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by Abigail Van Buren

Nurse Disillusioned With Job Contemplates Career Change

DEAR ABBY: I love your column and no-nonsense advice. I guess what I want is for you to tell me it is OK to change careers.

I am a registered nurse who graduated from nursing school a year ago and hates her job. I am getting ready to change careers. It will cost me money, but I feel the payoff in time and peace of mind is worth it.

What do I say to people who are going to criticize me for it? Yes, I know it seems crazy to have spent four years getting a degree and not use it, but I really don't like nursing. The problem is mainly the other nurses and the environment, not my patients. Again, thanks for all you do. You do make a difference. -- SUSAN IN ST. LOUIS

DEAR SUSAN: Whoa, not so fast! If you were unhappy in your career, you would get no argument from me about changing it. However, before you make a final decision about leaving nursing, I urge you to consider that there is more than one way to practice the profession.

Among them is private duty nursing. Or getting a job as a nurse with a cruise line. Or becoming a traveling nurse. (Google "Travel nurses.") Agencies offer opportunities to travel and work anywhere in the 50 states. Some provide housing, meals allowance, continuing education courses and signing bonuses.

It may be possible to use the training you worked so hard to attain and not have to deal with the "other nurses" and the "environment." Please think it over and check out nursing registries in your state before you make your final decision. You may be pleasantly surprised.