Q. I work in health care. I am a nurse. I am disillusioned. I love being a nurse. But I am faced with so many huge challenges that take me away from nursing that I looked into the curriculum for being a hair stylist. I need suggestions on how to decide the fate of my career.
— Brittany

You included in your question that you have made the following list of all the good things about nursing:
**Bedside nursing — I love taking care of my patients. I learn so much about their disease process. I see how much they need me.
**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 facets of nursing. Hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, rehab centers, etc.
**Education — In my current position in med-surg I have the opportunity to learn about many disease processes. The patients come and go, so always something to learn.
**Benefits — The insurance appears to be good even though my co-pays have gone up.
The Negative (I Need to be a Hair Stylist) list:
**Unappreciated — I can count on one hand the number of times in the past few months that I have ever received a “good job” except from other tired co-workers. Is management blind?
**Understaffed — When I arrive (in a good mood) and find out that we do not have enough nurses and I will now have 7 or 8 very sick patients to provide quality care and keep my attitude pleasant, I again think, “what am I doing,” “how long can I keep this up?”
**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?”
**Finances — Are nurses really paid well for what they do? Corporations are turning hospitals into big business. i see changes all the time. We currently have a new bathing soap for our patients……..one that does not lather well. The other one did, but apparently cost more. So if hospitals are cutting costs with cheaper products, less staff……I haven’t seen more money in my paycheck.
**Secretarial Duties — I did not go into nursing to spend so much damn time in front of the computer.
So as i look at what I need to do to change careers I am sad. And frustrated. And angry. I just wanted to be a nurse and provide healing and comfort to patients. I am sad.

Vicki L Mayfield, M.Ed., R.N., LMFT Marriage and Family Therapy Oklahoma City

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