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Should an RN with 30 years experience look outside of nursing if he/she is worn out from working in hospital settings?


I have been a nurse for more than 30 years and worked in various specialties including mother/ baby, GI lab, telemetry, cardiac lab, med-surg and others. I feel so worn out and don’t even want to think of working in another hospital department. But the hospital is all I know and I am very nervous about venturing out into something else. Does every nurse feel this way? Is it too late for me to make a career shift? Do you think I should just look for something outside of nursing? I am truly at a loss.

At a Loss

Dear Donna replies:

Dear At a Loss,

More than 30 years of intense caregiving in a hospital setting would wear anyone out. Because we are living and working longer these days, changing things up is a good strategy to stay relevant and energized. It’s not too late to make a shift. This is a perfect time to look beyond the hospital walls.

Almost every nurse gets scared about leaving the so-called security of the hospital, especially if that’s the only place they ever worked. So many of us so closely identify ourselves and our work with the hospital. But only about 50% of all nurses work in hospitals. The rest work in other areas of nursing and healthcare. So you need to start exploring your options. As a nurse, you can have a positive impact in many ways and places. You’re vital at the bedside but just as vital in every other aspect of the healthcare arena. There are many different ways and places to make a difference. As a nurse, you can engage on each level.

A good first step is to start getting out to live events such as career fairs and professional association meetings (attend as a guest if not a member) where you can do some face-to-face networking. This is a good way to expand your professional network, learn of job leads and opportunities outside of the hospital, and hone your networking and self-marketing skills. Everything happens through networking. It is well known to be a very effective way to explore options as well as find opportunities, get interviews and get hired. See what’s coming up in your area (

You also are a great candidate for my Career Alternatives for Nurses seminar. See where I’ll be ( The also s also available in a home study version (

I don’t know how long you’ve been at your current place of employment but getting back out into the job market is always a little unnerving. Read “ Ten Steps to a Successful Job Search” ( Transitioning takes a little time and effort so be patient with yourself and the process. There’s a whole new world of possibilities waiting for you just outside of your comfort zone.

Best wishes,

By | 2014-07-10T00:00:00-04:00 July 10th, 2014|Categories: Blogs, Nursing careers and jobs|0 Comments

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