A lot of people are unhappy and disengaged at their jobs. While this may be a minor issue in many cases, it certainly isn’t in a field like nursing. Being disengaged could literally mean life or death for one of your patients. It could also lead to conflicts with members of your team, more absenteeism, and more stress on the rest of the staff. This all ends up hurting the quality of care.
This is why you need to take a long hard look at yourself right now if you feel like you’re falling apart. There may be things that you can do to add a few years to your career that you may have not considered. Let’s take a look at a few tell-tale signs that you need to move on from your current position.
Bad Working Conditions
Sometimes, the person has nothing to do with burnout. It’s often caused by a toxic work environment. Even when the workplace is not hostile, things like unfulfilled promises can also end up affecting engagement and morale.
You may have been promised special training, for instance, but your employer never followed through. Or maybe you get little leadership support. These are all things that can leave you wandering and uncertain about your future as a nurse or with that particular institution.
Another thing that can start chipping away at morale is if you start getting orders from multiple people at once. Getting conflicting orders can be very difficult for a nurse, especially when you start getting berated for privileging one of your “bosses” over the other. If you find yourself in this type of situation, we suggest you immediately start looking at other options.
There have been some cases when nurses have had to do things that were against their morals and conscience. You shouldn’t have to deal with ethical dilemmas in your line of work. If you’ve ever been told to do something immoral, wrong, or downright illegal, this is a clear sign that you may not be at the right place.
You may also be working somewhere that doesn’t align with your values. Maybe you have a family and want to be there for them and attend certain important events, but your workplace refuses to accommodate you. While you shouldn’t expect your employers to bend over backward for you, they should be willing to hear you out from time to time if you’re reasonable. Anyone who simply doesn’t care isn’t a right fit.
Boredom is a common issue with nurses, and it’s not only senior nurses that are afflicted. This is happening a lot with younger nurses as well. It’s often because they feel underutilized. They have the zest and energy to do much more than what they’re asked and are often done with their duties way before the end of their shift.
Humans naturally want to constantly evolve and grow. If you’re stagnating in your current job, then you might want to consider looking at learning opportunities and where these could take you.
Sometimes, all you need is a change of air. Some people are reluctant to move from where they are because they’re afraid they won’t be able to find anything better elsewhere. But going to a new facility with new leadership could be all that it takes. Even moving to a community that is in great need could give your career a much-needed boost. Moving to an area with a slower pace of living and closer contact with the community could help as well.
Getting out of Bed and Through the Doors Feels like Torture
If you’re finding yourself hitting the snooze button more than once in the morning, then this could be a bad sign. Especially if you used to get up full of excitement with no problems before. We’re not saying that you have to wake up with a smile on your face every morning or that you can’t have a groggy day. The problem is when you start dreading waking up.
How do you usually feel when you wake up in the morning? Are you filled with feelings of despair, sadness, or even anger? Then this is a clear sign that it’s time for something new. The same goes if you re-evaluate your whole life every time you have to go through the doors. Remember that you’re a healer, and your attitude will have a direct effect on the patients and even their chances of recovery. So, if your heart isn’t in it anymore, you may need to change.
You’re Noticing Changes in Your Patterns
On the other hand, if you find yourself dealing with insomnia or noticing that you’re eating more or less than you used to, it could be tied to your job. It’s not uncommon for nurses to start medicating themselves as well.
There have even been studies that have shown a direct correlation between weight gain and job dissatisfaction. Stress eating is not a myth and is often used as a way to comfort yourself. Stressed people are also more likely to reach for sugary or fatty foods.
You should also take a look at your level of activity outside of work. If you used to be active but suddenly feel drained after shifts, then it will only make matters worse. Activity is essential for well-being, and if you combine lethargy with dissatisfaction, this is a disaster waiting to happen.
You’re Envious of Other People Positions
If you’re finding yourself envying people in higher positions or nurses you used to work with who moved to better roles, then maybe you should start looking at these positions yourself and see how you could position yourself as a candidate. You should also speak with some of them and see what their job is really like so you can get a better idea of whether you’re the right fit.
How Can I Switch Positions Without Falling Behind in My Career?
A lot of people stay stuck in positions they don’t like because of their obligations. They may also not be able to see how they could switch positions without it hurting their finances or career. But there are many things that you could do.
The first thing you should consider is specializing if you’re in a general role. This could be the single best decision you could make as a nurse. If you’ve been in a specific role your whole life, then changing to something completely different could be all that you need. Or you may want to focus on an area that you always had an interest in.
You should also look at whether you want to stay bedside or move to administrative roles. You could even move into academia if you wish. You have to leave your horizons wide open and don’t end up stuck.
Another great choice would be to go into a specialization that would allow you to have more control. Family nursing is a perfect example. Family nurse practitioners have full practice authority in most states in the country and having this kind of control completely changes the nature of the job. Even if you don’t want to operate your own facility, you can still benefit from a gentler pace, greater emphasis on preventative care, and a closer relationship with patients.
You should also know that these types of programs can be taken online as well. This is a perfect option for nurses who already have credentials and want to keep their current job. This will put a lot less stress on you. Knowing that you have a way out and working on it will also help boost your morale at work.
If you’re looking to specialize, you should check out the online Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner and Post-Master’s Certificate – Family Nurse Practitioner programs TWU has to offer. You will get the same level of education as any other program, but without having to commute and deal with all the inconvenience of having to attend physical classes.
Options Outside of Nursing
Some people may also want to get out of the profession altogether. This might be difficult since you’ll have to start everything from scratch. But there are many fields where your experience could still be valuable and it would be wise to consider those.
While you may not want to deal with patients, you may still have a passion for health and wellbeing. In this case, maybe you should seek work as a nutritionist, health coach, or fitness instructor. Others decide to start their own business. You could work as an independent health writer, healthcare consultant, or sell medical supplies, for instance. Look at what you could do and try to find ways to get paid for your years of expertise in the business.
If you feel like you can’t take it anymore, you owe it to yourself and your patients to find somewhere where you’ll be happier. There are plenty of options open to you, so don’t be afraid to look around.