'Who signs up for this?' Why I'm leaving my nursing career after a year.

Today is the day that I've decided to leave nursing. I'm a year and four months into what I thought was going to be a lifetime career.

It's not from the strange hours or the complicated tasks I do. It's not from the very unwell patients I look after or being expected to go above and beyond. I love what I do, I enjoy talking with my patients, being a part of their healthcare experiences and ensuring that they leave the hospital better.

It's because of unruly patients who have no regard for clinical staff and the expectation that we nurses will fix every possible problem, even when the problem can be easily fixed by the patient. 

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Yesterday, I was given a patient who had failed discharge after he had an argument with his mum. During my shift with him, he told me on multiple occasions he wanted to kiss me, he wanted to know my marital status, tried to grab me and later physically assaulted me.

Throughout this whole process, I told him on several occasions these things aren't tolerated. The 18-year-old didn't listen; I reported him twice. For my own safety, I refused to care for him. This was not the first time I had been assaulted by this patient on one of his admissions. 

Who signs up to have this happen to them?

So, after this incident, I'm handing in my registration. I've wanted to be a nurse since I was 6, and some 25 years later along with $50k worth of student debt and a very specialised skill set, I withdraw my nurse's registration. My childhood dream is destroyed for my own safety and sanity.


We as healthcare workers are trained to help unwell patients, we are not trained to look after people who do not want to be helped and we are not trained to deal with families' inability to cope with stressful situations or a disrespectful child (adult or otherwise). We're not trained to deal with assault, nor should we be expected to be.

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I know nursing isn't the only profession that sees this; there are several cases of other healthcare professionals who have been assaulted or harassed while doing their jobs. Most recently, a man had reported having threatened two ambulance drivers that he was going to kill them. The ambulance drivers left the scene without the patient.

Would you want to be deliberately disrespected day-in and day-out, alongside being expected to deal with problems beyond your control?

If the answer is no, please respect healthcare staff and teach people to respect healthcare staff who are simply doing their jobs. Also, understand that healthcare workers can not simply wave a wand and fix all problems - we practice medical care, not magic.

Sometimes, people need to realise that the only cure that can help with their concerns lays with them.

If the answer is yes, put yourself in your healthcare professional's shoes and think through the question again.

Feature image: Getty. The image used is a stock photo. The writer of this post is known to Mamamia and has chosen to remain anonymous for privacy reasons.

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