I have been a nurse for over a year, and have been in pediatric home health because I like working with children and home health is the only area I have been able to be hired in with an ADN. I have been unhappy in home health for many reasons: limited training and usually training from new grads, limited scope of practice, working in isolation, less autonomy (parents prefer to speak with physicians most of the time, limiting exchanges with other health care workers and information exchange) etc etc. When I graduated nursing school, I planned to finish my cell bio degree and apply for med school because I was not happy in nursing school and I felt that my interests lie in more in-depth patho-physiology perspectives and knowledge such as those pertaining to medicine. I decided to at least try nursing so thats why I have a year under my belt. I am thinking maybe if I tried critical care and maybe pursued a CRNA degree that I could still use the hard work time and money I put into nursing so far instead of switching fields all together. I don't want to be a nurse who does it just for money though. I want to be good at what I do, and I feel you can only go so far if you are deeply unhappy. I know nursing experience and culture can be so different depending on the area of focus, so I was hoping to hear from experienced nurses who have perhaps tried various areas in nursing and could provide some food for thought. Does anyone think a nurse who feels inclined towards medicine could be happy as a CRNA or critical care nurse? I know I will just have to trial it out, but I am trying to get all the information I can to make my decisions. Thank you
Apr 5, '17
Hey there, like yourself I too had a dream/goal to become a physician. Unfortunately, or should I say fortunately life brought me into the field of nursing.
I attended a small liberal arts college studying biology. However, coming from an urban area and a low income household I quickly realized that my student loan debt would be un-manageable and withdrew from the university to focus on nursing through a diploma program.
I am now a registered nurse within the medical/surgical critical care area, recently obtained the CCRN certification and am currently very happy with my career. I have tremendous autonomy in the ICU and work closely within physicians across multiple disciplines. The wonderful thing about nursing is that it is vast and you do not have to seclude yourself to one area.
If you have the opportunity to be a critical care nurse do it. You will learn so much about pathophysiology, pharmacology and the human spirit. Best of luck!
Apr 5, '17
Thank you very much for your perspective. It means a lot to me. I'll keep searching for my niche!
Apr 10, '17
I actually worked private duty peds as well while I was a LPN in school working towards my associates degree. I'm now working in critical care and love it. While I enjoyed private duty, I had similar experiences. I felt very limited in my opportunities to learn and I felt stagnant. There is so much to learn in CCU it's a constant challenge.
Apr 10, '17
These are two vastly different areas of nursing. Like comparing apples and oranges. Based on what you have stated, I think you should consider physician's assistant, nurse practitioner, med school, the critical care nursing role, or CRNA. Any of these choices is going to give you more challenge than pediatric extended care.
Apr 11, '17
Are you already in school for your BSN? If not, start applying right away. You'll need a BSN to be accepted into any CRNA program, and based on the difficulty you've had finding employment with an ADN so far, you'll probably need it to get into critical care.
Apr 11, '17
Home care and critical care are two very different things. I shudder at the idea of ever working in home care; I've been happily employed in critical care for 35 years. Before changing careers completely, give critical care a try -- there's a lot of autonomy, and if you work in a large teaching hospital with multiple ICUs, the patients tend to be VERY interesting. You can pick your ICU -- neuro, surgical, medical, CCU -- perhaps something very specific like transplant, trauma or cardiac surgery ICU. From there you can decide whether CRNA is indeed the path for you.
Apr 12, '17
Keep in mind that this was a few years ago and things may be somewhat different now, but...I worked critical care both before and after I worked home health. At that time, and quite possibly now, there was a great deal of traffic back and forth between the two areas. Critical care nurses would get burned out, or need the kind of more flexible schedule that home health provided for family reasons, or maybe just need a change of scenery. Home health nurses would feel they needed a skills refresher, or want to go back to the hospital, or just need that intense focus that critical care provides. I went back because, after 6+ years in home health, i felt like I had lost some skills (boy, was I right!) and also because the agency I was with had undergone a complete reorganization that was not very pleasant. If your interests are as you state, you may very well be quite happy in critical care with its intense focus and more complicated skills. Plus you would be learning a great deal. Most critical care units now require a year of internship, so keep that in mind. You may be able to be hired on at a smaller hospital and move on to a bigger one, as a friend did (she is now, after many years in critical care and ED, a nurse practitioner).
Apr 12, '17
I started in pediatric home health as well and was not a fan. It was a good learning experience, as it was different than any of my clinicals, but it wasn't something I saw myself doing forver.
I agree that there isn't enough education in a lot of home health. One of my big issues was overbearing parents that wanted things done their way, overall understandable but when it affected best practice it became hard.
I now work in NICU and love it. Training is thorough and constant. There are new opportunities all the time to learn and improve things in the unit or for yourself. Don't base nursing off one department or specialty. Everything is SO different depending where you go.
CRNA is a great goal though. Why don't you apply around now that you have a year under your belt, get a new job that challenges you in new ways .. from there you can choose to go back to school and what for if going the advance practice route.
Good luck, don't give up on nursing. It's so diverse!
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