I went from the hospital to being a case manager for worker's compensation. Has a lot of freedom but if you work for a company they will try to overload you. But once you've been doing it for a year or 2 you can go out on your own and market for yourself which is what I do.
I too have been there. It's okay to feel this way and let me tell you why I second guessed myself. We are taught in nursing school and in society at large that our value as a nurse is measured by how intense our HOSPITAL environment can be. Poo pooing med surge as a stepping stone to ICU. Community health nursing...what is that? Only less than nurses don't work in a hospital. That is engrained into our nurse fabric from professors to the community at large. If we can physically resuscitate a human being then we have value, we have been told. However, especially intra pandemic, my personal mental health was waining. As a supervisor in a pediatric acute/intensive care setting, I had held my last mom while her baby died in her arms. She deserved to be held, even by me. But I didn't deserve to also leave that situation to code another child to then get yelled at by a surgeon or attending that I forgot whatever nuance it was they preferred. I didn't deserve putting my whole self on the line to be labeled as 'just a nurse'. I'm not just a nurse. I'm a mother, a friend, a partner and someones child. I started to think of how me defining nursing as JUST ICU CARE impacted how I showed up for all of those other roles. So, I walked away. What happens when you walk away from the ICU to participate in community health? You get shamed in a way. Made to feel less than, but only by the weak minded. Only by those who cannot see the value in all of the roles that nurses have to offer in every aspect of health care. I have walked away from the ICU as a bedside nurse. But, I will return as the one who can hold and heal the families who need holding in the scariest times of their life. I will also be able to hold my family and be there for them during all of their important moments instead of looking at photos later or being recounted their tales. I will be at every holiday, birthday, dinner party, etc. if I choose to be...not because I'm scheduled to miss it every other year. I prioritized me, and that has made me stronger in every aspect in my life. My children watched their mother walk away from stress and toward mental wellness. I could not give them, or maybe even whoever reads this and feels it, a better gift.
I started as a labor and delivery nurse but due to health reasons switched to case management. It took a bit to get used to but I’m glad I switched. Wonderful thing about being a nurse is there is always opportunities
I went from ICU to in center hemodialysis and loved it. You either love dialysis or hate it. It was an easy transition because you have to learn everything. I call dialysis the Chinese of nursing. It’s completely different. I am working in home therapy peritoneal dialysis education/training/case manager and I love it!
I transferred to PACU after a little over a year in MICU. Still love ICU, but this was a little less stressful on the body. I still use a good amount of my ICU skills in this position as well. The hours are more flexible.
I would suggest try picking up a shift in an area you might like. No one will expect you to be perfect but you can get a basic feel for the area. I was a dialysis nurse for 40+ years but did acute dialysis to keep my ICU skills sharp. Also think about the area you scored the highest on the NCLEX as well. That it a great barometer of where you excel.
You’ve heard the saying, “To each his own.” Well, ICU nursing is not your cup of tea and that’s Ok. Nursing is stressful enough without being stuck in a setting that’s not a good fit.
Find that pretty journal and start that exploration process today . You can do it!