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Feel like Quitting Your Nursing Job? Here’s What to Do

Even in a dream job, everyone has those days where they want to leave and never return. This is a natural human response to a challenging environment. Professional dissatisfaction can even trickle down to your life at home, making it difficult to get out of bed. Nurses intentionally pursued this field based on a desire to care for people. Despite its rewarding qualities, the role is also an exhausting one. Keep reading if you are struggling to see yourself in your nursing job long-term, and you feel like quitting your nursing job.   

Reasons people leave jobs 

People leave jobs for a variety of reasons. Here are seven that are especially common in the nursing practice. 

  1. Lack of support and training – Nursing practices and medicines are constantly changing, and nurses have to adapt quickly. Nurses can grow frustrated when they feel that they do not have the adequate support and education to effectively embrace this ever-shifting environment.  Although they want to improve, they often fear new initiatives based on lack of training.
  2. Overwhelming leadership – It’s common to have a charge nurse and a manager. However, when too many “bosses” are telling you what to do, you can get discouraged and worry that you aren’t doing anything right.
  3. Lack of alignment with company mission – It’s important to avoid a company with clashing values. Work at a job that nurses support the initiative to improve the health of their local community. If you are in an organization that doesn’t share or follow that mission, it might be a worthwhile reason to leave. 
  4. Boredom – Not enough challenges at your job? Nursing can become repetitive if you let it. If you fail to seek out opportunities that further your growth, you may grow tired of your field and choose to move on.  
  5. No benefits – Benefits are a notable reason to stick with a job, as well as a deciding factor in accepting one. These include extra vacation time, a substantial salary, ample sick time, and retirement. If those valuable aspects are not offered, you may not be motivated to stay in your position. 
  6. You dread going to work – Do you wake up every morning and dread the day ahead of you?  Take time to consider why you are so distraught by your work situation. Everyone has their off days, but particularly toxic circumstances may warrant jumping ship. 

What to do when you feel like quitting your nursing job

If the reasons for quitting your job are endless, it may be truly in your best interest to move on. In these cases, it’s important to be thoughtful about next steps.  

  1. Talk to someone – If you feel alone in your decision, seek out a trusted friend. This should ideally be someone who isn’t affiliated with your role, as this will provide a non-biased opinion. A friend’s insight can help you reach a final conclusion about what to d
  2. Consider a different specialty – If you are bored with your current nursing specialty, it might be time to try something new. Reflect on nursing school, and think about another area you may have envisioned yourself working in.
  3. Fake it until you make it – It’s not uncommon for people to feign enthusiasm in their job, and then eventually start to feel it. This approach may change your outlook, and allow you to reconsider disrupting your career path.
  4. Think about your hours – Are you doing your best to handle challenging work hours, but realizing that it’s simply not a good fit for you and your family? In this case, it might be time to try something new. Before quitting, make sure that a new role will make a substantial difference in your well-being
  5. Make a pros and cons list – Make a list of what you like most about your job, and what you like the least. Rather than hating your job, you may find that you’re simply frustrated with certain factors of your role – which can sometimes be adjusted.
  6. Slow down your schedule – Are you working too much? Overworked nurses are bound to feel miserable and resentful toward their position. Consider adjusting your schedule to create a healthier work-life balance.  
Feel like Quitting Your Nursing Job? Here’s What to Do
Janine Kelbach

Janine Kelbach, RNC-OB is a freelance writer and owner of WriteRN.net.