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What to do if your new nursing job isn't working out

Published on: 29 Sep 2023

If a new nursing job doesn’t live up to your expectations, should you walk away? Former RCN Nurse of the Year Nicola Bailey shares her advice on career decisions and finding the right fit

Nicola Bailey

Former RCN Nurse of the Year Nicola Bailey on career decisions and finding the right fit

Moving to a new job that ends up being nothing like you had hoped it would be is a setback that can happen to anyone – but how do you turn things around?

Sometimes the answer is to leave the job behind, says nurse Nicola Bailey.

‘It’s only when you’re in the job, you realise it’s not the right fit for you,’ says Ms Bailey, who was RCN Nurse of the Year 2021. ‘Then it’s okay to acknowledge that it isn’t an environment where you feel you can grow and develop professionally.

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‘Of course when you start a new post, you don’t want to walk away. But if it’s making you unhappy, why stay somewhere you don’t feel valued?

‘It’s important to always follow your own values or you’ll never be happy,’ adds Ms Bailey, who was awarded an OBE in last year’s New Year’s honours list for her contribution to health services in Northern Ireland. 

To help her cope with her own challenges, including feeling burnt out last year, Ms Bailey had specialist coaching and is now more focused on looking after her own health and well-being, including exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy diet. 

Find out more about how coaching can aid recovery from burnout and how to cope with challenging circumstances in a new job

Ms Bailey will be speaking about dealing with burnout at RCNi’s Nursing Live event, which takes place at ACC Liverpool on 10-11 November. 

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The first event of its kind in the UK, Nursing Live features more than 100 presentations, demonstrations and masterclasses to support your CPD progression and enhance your career, as well as a wide range of self-care guidance and lifestyle resources to boost your personal well-being. 

Book free tickets and view the full Nursing Live programme

Nursing Live