Career advice

Weighing up the pros and cons before you quit your job: Part 1

Leaving your job is a big step, especially if it means moving outside the NHS or even ending your nursing career. Before you do it, take the time to consider your current job's pros and cons, says Mandy Day-Calder.
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Leaving your job is a big step, especially if it means moving outside the NHS or even ending your nursing career. Before you do it, take the time to consider the pro's and con's of your current job, says Mandy Day-Calder.

As with all relationships, it's natural that your love of nursing will wane from time to time. But right now, for many nurses, the combined pressures of high workloads and yet another 1% pay award are putting that relationship under exceptional strain.

So what do you do when the bad days mount up, and the flight response overpowers the fight response?

Make a rational decision

It is never a good idea to make a snap decision about changing jobs, even more so

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Leaving your job is a big step, especially if it means moving outside the NHS or even ending your nursing career. Before you do it, take the time to consider the pro's and con's of your current job, says Mandy Day-Calder.


It can help to write down all the pros and cons of where you currently work. Picture: iStock

As with all relationships, it's natural that your love of nursing will wane from time to time. But right now, for many nurses, the combined pressures of high workloads and yet another 1% pay award are putting that relationship under exceptional strain.

So what do you do when the bad days mount up, and the flight response overpowers the fight response?

Make a rational decision

It is never a good idea to make a snap decision about changing jobs, even more so if you are considering leaving the NHS or quitting nursing for good. 

A fresh start may be just what you need, but moving away from all that you know requires careful thought. Regardless of how you feel emotionally, take a step back and think about what you want to do, what you are qualified to do, and what you can afford to do. Slowing things down at this stage can help to make your decision a positive one.

First, let's look at the practical considerations. When considering moving outside the NHS or nursing, it's important to consider the wider picture, not just what your current take-home pay is each month. For example:

• Projected salary: Agenda for Change sets out clear progression routes for all grades. Outside the NHS, your future prospects may be less clear. Your salary may be fixed, you may be placed at the bottom of a pay scale or your salary may be linked to your performance.

• Annual leave: one of the advantages of shift work is that you can often extend time off with advanced planning of your rota. Consequently, you may be used to above average annual leave; it is worth considering how important this is to you before applying for a nine to five role elsewhere.

• Pension: all employers now have a legal duty to provide a work-place pension but contributions vary widely. You won’t lose your NHS pension if you move to another organisation but your total retirement fund could be affected depending on the what you and your employer pay into your new fund. You can get a forecast of your pension from the NHS Business Services Authority.

Pen to paper

Other factors to weigh up include flexibility of your working hours, the training and development opportunities and the length of your commute. Ultimately, only you will know what you can put up with, and what is best for you.

It can help to write down all the pros and cons of where you currently work. Try doing this on a weekly basis for a month or two to avoid your perception being tainted by particularly draining shifts. 

In part two we will look at some of the career options available to you.


Mandy Day-Calder is a freelance writer and life/health coach

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