Nursing can be a very demanding job and one that could affect your health in the long run if you don’t keep tabs on your mental state. Many nurses end up being overworked when they don’t have to be. In many cases, all they need is a change of air.
There are tons of possibilities that are open to you as a nurse, and you must be aware of them. You also have to be able to identify when you’ve given all that you can in your current position. Let’s take a look at a few signs that it may be time for you to look for a nursing career change.
You’re Constantly Exhausted
If you’re finding yourself constantly exhausted, whether it’s before, during, or after work, then it’s a clear sign that there’s something wrong. Exhaustion is not only physical; it’s mental as well. It could be the accumulation of long shifts and short nights, or you may be on the verge of a burnout.
If that sounds like you, you need to look for something else right now. There is no other solution. You shouldn’t feel guilty that you’re leaving the other people in your unit and your patients behind. It’s essential not only for your well-being but theirs as well. Exhausted nurses are much more prone to making errors, so even if you have the best intentions, working in your current state is doing everyone a disservice.
In this case, we would suggest you start looking at other specialities or other settings. If you have an associate’s degree, it would also be a good idea to further your education. You could reduce your number of shifts and look for an online program you can follow full or part-time. This would allow you to take advantage of more opportunities, especially in states like Virginia with booming demand at the moment. If you’re from Virginia, we suggest you check out the following page: https://onlineabsnprograms.com/accelerated-nursing-programs-virginia.
Accelerated programs allow nurses to get their bachelor’s much faster. This could be all that you need to find the position you always wanted, and you won’t have to leave your house or place to do so.
You Bring Cases Home with You
Another sign that it may be time for you to find something new is if you can’t seem to find a way to separate work and your personal life. If you’re continually ruminating about things that happened on the floor, then you might be poised for another role.
Many nurses can deal with grief better when they’re in their first years, but things start to accumulate after a while. Sometimes, all it takes is one single event to leave them scarred. In this case, you might want to start looking at roles where you will not have to deal with challenging circumstances all the time. Maybe you could move to areas like family practice. You will help patients improve their lives and their health instead of constantly dealing with trauma, or perhaps you could move to an administrative role. There are plenty of functions that don’t require you to be in direct contact with patients, or even in a healthcare facility.
You could work as a nurse health coach, for instance, or maybe you’d like something lighter, like working in a school or summer camps. These are all areas that will allow you to enjoy a change of pace and benefit from your experience.
Read: Returning to Nursing
You Dread Going to Work
If every morning feels like you’re going to war, then this is another sign that you may need a change. It’s normal to feel out of it from time to time, but if you’re second-guessing going through the doors before every shift, then you need to look for something else. Sometimes, it may be the ambience at work; that’s the problem. Yes, you can always try to let HR know, but there is little you can do if you have a clash of personalities with other nurses or supervisors in many cases. Just changing floor, specialization, or even the city could be all that it takes.
You may be surprised at how different the nursing culture can be in other cities or states. You could decide to work in a rural community, for instance. People might be more thankful for your help there, and you may not have to deal with the same level of stress. It doesn’t do any harm if the place you choose to relocate to is beautiful as well.
You’re Ready for Something More
In some cases, you might not be entirely dissatisfied with your current position, but you may want more responsibilities or affect patients’ lives in a more meaningful way. In this case, you may want to look at more significant roles. Some nurses decide to move into research after getting a master’s or a doctorate. A bachelor could open doors to administrative functions as well, or maybe you’d like to operate your practice? In this case, you could start looking at states where nurses have full practice authority (1) and see what you need to qualify.
Another way that you could make a real impact on the profession is if you decide to teach. There is a vast faculty shortage at the moment, and becoming a nurse educator is a chance to work in a whole different setting. You won’t have to deal with the stress of the floor anymore. You’ll have a fixed schedule. More importantly, you’ll help groom the nurses of tomorrow and be full of satisfaction when you see their development. This is something that could give your career a second life and allow you to get excited again.
These are all things that you should be on the lookout for if you’re currently working as a nurse. If you notice any of these signs, look at the open possibilities and consider changing positions.