Career change..2 years nursing..enough already!?

(19 Posts)
LondonTowers Mon 08-Jun-20 23:41:58

Hi... I'm on MAT leave and not long had a baby so not sure why I'm worrying about all this now...however..I am!

I know MAT leave is going to fly by and I'm dreading returning to work as a nurse. I've only been qualified just under 3 years.... I just don't think I like it.. I think as a student I knew I didn't really like it but I'm not a giver-upper-er and wanted to give it my best shot....

I understand there are lots of areas in nursing to try but I'm just not sure I want to.... Its not just the shifts, politics, stress, anxiety, rude staff/ patients, chaos..... there are several core issues with medicine and healthcare that I question and I'm not sure if its sustainable to work, and be the best nurse I can be, within this framework.

Nursing was a 2nd degree..
I have an arts degree/ MA from a number of years back but it was difficult to find employment and, having started a family fairly young, my priority was to get a job that paid ok and guaranteed work... hence pursuing the nursing career.....

I feel a bit silly having all these qualifications and the fact I am getting older (confused)... whilst I wouldn't rule out another career change/ further study I am concerned I'll always be unsatisfied! I am mid thirties with kids/ home/ partner etc. I can't afford to be a SAHM and I'm not sure I'd want to long term even if it were an option because I enjoy studying/ working.....just not in this field it would seem..... hmm

Anyone been in the same boat?

Looking for inspiration, advice and insight!!!!

OP’s posts: |
Sweetlikecoca Tue 09-Jun-20 00:08:42

I would definitely look into other roles of nursing before giving up. Were you ward based? What about working in a sexual health clinic as a role (it looks a lot more relaxed). What about in a GP surgery.

It would be a shame to just give up before trying new areas.

LondonTowers Tue 09-Jun-20 00:26:27

I've mainly worked in acute areas, currently I work all over on the bank. I think I'd have the same issues in clinics/ GPs although I have thought about trying community or ITU before I jack it in ;)
I did work for years as a carer/ hca/ support worker in a couple of different community settings so I have had a fairly well rounded experience of healthcare in various settings....
It's the feeling I get in the pit of my stomach that makes me think I'm really not where I should be. I don't want to waste my MAT leave worrying however I think it's quite a good time to reassess- before I go back and get bogged down by the daily grind!

OP’s posts: |
Iprefergin Tue 09-Jun-20 10:47:32

Chances are you'll get lots advice to branch out and try clinics/practice nursing etc.

Not many people know how hard it it to get these jobs.

Starface Tue 09-Jun-20 11:02:22

What are your core issues with healthcare and medicine? This seems fairly important to understand to see if they really are insurmountable or not.

If they are you probably need to form plans to change. This obviously is harder with childcare, plus costs of retraining etc. These other costs need to be carefully considered, but in the longer term you may have another 30 years or so to work so you may as well find something you enjoy.

I agree with your worry though. Your track record of choosing, and also of following your gut and getting out when sunk costs are lower, are both poor. You need to put some time in with a career coach or someone to address this. It could be worth seeing if you have access to anything via Employee Support if you are still employed (even on mat leave). Or the National Careers Service. You don't want to repeat the pattern!

Good luck!

LondonTowers Tue 09-Jun-20 11:44:00

I have worked in clinics- not surgeries. To work in a surgery where I live is really competitive, I'd need to do further training and I'm not sure I'd want to become further embroiled in a career I'm not sure I want... if that makes sense!

Gosh where to start. In short I'm not sure I like being in an area that values preserving life at any cost and wastes money and resources trying to fix those who would be better served if they were offered the skills to help themselves. The dubious intentions of Pharmaceutical companies, rubbish/ arrogant doctors (many aren't), politics and I really don't like the bitchy atmosphere on some of the wards smile

I worked hard in my first career in the arts for 10 years but became restricted due to where we've settled etc.... would have been better if I could have moved back to London but that hasn't been an option... hence undertaking the nursing degree, having a background as carer from the age of 15 I thought it would be worth a shot so I don't think my decisions were poor, in fact I think they were pretty sensible in terms of my circumstances at the time!

OP’s posts: |
Starface Thu 09-Jul-20 05:28:57


Sorry, I totally missed the notification for your post, didn't mean to leave you hanging.

So, given what you have said, I suggest you consider options using your basic nursing degree as a springboard rather than totally starting from scratch. Nursing degree could be a springboard to many things. You will need to seek these alternatives out though. Suggestions I have initially include: nursing lecturing/training. Being a research nurse (so supporting clinical trials rather than in clinical care). You could work in medical journalism. You could work for a health and social care pressure group like KingsFund or Rowntre Foundation. You could work for your National nursing organisation - god knows they need better people after the fiasco over the last pay deal. You could decide a mission to address some of the issues you have found. Eg approaches to resource and attitudes to preservation of life are ethical and political questions that you could explore via an academic career. You could develop a self help strategy fehichever area it is you feel would be better served that way, do your (funded equivalent to your nursing pay) PhD to build the evidence base and make a massive societal contribution. The nhs will follow the evidence, especially if it better and cheaper. But you need to build the evidence. Another career option straddling academics and application.

Politics is sadly part of every organisation and every job, although hierarchies aren't always as rigid as in healthcare. I can't offer an easy solution to that one!

Essentially, see nursing as your gateway qualification, but think wider than options in different clinical specialities or teams. There is so much more you could do.

As an aside, with the massive shift in working practice because of covid 19, you might find more jobs are open to flexible working (ie from home). This essentially opens up your geographical options. You can do things like work 3 days from home, 2 days from office with 1 overnight stay away from home. Or potentially do it all from home. I think you can phone employers advertising posts to explore really creative solutions. People will be more able to support this than ever given recent workplace changes. For the right person and the right role, all this is possible. I have a friend working the pattern I described for NHS England with 2 young children. Its actually massively exciting working parents in particular, because barriers to flexibility in terms of infrastructure and cultural use of working practice that supports this eg video calling has all massively changed. Not everyone will want to embrace this if course, some will want to go back to how things were. You may still need to be proactive in proffering the flexible solution. But it's an amazingly hopeful time.

Good luck!

Nefelibata86 Thu 09-Jul-20 05:38:43

Watching with interest due to very similar feelings and trajectory, ending not in nursing but in a similar vocation.
I don’t agree that your decisions have been poor. If anything sensible in trying out the profession, meaning you get some money and experience out of it at least.

Namenic Thu 09-Jul-20 06:07:36

I switched from healthcare to IT recently because I didn’t suit the job and was v anxious. Only been in job for a few months but work life balance a lot better and I’m more relaxed and happier.

Started by looking on jobs websites in my area (hard to move as have mortgage and kids). I tried lots of different avenues within healthcare and did hobby coding for 3 years before coming upon an unexpected job opportunity (DH is in the trade so I had lots of support).

There is a Facebook group called alternative careers for doctors which you might find helpful (other HCPs are on there too).
Look into theatre nursing, clinical trials, community/school, ?children’s/play therapy, palliative care, travel medicine, occupational health (private and nhs).

Figure out what it is you don’t like/suit in nursing and what the pros and cons vs new job are. Some people find it easier with childcare to do 3 long days than 5 regular days in normal job. I am lucky to have grandparent support.

LondonTowers Tue 14-Jul-20 17:54:33

Thank you all for your responses. I have taken them all on board especially your suggestions @Starface
I feel a bit more focused now and trying to think outside the box. One big reason for doing a nursing degree was wanting to work abroad and perhaps do some aid work, probably when the kids grow up. Trying not to lose sight of the future bigger picture.

OP’s posts: |
LondonTowers Tue 14-Jul-20 17:55:42

@Nefelibata86 have you any ideas?
What is your background?

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Sipperskipper Tue 14-Jul-20 18:01:49

I found the notion of preserving life at any cost pretty depressing too.

I'm now a palliative care clinical nurse specialist and spend my working life trying to ensure this doesn't happen. With a focus on people's quality of life, I feel like I'm working where I'm really making a difference, if that makes sense.

As well as clinical care, the job also involves lots of teaching / education, audit, strategy work etc. Its very varied and I feel like I am influencing care from all angles.

LondonTowers Thu 16-Jul-20 21:46:32

@Sipperskipper Agreed!

I did think about palliative nursing for the very reasons you enjoy it. I think what you do is amazing, I'm not 100% sure if I can do it xx

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Nefelibata86 Fri 17-Jul-20 09:28:39

In social care. Others seem to be going into life coaching

theinvisablewoman Fri 17-Jul-20 09:47:38

I do admire you for identifying how you feel and trying to confront it.
Community nursing isn't the picnic some people make it out to be. It can be very lonely and I'm not sure the support is there.
If I were starting again I think I'd look at becoming a clinical nurse specialist, things like infection control, dermatology, respiratory,continence etc.
These roles are more autonomous so easier to avoid all the negatives plus really good to be an expert in something.
I was a midwife but trained as a health visitor when I had children but I'm not sure I'd recommend that unless you are really interested in child protection .
Some charities also employ nurses and they could be interesting to work for especially if you'd like to do aid work in the future?
Good luck - and do enjoy your maternity leave it whizzes by quickly enough as it is !!

Darkestseasonofall Fri 17-Jul-20 10:02:12

Could you do a Masters in Art Therapy? Would combine the best of both worlds?

Sipperskipper Fri 17-Jul-20 10:43:49

@LondonTowers to be honest its far less upsetting than ward work, where I would still often be caring for dying patients but without the time to do any of it properly.

Now I can give people and their families all the time they need from me, and that feels good.

LondonTowers Fri 17-Jul-20 10:50:35

Thank you all! Some good ideas. I think community nursing could be great but think it be a bit lonely too. I really enjoyed health visiting placements and actually loved the child protection side but I imagine the problems I have with nursing may seem inti this speciality too. Also the things I practice in my own life eg)..... (safe) co-sleeping etc are not promoted by the health visiting service (*@theinvisablewoman*) so I would feel a bit hypocritical but please do correct me if I'm wromg- I'd love to hear your experience as a HV what you loved/ hated!!!
@Darkestseasonofall Art therapy is a great suggestion, my problem is I have a masters which I self funded years ago but this now means I cant apply for student finance for an MA (bonkers because I've not had postgraduate student finance before)!

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meldownes Tue 21-Jul-20 12:25:02

Have you thought about alternative roles where you could still use your nursing knowledge, experience and keep your validation? Where I work we employ nurses, OTs and paramedics to work on PIP for the DWP, its office hours, assessing claimants, currently over the phone due to covid but did used to be in an office environment, salaries are similar if not better. We are in the north west england but these positions do exist all over the country. Suppose something like that would mean that your degree is still utilised, and hey to get it in the first place is a huge achievement, especially if you were disheartened whilst still studying. Good Luck and enjoy your maternity leave!

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