You may enjoy being a nurse and can’t imagine doing anything else. After all, you have the chance to help people in situations where they are sick, scared, and vulnerable. The work is fulfilling and challenging.
But sometimes you need a change of pace. Whether you have been working as a nurse for many years, or you’re just in the wrong niche, you notice you’re not loving going to work anymore. Even though everyone has days they don’t feel like going to work, you sense it may be something more. So how do you know it’s time to switch gears? Consider some of the following signs:
You’re using all your sick days: If you want to take a mental health day every week, you might need more than a little vacation. Dreading going to work each day is a sure sign it’s time for something new. Life is too short to stay in a job you dislike so strongly. Try to determine whether the problem is your place of employment, nursing niche, or both.
Patients get on your nerves all the time: One important sign that you need a change of pace is that you’re losing your compassion for your patients. Compassionate fatigue is a real phenomenon and can occur if you are emotionally drained. If you are burnt-out, both you and your patients suffer. Be honest with yourself and figure out if you need to learn to deal with stress better or work in a different type of nursing that involves less bedside care.
Physical symptoms have started: When you’re upset about your job and dislike going to work, you can develop physical symptoms. Are you having headaches often? Does your stomach hurt when you drive to work? Changes in sleeping and eating, anxiety, and depression can all be signs something has to change.
You fantasize about running away: Escaping to a tropical island sounds like a nice idea. But if you spend a lot of time thinking about how to escape your job, you should take a second look at what you’re doing. Remember, there is nothing wrong with admitting that the work you’re doing is not fulfilling any longer, and it’s time for a change.
You can’t remember why you became a nurse: Nursing can take its toll on you physically and emotionally. Days can be long and stressful. Eventually, it can get to the point where you don’t remember why you became a nurse.
What Comes Next?
If you exhibit some of the signs above, it does not mean you have to hang up your stethoscope. You may just need to make a few adjustments. Determine the main problem. In some cases, the work may no longer be challenging, and that leaves you feeling unfulfilled. Maybe your current job requires you to handle large patient workloads that compromise the quality of care you provide.
Realizing it’s time to try something new or move to a new job can be exciting. The great thing about nursing is there are a lot of different specialties to work in. Sometimes all you need is a new focus or a few changes to help you remember what you love about being a nurse.