So You Hate Being a Nurse: Now What?

You spent a few years in school, studying your butt off and working hard to graduate. And then you finally landed that dream job as a nurse, doing the work you always dreamed of. You have a great salary, great professional relationships, and are confident in what you know how to do.

And then, all of a sudden, you hate it. You hate everything about it. And you can’t tell anyone about it because how can you explain that all your time, money, effort, energy, pain, stress, and hard work was all for nothing? How do you tell anyone that it wasn’t really what you expected and that you’re burning out?

If you have learned that you aren’t enjoying being a nurse, don’t worry: all is not lost. Instead, there are a lot of options for you that don’t consist of going back in time to make a different decision or starting your life over from scratch.

Why You Hate Your Job

There are a number of reasons that could lead to you hating your job as a nurse. We know better than anyone that it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be sometimes. Here are a few of the most common reasons why nurses want to leave the profession:

  1. There are too many patients and not enough nurses. You are overworked, stressed out, and always so tired. The staffing ratios are way off and you’re doing the work of two or three nurses.
  2. There are workplace bullies. No profession is exempt from having those one or two employees that make work difficult on a daily basis. They’re usually senior employees that think they know everything and bully everyone into doing things their way.
  3. The doctors are unpleasant. It’s important for nurses to have a good batch of supportive doctors to work with. Working with physicians who belittle or berate nurses, or who treat them as underlings, can make any nurse want to leave.
  4. There’s too much charting. Hey, you got into nursing to be a nurse – too look after people and take care of patients. Filling out chart after chart all day long was not really what you had in mind when you decided to become a nurse.
  5. You never really get to work with patients. There’s too much other work to be done. Aside from the aforementioned charting, there’s also an unending list of mandatory tasks that need to be completed before you leave at the end of your shift.
  6. You get zero appreciation. No nurse expects to be treated like a queen on a daily basis, but a little thank you every once in a while would be a good start. Nursing is a pretty thankless job already, so it’s especially difficult when we get no recognition from managers.
  7. You get called in on your day off. This happens all too often. Sometimes mandatory meetings are scheduled for what would have been your day off, so you don’t get the time you need to recover. Other times, you’re called in to cover for another nurse who called in sick or had an emergency. We’re all for helping out fellow employees but losing all our days off is ridiculous.
  8. Everything hurts and you’re always tired. There’s no avoiding this one. Nursing is a physically demanding job. You’re on your feet for 12 straight hours (if you’re lucky; many nurses work up to 14 or 15 hours a day!), and you hardly ever get to have a real break to rest or even eat. By the time you get home, you’re too tired to enjoy your free time and just fall into bed.
  9. You’re tired of training potential ex-employees. You’ve worked at your facility long enough that you’re trusted to train and orient new nursing grads! Great! But you know that they will only quit in a couple of months, mostly because of all the things you are also feeling.
  10. You’re emotionally drained. On top of being physically exhausted, you’re also constantly worrying about patients and wondering how you can help them. You’ve seen people die and you’ve had to comfort family members. It can all just be too much!

What Now?

The first thing you need to know is that your feelings and complaints are valid. You aren’t weak for feeling the way that you do. Nursing is hard, and that’s ok.

Next, consider if whether your major complaints can be solved by moving to a new location. If the doctors are mean here, maybe trying another hospital will be better for you. If you are dealing with a nurse bully, perhaps you’ll get along better with a different team in another clinic.

If your biggest complaints can’t be solved by just moving to a new employer, don’t give up on nursing just yet! Instead, there are a whole host of options for qualified nurses to check out if they don’t feel comfortable in a regular nursing situation. Check out the following options to see if you’d be interested:

  1. Nursing educator
  2. Occupational Nurse
  3. Cruise Ship Nurse
  4. School Nurse
  5. Telehealth Nurse
  6. Health Coach
  7. Private Nurse
  8. Forensic Nurse
  9. Traveling Nurse
  10. Special Populations Nurse

These are just a few options for nurses looking for a change of pace. There are so many more options out there for nurses that aren’t interested in working in a traditional hospital setting, so don’t give up on your wonderful career, as difficult as it can sometimes be.