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What should I do if I'm unhappy in my current position, but my supervisor discourages me from making a change?

Tuesday August 6, 2013
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Question:

Dear Donna,

I'm 30 and have been a nurse for three years — two years in med/surg and one in wound care. Because of my family situation, I accepted a position at a small hospital. I am the wound care nurse manager and make a very good salary. I have a lot of independence and down time, but I honestly do not like what I do. I always loved labor and delivery, but I have never had the opportunity to work in that unit. My supervisor and other administrators are pressuring me to remain the manager of wound care and become certified. They say I can't go back on the floor because I’ve already moved up. Also, I would be taking a $30,000 pay cut if I choose to step down. I am so confused on how to get out of this situation, and I don’t know what path to take that will pay me my current salary. I feel limited to only wound care, and I miss patient care and miss feeling important. Also, if I ever want to travel as a nurse, my options would be limited to wound care because I have not been doing total patient care. If I ever wanted to become a coordinator, educator or administrative leader, I know that wound care experience would not be enough to get the job. I feel really limited right now, and I'm ready to make successful moves, but I just don’t know how. Should I just be thankful for what I have and stay in my current position?

Feels Stuck

Dear Donna Replies:

Dear Feels Stuck,

Oh my goodness. Clearly you need to make a change and do what makes you happy and satisfied. It doesn't matter what others say you should or should not do. You are in charge of your own career and need to make decisions based on your own needs. Read “Knowing when it's time to move on” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Move-On).

Wound care is not a move up from bedside nursing. It is simply a different aspect of care. The claim that you can't go back on the floor now simply isn't true. The expression, "When someone says you can't do something, it's because they're afraid that you will do it," certainly applies here. They clearly want you to stay where you are, but that is not a reason for you to do so. It doesn't make you happy, and that is the bottom line.

I am a bit shocked to hear you would take a $30,000 pay cut to transition into bedside nursing — but money isn't everything. It is only one consideration when making career decisions. Also, with your three years of varied nursing experience, you have plenty of well-paying options, both now and in the future, even if it means moving.

Contact some travel nurse agencies and find out what they have available. Even if you're not yet ready to travel, just getting some additional information can help you make a plan for the future.

Start doing some active networking, face-to-face when possible. You should attend nursing career fairs in your area or in an area where you might consider moving. Also, attend nursing association meetings, even as a guest. Do some informational interviewing (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Interviewing) with nurses working in specialties that interest you. You have to get out there and meet new people working in different areas. Networking is a great way to find a job, find mentors and role models, and stay cutting edge with knowledge and information.

If you really want to pursue working in labor and delivery, then take steps in that direction.

Read “How to change specialties” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Change-Specialties).

Best wishes,
Donna


Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/Asktheexperts/Deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://Events.nursingspectrum.com/Seminar.