Nurses struggle and that’s a fact. Some of us are having a hard time maintaining our jobs while others are struggling to make ends meet. There are nurses who are having a difficult time balancing their personal and professional lives. And then, there are nurses who are stuck and unsure of whether or not to push through with their chosen career.
Is there really a life after nursing?
If you belong to the latter, this is probably the question you’ve been asking yourself a lot lately. For you to know the answer, you have to ask yourself another set of questions.
Do you really love nursing with all your heart and soul? Do you still see yourself working as a nurse for the next 10 or 20 years?
A lot of nurses chose the career for the wrong reasons. If you are one of them, don’t feel surprised if you’re struggling with your career now.
You can’t take the job seriously if your heart’s not in it.
Nursing is a serious job that entails high level of accuracy, dedication, and untarnished caring attitude. You won’t survive if it’s not your passion.
If you want to do something else, better go for it now than spend the rest of your life stuck with a truckload of regrets. We all make mistakes and we all make wrong decision at some point in our lives.
So, listen to your heart and don’t pretend that you love nursing when you actually don’t. Love for nursing should always be unconditional and not half-baked.
Making the Transition
Before you actually hang your nursing cap, reflect for a moment and think about what you really want. There are other nursing specialties that can fit your passion in life.
Become a nurse educator
If you think teaching is for you, consider taking nurse educator jobs. This will give you the chance to share everything you know with aspiring nurses and hone their skills and knowledge at the same time.
Since you’re already a registered nurse, you can take and finish a master’s degree. If you want to get ahead of the competition, pursue a doctoral degree in nursing, too.
Take a management position
If you know you have awesome leadership skills, apply for a nurse manager position. You will be mainly responsible for leading and supervising a team of nurses. Your job will also include making work schedules, setting and coordinating staff meetings, and making important personnel decisions.
Work as a volunteer
You can still provide your services as a nurse even if you’re not in the hospital. There’s a long list of volunteer opportunities if helping others is what you’re passionate about.
You can join the American Red Cross nurses or be a member of the International Medical Corps. You can even volunteer to help in your local health center.
Consider travel nursing
Working as a travel nurse provides an excellent opportunity for you to travel while taking care of other people. It’s a good choice for nurses who are adventurous at heart.
How to Prepare for the Transition
Honestly, you just can’t leave your work without letting your employer know. You’ll just leave the management frustrated and your co-workers short-staffed. Plus, it’s one way to earn a bad impression which can be damaging to your reputation.
Take these steps if you feel ready to switch to a different nursing career:
Do your research.
After evaluating yourself, you should start evaluating different specialties. Read reputable blogs, news articles, and relevant journals. There are many materials that can help you make the right career decision. You can also consider attending nursing conferences as well as job fairs to explore as many career options in just a short amount of time.
Gain hands-on experiences.
Ask your hospital if you can shadow nurses while they are at work. This wil give you a clearer picture of what it’s like to work in your chosen specialty.
You can also ask other nurses who switched careers. They probably have lessons they can share with you.
Network with other nurses in your chosen specialty. This will increase the likelihood of having a colleague refer a relevant job opportunity to you.
Get additional education
Before you submit your application letter, make sure that you meet all the specialty’s requirements. Some specialties require certification courses and examinations.
Prepare your application materials.
Update your resume and see if there are any errors in your paper. Draft a cover letter and make sure to customize it for each job posting.
Don’t forget to prepare answers to some of the most common job interview questions, too.
What to Do If Nursing Isn’t Really For You
Well, you can work as an engineer, lawyer, baker, cook or even an artist. You have a lot of options outside nursing.
Here’s an important thing to remember:
Don’t feel bad or guilty if you truly feel that nursing isn’t for you. Forcing yourself to do something you don’t like will just create more problems.
You’ll be inefficient at work. There’s also a good chance that you won’t be able to provide the care your patients need and deserve. You might even end up compromising their health and safety.
To start a career that’s not related to nursing, you can also follow the steps above. Do your research and find out what you’re truly interested in. Ask around and interview people to know what it’s like to work in a different industry.
Since you don’t know a lot of people in your potential new job, work extra hard on networking. You need to introduce yourself to a lot more people if you want to get hired fast.