I don’t really have a great answer to your question. However, check out “Nursing Habits” (http://www.nursinghabits.com/about/)…blog from a South African nurse who got burnt out and became a “nurse entrepreneur.” (Mostly on-line blog/web design/etc.) She also pokes fun at the holier than thou responses to being burnt out (i.e. “Nurses shouldn’t be looking for money, they should be doing nursing out of the goodness of their hearts and as a service to humanity.”) Uh–I call BS. Sure, it isn’t a great motivation to go into nursing solely for the job security or the paycheck, but most of us wouldn’t last long without either! I have only been an RN for 1 year and 5 months (after many years of CNA work). Like I say (carefully and to a particular crowd), I would have quit a long time ago if it wasn’t for my co-workers, the paycheck, and the schedule. That doesn’t mean I am ONLY working for those things, but yeah…it helps retain me. When I truly feel I am giving excellent (and safe) patient care, that also makes me remember why the hell I went into this career…but excellent and safe patient care days are unfortunately not commonplace due to staffing, etc. etc.
I know the options for non-bedside nursing are varied. One of my co-workers worked as a nursing IT person (in many cases there are sign-on bonuses for these positions, at least in my geographical area), then after 7 years she came back to bedside nursing. Think she must have another degree in computer/information systems, etc. (unsure). Case managers/care coordinators are also in high demand in my area and many of these positions are held by either social workers or nurses. Not sure about the pay for care coordinators, but I think the IT positions pay well. I know others who only work part-time (no benefits) but have other, unrelated jobs to supplement…I am okay with my position for a while (but certainly not the 25+ years some have been doing it)…going back to school is always another option (nursing educators obviously in high demand, NP, etc. etc.) There are options, I just don’t think many of them are that obvious or “easy” to get yourself into?
Anyway, great topic.