At the start of 2014 I set some goals for the year, one of which was to find a new job. I had no pressing need to change jobs. I enjoyed my job as a behavioral health RN on a locked psychiatric unit. The job was low stress and I had a great boss. I had been at the same hospital since I began my nursing career in July 2006 and worked on the psych unit since 2010.
Nursing is a great field because it affords you the opportunity to work in different areas of healthcare. Although I enjoyed my job there were a few red flags guiding me towards new employment:
- There was no advancement in my position.
- The hospital offers no retirement package so I spend a great deal of my own money funding a personal retirement package.
- We haven’t received a raise in ages and the last one was very small.
- Carlos is becoming busier in the evenings and staying up a little later.
- I have worked the night shift for 8 years and my body began giving me signs that indicated a change in shifts might be best for my overall health and well being.
There are only two nurses on the night shift on the psych unit. So I work with either one depending on the night. They are two of the most negative people I have ever met in my life. Their negativity was sucking the life out of me. No matter how hard I tried to lead by example, my positivity and happiness was typically met with their own frustration and avoidance. Their negative attitudes not only affected me and my co-workers, but also the patients. The thought of continuing to work in such an environment started to really wear on me. They will both be there for a long time to come because the are afraid of change, but I knew that I could do something new.
In November I began a new job as a nurse case manager for a large insurance company. This is completely different from anything I’ve ever done in nursing. I work for the senior care options program so my members are 65 years or older. I adore working with the elderly. I visit my members in their homes 4 times a year and all of my paperwork is done from home. I have a great retirement package along with other benefits like paid time off and educational benefits which could lead to a free master’s degree. Tomorrow is a holiday and for the first time ever I will get paid for it without working!
My new boss is very much like my boss at the hospital. I absolutely love her. She is kind, fair and very supportive. I work with a really great team of nurses. Everyone wants me to succeed. They encourage me to ask questions (and I’ve got about a million!) and they are always more than happy to spend the time answering my questions.
Since they gave me a very short orientation due to staffing issues I still feel like a fish out of water, but I’m learning quickly. I am probably working a lot more than 40 hours right now in order to get organized. I know that once I have a system down and I get to know my members I will really enjoy the flexibility this position has to offer.
I left the hospital on excellent terms and I know I would be welcomed back in a heartbeat. Change is frightening, but it can also be so rewarding. Although I threw out the goal at the beginning of the year I honestly wasn’t sure I would go through with it. I see so many burned out nurses like the two I work with and I wish they would have enough respect for the patients and their coworkers to try something new. I wasn’t burned out, but I also didn’t deserve the working environment those nurses created.
Every decision I make is with Carlos in the forefront. The major selling point of this job is that it offers great flexibility for parents. All the nurses with kids assure me that I will absolutely love it once I get the hang of it. My family has been very supportive, but we are all still navigating the changes in our schedules. My son didn’t have school on Friday so my husband, who is laid off right now (he’s a mason, happens every year) took the reigns and supervised an all day play date. I was home for much of the day, but working in my office. Hearing my son and his friend giggling downstairs really tugged at my heart strings. The boys had a really fun day, but it bothered me that I wasn’t involved. It helps knowing that in time I will have the flexibility to be more involved again, but for now I will be patient.
The truth is I already like my new job. I have never once looked back in regret. There is never a perfect time for change so sometimes you just have to throw caution to the wind and take a leap of faith!