There are few careers as meaningful or important to society than being a nurse. It is a rewarding, gratifying job that allows you to make a difference in patient’s lives.
That being said, like many careers, where you work can have a tremendous impact on how you feel about your job. Being stuck in a negative culture or poor work environment can cause you to undue stress, frustration and, even cause you to question your career choice.
Don’t let this happen to you. Here are six early warning signals that it might be time to start considering a new job at a new location, or even better, travel nursing.
You hit snooze one too many times
If you’re the kind of person who hits snooze more than three times because you feel it’s impossible to get out of bed to go to work, it may be time for a new job. We don’t expect you to pop out of bed with a smile on your face after the first alarm goes off, but it’s not OK to absolutely dread waking up. Starting your day with thoughts of anger, sadness and dismay is not healthy. As a nurse, you’re a life-changer and healer—you should get out of bed with determination ready to conquer the day.
What used to excite you doesn’t any more
At the beginning, did managing intravenous lines get your blood running with excitement, but now you just see it as another mundane task? If you’re no longer passionate or excited about your job duties, it may be time for a new job.
Boredom, apathy and dispiritedness are textbook warning signs that you’re ready for a change. You may crave a new challenge or more intellectual stimulation. Working at a new facility, mastering a new specialty or having new leadership can reinvigorate your career. Let a fresh new job remind you why you became a nurse in the first place.
You’re eating more or less than usual
Studies show there is a strong correlation between weight-gain and work dissatisfaction. “Stress eating” is real. Unhappiness and stress can lead to unhealthy eating habits and increased cravings for fatty foods and sugar. And, your workout routine may be compromised if you’re so drained from work and lack energy for your usual gym sessions or morning run.
On the contrary, a lack of appetite or desire to eat is a symptom of anxiety and stress. Not eating can be just as unhealthy as overeating.
Additionally, if your usual after-shift glass of wine turns into three or four glasses, your job may be negatively affecting you. Studies show there is a significant connection between a heavy workload and excessive drinking. If you’re eating too much, not enough, and/or drinking more than usual, consider a job switch.
Your leadership leaves something to be desired
Having an unorganized, uncompassionate, inept and/or micro-managing boss can drive anyone out the door. But in nursing, these qualities can be even more detrimental as patient care and safety is on the line. If you’re going above and beyond your duties, you should never feel underappreciated by your supervisor or leadership.
A great leader is willing to hear other viewpoints, doesn’t play favorites, gives great advice/insight and encourages additional training. If your boss and leadership do not encourage and guide you to be the best nurse you can be, it’s definitely time for a change.
You worry about patient safety
Lastly, and maybe most importantly, if your license is constantly in danger, it’s time to abandon ship. You should never be asked to perform duties outside your scope of practice. It is not normal to worry about the safety of a patient. If you ever feel that a patient’s well-being is being compromised, or you suspect any type of patient abuse or facility fraud, you need to report it immediately and consider leaving. If any of these situations are true to you, don’t risk losing your license.
If any of our warning signs speak to you, we encourage you to start searching for your next job as soon as possible. We suggest considering travel nursing which offers more spontaneity and variety than permanent or per diem nursing assignments. It’s not fair to yourself to work 36 plus hours a week at a job you hate or makes you feel underappreciated. Nurses are superheroes—you should feel loved and content wherever you work!