If you’re working in critical care and have thought about quitting nursing, know that you’re not alone. A recent poll just found that two out of three nurses considered quitting over the last two years and a lot of it had to do with the global health crisis. But, before you make a snap decision, you have to know that this too shall pass, and you need to think about the long-term repercussions of your choice. And, if the issue is your current position, there are plenty of solutions to consider besides leaving the profession. Let’s take a look at a few important questions you should ask yourself before you quit nursing.
Why Do I Want to Leave?
This might seem like a simple question, but it’s a very important one to answer. Most people will say that they’re quitting because they’re unsatisfied but digging deeper will allow you to make the best decision for your career. If the issue is that you’re overworked, then you could always consider working part-time. You can still make pretty good money as a nurse with a part-time position, and you could realize that it’s all that you needed. If the issue is work overload because of the current situation, then you could consider taking a hiatus instead of quitting the field completely.
This isn’t something you should feel ashamed of either. If you’ve been giving your all to nursing for many years and it’s just too much for you to bear, nothing is stopping you from taking a career break. The best choice here would be to go for a sabbatical if you’re eligible. This would allow you to contemplate on what your next move should be and still retain your position and seniority.
If you’ve not worked long enough to earn a sabbatical, your choice will be a bit more difficult. You might have to officially quit, but the good news is that you won’t have enough seniority to worry about it. The most important part is giving your employer enough time to prepare for your replacement and not burn bridges so you can always reapply if you need to and not have a blemish on your resume.
Should I Specialize Instead?
Now would be a good time to decide if what you need is a change of air more than a change of profession. There are so many specializations to choose from and settings in which you could work, and you could find something that would be perfect for you right now. You could decide to work on the administrative side, work with specific patients or demographics, or go for a specialization that would give you much more freedom, like family nursing, for instance.
As a family nurse practitioner, you’ll have the opportunity to open your clinic and work as your boss. You will also enjoy a more stable schedule, process fewer patients per day, and work as much on preventative care and education as you do on acute care. If you think that you can’t squeeze getting a degree into your current schedule, you could decide to study part-time or reduce your availability while you’re getting your education. You could also look at online DNP FNP programs like the ones Baylor University offers. Their program would allow you to go from a BSN to a DNP FNP in under three years, and the best part is that you’ll be able to do it from the comfort of the home or anywhere you wish with an internet connection.
This could allow you to enjoy a career with better work conditions and almost get triple the pay in many cases. So, before you consider leaving the profession completely, look at as many specializations as you can and ask if you could work in a specialized department to see if you like it.
What Will Happen Next?
You also have to consider what you will do next. If this is something you have been thinking about for a while and you’re certain that quitting is the right choice, then you at least need to make sure that you have enough money to sustain yourself until you find a new job. You also have to think about what this new job will be and if it’s truly the best option for you.
You need to research the new job or field you ae thinking of entering in detail so that you don’t end up quitting after a few years there too. Look at the pros and cons of the job, what the prospects are for the future, what kind of salary you can realistically get without experience, and if you’ll need to get additional certification.
Am I Tired of Nursing, or Patients?
Are you having a problem with nursing, or patients? If the issue is the bad interactions you have with patients, then there are tons of non-bedside jobs in healthcare that you could consider instead, and you won’t have to throw your expertise out the window. Like we said earlier, you could look at administrative roles, but you could also look at whether a faculty career could be right for you. This will be completely different from working the floor and you’ll get the chance to form the next generation of nurses. This means that your work will be appreciated at a whole new level.
Alternatively, you could decide to turn your knowledge of nursing into a business. You could provide specialized training in corporate settings or help professionals get safety certifications. Or maybe you could work as a sales rep for a pharmaceutical company, or even manufacture and sell medical equipment? The world is your oyster when you have nursing qualifications, so take advantage of them and use them to write the next chapter of your career whether it’s in healthcare or elsewhere.
You can’t make a decision like quitting nursing on a whim. Before you leave, take the time to thoroughly evaluate your choices and draw up a solid plan before you make things official.