7 Signs You May Need to Quit Nursing


There comes a point in all nurses’ careers, when you begin to consider a change. You might feel as though you’re repeating the same shift over and over, and boredom sets in, maybe you don’t feel challenged, or sense you’re not living up to your full potential. Perhaps the fire that once burned inside you has flickered down to barely a flame.

Whatever is at the root of your career dissatisfaction, you hold the key to changing direction. You will likely always have a passion for nursing, but maybe the day-to-day is no longer for you.
If you’re considering shifting gears, consider these 7 signs before you decide.

You Dread Your Next Shift

We’ve all been there. Just as you’re starting your night shift, your friends are getting ready to go out on the town, or you have to bow out of yet another family gathering because you pulled a Sunday shift. You feel bad for the time being, but once you get to your job, you find your stride and all is well.

But, for the nurse who feels a sense of dread with each shift, it may be time to consider a break. Life is far too short to dread what you do for forty or more hours per week. Find another career path, take a break from nursing, or go somewhere where you can pick up PRN shifts as they become available, and allow yourself time to stop and smell the roses.

An Atmosphere of Disrespect

No one should have to put up with blatant disrespect as a condition of the job. If a coworker is consistently discourteous, and you’ve sought to resolve the situation, to no avail, you may need to move on. If your supervisor, or manager, treats you in a less-than professional manner, you should begin looking for another position. If you feel as though you disrespect your job as a nurse, you absolutely need to resign your duties, as a service to your patients.

Sometimes, especially in smaller facilities, management will take advantage of your good nature until it becomes unfair. For instance, assigning night shifts to you with no day shifts in sight. Address the situation, but be prepared to change jobs, as this may be the ‘writing on the wall’.

Your Ethics are Challenged

If you’re asked to take part in, or have knowledge of, something you know is immoral, illegal, or just plain wrong, you need to leave. Moral dilemmas occur regularly in healthcare and at some point you may feel as though your ethics are being challenged. That is the nature of healthcare in the 21st century. However, if you are consistently asked to compromise your ethics, your ability to practice as a nurse could be threatened. Get away from that employer and move on. If anything you witness violates patients rights, you must alert authorities.

No Financial Compensation

When you begin to notice the duties you’re assigned are growing, with no mention of promotion or compensation, take a good look at what’s happening. Many nursing facilities and healthcare centers will add endless tasks to the nurses’ duties as they cut staff in order to preserve the bottom line. Don’t allow yourself to be taken advantage of in this manner. Not only is this grossly unfair, but an overburdened care provider can become a threat to patients’ well-being.

You’re Bored

Boredom can set in with any career, especially when you’ve been with the same employer, providing the same type of care, for a long time. If you’re feeling unchallenged in your present job, you may need to seek out another employer. Consider going back and taking some classes to advance your degree, or ask HR about other opportunities.

You Aren’t Advancing

Sometimes, being passed over for a promotion has nothing to do with your qualifications and everything to do with personality differences, or a sort of favoritism. Should you find yourself looking toward a promotion, only to see a lesser-qualified, or less-senior co-worker get the job, speak with management. If you get nowhere in your conversation, go elsewhere for work.

Conflicts with Management

With any employer conflicts will arise between nurses and management or administration. If you find consistent conflicts with your supervisory staff, do some soul-searching to find out where these feelings of conflict are originating. You may legitimately have a beef with your manager, or you may be experiencing burn-out. Consider seeking a change in employment.


You Have Options

Often, just knowing you have options is encouraging. The nursing field is growing daily. If you’re not sure about a career change consider going with a staffing service so that you can stay in healthcare, but have some variety in your work experiences. There are too many options in nursing to stay in one place-especially if you’re unhappy.

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