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14 Sure Signs It’s Time To Quit Your Current Nurse Practitioner Job
Written By: Lauren Jacobson MS, RN, WHNP-BC
If you're a nurse practitioner (NP), you know that the healthcare industry is constantly evolving. As such, it's not uncommon for NPs to find themselves in a job that is no longer fulfilling or suitable for their needs. But how do you know when it's time to move on? In this article, we'll be discussing "14 sure signs it's time to quit your current nurse practitioner job."
Whether you're feeling burnt out, unappreciated, or just ready for a change, these signs will help you recognize when it's time to start looking for a new opportunity. So, if you're wondering how to know when it's time to quit your current nurse practitioner job, keep reading!
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TYPICALLY, HOW MUCH NOTICE SHOULD YOU GIVE BEFORE QUITTING YOUR CURRENT NP JOB?
When it comes to quitting your nurse practitioner job, it's important to give your employer ample notice. While the standard notice period may vary depending on your specific job and employer, it's typically recommended to give at least two weeks' notice. This gives your employer enough time to find a replacement and ensure a smooth transition.
However, if you hold a more senior position or have been with your employer for an extended period, it's generally best to provide more notice. Not only does giving your employer sufficient notice demonstrate professionalism, but it also helps to maintain a positive relationship with your employer and colleagues.
Fortunately, this has never happened to me, but sometimes you cannot give more than two weeks’ notice. This may be due to unexpected life events or (hopefully this doesn’t happen to you) a truly toxic work environment. I really loved my colleagues when I was working as a nurse practitioner. I valued their time and the growth opportunities they gave me. So, when I quit, I gave a month’s notice.
HOW TO KNOW WHEN IT’S TIME TO QUIT YOUR CURRENT NURSE PRACTITIONER JOB?
The following are the 14 signs it’s time to quit your current nurse practitioner job. As much as we would like to think that our jobs as NPs will be endlessly fulfilling and lucrative, they may not be. You may still like the work and your patients but be ready to grow and not be empowered in your current position to do so.
Or perhaps you are feeling burnt out
, or not getting along with colleagues or your supervisor. Whatever the sign is, it is important to look out for yourself and your future. Knowing when it’s time to quit is important.
SURE SIGN #1: You're constantly feeling burnt out
Nurse practitioners are known for being hardworking and dedicated, but if you're feeling exhausted and overworked all the time, it may be time to reevaluate your job. Burnout
can take a significant toll on your physical and mental health, so it's important to recognize the signs and take action.
Some of the signs of burnout include chronic fatigue, lack of motivation, and feeling detached from your patients. If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, it may be time to consider a change. In order to prevent burnout from impacting your career long-term, you should prioritize self-care
and take the necessary steps to reduce stress in your work environment.
SURE SIGN #2: You're not feeling challenged
As a nurse practitioner, you likely got into the field because you enjoy helping patients and the challenges
that come with the job. However, one of the signs it’s time to quit your current nurse practitioner job is if you're no longer feeling challenged. Feeling unchallenged in your job can lead to boredom and a lack of motivation, which can ultimately impact the quality of care you provide to your patients.
If you're not learning anything new or if you're not being given the opportunity to take on new responsibilities, it may be time to consider a new job that can offer more growth and professional development opportunities
SURE SIGN #3: You're not getting along with your colleagues
While it's natural to have occasional disagreements or personality clashes with colleagues, if you're constantly having conflicts or feeling like an outsider in your workplace, it may be time to move on. This can particularly be the case if your colleague has been there for a long time, and you have already tried to navigate this challenge. Poor workplace relationships can impact your job satisfaction, productivity, and overall well-being.
If you find that you're not getting along with your colleagues, it's important to try to address the issues and find a solution. However, if the situation persists and you're not able to resolve the conflicts, it may be time to start looking for a new job where you can work with colleagues who share your values and work style.
SURE SIGN #4: You're not happy with your salary or benefits
and benefits aren't the only factors that should determine your job satisfaction, they're certainly important. If you're not happy with your compensation package, it may be time to consider a new job. If you feel that your salary doesn't reflect your level of education, experience, or the amount of work you're doing, it's worth talking to your employer and asking for a raise.
If your employer is unable or unwilling to offer you a fair salary, it may be time to start looking for a new job where you can be properly compensated for your work and feel valued. Similarly, if you're not happy with your benefits package, such as health insurance, retirement plans, or vacation time
, it may be time to consider a job that can offer better benefits.
SURE SIGN #5: You don't feel aligned with the organization's values
As a nurse practitioner, you have your own set of personal and professional values. It's important to work for an organization that shares these values and aligns with your beliefs. If you find that your organization's values are in conflict with your own, it may be time to start looking for a new job.
For example, if you value patient-centered care
but feel that your organization prioritizes profits over patient care, it may be time to consider a new job that aligns with your values. This applies to any work position though.
I recently left an international health position (not nursing) that no longer aligned with my values. I knew that I could not change the work culture and values, so I decided to listen to my gut and start my own business instead. If your work as an NP is not aligning with your values, don’t ignore it.
SURE SIGN #6: You're not able to achieve a work-life balance
Achieving a work-life balance
is essential for your mental and physical well-being. If your job is taking up too much of your time and energy, leaving little room for your personal life, it may be time to consider a new job that can offer a better work-life balance. Working long hours or being on-call constantly can lead to burnout, stress
, and impact your personal relationships. If you find that you're not able to disconnect from work and constantly feel overwhelmed, it may be time to prioritize your personal life and consider a job that can offer more flexibility.
SURE SIGN #7: You're not seeing eye-to-eye with your supervisor
Your supervisor is an essential part of your work environment, and it's important to have a good working relationship with them. One of the signs it’s time to quit your current nurse practitioner job is if you find that you're consistently not seeing eye-to-eye with your supervisor. Disagreements with your supervisor can lead to stress and tension in the workplace, impacting your overall job satisfaction. If you're constantly having conflicts or not receiving the support you need from your supervisor, it may be time to move on to a new opportunity where you can have a more positive relationship with your supervisor.
SURE SIGN #8: You're not able to advance in your career
As a nurse practitioner, you likely have aspirations to advance in your career and take on new responsibilities. However, if you're not able to advance in your current job, it may be time to consider a new opportunity. Lack of growth opportunities can lead to boredom and frustration, impacting your job satisfaction and overall happiness. If you find that you're not being given the chance to take on new responsibilities, receive training or advance in your career, it’s one of the signs it’s time to quit your current nurse practitioner job.
SURE SIGN #9: You're not being respected or appreciated
Feeling valued and respected in your job is crucial for your overall job satisfaction and well-being. If you find that you're not being respected or appreciated in your workplace, it may be time to consider a new job. This can include feeling undervalued, receiving constant criticism without any constructive feedback, or not being recognized for your hard work and contributions.
If you're not feeling appreciated, it's worth having a conversation with your supervisor to address the issue. If the situation doesn't improve, it may be time to start looking for a job where you can work in a supportive environment and feel valued for your contributions.
SURE SIGN #10: You're experiencing moral distress
Fortunately, I have not had to experience moral distress in my NP career, but it is not uncommon. In fact, moral distress
is a common issue in the healthcare industry, and it occurs when a healthcare provider feels that they're unable to provide care that aligns with their personal or professional values and is one of the signs it’s time to quit your current nurse practitioner job.
If you find that you're experiencing moral distress in your current job, it may be time to start looking for a new opportunity. This can include being asked to provide care that goes against your values or being unable to provide care due to organizational constraints.
Moral distress can lead to burnout, stress, and impact your overall well-being. If you're experiencing moral distress, it's important to address the issue and consider finding a job that aligns with your values and allows you to provide care in a way that feels ethical and fulfilling.
SURE SIGN #11: Your workload is consistently overwhelming
As a nurse practitioner, you may have a heavy workload, but if you find that your workload is consistently overwhelming, it may be time to consider a new job. An overwhelming workload can lead to burnout, stress, and impact your overall well-being.
This can include having an unrealistic number of patients to see, being consistently understaffed, or being expected to complete tasks that are outside of your scope of practice
. If you find that your workload is causing you undue stress
and impacting your ability to provide quality care, it may be time to start looking for a new opportunity that can offer a more manageable workload.
SURE SIGN #12: Your workplace culture is toxic
Toxic leaders and toxic workplaces are getting a lot of attention nowadays because people have set the bar higher. We don’t want to live to work, we want to work to live. One of the major signs it’s time to quit your current nurse practitioner job is working in a toxic environment.
A toxic workplace culture can have a significant impact on your overall job satisfaction and well-being. If you find that your workplace culture is toxic, it may be time to consider a new job. Signs of a toxic workplace can include high turnover rates, poor communication, lack of support, and gossip.
Working in a toxic environment
can lead to stress, anxiety, and impact your mental health. If you find that your workplace culture is having a negative impact on your overall well-being, it's important to prioritize your health and start looking for a new job in a more supportive and positive work environment. Toxic workplaces aren’t always easy to spot at the start. Sometimes, it can sneak up on you.
As nurse practitioners, we tend to have high emotional intelligence, be perceptive, and have an ability to read situations well. So if you find yourself in a toxic work environment and are wondering why you didn’t see the signs earlier, don’t be too hard on yourself. Toxicity can be hard to spot in the early days and you often don’t start feeling its impact until you have been in the environment for a while.
SURE SIGN #13: Your compensation is not commensurate with your work
As a nurse practitioner, you have specialized skills and knowledge that deserve to be compensated appropriately. If you find that your compensation is not commensurate with your workload or responsibilities, it may be time to consider a new job. This can include not receiving fair pay, not receiving benefits, or not having access to professional development opportunities.
Feeling undervalued and underpaid can lead to burnout and impact your overall job satisfaction. If you feel that your compensation is not fair, it may be time to start looking for a job that values your expertise and compensates you accordingly.
SURE SIGN #14: Your gut is telling you it's time to move on
One of the signs it’s time to quit your current nurse practitioner job is having the feeling it’s time to move on. Trusting your intuition is an essential part of your career path. If you're feeling unfulfilled, unhappy, or uneasy about your job, it may be time to consider a new opportunity. While it can be challenging to leave a familiar job and take the leap, trusting your gut can lead you to a more fulfilling career.
When I left my NP job, it felt very confusing. I loved patient care, the workplace was not toxic, and I could have continued to work there for many years. I was doubting my decision because I knew I was taking a huge risk moving abroad, I had security as an RN/NP, and the people I worked with felt like family.
Something deep down told me I had more to do and more to learn and that I needed to go and explore that. Three years later, I still miss some aspects of that job, but I have never questioned my decision.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS
In conclusion, recognizing the 14 sure signs that it's time to quit your current nurse practitioner job is essential for your career growth and personal well-being. Knowing when it's time to move on can be challenging, but being aware of these signs can help you make a proactive decision about your career path. It's important to prioritize your own needs and values and seek out opportunities that align with them.
Are you still wondering how to know when it’s time to quit your nurse practitioner job? Listen to yourself. If you're experiencing any of these signs, don't ignore them. Take action and start exploring new opportunities that can bring you joy, satisfaction, and a sense of fulfillment. Remember, your career is a journey, and it's up to you to make the most of it.
Lauren Jacobson MS, RN, WHNP-BC
Lauren Jacobson is a registered nurse and women’s health nurse practitioner who is passionate about global health and gender-based violence prevention. She is Editor and an Advisory Board Member for the Global Nursing Caucus and volunteers with Physicians for Human Rights as a medical evaluator for asylum seekers.