The problem is that nurses don’t want to stay in nursing especially bedside nursing.
There was a recent post in a travel nurse Facebook group asking the nurses what career would they choose besides nursing. In about 18 hours the post had over 800 comments. I went through all of them. Only about 2 or 3 nurses said they would still be a nurse. I was expecting most of the comments to say that they would still be nurses. There were also a few comments saying that they were in the process of getting out of nursing. Some were going to be photographers, real estate agents, or lawyers.
In another Facebook travel nurse group, the question was posted about what is your dream job. Only about 3 or 4 comments mentioned that they were already working at their dream jobs being a nurse. Again, most of the comments didn’t mention nursing.
I am one of those comments that is trying to get out of bedside nursing. I am going to be a life coach and do oceanography on the side. I will probably just get a PRN nursing job to keep my skills. I’ve been a bedside nurse for 14 years now and I’m tired.
I recently worked with a nurse that had only been a nurse for a year. She told me that she couldn’t see herself being a bedside nurse for the rest of her life. She was in her late twenties. She had already talked to her husband about going back to school to become a nurse practitioner. I was happy that she had a plan.
In the past few months, I have talked to about a dozen nurses who have plans on leaving nursing all together and starting a new career.
When I ask why, they say that bedside nursing is taking their passion away. The stress is getting to be too much. They are tired of some of the doctor’s attitudes and the patient’s attitude. The nurses are tired of the violence that they have to endure from some of the patients. Some of the nurses I talked to also said that they are so tired on their days off, they don’t do anything. Some nurses said that they are burnt out.
I understand everything that the nurses were telling me. All of those above mentioned things can lead to serious burn out. When I was burnt out, some nurses told me just to go to a different area in nursing. In my opinion, going to a different area wouldn’t get rid of any of the stress or burn out.
The only way that I have found to combat burn out is to step up my level of self care. On may days off, I go whale watching, hiking, or just sit in a park. Some times I just watch a movie and relax. When I don’t do any of those things on my days off, I notice that when I work, I’m more anxious and get stressed out more.
If a nurse comes to me an says that they are burnt out, I suggest that they find something to do on their days off that they love. That will get rid of some of the stress from the job. Do that thing at least once a week. Some times getting another job in another field helps. I love to take photos of whales. If the whale watching company offered me a part time job as a photographer, I would take it. I could get paid to see whales.
Let’s face it. Bedside nursing is never going to be easy or stress free. Since I started in nursing, it has only gotten harder. Nurses are expected to do more with less help. Nurses have more patients to take care of and the patients are sicker. The hospital that I’m currently working at, the nurses get the vitals signs and the blood sugars. Just having to do those two things makes the day busier. I really appreciate the CNAs. Most hospitals that I’ve been to, the CNAs get the vital signs and the blood sugars. It helps the nurse so much to not have to do those two tasks. I don’t get to spend as much time with my patients as I like to at this hospital.
Another reason that I want to get out of nursing is that I’ve been feeling that I’m just putting a Band-Aid on my patients problems instead of getting to the root of the problem. I don’t have enough time at work to really get into a conversation with the patient about some of their problems. Sometimes I feel like I’m just throwing a pill at the problem. If the patient is anxious, give them a Xanax or Ativan. Maybe meditation can help. If the patient is constipated, give them a laxative to help them go to the bathroom. Maybe helping them to eat a healthy diet would help them not to be constipated. As the body get accustomed to the pill, larger doses are needed to get the effect of the pill. I’ve had some patients taking 3 different laxatives and still have no bowel movement for days. They have been taking the laxatives for years.
About a month ago, I got a shot and a Band-Aid was put on. I still have the imprint of the Band-Aid on my arm. I took this as a sign from God/Universe that I’m putting a Band-Aid on the problem. I need to be a life coach so that I can get to the root of my client’s problems and help them.
So if you are ready to come up with ways to deal with your stress or burn out, contact me or visit my new website and book a Break Through Session. http://www.joyfulnurse.com. Maybe you will find your passion for nursing again or find out that you have another passion. I will be transferring this blog to that website soon.