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Want to leave Nursing but feel so trapped

(24 Posts)
yorkshapudding Mon 14-Sep-15 09:58:53


I am an RMN, currently working in a CAMHS team. I love the work itself but the politics, beaurocracy and the fact that my workload has become increasingly unmanageable is getting me down. I work in a team with some lovely, supportive people but everyone is so stressed out, there's so much negativity about and I think we make each other worse. I have been coming in an hour early every day just to stay afloat and end up taking a lot of work home, not easy with a 2 year old DD around. I'm tense all the time and I'm not sleeping. I lie awake mentally checking off all the kids on my caseload, worrying about their various risks and what might potentially happen. At 3am this morning I got up and cleaned my kitchen as I couldn't sleep. I've never been a sickly person but started getting constant colds, mouth ulcers, my skin is a mess etc and I know it's my body's way of telling me im not coping. I only work 3 days a week but on my days off I'm so anxious about going back to work I can't enjoy the time with DD.

I know this isn't healthy. I'm worried that I'm heading for a breakdown if I carry on like this.

I'm regretting the career path I've chosen and have been thinking a lot about getting out but don't know how. I can't just walk out, we have mortgage and bills that need paying and my husband doesn't earn enough for me to be a SAHM at present. I'm not trained for anything except nursing and I don't know what else I could possibly do where I could bring in roughly the same money (about £26k pro rata). I know this sounds terrible but I've thought about TTC no.2 just so I could get away from work for a few months blush. I know that's a stupid, selfish reason to have another baby and I wouldn't actually do it but I think the fact that it crossed my mind shows how bad things have become.

I have always liked the idea of being a Counselor and practicing privately but I have no idea how to go about this and I imagine it would be costly to re-train.

Am I right in thinking i'm trapped or has anyone in my position successfully made the break from nursing and if so what did you go on to do?

johnImonlydancing Mon 14-Sep-15 10:19:07

Just want to say I really feel for you. A close relative was a nurse and I recognise so much of what you say. It should be one of the most highly valued and best-rewarded jobs there is, along with teaching, and it sucks that it isn't. My relative quit and went into teaching Health and Social Care in a college (which ended up equally stressful, but at least better paid nd less physically exhausting!). Not sure what the possibilties are for this kind of career change these days.
can you maybe transfer to a diffeerent field or to a different hospital... get out of the toxic colleagues environment at least.
I don't know anything about counselor training I'm afraid. Hope things get better for you.

johnImonlydancing Mon 14-Sep-15 10:19:08

Just want to say I really feel for you. A close relative was a nurse and I recognise so much of what you say. It should be one of the most highly valued and best-rewarded jobs there is, along with teaching, and it sucks that it isn't. My relative quit and went into teaching Health and Social Care in a college (which ended up equally stressful, but at least better paid nd less physically exhausting!). Not sure what the possibilties are for this kind of career change these days.
can you maybe transfer to a diffeerent field or to a different hospital... get out of the toxic colleagues environment at least.
I don't know anything about counselor training I'm afraid. Hope things get better for you.

yorkshapudding Mon 14-Sep-15 15:31:47

Thank you for your reply. Teaching Health and Social care does sound like something I would enjoy. Have just had a quick search online and they seem to want a formal teaching qualification (pgce or similar) so that's not going to work unfortunately. I've looked at changing jobs within the NHS but i'm not qualified for anything other than mental health nursing and from what I gather (I have friends working in mental health in various hospitals/community teams all over the region), it's much the same everywhere. I do like most of my colleagues. People are just feeling demoralised, overworked and undervalued due to all the cuts so there's a lot of negativity in the air and it makes me not want to be there even more.

CountryLovingGirl Mon 14-Sep-15 18:38:25

You can teach in a college as long as you agree to complete the PGCE alongside the teaching. The one I looked at was 4 hours a week over 2 years that can be done at the same college where you teach. It is possible - look into it. Have a look at vacancies and the job spec/requirements. Most colleges would take you for your nursing experience and would allow you to do the course at the same time.
I think it's the same across the NHS. I have 19 years NHS experience now and have never seen it so bad (not a nurse). Loads of my colleagues have left.

CountryLovingGirl Mon 14-Sep-15 18:39:03

It's the post-compulsory PGCE you want to look into (not the school PGCE).

overthemill Mon 14-Sep-15 18:41:20

You can teach and do qual at same time - I know lots of people who have done this. There are other options eg working in other settings. Someone I know who sounds a lot like you (CPN background) is currently child minding. You could maybe child mind part time and volunteer as a counsellor and see if it appeals as a work option before you pay to train? Do have a look at other options like working for a charity too

overthemill Mon 14-Sep-15 18:42:10

Yes it's the PGCE (PCE) option and I obtained it part time over 2 years while teaching in a variety of health and care settings. Earning while training

BernardBlack Mon 14-Sep-15 18:47:03

I'm in the same boat, but I work in inpatients. I think I want a quiet office job; just me, a computer and my own little desk with a couple of photos on. That also pays circa 27k, is only 4 days a week and doesn't require retraining grin A girl can dream!

yorkshapudding Mon 14-Sep-15 19:28:26

Thank you all. All of the teaching posts I've found so far want a couple of years of HE experience but will definitely keep an eye out. Sounds like it could be the most realistic option I've come up with so far.

Childminding isn't really an option as DH works from home a lot.

Have looked at all the charities who operate locally and there are quite a few jobs I would qualify for but I'd have to take a substantial pay cut and we just can't afford for me to do that at the moment.

Bernard, that's the dream grin
I just want a job where I know no one will die if I take my eye of the ball for a split second.

Roygrace Mon 14-Sep-15 19:32:56

I am a RMN and totally hear you. Are you rural or near a city? There are so many transferable skills. Probation, substance misuse, service manager jobs. What about agency work? Pick and choose. Good rmns on an agency are like gold dust!

How long have you been feeling like this?

dotdotdotmustdash Mon 14-Sep-15 20:14:38

I was an RMN who went from clinical nursing into teaching in an FE college. Back then (2004) you didn't need a teaching qualification to lecture, but you could do it alongside work. I stayed for 4 years and enjoyed most of it - it certainly gave me some excellent experiences.

I gave up due to health problems, but most of the lecturers start out as nurses so it must be possible to get into teaching somehow! Another option might to look into becoming an NVQ Assessor, the colleges might employ people to do just that. I did that too, and it involved working and assessing students in the community.

yorkshapudding Mon 14-Sep-15 20:22:59

I'm near a city. A couple actually. I have thought about Probabtion but I'm wondering if that'd be jumping out of the frying pan into the fire. Same with substance misuse, I think I'd be good at it and I'd find it interesting but not sure it would be any less stressful.

I've never done agency work. I've only ever had permanent contracts so it's not something I've considered before. I like knowing how much money I'm going to have coming in every month so not sure if the uncertainty would make me more stressed iyswim? On the other hand maybe being able to pick and choose where I worked and for how long might make up for that, as long as I knew I could pick up enough work to manage financially.

Looking back now I think this has been bubbling under the surface since I had my DD two years ago but I've been doing my best to keep a lid on it. I was never bothered by the stresses of the job before, was comfortable with the level of risk etc. I was looking forward to going back after maternity leave but when I went back I felt massively under pressure and found it much more stressful than before. I thought reducing my hours would help but it hasn't. I just feel burnt out.

Roygrace Mon 14-Sep-15 20:29:15

I found CAHMs the most stressful I've ever done.

I do think it depends on the sort of person you are. I'm not that anxious about stuff but have colleagues Who get into a state about every decision and really second guess themselves.

I go to work, go home and can switch off.

I do think every job is stressful but it's just finding how much your willing to take.

I have a friend who left to work in buttie shop and wants to do ot training. A lot like adult community. But agree maybe it's like jumping from one to the other.

Are you in a trust? Can you do the odd bank shift? In few different areas to get a feel.

I totally hear you and it a tough ine

annandale Mon 14-Sep-15 20:34:29

Have you looked at the Civil service website?

yorkshapudding Mon 14-Sep-15 20:42:35

Rory, that's how I used to be. No matter how stressful my day was, by the time i'd driven home i'd already let it go. I've been in CAMHS (in a variety of roles) for several years and always loved it until recently. I'm currently in the community and while the hours are more sociable, the workload is completely ridiculous, especially given how hugely complex most of the kids are. I always said I would never go back to Adult services but now I wonder whether it would be less stressful.

yorkshapudding Mon 14-Sep-15 21:11:30

annandale, thanks for the suggestion. Have just had a look and there's nothing near me that doesn't require a long list of qualifications I don't have but will keep checking the site in case something comes up.

FadedRed Mon 14-Sep-15 21:25:12

Have you thought about about training to be a Health Visitor? Or School Nurse? I know so,some who did HV training and found it better for her. Still has some worries about some of her clients, but not as stressful as her former career, and much more positive feedback.

FadedRed Mon 14-Sep-15 21:26:01

So,some = someone

yorkshapudding Tue 15-Sep-15 17:11:19

Faded, I know quite a few school nurses and they all seem very unhappy at work. From what they tell me, the role has changed a lot over the years and they now spend most of their time sat in child protection conferences or writing child protection reports. They seem t be used as safeguarding nurses but on lower pay, in this area at least. Health Visiting has crossed my mind but I don't know a lot about it, will look into it I think. Thank you.

overthemill Tue 15-Sep-15 18:22:19

Another friend has stopped being a hospital,nurse to be a school nurse and is now a practice nurse in a surgery. She is much more content

ggirl Tue 15-Sep-15 18:32:02

Can totally relate Op. I am a community nurse and the workload is ridiculous...there is no finite end to the referrals coming in and we just don't have the staff to cope.

You could look into Occupational Health nursing and find a lovely lucrative job in the private industry.grin

KitKat1985 Wed 23-Sep-15 13:08:10

Hi OP,

Another RMN here so completely hear where you are coming from. I was working in the medium secure services 3 years ago and was stressed to the point of having a near breakdown by the time I left, predominantly because of how violent the ward was and how poorly managed this had been. I also was thinking about leaving mental health nursing completely but (for financial reasons) decided to stay in nursing but in a completely different area. I now work in acute inpatient dementia services and things are much better. I'm not saying the work isn't also stressful at times but it's far better. So possibly consider trying another area of mental health nursing first before making any firm decisions on leaving the profession?

I'm just wondering if inpatient may suit you better than community work? If the predominant anxiety of yours is what might happen when you're not there at least in inpatient work when you leave you hand the responsibility over to the next shift if you see what I mean, so you don't have to carry the stress home with you in the same way? Plus the wards are usually so desperate for good RMN staff that a lot of them are pretty good at accommodating flexible working requests etc.

Jimbawb Sun 07-Aug-16 02:23:43

Oh dear! I'm a bit late coming to this thread, I have just joined Mumsnet, I hope that I am allowed to stay, cos I am a man. I do sympathise, well, empathise with you. I'm lucky I guess, because I'm nearing the end of my nursing career. I'll be 60 next June, and I am not intending to renew my registration. I am hoping to work as a HCA in mental health. I was told by one agency that I was ineligible to apply as an HCA because I am Registered (RMN) . I am fed up with the responsibility, nursing seems to be more driven by the law, and avoiding getting sued, sacked, or struck off rather than a desire to care these days, in my jaded opinion. The NMC seems to relish in this fear factor, pompously having their hearings held at the Old Bailey. A move to inpatients could be beneficial, as suggested by a previous correspondent. I've worked in community services, and fretted over the weekend about patients. Have you brought this up in clinical supervision? I do hope you are okay, I really feel for you. But be assured, you are not alone. Take care.

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