View Full Version : career change????

dassar RN
07-19-2009, 10:56 AM
Hi everyone,
I am on leave of absence from work because I got sick and newly diagnosed at the same time with lupus. I am an RN working very long hours as a floor nurse; but since I got sick i have had to rethink my situation in terms of continuing. It is hard as I have studied to become a nurse for 4 years to get my degree.
On the other hand my health comes first. There are so many things to consider as I have come to realize that with lupus it is difficult to be around sick people. In addition to this my job requires up to 13 hours of standing at NIGHTS and I am barely even able to handle a 3hr outing with my family.

I know deep down what to do but I just wanted to find out from others with this illness how difficult it was to make the decision to change careers and the changes made.

I really would like your opinion as it is bothering me tremendously.


07-19-2009, 11:25 AM
I am so sorry you even have to think about this choice. You have studied so long and hard to get where you are at today and now you are at a hard place in your life. As a nurse you already know the risks and what needs to be done. I also had to make a career change years ago. I was becoming a teacher and teaching pre-k when I was diagnosed. The doctor looked at me and said that was a very unhealthy choice for me and that a change would have to be made. I thought that I would prove them all wrong and continue on the path I had already chosen. Boy was I wrong! I ended up in the hospital three times that year and yes, I eventually changed my career. I am still in school and graduating this year with my degree in accounting. It was a hard choice and a hard thing to swallow but I had to do it for myself and my family. I miss my the kids I worked with but I know in my heart and soul that I made the right choice. I still get sick but not as often or as bad. The hardest part is taking that fist step in a different direction but once you do and you start to feel better, you will know in your heart that it was worth it. Have you ever thought about teaching at a university???? The students know how to wipe their noses and normally stay home when they are sick......most of the time :-) I think you would get sick less but be able to be involved with the subject matter you love. It is just a thought. Do you have any idea what you would like to do if you change?????? You should bounce some ideas off of us and we will say yay or ney.......kidding! Hang in there and remember that you are not alone and that whatever decision you make we will support you and help you get through it. I am sending you peaceful thoughts today and lots of hugs to help you get through this tough decision making time :hug:

07-19-2009, 11:52 AM
Have you ever thought about teaching at a university???? .............. I think you would get sick less but be able to be involved with the subject matter you love. I:hug:

Actually that is what I was thinking, too. I knew I liked you for a reason Danica :cute: But seriously if you are able to do what you love in a less stressful environment that's a thought. And based on the fact that the nursing field is still in high demand I imagine it would be the same for teachers. I was a practicing Attorney 1 year before I got diagnosed and unbenknownst me I was getting extremely worn out and fatigued and tired all the time. My body was not keeping up with me I chocked it up to the stress of the career and nothing else. I ended up leaving my Firm and working for the Government (again my own decision I had no idea I had an autoimmune disorder.) I think it's the best move I ever made, I don't have to work 14-15 hour days anymore, argue in Court daily, or travel wherever to meet clients(this puts a lot on the body). I still deal with the law in a policy/compliance type of way and I have better days. Plus when I do have to stay home due to a bad day I don't have to worry about losing my job or letting a client down because I have sick hours I can take and I have a team backing me up no questions asked. So although it may not be ideal or what you imagined doing, whatever you choose I wish you the best of luck. You need to talk we are here.:yes::hug:

07-19-2009, 12:09 PM
Hi Dassar,

I spent many years learning my trade as a smallarms engineer/designer. I also spent the majority of my working life building my dream of owning my own business. I had achieved that goal, and was blessed with a couple of major defense contracts at the time of my SLE diagnosis 5 1/2 years ago. I had achieved my dream, and was lucky to bring many of my friends and co-workers in the industry with me to share the dream.

But I was faltering, I was no longer able to recall simple spelling, let alone complex engineering tables or the math and geometry required to do my job. I was also a safety hazard around the machinery in my own factory, not to mention at the test range. I finally had to concede that I could no longer go on with my job. It was one of the most difficult decisions I've ever made, but I had to sell the business and go on disability, which I am still on. I understand just how difficult decisions like this can be.

Today, I know it was the right decision. The stress, and the chemicals I was exposed to every day were taking a toll on me, and the severity of my flares decreased dramatically after quitting. Being a small business owner was a dream come true, but it also had tons of stress which just fed the Lupus like a monster. If you make your career decisions with your health being the first priority, you won't make the wrong decision. Be honest with yourself, and weigh the pro's and cons with your health taking priority one. It's not easy, but you will do what's right for you.


07-19-2009, 08:03 PM
hi dassar rn,

as you can already tell, once again, there are many of us here who know exactly what you are experiencing....the roads cross, and the unknown is tapping you on your shoulders. Danica, once again, so eloquently supported you in whatever decision you make. Like she said, we will be here to help you brainstorm about possibilities, and to support you during this difficult time.

I once owned a personal fitness training business....i had to give it up and return to my family's business so that i could have some flexibility in my working hours....this decision made a significant reduction in my stress.

I send you tons of angels to walk with you while working through another trial of this beastly illness.

07-20-2009, 02:22 PM
AWWW,Im hopeing the BEST for you in your decision. Its another adjustment to this illness unfortunately. YOU have to DO what YOU KNOW YOU can handle. If you find out you cant , then you need to make a change. YOu might change a few times before you get it right BUT take care of your health, this disease deteriorates your body FAST if you dont LISTEN to it. I had to quit my job as a personal trainer, it was HARD but working was wearing my body down FULL SPEED AHEAD. Dont allow this to happen to you. GENTLE HUGS:cute:

07-20-2009, 04:06 PM

I too am an RN! I have been a nurse for 7 years. I have had to learn my limitations with this disease, and I too can no longer be a floor nurse and especially on nights!! I completely understand. You really have to try different areas to find what works best for you.

I worked on nights out of school in medical oncology. I did well for about 3 years and then had an awful flare. I quit that job went to an outpatient infusion clinic where I just worked weekends. That job was not too bad but I got tired of working weekends. Then I went to a local hospital full time and worked as an employee health nurse for a year and a half until I was laid off. Employee health nursing is the best for me. But after I got laid off I went to work at a dermatologists office assiting with skin cancer surgeries (during a flare that has been getting worse) and I couldn't handle it. I was lucky enough to be offered to come back per deim to my old job as an employee health nurse and that is what is best for me.

Nursing has so many oppertunites for you so look into other areas that could be less stressful for you too! If a total career change is what ends up being best, then find something that you love or could love and go for it. Take care of yourself and know that God has a career out there for you!

I wish you all the best as you embark on this career and lupus journey and know that we are here for you! And anytime you want to talk lupus and being a nurse just write me!

dassar RN
07-20-2009, 05:43 PM
Many thanks for your words of encouragement. I would like to find out from ButterflyRN, did you ever go back to floor nursing after being diagnosed with lupus and having the flare up....it is coincidental that I was also in medical and surgical oncology. I then changed to telemetry med/surg after relocating to south florida. ...... I honestly don't think I could survive the first 3 hours on the floor right now. I guess I need to come to terms with that.

I would greatly appreciate your input from a nursing perspective.

Dassar RN

07-20-2009, 06:10 PM
Seems to be a theme with this beast, doesn't it? Like Spanglishqueen, I am a practicing attorney. I currently work for my husband's company as general counsel. This is a blessing and a curse. All of our eggs are in one basket (scary), but it's a blessing for me personally, as I would not be employable on a regular basis anywhere else. This used to frustrate me immensely. I felt like this was too much pressure for my husband (although he never said a word about it). And then, with the help of the support here, with so many people who understand the challenges lupus brings, I learned to accept what I cannot change and to take care of myself, first and foremost. The rest has a way of working itself out. I don't know if any of this helps you. It just seems that the sooner we acknowledge that change is inevitable no matter what our challenge, the better off we are.

I wish you the best. You have many gifts to offer. The right situation will present itself.

Take care,


07-20-2009, 06:11 PM
Very beautifully said Jana:cute:

07-20-2009, 08:40 PM
Hi, Dassar

This is probably a very tough decision to make.... Im sorry you were just diagnosed with lupus and place on medical leave all the same time. Its a lot at once. Having lupus and being around sick people isnt very good for your well being, I once worked as a concierge at an assisted living home and I ended up having to quit because I woild catch every little thing and even became hospitalized at one point because of something I caught from one of the residents. Anyway, since you like helping people, have you ever considered teaching? With a nursing degree I know you could take a few more courses to become maybe a teacher? I dont know, it was a thought. Whatever decision you make Im sure it will be the right one. Goodluck. I hope you feel better soon! hugs


07-21-2009, 01:37 AM
I am just checking on you and checking to see how your day went. I hope you are doing good and always remember you are in my thoughts :angelic:

07-21-2009, 06:00 AM
hi dassar,

hope you have a great tuesday....you are going through a very frightening time, but as jana so eloquently put it, you will learn to accept and adapt...it is part of our lives now.

dassar RN
07-21-2009, 09:27 AM
Thanks Danica,
Have a wonderful tuesday, hope you are feeling a little better ...............

I saw this and wanted to share this with you.

Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, “I'll try again tomorrow."

—Mary Anne Radmacher-Hershey

Dassar RN

07-21-2009, 12:29 PM
very nice, dassar rn.....this is a good definition of courage.