Are You Satisfied With Your Nursing Career? Signs It Might Be Time for a Change

By Moira K. McGhee, Contributor
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
nurse career burnoutIf you're doubting whether you're still satisfied in your nursing career, it might be a sign that it's time for a change. Career satisfaction is extremely important in the healthcare field and greatly impacts patient outcomes. When nurses find their work unsatisfying, they suffer and so do their patients, colleagues and family. As you reflect on your goals and career satisfaction, ask yourself if you're truly ready for a nursing career change and keep in mind there are many opportunities outside the traditional nursing roles.

 

 
 
Ask yourself why you became a nurse
 
If you think you've come to a crossroads in your career and it might be time to veer onto a different career path, Donna Matthezing, RN with Compassionate Care In The Air, suggests you ask yourself why you really went into nursing.
 
"Our patients trust us 100 percent," says Matthezing, "and they deserve to be cared for by a person who is invested in their well-being and fully engaged, instead of feeling as though they're a burden or aren't worthy of being cared for in a respectful manner."
 
"The why lies within each of us, and when you aren't committed to what you're doing, it shows up everywhere," Matthezing warns. "This means your colleagues don't see the best of you when you're at work; your family gets frustrated and disengaged because you're sad or hating your job; and the very connections that we're seeking, we're actually destroying by not being true to ourselves."
 
 
 

Listen to your body

Kelley Shields is a life and career coach at Kelley Shields Coaching and has personal and coaching experience in regards to burnout and job/career changes. Shields says to listen to your body to recognize the signs it might be time for a nursing career change.

"There's a good chance your body is telling you it's time to make a change," explains Shields. "If you keep finding yourself putting off going to bed the night before you return to work at the start of your week or you dread going to work, don't brush it off. Your body is telling you the status quo isn't working. Burnout is real, not imagined or a sign of weakness. If you're experiencing depression and exhaustion, it's time to pause and do a real check to see if your job is at the root."

 

Look for new opportunities

The National Center for Biotechnology Information examined survey data from 95,499 nurses and discovered a much higher rate of job dissatisfaction and burnout among nurses who directly cared for patients in a hospital or nursing home setting. Alternately, nurses working in other settings, such as the pharmaceutical industry, reported higher career satisfaction.

Kristin Baird, RN, BSN, MHA and President/CEO of the Baird Group, encourages nurses facing dissatisfaction in their careers to look for new opportunities.

"Today's nurses have so many options for careers," says Baird. "If you aren't happy, there are probably dozens of opportunities that will give you a fresh perspective. For example, telehealth is one area that's growing rapidly. Plus, consulting positions are emerging in tech companies that didn't exist 10 years ago."

"One fundamental step when considering a change is taking the time to reclaim your passion for nursing," Baird asserts. "Think about what drew you to the profession. Consider what inspires you and gives you a sense of purpose. Then, ask yourself how you can get more of that in your career."

If you're ready to take your nursing career in a new direction or simply want some new scenery, find travel nursing jobs at Onward Healthcare that let you travel on different paths in areas around the country.

 

Find someone to talk to

Having a nurse mentor can be vital when you're considering a career change because it's a major step. It's extremely helpful to be able to discuss it with someone who may have experienced something similar in their own nursing career. A mentor can help you explore your career satisfaction shortcomings and weigh the pros and cons of a career change. However, if you're married and/or have children, you should also discuss it with them before you make a change. Your change can have a major impact on their lives, especially if your change requires a move or severe repercussions on your family's financial situation.

In closing, Matthezing emphasizes the importance of figuring out what you really want and then doing that. When your nursing career satisfaction has gone down the tubes, your internal suffering could be projected onto your patients and their families, which is something you truly never want to do..

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