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Should You Leave Nursing or Find a New Nursing Job?

Exhaustion, being underpaid, and working long shifts can make leaving nursing an appealing option, but it isn’t a decision to make lightly. Your skill set as a nurse is valuable and can lead to a high-paying, burnout-free nursing role.

To determine whether you should leave nursing or find a new job in the field, we’ve compiled a list of 4 career development exercises. After completing all 4, you should have a better idea about what to look for in your next role—and if that job is in nursing or something else.

1. Jot down what you’re looking for

To start, make a list of your ideal work situation. You can write what you love about your current role, why you went into nursing in the first place, and what you’d like to see in your next job. You should also paint a clear picture about the logistics of your dream role, whether in nursing or another field.

These logistics can include:

  • Whether you want to work fully in-person, remotely, or a hybrid of both

  • The types of opportunities you’d want in the new role

  • Qualities you’d like to see in coworkers and your manager

  • The impact you’d want to have on the world

  • Ideal pay range and benefits, such as vacation time or continuing education funds

2. Measure the Pros and Cons of Staying and Leaving

Once you have your list of dream job traits, it’s time to decide if nursing or another field is better for you. Before deciding to leave, it’s important to make sure it’s the right choice. Leaving could mean heading back to school for another degree, starting over in an entry-level position, or saying goodbye to your favorite parts of nursing.

For clarity on your next step, make a pros and cons list for both options. If you decide to stay in nursing, what are the advantages and disadvantages? After, do the same with leaving nursing. You can also jot down some of the reasons why you’re considering leaving, such as a desire for remote work or higher pay.

3. Reimagine Nursing

When reviewing your reasons for wanting to leave the field, consider if you can get some of those in a different nursing role. Many nurses leave because they crave more flexibility in how they work and want the opportunity to work from home. Yet, there are many remote nursing roles that offer these benefits. If higher pay is the concern, consider negotiating for a pay raise or applying to higher-paying nursing roles.

Leaving is a big decision–and one that might not be needed when you reimagine what a nursing career can look like. Thousands of nurses have redefined nursing on their terms, whether that looked like switching to a telehealth role or to an employer with a generous compensation package.

4. Informational Interviews

If you’re still on the fence about staying or leaving, consider interviewing some nurse friends who did both. During the interviews, ask why they made that decision, if they’re happy with it, and what are the best (and worst) things about their current role.

Since informational interviews are for collecting insight–and not for applying for a new role–they facilitate candid conversations about what working for a specific company or in a specific role actually looks like.

The Final Decision: To find a new nursing job or not?

Whether you decide to stay or leave nursing, it’s important to make that decision after you research your options. By reflecting on what you want, interviewing people working in fields of interest, and expanding what you think is possible, your next career move can work in your favor.

For a better idea about how to reimagine nursing and find your dream nursing career, download the free HireMe Healthcare app. You can also set up a free coffee chat with our Director of Nurse Relations, Denise Jones, to learn how to optimize your profile for ideal roles.


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