It’s Time to Go…

Many of you already know I’m a HUGE Taylor Swift fan. I could get into all of the reasons I lover her and her music but there’s one particular song that really stuck out to me on the deluxe edition of her 2nd 2020 album Evermore. It’s called “It’s Time to Go.” I’ll link it here so you can check it out:

She gives several scenarios in her life when you just know, it’s time to go, it’s time to move on. Whether it’s the last breath of a dying marriage, friendship, relationship, or leaving a job, there’s that “old familiar body ache, the snaps from the same little breaks in your soul, you know, when it’s time to go.”

I relate to these lyrics so much, so many times I’ve felt that same ache of “it’s time to move on.”

I’ve worked in several different environments, several different jobs. I’ve worked with some really wonderful nurses in my career. I’m going to tell you about a few nurses in particular that fit perfectly in this song.

I once worked with an incredible nurse. She had been there for many years, she built her career and life in the area. She was the nurse you’d want in any emergency. She was very smart and knowledgeable. She was often charge nurse and was a resource for the whole team. She got along with most everyone. She was excellent with patients.

But this nurse hated her job. She was very good at it, but after just a few minutes of shadowing her, it was obvious she hated working at that facility. Rumors rumbled around about how she was reprimanded and we couldn’t believe it. She was so loved by the patient’s and her co-workers. But after some thought, this nurse complained a lot. This nurse was not happy with the recent changes being implemented and was pretty vocal about it. After we heard she “had a talking to” about her attitude and cooperation, things got even worse and she was even more unhappy and made it known to her co-workers. She was eventually asked to find a new job. We were all in shock that they could just so casually let an amazing nurse go.

This nurse went on to another hospital where she found an even better position in the department she actually wanted to work in. It was closer to home and she is excelling in the new chapter of her career.

That old familiar body ache
The snaps from the same little breaks in your soul
You know when it’s time to go

Sometimes giving up is the strong thing
Sometimes to run is the brave thing
Sometimes walking out is the one thing
That will find you the right thing

I’ve seen this scenario play out over and over again. I’ve been able to recognize when a nurse is falling down this spiral of negativity and anger and resentment while still being able to put a smile on their face for the patients. I’ve watched in disbelief as good nurses are asked to leave, pushed to the edge or even fired from their jobs.

Then one day, that nurse was me.

While I wasn’t fired from my job, I had a good “talking to” about my attitude. I learned first hand what burn out is and how strong its grip can be. I thought about how I was a good nurse, I took good care of my patients. I thought about how toxic the work environment was and I put all of the blame on management. Every little policy change, every snarky email was so triggering to me. I radiated anger and it not only effected my work life but my home life and my marriage.

That old familiar body ache
The snaps from the same little breaks in your soul
You know when it’s time to go

Sometimes giving up is the strong thing
Sometimes to run is the brave thing
Sometimes walking out is the one thing
That will find you the right thing

I thought maybe I needed to go back to school, I thought maybe teaching clinicals would fix it, I couldn’t figure out why I was so unhappy and discontent. I thought maybe I should get a job in management and away from the bedside, I thought maybe I could get a new career altogether. I knew it was time for a change but I didn’t know how to. So I did a total 180 and got a job working in critical care, I traded my 30 minute drive for an hour and twenty minute drive. I went to a much larger hospital where I didn’t know anybody and they didn’t know me. Just like Taylor wrote, I knew in my soul, it was time to go.

Just like that nurse I told you about, I’m happier than ever with my career. Now, instead of anger and frustration, happiness and contentment spills over into my home life and my work life.

A burnt out nurse, isn’t a bad nurse. A burnt out nurse is a good nurse who needs a new environment.

When kids aren’t doing well in school, we ask, “Are they being challenged enough? do they need a new environment? Could a different teacher serve their needs better?” Why don’t we ask adults that? I wasn’t being challenged enough. I could see the grass was greener on the other side, I knew there was more I needed and wanted to learn but I was trying so hard to be happy where I was. It was time to go.

I saw this quote and it resonated with me so much so, I bought the print and it hangs in my office: “Stop shrinking to fit places you’ve outgrown.” That’s exactly what I was doing, trying to shrink myself into somewhere I had outgrown.

I still see this happen, even more frequently in the larger hospital. The turnover rate is exponentially higher nationwide right now because of COVID. Nurses are leaving the profession in droves. If you’re one of those nurses considering an entirely new career, if you’re like me, I want to remind you of a few things:

Sometimes to run is the brave thing
Sometimes walking out is the one thing
That will find you the right thing

You’ll know, in your soul, when it’s time to go.

Maybe you’re the nurse that knows it’s time to go, or maybe you see it in a co-worker. I’m here to tell you there’s happiness on the other side of that big scary jump you’re afraid to make. I’m here to tell you, you aren’t a bad nurse or a bad person for feeling this way. I’m here to tell you I’ve been that nurse who needs to go and that’s okay. If you’re that nurse, you’ll know in your soul when it’s time to go.

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  1. Cheryl
    September 8, 2021 / 3:00 pm

    Change can be difficult, but having the courage to make a change can be so rewarding. Well said!

  2. Susan the Farm Quilter
    September 8, 2021 / 8:03 pm

    Not just nurses, teachers as well. Honestly, it could be any job! Not shrinking who you are to fit in a place that is too small is excellent advice!!

  3. Carolyn Sullivan
    September 8, 2021 / 10:28 pm

    GOOD for you! I had the same thing happen , change of jobs helped for a few more years and then retirement was my answer.. I think for many of us we just need something different ever so often.

  4. Becky
    September 8, 2021 / 11:18 pm

    Good for you, I’m hoping it is just the right thing for you, but that longer drive…eww!

    • thepinkshoelaces
      September 9, 2021 / 2:42 am

      I actually don’t mind my commute at all! Even after night shift! I’ve been doing it for about 18 months now and still goin strong!

  5. Jill+Klop
    September 15, 2021 / 2:49 am

    I volunteer and just had to make a similar decision. It hurts and partly because this isn’t what I’d envisioned for myself. But, it all comes down to what you said: I knew there was more that I needed but I was trying so hard to be happy where I was. It was time to go. Thank you for these words. By the way…when I saw your title, I was afraid you were going to quit blogging!

  6. Elle
    September 26, 2021 / 6:02 pm

    Waving hello! You’ve been offline for a few weeks. Assume you’re consumed with family and work time.

    Take good care.

  7. susie Q
    September 26, 2021 / 11:48 pm

    almost three weeks since we have heard from you……. hope all is ok.

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