Nurses Don’t Need to Feel Stuck


Posted to Nursing, Travel Nursing

Nurses Don’t Need to Feel Stuck

Historically, workers hired on after high school or college at the plant, the office, the mill, the mines. etc. and worked there until they retired. This loyalty was expected and those who didn’t follow this rule were scrutinized. Typically a gold watch was the prize for years of service upon retirement.

A couple of decades ago, workers began to figure out that the power to negotiate better benefits and higher salaries was to change jobs every few years. Slowly, nurses have begun to learn this as well.

It’s still easier for many nurses to hire on at the local community hospital and work there until they retire. And no doubt, there are some perks and advantages to longevity and seniority. However, there are still far too many nurses who are unhappy in their job and underpaid because they have worked there too long.

When there is only one community hospital in your hometown and you’re a nurse, that’s generally where you work. That comfort zone is hard to break out of. But nursing offers so many more options.

Nurses often love being nurses, but they don’t like their jobs. They don’t like their boss or some co-worker(s). They don’t like the days and shifts they have to work. They always get stuck working holidays and weekends. They miss out on their children’s activities. They never seem to get a full thirty-minute meal break, much less have two-hour power lunches.

Too many nurses feel stuck. They have worked on the same unit for so long they don’t think they can do anything else. The only option is to quit; and all too often that happens.

This has created a tremendous problem in the nursing profession and it is finally beginning to be explored. A significant number of nurses are not working as nurses, and yet we are approaching a critical shortage of nurses.

Unhappy nurses and those who are burned out, present a significant patient risk. Health care has no room for apathy. Burn out is stress taken to the nth degree. Stressed out workers make mistakes.

Continuing education providers and many employers are beginning to implement better programs to assist nurses to transition to other roles and fields. Nurses who have spent their career working with adults often pine for pediatrics, but feel completely incompetent and vice versa.

ICU nurses finding themselves completely depleted of adrenalin may be looking for something a little less stressful and yet need a mentor to help them slow down in the world of med/surg nursing or even home health care.

Home health agencies have begun to discover a gold mine in bringing retired nurses back into the field. Many of these nurses retired from nursing to raise families and now in their late forties and fifties, are ready to return to the workforce, but reticent to return to the hospital floor. Agencies have developed return to nursing programs to retrain these nurses and are finding them to be terrific employees.

Travel nursing can be a great option as well. It doesn’t always mean leaving home. If you live in or close to a large metropolitan area, you can explore the assignment opportunities at a hospital across town. Certain mileage restrictions apply, and high prices of gasoline can be an issue. However, living in your own home, you may receive a stipend for housing that you can apply to you gasoline costs.

If it’s time for a change in your career, don’t burn out. Move on!

By Kathy Quan RN BSN
Kathy is the author of The Everything New Nurse Book, and the owner/author of