Why Do Nurses Want to Leave the Hospital Setting?

Why Do Nurses Want to Leave the Hospital Setting?

“But you’re a nurse right?”

“And you don’t like working in hospitals?”

“Isn’t it like a chef who hates working in a kitchen?”

For people outside the nursing field, it can be a bit confusing. The nursing profession may equal to working in a hospital for a lot of them. Yes it’s demanding, they concur. But you wouldn’t become a nurse if you don’t like hospitals, some say!

At least that’s what they think.

But for hospital nurses, things are not that black and white. Working in a hospital setting comes the good and the bad. Concerning the good, being a floor nurse allows you to:

-Make your own schedule (for some of us), even if sometimes it means working 12 or 16 hours straight.

-Get days off during the weekdays, which some people would pay to have. It becomes easier to schedule medical appointments or do chores around the house while no one is there.

-Get 3-day weekends depending on your schedule, which is always a perk.

However, there are a lot of disadvantages when you’re a nurse working in a hospital:

-Working long hour-shifts means you may be missing out on life outside of work. For example, not being there to help your kids with their homework, or only catch them when they’re sleeping. Or being way too tired to cook at the end of your shift, and knowing the next shift is coming very soon.

Sometimes, leaving the hospital setting is necessary to keep you sane.

-You’re schedule’s never the same from a week to another, so it becomes almost impossible to have regular activities during the week (for example, if you wanted to take Zumba classes every Wednesdays, you may have to skip one every 2 weeks).

-Having to work every other weekend, when every body else is chilling at home, is so frustrating.

-You do have to choose on which holiday you’ll have free (Christmas vs New Years Eve)…and sometimes, you don’t even get to choose!

So, to start off, these are good reasons to be pissed when you’re a hospital nurse. But wait! There’s more!

When your nurse-to-patient ratio increases overwhelmingly and unsafely; When you’re getting the 3rd degree from other coworkers, MD, nurses, patient’s family, because you didn’t do this or didn’t do that; When you’re stuck with a management team that couldn’t care less about your needs; When you haven’t had an opportunity to escape the madness for 2 minutes just to go take a pee; When you missed your coffee break or you’re late for your lunch break because of this or that; When you can’t leave the unit on time because you still need to catch up with your charting!…The list could go on and on!

So to sum up the whole situation, you could say that nurses who want to leave the hospital setting want to do it for the main reason: to achieve work-life balance… Or because they care about their sanity!

I applaud my senior nurses who have worked for 20+ years in those hostile environments. You are a true inspiration. But I ain’t mad at the ones who, after 5 years, decide to exercise their profession in another setting. Because nurses can work in a variety of settings. These include nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, schools, industrial settings, clinics, home health care and outpatient care centers.

You’re allowed to be a nurse who has a regular schedule, who can go back home with some energy left, to cook, clean or help the kids. To take care of your husband, take dance lessons, plan weekend activities, and spend time with your loved ones on the holiday season. Yes! Because in the end, it’s all about work-life balance. You have the right to have a life outside of your work, just like anybody else.

So just do YOU!

If the hospital setting is for you, and you don’t mind the craziness of the place: go for it! We need nurses in the hospital settings anyway, and now more than ever. But if your job is making you miserable, if it’s affecting your mood and your attitude with coworkers or with family, then think about your options. That’s what I like the most about nursing, HAVING the choice!

So what’s your experience? Are you a floor nurse? How do you handle the pressure?

Or are you an ex-floor nurse? What made you decide to leave the hospital setting?

We want to hear your story!

RN Didi

6 thoughts on “Why Do Nurses Want to Leave the Hospital Setting?

  1. Even though my workplace is just a clinic, our workload is pretty much like a hospital except that we are lack of staff and equipment – which makes matters worse during high influx of patients.

    I’ve been here for almost 8 years and pretty much been through all the life cycle of a health staff. Honestly, I think I deserve more life than this hectic workplace and been planning my exit for several years, hoping to transit to working from home someday.

    1. Hi Cathy,

      You’re right: working in a clinic also has its ups and downs. In fact, I think it’s the same for almost every one, nurses or not. In every job you’ll have, have some things you’ll like and things you dislike. I think the key is to find a medium – a balance between the good and the bad. If you think that the negatives outweighs the good things in your clinic, then it might be time to leave.

      I personally believe that working from home and being your own boss is the ultimate way to be content with your job. But again, not everybody feels the same way. Some people need that feeling of belonging in a workplace. Everybody’s different, and thank God for that! Otherwise very few people would be working in stressful environments like the hospital or a busy clinic!

      I hope you will find achieve your goal of working from home one day! You seem to be on the right track. Keep up

  2. I don’t blame nurses for wanting to leave the hospital to get another nursing job somewhere else that is going to give them a better work life balance.

    If nursing in a hospital isn’t hard enough, they are now getting abused and physically assaulted by patients especially in the emergency departments.

    For nurses to put up with that and all the other demands made upon them, it’s a real test of their character and I have a lot of respect for what they do as our hospitals can’t run without them.

    1. Hey Adrian,

      You’re on point! I didn’t even touch the subject of the harrassment that some nurses face at work. I’ve personally had some pretty bad experiences myself… the clientele you have in ER is nowhere near the same you have in, let’s say, an allergy clinic. So that’s a valid point you bring up Adrian.

      Thank you so much for your input!

      Take care

      RN Didi

  3. I have the greatest admiration for all our nurses. They have to put up with a lot and at the same time, receive inadequate remuneration for their efforts. Their biggest rewards perhaps the satisfaction of knowing they are making a difference.
    I had not considered the health implications of being a nurse but it must be very difficult with different shifts, upsetting your sleep pattern and encroaching on your family and social life, apart from the obvious upsetting scenes and sadness that they must endure constantly.
    It must be so frustrating when, as a nurse, you can see the shortcomings of the healthcare system. Being overworked and underpaid and having so much at stake in your hands, a nurse must be dedicated. I take my hat off to all of you. Great post. Ches

    1. Hi Ches,

      You basically resumed in a couple of words what is the struggle of being a hospital nurse. It comes with the ups and the downs. It can be rewarding to know that your interventions have made a difference in a patient’s life. But the negative physical impact of working in the hospital setting is very tangible for many of us.

      Hospital policies would need to change for us to be more comfortable and not overworked. But it takes time and it’s such a tedious process that some would prefer to go and explore other nursing fields…. At least we have options which is great!

      I deeply thank you for your reply and for your admiration! Feel free to share this post with some nurses you know!

      Take care!

      RN Didi

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