5 Signs It's Time To Quit Your Nursing Job

3 Min Read Published December 6, 2022
5 Signs It's Time To Quit Your Nursing Job

By Keith Carlson, BSN, RN, NC-BC

Nurses stay at bad jobs for many reasons. But sometimes a nursing job is just too awful for you to continue.

If you’re not sure whether to stay or go, here are five sure-fire reasons to dig into online nursing job boards in search of the next workplace to call home.

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This content used under license from "Ask Nurse Alice."

1. Bullying

No matter where you work as a nurse, if there’s bullying going on, it’s time to go. No one deserves to be bullied, and it basically means that the culture of your workplace is toxic.

If the leadership team is ignoring or denying the problem, you need to exit stage left (and maybe take some of your nurse colleagues with you).

2. Poor leadership

Weak nurse leaders are useless in stopping a bully. An unskilled nurse leader can also misuse or abuse their power, play favorites, ignore best practices or evidence, and demonstrate poor judgment.

Nurse leaders who show no backbone and are unable to defend and protect their nursing staff are a clear sign that you’d be better off elsewhere.

3. Easy Come, Easy Go

If nurses quickly come and go from your workplace, there’s a good reason. People don’t jump ship in large numbers unless something’s going on.

If a lot of your colleagues are leaving, find out why. Next, think if you should be reading the writing on the wall and following them out the door.

4. Danger! Danger!

If you’re experiencing any of the following, your red flags should be flying high:

  • Your license is constantly in danger
  • Patient safety is compromised
  • You’re asked to work beyond your scope of practice
  • Other clinicians are working beyond their scopes of practice
  • Patient care feels disorganized
  • You suspect any form of fraud (Call the authorities!)
  • You suspect or know about patient abuse (Call the authorities!)

Your license is your nursing career. If any of these situations is true for you, start looking for a new job today. You can also consider leaving before you even have your new position lined up. It’s just not worth losing your license.

5. You’re Unhappy, And You Know It

Anyone can have a bad day at work. Nursing is hard, and we all face situations that are depressing, frustrating, or downright scary.

However, if you’re showing signs of worsening health, burnout, compassion fatigue, depression, or anxiety, something’s wrong.

Counseling, coaching, or therapy can help you cope (so can exercise, nutrition, or a vacation), but sometimes it’s clear that you just need to submit your nursing resignation letter and get back into the nursing job market.

Abandon Ship!

As the singer Michelle Shocked once sang, “the secret to a long life is knowing when it’s time to go.”

There are too many awesome nursing opportunities out there for you to stay in a job where bullying, poor leadership, or burnout are normal parts of your day. If your license is at risk on a daily basis, you need to abandon ship faster than you can say code blue.

Nurses, assess your job situation. If things look bad and you know it’s time to go, activate the job search, dig into the job boards, sharpen your resume, and find a workplace where you’ll be able to practice healthily, happily, safely, and sanely.

If you’re thinking about becoming a nurse, are a nursing student, or are a current nurse who is ready to transition careers - this guide will help guide you to make the best professional decisions.

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