Nursing is one of the most fulfilling jobs there is, but the constant stress and strategy can start taking a toll on your mental, physical, and emotional health. If you’re beginning to wonder if you can keep going on, you should ask yourself a few questions before you decide to quit for good. There might be some alternatives you haven’t thought about and you don’t want to regret your decision. Here are some of the questions you should ask yourself before you quit nursing.
Do I Have a Problem with Nursing or My Current Job?
This is a very important question to ask. A lot of nurses may assume that they’re sick of nursing altogether when their work conditions might be the real problem.
If you are sick of getting berated by senior nurses, for instance, then this shouldn’t be a reason to quit the profession. You could always move somewhere where you’d be higher in seniority or move to a leadership position so you can start calling the shots. You could even become a nurse practitioner through an RN to NP program and operate your own clinic. You could get an RN to NP online while you keep your current position too and try to ride things out until you complete.
Another thing you could do is ask to be moved to another department. You might appreciate the change of scenery and pace and discover that you have an interest in a certain specialty. You could then take the steps needed to get the qualifications you need to work as a specialist and add years to your career.
Would a Better Schedule Fix Things?
You should evaluate if your schedule might be the issue too. If you’re working night shifts, for instance, then you have to at least try to work some days to see how it feels. If you’re overworked, then consider cutting your working days and see if you can still stay afloat with your finances. You could also move to longer shifts but work fewer days. This is sometimes enough to keep nurses in the profession.
A lot of people on rotating shifts end up burning out too. The same goes for nurses who work on call. If you’re in that situation, we suggest you look at jobs that would provide you with a steadier schedule. Hospice nurses, for instance, give much more stable shifts and are not asked to work overtime as often. The same goes for family nurses working in family nursing practices. So, look at what’s available and ask about nursing jobs where you can enjoy regular 9 to 5 shifts.
What About Non-Beside Positions?
You should also know that tons of positions won’t require you to work directly with patients or work in a healthcare facility. This could breathe new life into your career and give you the chance to tackle new challenges.
Maybe you’re sick of working the floor, but what if you could work as a paramedic instead or as a rescue nurse? Or maybe you could work in an exciting environment, like a summer camp, a cruise ship, or a resort?
Or perhaps you have a passion and want to find a way to combine it with nursing. If you like sports, for instance, then you could become a sports medicine nurse. Or you could become a nurse educator. There are so many different possible avenues in nursing that it would be foolish to just quit on a whim, so look at what’s out there first.
Could a Break Be Enough?
If you feel like you can’t work a day more at your job, look at whether you could get a prolonged leave instead of quitting. You might even be able to get some or all of that leave covered if it’s for health reasons. Taking a prolonged leave or sabbatical would allow you to keep your seniority in case you want to come back.
This would be a great time to start thinking about your next move. Start looking at different specializations and see if something gets you interested. Also, ask other nurses who’ve quit how they made their transitions and see if they had any regrets about their decision.
Do not quit the profession without looking at all the options you have at your disposal. The field is so vast and there are so many things that you could do, so think twice before making the jump and plan your life after nursing carefully if your decision stands.