Lessons from Two Years Away from Bedside Nursing

It is really hard to believe I have been out of bedside nursing for two years now. I loved my time at the bedside, and I can’t say I won’t ever go back to it. I think about going back but I know now isn’t the right time. I have been privleadged to care for so many amazing people in the best and worse time of their lives. Support both them and their loved ones. These moments have changed me for the better. Unfortunately, some change you for the worse. The abuse nurses and other healthcare workers experience at the hands of large, rich institutions is painful.

To learn more about my decision to take a (now very long) break from the bedside- check out my post Stepping Away from Nursing

All Nursing Positions are Important and Valid

It’s odd how I could be so adamant and support all areas of nurses. Both bedside and away from bedside. But when it came to my own personal career and journey, I felt so much guilt and “less than” being a nurse away from the bedside. Nurse culture has a way of sharing this toxic belief that the only way to be a “real nurse” is through bedside shift work and that just couldn’t be further from the truth. I have found so much satisfaction and pride working as a home health RN. Being able to care for people in their homes and help them stay in the place that feels most comfortable to them is amazing. The love and appreciation I get from both patients and families is an amazing encouragement.

You Matter. Your health matters.

Oof, the martyr syndrome is alive and well in nursing. So many narrative float around about needed to be self sacrificial to be a good and worthy nurse. I’m so happy to see the newer generation of nurses caring for themselves in ways nurses usually do not. I have learned that my mental and physical health means more than any career- even one that fills me with pride and I have a big passion for.

Talk to Someone

I founded Nurses Supporting Nurses to provide a safe space for nurses, nursing students, and CNAs to go and share their experiences and receive support. I have learned that no one needs to carry the weigh that comes with working in healthcare alone. Community and support is so important in caring for yourself and being able to care for others.

Plans for the Future

For now, I am enjoying my time as a home health nurse. I feel like I have learned a lot and I really enjoy getting to work with people in their homes. I also have had the opportunity to learn a lot more about wound care including wound vacs, something I never had the opportunity to learn in the hospital. I may have more time at bedside at some point in the future, but for now, I am enjoying my time away and learning new things.


1 thought on “Lessons from Two Years Away from Bedside Nursing”

Liz McDowell

You continue to amaze me. I am sure you are helping many by sharing your insights.

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