Do you ever get that sinking feeling when the alarm goes off in the morning? Thoughts chase each other through your brain and darken your mood, putting you behind before you even get out of bed.
They may sound something like this:
“Oh man. I’m going to get that same assignment today with that patient who curses and spits at me all day long.”
“I don’t think my back can take another 12 hour shift.”
“Please, phone, ring. Ring and be the unit telling me I’ve been cancelled for a low census day.”
“Will today be the day I lose my license because I can’t get everything done?”
But the phone doesn’t ring, and the patients wait, and because you are a responsible, caring nurse, you roll out of bed and drag yourself to your shift. Maybe when you arrive you are assigned the largest patient load with the neediest patients and end up working an hour and a half over your shift.
Eighty one percent of nurses work longer than their shift hours – averaging 49 minutes of overtime. Nineteen percent of nurses work two or more jobs for multiple employers. Considering that they average 6.7 hours of sleep, what is it that makes nurses able to do it all?
What if you didn’t have to drag yourself to work? What if you had the potential to work an 8 or even a 4 hour shift? What if your unit was well-staffed today and you were able to satisfy the needs of your patients and get your charting done in time? Would getting out of bed be a little easier? Seventy six percent of nurses say they are “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their jobs.
So what is it that makes a job satisfying?
The number one reason listed for job satisfaction in nursing is “caring for patients and making a difference,” but the number two reason is “colleagues, working relationships and team collaboration.” If you are one of the twenty four percent who find dissatisfaction in their employment situation, it doesn’t have to be that way. Life is too short to be saddled with a job that you hate, and there are many opportunities if you have the courage to change.
Hospitals now are offering flex shifts, so nurses can choose to work fewer long shifts or more short shifts. Due to the aging population of nurses, some hospitals have chosen to make four hour shifts an option.
There is PRN scheduling, weekend shift, and even shared positions where two nurses work together to make up one full time position. If you don’t need benefits, your options are really open as far as how often and how long you work, and your pay will generally be higher.
Only about half of all RN’s work in hospitals, and the options are varied for positions outside the hospital setting. Examples of those would include schools, doctor’s offices, government programs, home health and long term care positions.
Nurses, don’t give up hope. If you are unhappy in your current work situation, know that there are options out there for you! You don’t have to work the same shift on the same unit for ever. You can still provide nursing care, earn a living and be happy, you just need to have courage and look for what you want. The right position is out there waiting for you!
About the Author
Sarah Heroman is an RN, BSN who has found her niche as a school nurse in Texas. With almost 20 years of experience, Sarah is still passionate about the nursing field and enjoys mentoring and helping nurses continue to find the joy in their careers. She believes that a good nurse is able to combine the science and the art of nursing and find fulfillment in providing the best care for their patients.