One of the beautiful things about working in nursing is that it’s so vast. As a nurse, you get to embark on all sorts of roles and work in different types of environments dealing with different patients. This is one of the most diverse fields to work in, and one that allows you to pivot at any point in time. If you’ve been in the field for a while, you might be asking yourself if now is the right time to look for a nursing career change. Let’s take a look at a few signs that it might be so.
You’re Falling Out of Love with Your Job
If you find yourself simply going through the motions and can barely get to the end of the day, then it might be a sign that you need change. You cannot be running on auto-pilot for the sake of your patients. Disengaged and tired nurses are one of the biggest causes of medical errors, and these can have very serious consequences both for the patient and the institution you’re working for.
You have to assess your mindset during, before, and after your shifts. If you have to hit the snooze button five times every morning and reconsider your whole life before getting through the doors at work, then it might be a sign that you need change.
You’re Craving More Responsibility
Another thing that’s very common with experienced nurses is that they feel like they have the expertise to do more but are limited in their functions. Some may want to move to administrative roles or supervision. Some may even want to run their own practice, and it’s possible as a nurse in many states.
In this case, you might want to consider advancement and looking at upping your credentials. One of the great ways to do this as a working nurse is to look at part-time programs. You could get something like a doctor of nursing practice degree and be able to fill all sorts of roles. You’ll be a prime candidate for any administrative position and will be able to run your own clinic as well.
You’ll have much more autonomy and will be able to benefit from your expertise on the ground too. This is all possible and made easier when you can take classes that better fit your schedule.
Another alternative that could breathe some life into your career would be to move into nursing education. A doctor of nursing practice degree would also make you a great candidate for teaching roles. You could even build your own nursing school if you wanted to as you’ll have all the expertise to do it.
Teaching would give you the chance to for the next generation of nurses and can be extremely fulfilling. Not to mention that it’s very different to working on the floor.
You’re Not Yourself Anymore
Look at who you were when you first got in the business and who you are now. If you’re a shadow of your old self, then it might be a sign that you need to look at something greater. Another thing you need to look at is your relationship with the people around you.
Are you getting irritable lately? Or are you tired of being ordered to do tasks you don’t want to do anymore? If you’re constantly having mood swings and conflict with other workers when everything was fine at the beginning, then it could be another sign that you need a change of pace.
You Can’t Take the Physical Load Anymore
You also have nurses who love working the floor and would do it all of their lives if they could, but their body is saying otherwise. If you’re getting up there in age or have suffered multiple injuries and can’t perform as well, then you might want to look at positions that would be less physically demanding.
You have to listen to your body and what it’s trying to tell you. Know that there are plenty of roles where you’ll have the chance to make a difference without having to walk or run everywhere all day or spend your day moving and turning patients.
You could be working in a nice family clinic, for instance. Or maybe you’d like to work with patients at home or in a retirement community. You could even look at things like school nursing and enjoy a nice change of pace. Going to a different, easier role could add many years to your career.
You have an Itch for a Different Job
Maybe you heard of one of your friends having a blast as a rescue nurse or always dreamed about working on a cruise boat or yacht. Know that this is all possible, especially if you have a lot of experience as a nurse under your belt.
The main obstacle to getting those types of jobs is experience, and, if you’ve been working for many years, then you could have a realistic chance at getting one of these interesting gigs. All you need to do is know where to look. For yacht work, for instance, you have sites like Yacrew.com that routinely post jobs for nurses. If you want to work on a cruise line, you can apply directly with them or use sites like cruiseshipjob.com.
You Want Greater Pay
You also shouldn’t feel bad for wanting to get paid more. There is no reason for you to stay in the same position your whole life when there are nursing jobs that will pay you in the high 5 or 6 figures per year.
Some of these positions only require that you have experience while others will need you to get higher credentials. If you are interested in a particular position, look at the prospects and see if there are learning alternatives like part-time or online classes that will allow you to get the qualifications needed.
These are all signs that it might be time for you to switch. Make sure that you assess your mental state and see if there could be better opportunities out there for you.