During this license renewal season, I have helped several nurses who were working at a place they knew was not the right fit for them, but continued to work there anyway. I call this “the square peg in the round hole”. The fit could be with your coworkers or with the type of unit and type of patients. No matter how hard you try to force that square peg into the round hole, it just will not fit. You can push it, smash it, ram it or hammer it, but it just won’t fit properly. Are you working in one of those places?
If you are working in a place that is not the right fit, it may catch up with you. Not only does it affect your health and wellbeing, but also your confidence. I always say you can get another job but you can’t get another license.
There are several reason why nurses stay at a place that is not a good fit for them. They may feel a loyalty to their patients. They may feel a loyalty to their coworkers. They may be paid higher than other places. They may fear not having a job. They may feel it is their fault they don’t belong.
I think the main reason people don’t leave is because they are comfortable where they are and fear the unknown. Even though they don’t fit in, there is a comfort and peace of having a job. The thought of leaving is very scary. The nurse may need to drive a long way to get another job, take a pay cut or even give up their day shift.
Whenever there is a decision that needs to be made, there are prices and payoffs. There are prices to pay for staying where you are such as your health and wellbeing and risk of discipline or termination. The payoffs are the supposed security of having a job and helping the patients that are there. There are also prices to pay for leaving such as giving up the security into an unknown environment at another job.
If you don’t fit in, ask yourself what prices are you willing to pay to stay there. Are you willing to risk your health and not sleeping well? Are you willing to get terminated? If you want to leave, what prices are you willing to pay? There is peace with making an informed decision. All the nurses I represented who worked in a place which was a bad fit and left have said “I am so glad I am out of there” and “If I knew it was so much better elsewhere, I would have left earlier.”