You are here:-Any advice on where I can take my nursing career if I do not want to work in a hospital setting because it makes me too anxious?

Any advice on where I can take my nursing career if I do not want to work in a hospital setting because it makes me too anxious?


Dear Donna,
I received my RN license in 1987. After a couple of hospital staff nurse jobs, where I realized I was overwhelmed, I took a job at a doctor’s office. During recuperation for foot surgery I filled in for the referral coordinator, loved the job and held this type of position from 1996 through 2009 until I was terminated unjustly. Now I cannot find work as a RN due to lack of skills, though I did take a refresher course. I have bipolar II disorder and feel too anxious about nursing. I make too many mistakes. Since 2009 I was assistant resident care coordinator at an assisted living facility but resigned after eight months. I trained to be clinic manager at a pediatric office but was not hired after the 30-day probation. I cannot find work as a referral coordinator because I have an RN license. I even participated in a healthcare billing and coding certificate program. Any advice on where to take my career from here?

Anxious About Nursing

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Anxious About Nursing,

Fortunately, nursing offers many different work settings, schedules and types of work. It sounds like it might be time for you to look into non-patient care positions. The patient care job market is very tight right now for all nurses anyway so it makes sense to look in new directions.

It sounds like you have several challenges to deal with in your pursuit of employment: your work history, your medical issues and your recent absence from the workforce. You would benefit from working with an RN career coach, one familiar with non-traditional career options for nurses.

Non-nurse coaches are typically not familiar with these or with the diverse skill set nurses possess. Find an RN career coach by doing an internet search, asking around or getting a referral from your state chapter of the American Nurses Association ( even if you’re not a member.

Since you are currently unemployed, I suggest doing volunteer work — ideally as a nurse — in a healthcare setting while you continue to look for paid employment. This is a way to gain recent relevant experience, build confidence, hone old skills and learn new ones as well as expand your professional network. It’s also a way to get a foot in the door somewhere as volunteering often leads to paid employment. Consider the American Red Cross, American Heart Association, local public health department and so on.

And while some nursing agencies only do hospital bedside placement, others offer non-traditional positions. Even if they find you temporary or part-time work for now, that is a good start.

Read “Picking up the pieces of your career” (
for additional tips and advice.

Best wishes,

By | 2013-08-28T00:00:00-04:00 August 28th, 2013|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

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