Help! I Want to Escape from Nursing

Even though I had my doubts while I was still a pre-registration student, I stuck out my nursing degree and managed to graduate with the highest grade possible – getting a first post as a Staff Nurse / RN on a 36-bed medical ward I’d enjoyed as a student. The only thing that kept me going was the staff, and that miserable kind of camaraderie of us all being ‘in the same boat’. Short of staff almost daily, and for every genuinely ill person who needed treatment, you had another dozen bone idle, demanding people who seemed to think the world owed them treatment and wouldn’t even think of taking responsibility for their own problems. It didn’t matter that – at 26 – you’d come home with an aching back from taking the full weight of some bloated, whining old woman, as long as the patient was happy, that was all the mattered. Management treated us as though we should be grateful for working there, and as if we should dedicate our entire lives to the job – expecting you to come in during days off, work extra just to cover staff shortages, and then attend all manner of pointless courses in your free time.

After three years with the ward, we were told we were to close to save money for the Trust, and we would all be redeployed to different areas within the hospital. Our shifts were changed, we were given little choice but to work in areas we knew nothing about, weren’t competent or safe in, and had no interest in. When we complained, we were told we aught to be grateful that we hadn’t been made redundant. I ended up in in the Intensive Care Unit, and after only two weeks so far, I’m ready to leave this supposed ‘profession’ altogether. The staff spend as much time huddled in cliques and gossiping about each other as they do working, seem to enjoy licking the arises of doctors, and then act as though they’re something superior to the rest of the profession. Even though I’ve had no experience of working in such a department, I’m on my own with my own patient in two week’s time – even if I don’t know how to work the ventilators yet!

After coming home nearly in tears for a fortnight, dreading going to work every morning, and feeling constantly tired, I’m ready to turn my back on the whole thing. Okay, it’s a complete waste of my degree, and three years of practice, but no job is worth feeling like this every day. Are any of you from the U.K. too? Has anyone managed to get out of nursing and do something better?!