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I feel burned out. What can I do besides bedside nursing?

Friday July 9, 2010
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Dear Donna,

I have been a nurse for 36 years. I feel burned out. What can I do besides bedside nursing?


Dear Donna replies:

Dear Prudencia,

It’s not surprising that after 36 years in nursing you would be looking for something different. Fortunately, you have many options. Read “How to Change Specialties” (www.nurse.com/Cardillo/ChangeSpecialties).

I don’t know your background, what you enjoy doing or what you’re good at, so I can’t make specific recommendations for you. But I can give you some general ideas and suggestions and tell you where to find more information.

Explore the specialties of case management, quality improvement, infection control and utilization review. Consider doing telephone advice or telephone triage for a healthcare facility, insurance company or private telemedicine company. You also could perform remote monitoring of ICU patients.

In the world of ambulatory care nursing, there is occupational health, school nursing, blood and organ/tissue banks, birthing centers, wound care centers and so much more.

Start by perusing some of the specialties profiled online at www.Nurse.com/students/careersinnursing.html. Read “Spreading Your Wings: Career Alternatives for Nurses” (www.DCardillo.com/articles/spreading.html). Consider attending my Career Alternatives for Nurses seminar to fully explore options, identify transferable skills and learn creative and effective ways to find and get the job you want. See where I will be at www.Nurse.com/CEseminars. The program also is available in a home study version at http://CE.nurse.com/Professional-Development.

You also should attend nursing career fairs in your area. Although many hospitals will be exhibiting there with traditional offerings, there almost always are non-traditional employers, including insurance companies, agencies that offer ambulatory positions and other interesting offerings. See what’s coming up at www.Nurse.com/careerfairs.

Best wishes,

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nursing Spectrum/NurseWeek’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.