID patient. However, if an employer has the option to pick between two  agency nurses, are they going to be picking the nurse that’ll only work the shifts that are the easiest to fill from a staffing perspective?  You are not likely to get very many hours...and when you do get hours, the employer is likely going to be pretty darn desperate for a warm body. Not exactly the environment you want to be in.