Hi, I am currently in my undergrad and I'm a little confused about what I'd like to do. I KNOW I want it to involve working with patients. I have been thinking I would become a Physical Therapist Assistant (so I can work in a real career, making enough money, while continuing education. Also a back up plan if I don't want to go to graduate school in the end.) then go on to get my bachelors in public health, then become a PA or PT. I would like to be able to volunteer abroad in humanitarian efforts, 3-5 months out of the year.
Some things that have drawn me to nursing are that it is very secure, I would be able to find a job rather quickly almost anywhere after returning from volunteering abroad. It pays well, so I could afford to do the traveling I want to. I love that I hear days are never typical, and things are always changing. I would like that. I love that you can start over (essentially changing careers) in a new specialty if you'd like. I love that you are working with patients and have the ability to change their lives. And, it's kinda weird but I love being in a hospital- I study so well there and I love that everyone is working to keep the human body healthy. I think (?? do you?) my training as a nurse would tie in perfectly with humanitarian work... I would really be able to help people.
But I am still a little confused about what a nurse DOES and can do. (I have never been sick in the hospital under the care of a nurse, only a PA). I have read discussion forums about a day in the life of a RN looks like this: "Get to work, get info from previous shift, check on patients, take vitals, move around on bed, give medicine, chart, help out other colleagues, check on patients, chart, help out other colleagues, check on patients, chat with patients, chart... etc"
I'm not sure if that's deep enough into medicine for me. Can you tell me more? What kind of things are you charting? What kind of procedures (catheters, IVs, etc?) does a nurse preform?
I know that nurses really have a passion for what they do. I know I need to shadow a nurse when I get back to the US to see if I would to. (currently working in The Netherlands).
Please enlighten me more about nursing and why nurses all say it is their calling and they love it.
As a brand new grad myself, I cannot speak with the years of experience that these others have. However, I will say that the reasons that one goes into nursing should not solely be financial security. When I began nursing school in 2007 there was still a nursing boom in Long Island and everyone was saying "You'll get snatched right up and you'll never be out of a job." However, now that local hospitals are shutting down, nurses who worked for 15-20-30 years are now dusting off their resumes to start at the bottom of the seniority ladder all over again. And that makes it hard for me (who has no previous nursing experience) to compete for a job. That being said, I know that eventually I will land a job and everything will pan out.
My point is this: check your motives and be sure you're in it for the rewarding and unique position in which you can affect a positive change in the lives of so many. In some ways, I agree with sbostonRN. Part of me thinks that if I could have gone back, I would have become a Physician Assistant purely because of the flexibility and better pay, but who knows what will change in the next 5 years?! This field is so rapidly changing that you never know what's around the corner. Nursing is different now than it was in 1990. So if you choose nursing be prepared to work, HARD. Both in school and after you get a job. Be prepared to clean up crap, and keep in mind that if we don't do it, then no one will. It's perspective that kept me going until I graduated. I expect that perspective will keep me going when I finally get a job too. Same goes for you. Best of luck.
Last edit by TraumaBSN on Jan 12, '13
: Reason: typo