Is the job right for you?

Sue Hill, RBCS Project Manager and Facilitator

I recently reflected on the number of different jobs I have had as a nurse. There have been many!

My career trajectory has not been vertical; I have looked for roles that interested me, stretched me, excited me or merely piqued my curiosity. I have worked in hospitals, the community, locally, regionally and nationally. All the roles I have undertaken have developed me into the nurse I am today.

Some of you will do jobs that are not right for you and if that happens … leave, go somewhere else, find other people to work with. Being unhappy at work is demoralising to you, your family and your team. You need to work in a place where the staff and culture match your values.

As a student nurse I saw a video about a hospice and thought that was where I wanted to work. After being qualified a couple of years, I got the role I wanted; staff nurse at a hospice. I was so thrilled and excited by the prospect of working there. I stayed eight months and then ran away! I didn’t even have another job to go to. I ended up doing agency work for a few months because I realised I had no idea what I wanted to do.

So why did I leave? Partly, it was not a very supportive place, but it was also because I discovered I could not cope in a situation where every patient was admitted and died. I was too young and did not have the support system around me to be able manage the role. It was very difficult to have to admit it was not the job for me. But the things I learnt there were not wasted. I later went on to be a district nurse and looked after many palliative patients and the knowledge and skills I gained from the hospice were invaluable.

I recently had a conversation with a newly qualified nurse. She had been working in a job which she hated. It was making her so unhappy I suggested that if she was not enjoying her role, she should look for something else. She has now changed jobs and absolutely loves it. She is getting the support she needs and is happy in her role.

It may be the kind of nursing work, the staff, the atmosphere, the lack of support, the shift pattern, the commute … whatever is making you not enjoy getting up to go to work, think about it. Is it time to change? There are hundreds of different jobs, possibly even in the same organization. It may take courage but go and find what is right for you right now.

Leave the job, not nursing!

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