How did you know?

  1. How did you know you were capable of being a nurse...not the psychological part of desiring to help people who are sick but how and when did you become certain you could handle the actual day to day responsibilties, in particular dealing with all sorts of bodily fluids regularly. Did you just always have a naturally strong stomach? Did you ever have doubts?

    Also, what is the closest way of experiencing what its like to be a nurse without actually being one. I have switched careers a couple times already in my life and I want to make sure I can handle and would like being a nurse before I commit myself to nursing school financially and psychologically. I've read a ton of posts and info on being a nurse but I doubt its anything like actually being there.
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  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   Bipley
    Quote from cherylnj81
    How did you know you were capable of being a nurse...not the psychological part of desiring to help people who are sick but how and when did you become certain you could handle the actual day to day responsibilties, in particular dealing with all sorts of bodily fluids regularly. Did you just always have a naturally strong stomach? Did you ever have doubts?

    Also, what is the closest way of experiencing what its like to be a nurse without actually being one. I have switched careers a couple times already in my life and I want to make sure I can handle and would like being a nurse before I commit myself to nursing school financially and psychologically. I've read a ton of posts and info on being a nurse but I doubt its anything like actually being there.
    I have always wanted to be a nurse. It just was.

    As to experiencing nursing... Picture some elderly adult in a full code poohing all over the place while bleeding out every orifice of their body... if you can do that and see the need for your presence, you are in the right profession. You ignore the bad stuff when you have to, but deal with it when the time is right.

    You pick and choose your priorities. You save a life then clean their pooh. When their heart isn't functioning, you don't notice the smell. When their heart is back in function, you clean the pooh. You picture your Mom or Gma. How do you want HER treated? Yeah, that's how you function. Can you feel what another feels? If yes, nursing is your thing. If you can't, rethink nursing. Nursing is everything from cleaning pee and pooh to bringing someone through a code and telling the doc how you did it.
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  4. by   Acutecat
    After having my son, he was a premie and I was single, scared and didn't think I could even hold this teeny weeny 4 lb bundle of JOY? It was the dedicated Nurse who sat at my bedside with the patience of an angel while I came to the realization that what she was holding was really mine. She was supportive, understanding, didn't push and never judged me. She had such compassion and truly loved her job. I thought my GOD, I want to make someone feel that way. So off to nursing school I went. Many times I thought 'What the heck am I doing" but after my first rotation and got past the initial hesitation of "caring" for another individual it was magic. I went into LTC and have to admit, it's tough. Dealing with my first death, post mortem care Ugh. I kept waiting for this dead person to open their eye's and say something. LTC is really helping people accept the unacceptable, DEATH. You deal with family guilt, hope, fear, frustration and a lot of anger. But if your heart is in it, you realize that what you are doing is more than a job. It's paving the way to closure for everyone. I have grown as a person in so many ways working with the elderly. They are fabulous, their quirky personalities, their defiance, their pride. I once had my son tell me I spent more time with my patients than I did with him, OUCH so I took him to the hospital, I told him he didn't need to be jealous or angry but until he actually met these folks it was tough. Once he got past the fear of an "old person" (he was 5) he had a blast. And my resident's? It was incredible to see their faces light up, telling stories you can only get in history books. I realized, that our elderly population are so vital and so many are put in a home and forgotten, what a waste. Body fluids are the least of your problems, attachment is the killer. Each one that passes takes a piece of me with them, but I'll be the first one their to hold their hands and tell them its okay to let go. Picking your field of practice is crucial to your career longevity. I admire all nurses in all area's of nursing, but if you really want to make a difference, Long Term Care is the place for you.
  5. by   LoriAlabamaRN
    Quote from Acutecat
    After having my son, he was a premie and I was single, scared and didn't think I could even hold this teeny weeny 4 lb bundle of JOY? It was the dedicated Nurse who sat at my bedside with the patience of an angel while I came to the realization that what she was holding was really mine. She was supportive, understanding, didn't push and never judged me. She had such compassion and truly loved her job. I thought my GOD, I want to make someone feel that way. So off to nursing school I went. Many times I thought 'What the heck am I doing" but after my first rotation and got past the initial hesitation of "caring" for another individual it was magic. I went into LTC and have to admit, it's tough. Dealing with my first death, post mortem care Ugh. I kept waiting for this dead person to open their eye's and say something. LTC is really helping people accept the unacceptable, DEATH. You deal with family guilt, hope, fear, frustration and a lot of anger. But if your heart is in it, you realize that what you are doing is more than a job. It's paving the way to closure for everyone. I have grown as a person in so many ways working with the elderly. They are fabulous, their quirky personalities, their defiance, their pride. I once had my son tell me I spent more time with my patients than I did with him, OUCH so I took him to the hospital, I told him he didn't need to be jealous or angry but until he actually met these folks it was tough. Once he got past the fear of an "old person" (he was 5) he had a blast. And my resident's? It was incredible to see their faces light up, telling stories you can only get in history books. I realized, that our elderly population are so vital and so many are put in a home and forgotten, what a waste. Body fluids are the least of your problems, attachment is the killer. Each one that passes takes a piece of me with them, but I'll be the first one their to hold their hands and tell them its okay to let go. Picking your field of practice is crucial to your career longevity. I admire all nurses in all area's of nursing, but if you really want to make a difference, Long Term Care is the place for you.
    What a beautiful post. You've really summed up what keeps me in long term care. Thank you!
  6. by   KatieBell
    Quote from cherylnj81
    How did you know you were capable of being a nurse...not the psychological part of desiring to help people who are sick but how and when did you become certain you could handle the actual day to day responsibilties, in particular dealing with all sorts of bodily fluids regularly. Did you just always have a naturally strong stomach? Did you ever have doubts?

    Also, what is the closest way of experiencing what its like to be a nurse without actually being one. I have switched careers a couple times already in my life and I want to make sure I can handle and would like being a nurse before I commit myself to nursing school financially and psychologically. I've read a ton of posts and info on being a nurse but I doubt its anything like actually being there.
    I am also a career changer, I became a CNA (Certified Nurses Aide). I figured if I could do all the difficult work that CNA's do, then I could easily be a RN. I do not have a naturally strong stomach, I now work in the ED and occasionally do a lot of gagging, and I found out early on that I can not stand anything to do with fingernails...but that is no problem as I can easily deal with bizarre hand injuries, partially amputated and amputated limbs... I got all the exposure as an Aide, and had very little shocks coming out of school (At least in regards to the acutality of bedside nursing...)

    It's usually a six week class, and many places offer them for free- in hopes you will work for them.
  7. by   grinnurse
    Quote from cherylnj81
    How did you know you were capable of being a nurse...not the psychological part of desiring to help people who are sick but how and when did you become certain you could handle the actual day to day responsibilties, in particular dealing with all sorts of bodily fluids regularly. Did you just always have a naturally strong stomach? Did you ever have doubts?

    Also, what is the closest way of experiencing what its like to be a nurse without actually being one. I have switched careers a couple times already in my life and I want to make sure I can handle and would like being a nurse before I commit myself to nursing school financially and psychologically. I've read a ton of posts and info on being a nurse but I doubt its anything like actually being there.
    I commend you for having your head on straight. To me the closest way to experience nursing with out actually being one is to get a job as a tech, CNA or something of that nature in a hospital setting. That is exactly what I did prior to getting into any classes at school. I worked for 3 months prior to any classes in a hospital setting as a therapy tech.

    I knew that I could do the job when I figured out that I personally had a lot to offer to other people. My defining moment of knowing that I could be a nurse was a little lady that had a CVA with major loss of function on the right side. She started off in our SNU unit and after about 3 weeks, she came to our rehab unit. She stayed with us for another 2 months. When she walked out the door to go home on a quad cane and I had been a part of her taking back her life was just such an overwhelming feeling that I knew I could make it through anything!!

    As far as the body fluids and odors, I don't know if you ever totally get over some of the odors you just do what you gotta do to get rid of it!! No, I didn't have a "strong" stomach when I started and there are somethings that I still can't handle, but that's when the team of the nurses work together to help each other out!!

    I think the way that you are approaching this decision is absolutely the correct way to go about it. Can't tell you how many people in the class of nurses that I started out with had no clue what it was about and dropped after a) the first skills check-off or 2) after the first clinical day!!

    Good luck to you in your decision making process!!
  8. by   Harleygirl
    How did I know when I would make it as a nurse?
    Hmmmm.....its been awhile and there are so many things.
    When you get a patient that comments that at 2AM you were the only one with a smile on your face, and it meant a lot.
    When you have a resident say "Thank you, I was scared about that new medication and you explained it so I understand and I'm not scared now."
    When you tell a resident that it is okay to go and be with God, that we will be okay here on earth and it is alright to let go and not hurt anymore.
    When you see CNA's interact with patients and residents and see them grow as people and develop compassion.
    When you can stand in a mass of body fluids and still tell your patient "It's okay"
    When you can have a bad day and be at your wit's end crying, and hear that still, small voice saying "I am still in control" and realize that that voice is the voice of God.
    Nursing is the toughest job you'll ever love. Get ready to be human.
    Harleygirl
  9. by   snowfreeze
    Long before I became a nurse I ran a working farm, bred horses, sheep, goats, chickens, ducks, geese, rabbits. I took care of them, learned to suture, assess an injury and treat it...I could buy the antibiotics at the feed store usually. I thought taking care of humans would be easier as they could talk to me in a manner the animals didn't.
    I knew I could handle the body functions stuff, the head games are my problem. Add a high tech brain then add that most malfunction on a regular basis under stress of any kind. After a number of years of nursing I find the mind is the leader in if the patient will survive, recover, make it through therapy, function in a self sufficient manner, or just succumb to the disease or injury.
    My new area of interest, psychology.
    I guess a light turns on everytime I find a new interest and then find I don't know much about a subject.

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