Q. I work in health care. I am disillusioned and stressed. I am a nurse but operate more as a secretary. I never wanted to be a secretary. I wanted to work at the bedside taking care of sick patients. I am looking at the curriculum to be a hair stylist. I need suggestions on how to decide the fate of my career. — Jane

A. You included in your question that you have made the following list of the good things about nursing:
* Bedside nursing – I love taking care of my patients.
* 12 hour shifts – Sometimes the 12 hours can be very demanding and tiring but it helps me have more time with my family.
* Flexibility and opportunity – There are many different types of nursing, i.e., hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, rehab centers, etc.
* Education – I have so many opportunities to advance my knowledge and continue learning.
* Benefits – The insurance appears to be good even though my co-pays have gone up.
The bad things – (also known as why I might want to be a hair stylist)
* Unappreciated – I can count on one hand the number of times in the past few months that I have ever received a “good job” from my manager.
* Understaffed – I usually arrive in a good mood and often I find out that we do not have enough nurses and I will now have 6 or 7 very sick patients to provide quality care and keep my pleasant attitude.
* MY HEALTH – I was not taking any medication when I started this job. I am now taking medication for anxiety and I have gained weight. “What is happening.”
* Secretarial Duties – I did not go into nursing to spend so much damn time in front of the computer doing mindless charting, answering phones, making copies, etc.
* Too many hats – I am a nurse and a secretary but I am spending way too much time with mindless charting and answering the endless phone calls.
Jane sums up her dilemma with the following:
So as I look at what I need to do to change careers I am sad. And frustrated. And angry. I graduated from nursing school only to find that nursing seems to be secondary. I am also sad. — Jane