Nursing can be extremely draining and it doesn’t take long before the words get muttered from your mouth, “I hate being a nurse!” You’re not alone! With the state of Healthcare where it’s at, it’s more of a business than ever. Within the past 10 years I’ve seen a HUGE shift in how hospitals are run. What used to be run by Physician Groups is now being led by Giant Corporations and Share Holders. As a result, the “business” has taken extreme priority over patient care. The reason I can confidently say this is because within the past 7 years, I’ve watched middle aged millennial, non-clinical, MBA prepared individuals step into the role of Nursing Management with a fancy title of “Operation Manager.” These guys are the ones that walk around with clipboards asking about why we need more nurses this shift, why patients haven’t been discharged yet, or why patients haven’t gone back for surgery in the pre-op bay. Once again, non-clinical and trying to explain your reason why patients care is delayed or actions postponed to these types of people is like trying to explain why birthing a baby is hard and painful to a guy. You can try hard to explain it the best you can and they can listen & comprehend, but they will never FULLY get it.
As a result, the nursing profession has felt an extreme pressure unlike anything in the history of nursing. With surgeries, interventions, and medical technology being more extreme and involved than ever, the acuity of care that we take on as nurses has just gotten higher and higher. Working against the clock, feeling the pressure to meet quota, (aka the timeliness of discharges, the number of new admissions, the number of surgeries done, how long procedures take, and how long patients are waiting in the ER), and all at the same time trying to safely and effectively take care of these patients while working in toxic and controlling nursing environments as a result of the pressure at hands, nurses are drowning. They are drowning physically and emotionally to the point that many leave after a shift saying to themselves “I hate being a nurse.”
The truth is, you most likely don’t HATE being a nurse. You hate the emotional toxicity that comes along with working in these high stressed environments. You hate not being able to take the time that you need to make sure your patient is educated and cared for in the best way. You hate dealing with controlling and toxic charge nurses and managers. You hate working with mean & burned out co-workers who project their hurt onto you. You hate the fear and guilt that come along with being asked 24/7 to stay late, work extra, float to another unit, and swap shifts. And you hate not being able to explain to the demanding patients what you’re up against behind the scenes. You don’t hate being a nurse. You hate everything outside of the actual patient care that weighs on your heart and soul and can make you believe the lies that you just aren’t competent or good enough.
Well guess what. You’re not alone.
While much of this above is a painful truth about the profession of nursing, I want to let you know something. You’re not STUCK! I know what it’s like to feel like you worked your butt off for a degree to get a job that you thought you were going to love and then feel extremely let down by reality. Here’s the deal. When I realized it wasn’t nursing that I hated, but just some of the things around it, I was able to make some big adjustments in my career and life to create one that I LOVED! I do love being a nurse, I just didn’t love how I set my career up in the beginning. We are made to believe that nursing can only be done ONE way and that’s so not true. I’m going to share with you 7 helpful Tips that will change your attitude and make you LOVE what you do so that you never have to think the words again, “I hate being a nurse.”
Is it the environment? Then change it. Is it the hours? Then change them. It is a bully? Then let’s address them. Is it anxiety? Let’s create skills & support to address it. Is it lack of healthy boundaries? Set them! Is it the type of work you’re doing? Do something different. Is it a BUNCH of things together? When you can get clear about the main stressors in your career, you can make a move to CHANGE them! It’s easy to just flat out say “I hate being a nurse” , but WHY? Stop and ask yourself this. Sometimes there is a poison in the picture that’s running even the good. Try to get to the root of what truly gets to you and see if you can target those and make adjustments to make your career and life healthier! Once you figure out what’s stealing from your cup, you can address them and move forward to create a career WITHOUT those things! If you don’t know what steps to take with these questions, check out my “Crafting Your Dream Career” course!
Boundaries are SO important when it comes creating a healthy career as a nurse. Many nurses don’t even know what they are. They let the Toxic Terries (that’s what I like to call them) walk all over them. You should always ask yourself some KEY questions before weighing the value of another person’s opinions or actions at work. Some many nurses take to heart the hurtful words from others and you should ask yourself before allowing those words to affect you, “Does this person have a life I would want for myself?” “Is this person aware of their mean behavior and do they treat others in a way I would?” If the answer is no, remember that you alway have power over how you feel and respond to such toxic people. It’s also so important to know and remind yourself of the truths about who you are before taking another person’s words to heart. I refer to these as emotional boundaries. Hurt people hurt people and their words are powerless without your reaction.
Physical Boundaries are making sure that you know when to say NO! Hospitals today take advantage of the empathetic and caring heart of nurses! They use phrases like “You’d be such a team player if you picked up tomorrow!” or “It’s not our fault if your team doesn’t want to help out” in regards to staffing issues. It’s manipulative & abusive and I’m so tired of seeing nurses feed into it! I also see that many nurses are afraid or feel guilty for saying no. They know how painful it is to work short-staff. They don’t want to see their friends or their patients suffer, but here’s the deal. At the end of the day, it’s not your job to staff the hospital! They pay people big money to do that! You have to take care of you, get your rest, and know what things in your personal life take priority over your hospital’s needs. If you’re sick and not feeling well, don’t for ONE second feel bad calling out. You need to heal and your germs don’t belong in a hospital. Take care of you! Boundaries protect you. They are healthy and keep the work relationship going. So many nurses struggle with boundaries, physical and emotionally.
If you feel like maybe you’re thinking “I hate being a nurse” because doing it FULL time is feeling a lot like it’s owning your life, then try cutting cutting down to part-time and doing something else on the side! Work at a coffee shop! Clean houses. Mow Lawns. Babysit. Dog walk. Teach a fitness class! Who the heck said that in order to be a “real nurse” you had to do it full time?! NO ONE! See if your institution will let you go part-time and look into their options for benefits! Hospitals make their own policies on benefits. I understand that part-time benefits can be a little pricier, but ask yourself this: “Is $100 a month a month extra worth my peace of mind?” If you can make that money up elsewhere at a job or a PRN outside of the hospital, things might start to look up! Don’t let insurance be a barrier to cutting back. You 100% can figure something out. I use this alternative health share and there are SO many others out there. Everything is figureoutable. You’d be surprised how hospitals would work with you on this issue (and even give you FT benefits for a lower hourly part-time pay), but you have to ask or the answer will always be no!
This can be an incredible set up! Get a part-time gig doing a low stress nursing job and then go work a PRN somewhere else! Changing up the environment can be extremely helpful! Not doing the SAME burdensome job everyday can make it tolerable (and maybe even enjoyable) in smaller doses! It’s like the family member that you truly love, but you just can’t be around them too long or they start to get to you! “Love ya, but gotta go” works a lot better than “OMG I’m living with this crazy person every day!” Small doses can be a game changer. One of my favorite premium paying shifts-on-demand nursing apps is CareRev. They offer high paying nursing shifts for nurses to pickup wherever and whenever they want and you get paid the same week! A ton of flexibility and good money! If you’re looking for a good PRN gig, check them out! The cool thing about a Part-Time job is that you’re only required part-time hours, but if you NEED to pick up, hospitals always have needs. You can also get benefits and retirement too! Mixing it u with a PRN is magic!
Maybe you’re struggling with nursing being your “entire life!” Listen….if nursing is your “everything”, you’re missing out & you’re gunna get hurt. Hospitals are takers who don’t set limits and nurses are givers so they NEED to! I love being a nurse, but I gotta go home to my family! I need to enjoy life OUTSIDE of the cray cray that my profession can be! I love my patients and want to be generous, kind, and helpful, but I can do those things on my scheduled days and hours! Having a hobby or doing something that allows you to “play” outside of your career is a GAME changer! As adults, we still need to play! Take those dance lessons! Start that blog! Join that intramural team! Take those music lessons! Sign up for Yoga! Get back into painting! Do more of what you LOVE! We have to have those creative and passionate outlets! When our identity is in a profession that can easily drag us down and will never set limits on how much they ask of us, we’re not going to be feeling good if we make them our focus. You have SO many unique gifts and talents! USE THEM! Share them! Dive into them! It will remind you more of why you love life and this can make you feel healthier, happier, and more balanced coming into your job as a nurse!
YES! Nursing is no longer my full-time income! I started my blog 7 years ago and it’s grown into becoming my baby and my mission: helping nurses create a career and life that they LOVE with less stress, more money, and better health! Nurses make incredible bloggers and business owners! They are natural problem solvers and educators. That’s exactly what you need to be to grow a successful business! Whether it be starting your own yoga studio, becoming a health coach, selling essential oils, and doing whatever the heck you’ve been thinking about doing, having a side hustle allows you to make extra income and do it connecting with what you love! The hardest part about growing a business is the marketing & sales side. I teach aspiring nurse wellness entrepreneurs how to do this in my Heart & Hustle Membership that I open up a few times a year! It’s an incredible Entrepreneur group that teaches nurses the skills and gives them tools to market & sell their services, education, and products! It’s absolutely life giving when you can grow an income while making an impact doing what you love! Then when you factor in it having the potential to allow you to cut down on those toxic hours at work, it can be game changing! Here are 12 Wellness Side Hustle Ideas that every nurses NEEDS to know about!
Sometimes where you are at is the problem. Wether it be a toxic unit culture or you just are not really loving the care that you give, YOU are NEVER stuck! We are at a point in time where we are being texted & emailed a million job opportunities in our areas all day long. You are also 1 google search a way from a potential opportunity. Want to try the out patient setting? Google it! Want to Travel? Google it! Want to do surgery, PACU, IV infusion centers, or Public Health? Google it! So many people stay in toxic environments for the wrong reasons. Don’t be afraid to change. I know you don’t want to let your friends down. I know you think the unit will die without you and you have to stay to help. I know you think that you’re too old or that it won’t be better on the other side. I’m here to let you know that those are all lies that you tell yourself. Your unit will survive without you. You’re not too old. And the grass might not be greener, but it won’t be being attacked by bugs, worms, and covered in dog put. Removing those (aka the toxic people & control) can change it all.
The last point I want to make is that if you feel the position you’re wanting to move to is “less of a real nurse job than the one you’re currently in” and you’re afraid of others judging that, you need to look in the mirror and realize that you’re staring at a REAL REGISTERED NURSE no matter HOW or Where you choose to use your license! End of story. You can check out my Whole Life Nurse Community PRN, Part-Time, and Holistic Nurse Jobs Facebook Group here if you’re wanting to explore other avenues!
You can also snag my “Non-Traditional Nursing Jobs Workshop” here! Change is healthy and it could be everything that you’re needing.
I hope all of these tips resonate with you. I want you to be able to apply some of these to your life and instead of saying, “I hate being a Nurse” you’ll be able to say “I’m so thankful for an awesome career that has such opportunity and allows me to create a life & schedule that I love with the opportunity to help others and make good money in the process!” Cuz that’s the truth. You’re not stuck. You don’t hate being a nurse. You just need a little nudge in the right direction, a change of mindset, and you’re ready to start taking control of your career and life and loving being a nurse again! It’s all what you create it to be!
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