Should You Pivot or Quit Your Nursing Career

In several of my coaching sessions lately, clients are really torn between pivoting their nursing career, and quitting it altogether. I get it! It’s a hard decision to leave both the education you’ve worked so hard for, and the job that pays well and offers stability. 

It’s a very difficult decision to make and there is no one right answer for every person. Today I want to take you through the decision process that will help you figure out which may be a better fit for you. 

In this article: 

Healthcare has Changed

Nursing is a stable career. It does pay well and offers job stability, flexibility, and a variety of work settings. From the outside, it appears to be a perfect career. However, I I talked about in this post, it definitely has it’s downside. 

There’s definitely been an uptick in nurses who are looking to leave the field since the covid debacle of the last couple of years. Many have been subjected to work in unsafe conditions, long hours (that also can be unsafe), and many have seen through the veil of “healthcare” and want nothing to do with it anymore. 

They’ve seen that healthcare is truly a system and often gives little regard to the patients or the employees. Both are just a cog in their massive wheels of profit. They’ve been forced to encourage (or get) the experimental jabs and drugs that have been touted in the last couple of years. 

Many of them have figured out how unethical the treatment options that Pharma offers are not something that they want to be promoting. Many have figured out that they feel very burned-out, unsatisfied, and just no longer align with the healthcare (or shall I say sick-care) system in it’s current state. 

What was once a noble profession is now used to manipulate and bully patients into accepting high-risk (and often expensive) treatments. Maybe you’ve had the veil lifted off your eyes and you don’t like what you see, or where you work anymore, and it’s time for a change. 

You’ve Changed

Did you go to college right out of high school? Or maybe right before or after you got married, but before having kids? What you once enjoyed and loved about your schedule is now the ball and chain. 

Those three  12 hour shifts were great when you were young and didn’t have commitments, but now you’re missing out on seeing your kids the days you work. Or you’re missing ball games and ballet recitals. Or maybe after working like that, you’re just too exhausted to do much of anything else on your days off. You’re not as young as you once were.

Life changes often. Every turn of seasons, it’s good to look and evaluate what is working well in your life, and what isn’t. If your job just isn’t working for you anymore, that’s ok. You have lots of options both within the field, and outside the field too. 

Things to Consider

Before you go making any rash decisions, even though you likely wanted to quit like yesterday, slow down. Rather than rushing into another job (or just quitting altogether), take some time to pause and reflect. Rushing into something just because you want to get away from what you’re dealing with right now will likely lead to a poor decision that won’t be a good fit in the long run. 

Take a day (or a week) off to just pray and reflect. Go for a nice, slow time where you can go for coffee and ask yourself questions like: 

  • What are my goals for my family?
  • What are my goals for myself?
  • What do I like about my job?
  • What don’t I like about my job?
  • Am I happy with how much I’m working?
  • Do the hours I’m working fit with where my family is at?
  • Do I still like being a nurse?
  • Am I working out of necessity?
  • What can I cut out or back on if I want to work less?
  • How does my spouse feel about this?

Obviously, each situation is different and only you can know what all you need to consider before you start to make a decision. If you are married, or seriously considering marriage with someone, you’ll want to take some time to talk to them as well. But before you do that, it’s best to have some time to yourself so you have some answers for the questions they’ll likely have for you. 

Nursing Alternatives

There are so many options open to you as a nurse. Your skill set and knowledge make you qualified for many jobs in almost any area you can think of. Some areas that are within the nursing field that may be a good fit for you: 

  • Direct Pay Clinic 
  • Legal Nurse Consultant
  • Telemedicine
  • ​Case Manager
  • Writer for Medical Site
  • Insurance Nurse
  • Medical Sales
  • Holistic Nurse
  • Nurse Midwife

The flip side of the coin is that you can work for yourself. If you have an entrepreneurial spirit and drive, you can start a business in just about any capacity you want. Some things to consider might be: 

  • Home-care/Private Pay Nursing
  • Etsy Shop
  • Virtual Assistant
  • Coaching or consulting in your area of specialty
  • Health Coaching
  • Lactation Consultant 
  • Direct Sales
  • Blogging

Really the possibilities are endless. Take some time to think about what you’re passionate about and what you could teach or do for someone else. You’re most likely to make money with something that you’re both good at and passionate about, but just know that it will take some time to build up that income and replace what you’re making in your nursing job. 

Pay

Pay is obviously going to be a big factor for many. Nursing is a pretty god paying job, especially if you’ve gotten bonuses for working extra shifts or you’re a travel or agency nurse. 

With some of the alternative options mentioned above, pay should still be good, but may be less than what you’re used to. But hopefully the stress will be less as well and the fulfillment will be more. 

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If you decide to go the route of starting your own business, I would HIGHLY recommend either saving up some money for a cushion, or taking on a more flexible job that will still bring in some income while you get your business going. Many businesses aren’t profitable right away and it can take some time to supplement, let alone replace, a full -time nursing income. But it can be done

If you are working out of necessity, I would challenge you to really consider what you maybe could do without. Do you have lots of subscriptions like Netflix? Do you spend a lot of money on coffee, lunches out, Amazon Prime? I’m telling you, consumerism is a disease in our country. Take some time to ask God to show you where you can maybe cut back. 

Another area that many people are investing in is private school. Our children were in private school until 2020, and I worked to pay for that bill. We decided to homeschool going into the fall of 2020, and I had zero pressure to work anymore. I know that homeschooling isn’t an option for everyone, but maybe it’s something you haven’t considered. If you have grandparents or family close by, you can homeschool and still work a few days a week if you need to. This is another area that takes some reflection and prayer for your family’s situation. 

If you come to the conclusion that you’d like to cut back, switch jobs, or quit altogether and your spouse isn’t supportive, don’t give up. Take some time to reflect on the above and come up with a plan to show them how you think it would work (finances, homeschooling, etc). Ask God to change their heart or for you guys to find a compromise that you’re both happy with. 

Insurance

Insurance is going to be another big thing that people worry about. I’m here to testify that I believe, and have seen, that God is our provider. Honestly, most insurance companies overcharge and then they have a say in what you can, and can’t, do in your medical treatment. 

Well, I believe that you are the one that knows what is best for your body. You know whether you do, or don’t, want a procedure done. Or if you do, or don’t want to work with a certain practitioner, or don’t want to have to get a referral to work with the practitioner you want to work with. Insurance has the say-so over that based on what they will, or won’t cover

Insurance also is notorious for not covering alternative treatments such as chiropractic, acupuncture, a midwife, or nutrition. In my world, each of these modalities can be helpful in different situations. 

Let’s say you get a diagnosis of cancer. Rather than going the route of chemotherapy – which is crazy expensive and hard on the body – you want to work with a nutritionist and go to a cancer retreat center. That should be between you and your doctor, not your insurance company

But what if just like your spending, you looked at insurance and healthcare needs in a different way? What if you trust God to provide for your need instead of relying on an insurance company? 

For the last 10 years or so now, my family has used Samaritan Ministries for our healthcare needs. With Samaritan, our monthly “share” goes right to a family in need to help provide for their healthcare needs, rather than to line an insurance company’s pocket. I get to hear about the family that is in need and send them an encouraging note as well as pray for them. This is the Biblical way of “bearing one another’s burdens” and the way I truly believe that healthcare should be done. 

Shortly after we had our son, we were informed that there was not enough money in the “pool” that month to cover all the needs. We took some time to pray that we would somehow be able to pay the bills we owed. We were pretty broke at the time as it was not long after fired from my job

The amazing thing was, we had our doctor’s office call us and say that they were switching to a new billing system and were closing out accounts. They offered to discount our bill deeply if we could pay it that month. It was the exact amount that we weren’t able to pay from the money we got that month from Samaritans. God often shows up when we let him and when we take steps in faith. Peter didn’t know he would be able to walk on the water until he actually stepped out of the boat. 

Healthcare Sharing ministries are a great option for those who are self-employed or don’t get insurance from their provider. Our family pays roughly $350/month and then we pay out of pocket for certain things. There are several out there along with Samaritan including Christian Healthcare MinistriesMedishare, and Altrua HealthShare. I don’t have experience with any of these others, but they’re worth looking into. 

Retirement

Retirement is another big thing that people get hung up on. After all, how will they have money to retire on if they don’t get that coveted company match? Now, don’t get me wrong, I will take any money that someone wants to contribute to retirement, but I don’t want to be tied down to a company just because I want the 4%, or whatever they offer. 

The thing is, while these benefits are nice, they also aren’t as great as they seem when you step back and look at the big picture. First, I’m sure many of you know someone, or know of someone, who put all their years into a company thinking that they would have a pension when they retired, only to have that pension not be as much as they expected and wouldn’t meet their needs. Or the company went under or changed hands and they didn’t get a pension at all. 

Did you know that you can open and run your own retirement investments? You have much more control over where your money is invested and how as well. There’s a good article here about the different types of accounts that may help you choose what is best for you. 

Again, I would encourage you to look at investing in another way. For us, we have invested in real estate over the years. We are in our third house since we got married. Each of those houses we have lived in and fixed up slowly and then sold for a profit. We made more on our last house than what was in hubby’s retirement account when he left his last job (he was there for nearly 6 years). 

Real estate is a great way to build up your investments, but it’s also wise to diversify in case something happens (hello real estate crash of 2008). Now, I am not a numbers person and I don’t understand a lot of this, but thankfully hubby does and we also work with a financial planner. But, just like your healthcare, figuring out what works best for you may look much different than the conventional path

What Will You Do

There you have it! I know it’s a lot to consider and work through, but hopefully this helps to get the wheels spinning and helps you find a more fulfilling position. 

There is a lot to consider and there is no one right answer for everyone. Give yourself some time to pray about the possibilities, and then start knocking on doors. See what God opens for you! 

If you need some help in talking through things, or you need some coaching to help you figure out what to do, please sign up for a power hour of coaching with me. I can help you with figuring out where you want to go, or getting your business up and running if you decide to go that route.