Your Body Can’t Handle It. Do you come home from work aching and breaking? It might feel like every day you’re feeling the “Ooh, that’s gonna hurt tomorrow!” of the previous day. You might be young or old, big or small, male or female, but if bedside nursing is wearing you out, it’s time to stop. You might not even want to. But, to misuse a quote from a famous religious book: “The spirit is eager but the flesh is weak.” Listen to your body!
You’re a Planner Rather Than a Doer. This isn’t to say bedside nurses aren’t good planners. It’s an essential skill for nurses. But if you especially enjoy creating relationships, keeping things flowing smoothly, and a birds-eye view of nursing, why not set a goal to move into a management position? Most of the best managers are former bedside nurses anyways.
You’re the Analytical Type. Didn’t get into nursing for the ‘touchy-feely’ stuff? There’s nothing wrong with that. Everyone should be honest with themselves and what they do and don’t enjoy. If you’re more of a number cruncher, or have a strong technical leaning, the nursing field actually needs you badly. Not only can you get into Nursing Informatics (a big buzzword in nursing recently!), you can be a nurse researcher, a manager, or even legal nursing.
You Thrive Academically. If you like school, and you meet one of these other criteria, you’re all set. One of the best ways to get out of bedside nursing is to school yourself into the field of nursing you want to be in!
You Enjoy Teaching Nursing Concepts. As new nurses come in, and nursing students keep enrolling, there’s always a need for nurse educators. Not only that, but hospitals have nurses who educate about specialized subjects like wound care, infection control, diagnostics, and more.
You’re Nomadic. Some people are the ‘rooted down’ type of people, and some aren’t. Did you always dream of traveling? Being a rolling stone? Then it might be a sign to get out of the hospital/nursing home and practice nursing on a cruise ship or camp!
You’ve Been Doing It and not enjoying it. This happens a lot. People go through nursing school, finally get a job, and find out they don’t like being on the bedside. Everyone needs to follow through on what’s best for themselves. It might be time to explore non-bedside nursing options.
So is bedside nursing the right kind of nursing for you? Why or why not? How did you find out? Share in the comments, because we’d love to hear them!
Kevin is President of Brilliant Nurse, a new company offering NCLEX Reviews purely online. He also owns Kevin’s Review, an NCLEX review portal.