“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.
-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!