Anna R. on August 5, 2020
I am almost 3 years out of treatment and moved home due to not having proper protections at work as a nurse where I was living/being burnt out and feeling it was time to save financially. I took this as an opportunity to change fields in nursing: from public health/women's health to oncology. I didn't think it would move so fast but I had a great interview and was really impressed with the manager so accepted a job in Breast Oncology (I had rectal cancer).Fast forward, I'm on my second week. So I've gone from not working since March and before than part-time for a year, to full-time (right now 5 days a week but supposed to change to 4 10 hour shifts in a few weeks), with a hour commute each way right smack in the middle of a pandemic. While this manager is providing me N95s so at least I have proper PPE the clinic is in full swing thus still A LOT of exposure, in fact there was just an exposure of at least 200 staff. This has caused much more anxiety than I anticipated. Add to that and today after seeing a patient breakdown when getting a biopsy confirming mets, I had to leave the room because I was starting to cry. I think I came into oncology too soon after my diagnosis. So the combo of commute, hours,COVID and emotional toll I am worried is way too much. I am gone so many hours I cry because I can't exercise because by the time I get home it's time to eat and go to bed and my poor dog is neglected (I live alone). I really think I made the wrong decision. Normally, I'd say I know I need to stick it out but sticking it out comes with a major health risk right now. Theoretically, I'm not immunocompromised but all these stressors can't be good for my immune system. Part-time I know isn't an option (otherwise I think that'd be the solution). My manager knows I'm a survivor. What should I do? Should I stick it out? Or express my concerns early and set a really bad first impression? HELP!!
Aug 13, 2020
I get it. You are expressing so many rational reasons why this fit does not feel right to you. At the same time, I am glad that you have also expressed awareness that a new job is always stressful. When facing a situation like you are in, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of the situation so that you can make a clear-headed decision about what to do.
Couple that with the commute, the pandemic and just plain getting used to working full time again, and it is no wonder you are stressing about your decision. And, your cancer history brings both empathy but also painful reminders of what one has to go through - so what you encountered with the patient with mets is completely understandable.
In other words, what you are experiencing is normal, expecially in our world that is not in any way normal now.
Although only you can make this decision, I would like to offer a few ideas that may help you sort out your priorities.
1) Review your needs both financially and for your professional involvement. Do you need full time, do you need benefits, do you need your field of oncology to fulfill a passion that cannot be fulfilled in a different speciality?
2) Review what you want in a job. (Hours, duties, pay, responsibilities/level, work environment, size of organization etc.)
3) Review what you would like the rest of your life to look like - time to exercise, length of commute vs time off, etc.)
4) Compare your current situation with your ideal.
5) Research options close to your home - since nurses are in such high demand there may be many.
6) Compare local options with your current situation.
Only then can you rationally decide based on facts and your instincts whether you should look for another position or stay where you are. The weight you place on any of the above elements will help you decide.
Then, one last thing. If you need your paycheck in order to survive, I would recommend looking for another position prior to resigning the one you hold now. Once you land that new role, it is perfectly OK to resign and join another organization. You don't have to feel bad about that. You just would leave on good terms, giving proper notice, and walk away with grace and most likely their blessing.
I hope this helps you step back from the stressful emotions of the moment and give yourself time and space to think through your options. Trust yourself. You will know what is right if you write this all down. The answer will jump out at you.
Please reach back out if you have further questions. And, I wish you continued health and healing and a fulfilling next career step.
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