Nurse Podcast

Episode 4. 5 Reasons You Should Leave your Nursing Job

What You Will Learn In This Episode:

There are red flags that indicate it’s time to move on from your current job, but many people stay longer than they should. This episode is to help the nurse think about whether they should stay at the bedside or leave the bedside.

Should they stay in nursing or leave nursing? Should they stay in healthcare or leave? By the end of the episode, they will have tips to help them decide to stay or leave the bedside. 

Connect with Bonnie Meadows MSN, APRN, ACCNS-AG

Website: The Ambitious Nurse Podcast Our Services: Instagram: @professionalascension Want to blaze a trail in your career? Download my complimentary Nursing Growth Starter Guide at Complementary career advancement guide.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Bonnie Meadows MSN, APRN, ACCNS-AG

 Want to blaze a trail in your career? Download my FREE Nursing Growth Starter Guide at


Welcome to The Ambitious Nurse Podcast, where I provide tips, tools, and resources for the experienced nurse to put in your career bag to help you be a better person, a better leader, a better professional, and most of all, a better nurse. I’m your host, Bonnie Meadows, a Career Coach, and a Clinical Nurse Specialist with over 18 years of experience in healthcare and nursing. It’s my passion to help experienced nurses develop their careers to impact healthcare and their communities.

Hello and welcome back. I am somewhat excited to talk about this topic today as it is sometimes the elephant in the room. And sometimes it’s not. Some nurses are talking about it more than others. Some leaders are talking about it more than others. But I really wanted to kind of layout some thoughts about nursing and those who may be considering leaving their nursing job. Or making a change in their nursing career. Because a lot of times there are strong reasons why you should leave and strong reasons why you should stay. And sometimes you’re stuck in the middle of feeling some guilt or regretOr sometimes it’s just hard for you to make a change. So just wanted to list out a few things you can consider as you’re trying to make a decision.

I remember when I was at the bedside and my manager called me into the office. And it was actually one of those times where we were doing a rounding. And usually when managers at that point in time did a rounding process, or rounded on us as nursing staff, their questions would be pointed in a positive direction. So it would never be, “Oh, well what’s going wrong?” Or, “What can we help you with?” It would kind of be on “what can we help you with”, but they were always on a positive term. But this particular time, I believe she’d gone through all of those questions. And then the last thing she said was, “Something’s going on with you. Something’s different.” It was almost like she was calling me out. She said, “You just don’t have the same demeanor that you usually have. Something’s just off with you.”

That was the moment where she called me out and I really had to step back and think. Like, “What’s going on with me?” I was struggling with being at the bedside at that point in time, and really trying to make a decision on what my next move was. I had gone through the process of thinking about going to medical school. Applying. Not getting in. Being okay with not getting in because most people don’t get into medical school the first go around when they apply. But it was my time to then make a decision on what I would do next. And I made a decision that I would dig my heels in and make the most of my nursing career. And I was about seven eight years into the bedside at this point in time.

But that was when I was faced with, ” I don’t want to do this work anymore.” I did not want to be a bedside nurse. And that was the first time that I’ve verbalized it. I believe that I had all the signs. But I just wasn’t ready to admit it. I knew that I wasn’t going to be a bedside nurse for my entire career. And I applaud those who do decide to do it. But there are times when you really need to take a step back and consider where you are. Like, we should always be doing an assessment and reassessment of where we are in our careers. But most importantly, every person should be in a nursing and healthcare job where they enjoy going to work in spite of the surrounding situations.

Let’s be honest. Every job has politics. Every job will have its quirks. But there are some red flags that you need to be aware of. And then there are some things where it’s like, ” Okay. I see what we’re dealing with. This too will pass because all of these other things are working for my good in this position.

So in this episode, you will learn red flags that indicate when it’s time to go. How to know if you should stay and tough it out. And what questions you should consider when making your decision.

There are red flags that indicate it’s time for you to go. But many times people stay longer than they should. You know those people. They come in to work mad every day. They’re fussing at people. They always got an attitude. You don’t want to ask them to help you to do anything. Or they’re just making their selves look busy just for the sake of being busy. And nobody else’s busy. But that is not the person you want to talk to.I personally, like most people are not like me, but I do it every time. I’m like, “Why are you even here? Why are you here?” Now I believe everybody has a reason for being alive. So I’m not, that’s not what I’m [00:05:00] saying. I’m asking them the question of, “Why do you stay here and be bitter when you need to move on?”

And that’s usually what happens. That’s usually one of those red flags where you need to figure out something else. Yeah, it could be like things going on at home and you’re taking it out on what’s going on at work. But a lot of times that’s not really it. You just don’t like where you’re working.

Let’s consider these statistics. 27% of nurses are considering leaving the profession entirely. 31% want to get away from the bedside. And then there are 40% of nurses practicing clinically. So these are all clinical statistics.

40% of nurses practicing clinically that want to stay in their current position but they want changes to be made in our current job. And that is a lot of nurses. Like, there are a lot of nurses that I encountered that actually do want to stay at the bedside. There are a lot of nurses that I encountered that do want to stay in nursing.

But the current situation just really causes some moral distress for them that makes them want to leave. But they don’t really want to leave. You should not stay in a role where you’re unfulfilled and not at peace. It spills over into your coworkers, your patients, and it just doesn’t allow for a peaceful environment. You should, however, feel a sense of relief when you do make peace with the fact that you’ll make the best out of the situation or leave for a better situation. If you’re on the fence. make a decision. And I’m hoping that some of these points will help you to make that decision.

So let’s go through some red flags that it’s time to go.

If you dread going to work each day. And not because you either have to wake up early or you just don’t like working night shift. If you dread going to work each day, that’s a red flag.

If you never know where you stand with your boss or management or not giving clear directions when something hasn’t been done right. If there’s a lot of ambiguity between you and your boss. And you’re not clear where you stand. Or you’re unsure if they just have your back in a certain situation.

Case in point for me. I was in a role where the job was easy. I’d actually made a decision to kind of take a step back because there was just all type of stress around me and I wanted a little bit more flexibility for my family. Walking in the door, I was told one thing. And then some things changed with my family. COVID hit my household. And in the midst of that, that particular manager that I was working for decided that she wanted to just not support.

And let me be a little bit more clear about this. I thought I was going to be able to work from home, like two days a week. My job, the one that I was working, I literally walked into the building just to take calls online. Or do meetings online, and then come back home. It was a fulfilling job. And it challenged me in a different way. However, during that period of time, flipped and said, ” Oh, no, you’re not going to be able to work a different type of scheduled.” I had actually asked for flexibility in my schedule to be able to work from home for about three days. And it was really just for a week until I could get my son back into daycare. And out of nowhere, it was “pull the rug from under you.” “Nope. You’re going to have to take some days off.” I was shocked and I was like, “Oh., Nope. I’ve seen this before.” And I’m now 17 years into my career. So it’s very easy for me to spot red flags when it comes to managers. Because I’ve experienced enough of them to know when your behavior is consistent when you show me something. It’s that saying of, “When somebody shows you who they are, you better believe them. Regardless of what they say, when they show you who they are, you better believe them.

So that is a case of I didn’t know where I stood with that particular manager. Because anything else could have happened with my family and I don’t know what kind of support that I would have had. I’m not asking you to go all in and make all of these provisions for me. But if somebody else went through the same thing, I would expect for you to make that type of flexibility for them.

But because there were other people in the department who had taken advantage of things like that, she felt like she had to handle me the same way that she handled everyone else. Unfair. my definition of fair is, no everybody across the board can’t have the same luxuries as everyone else.

Now, this is my opinion. This is, these are my thoughts. Everyone else can’t have the same luxuries as everyone else. However, everyone should have the same consideration. Weigh the situation and say, “Okay, it’s fair. We need to make an adjustment. “

So that’s, an example of not knowing where you stand with [00:10:00] your boss. If you’re experiencing negative physical symptoms as a result of your job. You’re having panic attacks. You’re having headaches. Every time you go to work. Or think about work. You might be breaking out in hives.

Like, you get a stomach ache every time you’re at work. Those are negative physical symptoms and you really need to take a step back. Because more than likely is stress that’s causing that. There’s something at work that’s triggering that. That’s a red flag.

There’s no room for near future advancement. If you’ve looked around and you’re like, ” Hmm. Well, where I am is the ceiling.” And you want to advance and be that ambitious nurse, then it’s time to go. It’s either time to go or settle in where you are and expand outside of where you are.

The last red flag is you aren’t learning new things to add to your skillset and your resume. You’re bored. If you’re bored. You’re not adding anything to what you’re doing.[00:11:00] You’re just coming in and doing what you do and you go home and it’s not providing you a challenge, that’s a red flag. You need to go.

So now that we’ve gotten all of that out of the way, you know I’m not done. I then have to help you to figure out well, if you want to stay, we’ve gone through those red flags and you’re like, “None of those really speak to me. Then that means you probably need to stay where you are and just figure out what your next move is.

So here’s some indications that you should stay and tough it out. While there are things you don’t love about your job, you overall love for what you do. There is something to be said about loving what you do. Your coworkers make you feel like family. They’re a huge part of your happiness. You’re learning new things and being challenged every day in a good way. That’s another reason to stay and tough it out. That’s one of those times where you’re like, “This too will pass.”

And there is a room for near future advancement. There’s room for you to grow. If you’re not growing, then you’re stagnant. And you get bored and then you’re getting into stuff that you shouldn’t be.

Last two reasons you should stay and tough it out. If you’re excited about your future at the company and if you’re able to share your ideas openly, those are all great reasons for staying and tough it out.

I also have to add in here, you have decent management. I’ve been in places where I’ve had all of these things where I’m excited about my future. I’m able to share my ideas openly. I love my coworkers. Learning new things. Room for advancement. Overall love what I do. And my manager wasn’t that great. Like, if you’re a great manager, great. Love it. But as long as you’re not hindering my progress and able to still support me and I see how you’re supporting all of us as teammates and trying to do the right thing, the fair thing, then it is what it is.

Because those things check the box for me. So you have to figure out what are those things that check the box for you? Because what I’ve shared in this list, they check the box for most people. But you have to figure out also, what are those extra things that you may need? It could be more time at home. It could be childcare. It could be any other thing that hinders us from staying in a job that we actually may like.

Lastly, let’s talk about some questions that you can ask yourself. Anything really surrounding red flags and the indications that you should stay or go. These are some questions that you should ask yourself. You’re starting to wonder what else is out there. Now I’m going to take a pause right here. Because I’m just going to tell you that I’m one of those people that looks at the job board all the time. Because I’m an ambitious nurse, I’m always looking to see what does the future hold? LIke, what can I work towards?

So you’re starting to wonder what else is out there. It’s a two-fold type of thought process. Is it one of those things where you’re just looking to see what’s out there because you want to keep your options open and you know that you’re working on some things where you are and just wanting to know what you can work towards? Or you’re literally starting to wonder what else is out there. That’s where the boredom comes in. That’s where it’s like, “Well, maybe I could do something different. Hmm. Starting to think about what else can I do out there?”

Again, going back to, “Do you dread waking up to go to work each day? Do you get along with your coworkers? Does your boss or management constantly put you in a state of stress? Is there room for advancement? Are you engaged in learning new things? Do you feel like you execute your current job at a high level with more training help? Or are you better suited for a different role?

Think about those questions as you’re really trying to consider what you should do next in your career. And if you’re really at the juncture of, “I’m trying to figure out if I need to stay in this job or if I need to leave.” And there’s nothing at home that is causing you to ask that question, then think about the red flags. Think about the indications that you should stay. And then listen back to this and begin to ask yourself those questions.

When you start to feel those red flags, such as a sense of dread, intimidation by your boss or just lack of interest in the job, it’s time to use those questions to evaluate if you need to stay and tough it out or if it’s time to leave.

Thanks for joining us this week on The Ambitious Nurse Podcast. To review the show notes and any links mentioned in today’s episode, please go to The Ambitious Nurse Podcast ( You can download my nurse starter growth guide if you want more information about how to take the next step in your career. It walks you through five steps you should think through to start working towards growing your career. Download The Nurse Starter Growth Guide at the link shown in the show notes.

If you enjoyed this conversation, follow our subscribe so you don’t miss a future episode. Also, please consider leaving a rating, review and or comment about what you want to hear about. This helps more nurses just like you find this podcast. And remember you don’t have to grow your career alone. As iron sharpens, iron one person sharpens another. Thank you for letting me sharpen you as you take this knowledge to sharpen the next. Thanks again for joining me, Bonnie Meadows on The Ambitious Nurse Podcast. We look forward to chatting with you the next time.

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