If you could start your education over, would you still choose nursing?

  1. I see so many unhappy nurses on this forum! I have completed one semester of nursing school, and with three to go, I'm having second thoughts! The hospitals in our area are claiming to be on the verge of bankruptcy, and are instituting various cutbacks. I just feel that I'm entering this profession at a horrible time.

    Yes, I want to do this to help people, but I feel that I should be adequately compensated for what I will be doing. I know from clinicals that it's not an easy job by any means!

    I'm further disheartened because I know I'll be entering the job market around $12.50/hr, and my 22-year-old stepson just got a job offer (he's an accounting major) for $40,000, with excellent benefits!!! This just seems unfair, as his decisions will never affect someone's life as mine will.

    I know there are those of you out there that "aren't doing it for the money", and I'm very happy for you. My problem is that I'm already feeling the frustration that you seasoned veterans are feeling, and it's not too late for me to turn back. Should I?

    My question is--if you were in my shoes, would you choose a different vocation, perhaps something in the same field, but a position that will garner more respect and more money?

    If I did change majors, I would want to be able to use all these Sciences I took!!!

    What would you do?
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   sadie
    CONFUSED,
    I just got my license today and I am overwhelmed with joy. I really want to help people. Money is important also but helping people is what I want to do and that is why I became a nurse. I,like you, became very discouraged after my first or second semester of school. I kept hearing how lousy the pay is in my area. I'm going to be ending a seven year career where I'm making $38,000 plus a year but I know I'm going to be much happier and fulfilled after a day at work as a nurse. I don't know when I became completely convinced I really wanted to be a nurse. I think it may have been during one of my final clinicals just before graduation. Why don't you take some time and think about why you chose to go to nursing school. Writing it down might help. There were a few people in my class who quit after the first semester because they felt nursing wasn't for them, and I respect their decision. I decided to give it some more time.I am so glad I didn't quit. There were many days when I wanted to though. Let me know if I can answer any questions for you.

    ------------------
    sadie
  4. by   Julie, RN
    Hello!
    YES, I would choose nursing all over again. And if I go back to school, I will choose a masters in nursing. Nursing has been wonderful to me! I got the job of my choice right out of school and I make $36,000+/yr (depending on how many hours/weekends I choose to work), and this is new grad pay (night shift by my choice). Please don't be so persuaded by others, be your own person-this is your life! Good luck in school and in your nursing career!
  5. by   bunky
    Hi Confused.

    Here's my take on it. If I had known back in school exactly how hard this job was going to be for the money I spent to go to school and the money I make at the job, I think that what I would have done is kept going after nursing school, and taken a business admin course. Having your nursing license plus the business degree may open up a lot of doors in hospital administration.

    I have been a nurse for 5 years. I also have two kids. In order to make ends meet I work nights because it pays a little better, but this destroys your home life too. I work on a surgical unit, but I have done a bit of everything before this job. I am finding with the staffing cut backs, that this job is killing me bit by bit. I am to the point of quitting and going to another job as a charge nurse on a medical/oncology floor only because the hours are M-F 7to3, and the pay beats my base salary of just over $16/hr. I've done charge nurse for most of my nursing career, and this job is one where charge nurse doesn't take patients, just does charge nurse duties, like it should be! My current job doesn't use this system and it shows! It gets scarier and scarier every day.

    I am happy that the above new grads are happy, but tend to think that we all were happy with this once at first, like a honeymoon. I still have patients that I enjoy, and my coworkers are great, but the job is a killer.
  6. by   spunky
    If I had to go back and do it again I prolly would still do nursing. Not because I am one of those people who get great satisfaction out of running my legs off each night but because of the diversity.
    If you research a little you will find the field is so wide open for RN's with BSN's in all types of field including business. Its not like that for say PT----that is what they are they can be PT or PT director thats about it........Us our options are endless,,,,,,,puters, home health, hospital, LTC, insurance company, industrial plants, pharm companies,public health, school nursing, management etc I know i've left out alot of opportunities,,,,,,,help me out girls!
  7. by   hollykate
    As a new grad, of course I would still go into nursing. Right now it is great, but I know that in 10 years I probably won't feel very well compensated for the experience and additional certifications which I hope to have gained ( Those pay raises even for "outstanding" work, aren't huge.)
    There are other options to use science and "help people"- such as pharmacy programs. but I tend to agree with Spunky,
    Nursing is very flexible. It can meet your interests and needs. I had a previous life as a museum curator, but the pay maxed at about 32 thou. and the jobs were limited geographically. Now, I can go almost anywhere (Heck, I can even make a career out of traveling if I so desire...)and find a job. The flexibility is wonderful, and the range of pay is also interesting, depending on what you do!
    Just curious where is it that an RN makes only 12.50. Yikes that seems pretty bad to me! Good Luck!
  8. by   Mijourney
    Hi Confused,
    I agree with the previous posts. Taking all things in consideration, I would still choose nursing. Nursing is so all-encompassing that anyone who has a strong desire to be a nurse couldn't go wrong in the long run. As other posters have indicated, nursing allows you to practice in traditional and non-traditional areas. Also, in today's diverse, consumer-oriented and driven climate, many professionals including nurses become life long earners and learners by going back for more education. I know of nurses with credentials in nursing, business, and law. I can tell you that they report the experience from their nursing practice as being highly relevant for practice in their other chosen professions.
    There is a certain point during school training in which nursing students experience doubt about their choice, but if you have a strong desire to help others, you may want to stick with nursing. I don't know of any other profession, besides medicine, were there is an overall high level of respect from employers for being able to manage a wide array of activities in so many areas. If you check other health professions, you will discover that they feel the most intimidated by nurses when they look to practice outside of their field. Best wishes.
  9. by   Kim-rn
    Thanks, you guys, for your help. You're right, nursing is very diverse, and I'm sure I'll find my niche. Hollykate, the starting pay where I live in central Alabama was $12.50 last year. I haven't called the area hospitals this year to check. Actually, I'd have to drive an hour each way to make that. The pay rate is even less in the small town where I live!

    But thanks again to all of you who replied!
  10. by   hollykate
    Not really on the topic but I feel better about my starting pay of 15.35 an hour and it will go up in 6 weeks. The cost of living can't be that low can it? Come on up to NC- We'll be happy to have you!
  11. by   nanjam
    I guess if I take it all into consideration I would have to say to probably no. Yes, there have been moments in my career when I have felt satisfaction and fulfillment in providing the care that only we as nurses give. However overall the stresses of the day to day work environment, the hours, the pay(we're worth much more), the apparent lack of appreciation or simply ignorance as to who we are and what we do does take its toll. Unfortunately, it's becoming harder and harder to do our jobs and feel satisfied that we are giving the care we want so much to give. Things would have to improve in the workplace before I could say that Nursing is the career that I would choose again. These may be some of the reasons Nursing school enrollments are lower, better and more varied options with less risk and more "reward".
  12. by   oramar
    Originally posted by confused:
    I see so many unhappy nurses on this forum! I have completed one semester of nursing school, and with three to go, I'm having second thoughts! The hospitals in our area are claiming to be on the verge of bankruptcy, and are instituting various cutbacks. I just feel that I'm entering this profession at a horrible time.

    Yes, I want to do this to help people, but I feel that I should be adequately compensated for what I will be doing. I know from clinicals that it's not an easy job by any means!

    I'm further disheartened because I know I'll be entering the job market around $12.50/hr, and my 22-year-old stepson just got a job offer (he's an accounting major) for $40,000, with excellent benefits!!! This just seems unfair, as his decisions will never affect someone's life as mine will.

    I know there are those of you out there that "aren't doing it for the money", and I'm very happy for you. My problem is that I'm already feeling the frustration that you seasoned veterans are feeling, and it's not too late for me to turn back. Should I?

    My question is--if you were in my shoes, would you choose a different vocation, perhaps something in the same field, but a position that will garner more respect and more money?

    If I did change majors, I would want to be able to use all these Sciences I took!!!

    What would you do?
    Let me tell you a story and you can decide for yourself. My daughter asked me about nursing when she got out of high school, I said I could not recommend it. She took Information Technology. After she got her degree she got a job at a fortune 500 coporation. She had been there 1 year and makes $40,000 yearly. Soon she will go to work on her MBA and her salary after she gets it will be $60,000. Once she gets her MBA[which the company will pay for] she can move into many different divisions. The work is fairly low stress, the benefits are excellent. She gets stock options. She works Monday thru Friday flex time which means as long as she gets her 40 hours in she can start and stop any time she pleases. She get all Holidays off and is paid for them. Managment does not have a heart attack if she takes a two hour lunch for a doctor appointment or leaves at noon for a long weekend of white water rafting like she did this weekend. The health benefits and pension benefits are top notch. I can't help but notice that she puts her 40 hrs in and that is it nothing else is required. She recently broke her foot and only had to use one sick day to see the ortho MD, it is not a very physical job and it does not matter if a person is not feeling well or has a temporary or even permanent disability. Read what I just wrote and answer your own question.
  13. by   snowgirl
    i know how you feel- i went through the same thing- my neighbor is a long time nurse and now director of nursing and i went and had a heart to heart with her,and she talked me out of it and said that nursing isn't what it used to be-- although i work at a facility that treats its nurses well, and the pay is good- it just didn't seem worth it to me anymore-. she said it kind of depends where you live if you have the options to pick and choose rather than have to settle with whats available because there are nursing jobs that are management and no wekends etc.. its all in what you find. i was able to use all my science classes- i went into dietetics instead- you don't have to just be a dietitian- you can get a manager job for 40,00. or even the 2 year diet tech program you can get a job for 35,000. i thought it was astill a way for me to help people without having to make life or death decisions, and never having to work a weekend or holiday and having hours from 7 am to 3;30 pm was right up my alley.
  14. by   km rn
    Unfortuanately, I would not choose nursing as a career if I could make that choice again.

    Initially, I entered nursing because I felt that I could make a difference. However, with the changes in DRGs, HMOs, regulations, etc.... our ability to make differences in the health/well being of our patients is greatly comprimised.

    Initially, my salary seemed great - after years of scrimping my way through college. However I soon began to see my friends with business, engineering, etc. degrees rapidly increase their salaries and benefits. Meanwhile I plugged along with 2 or 3% increases per year, working holidays, weekends, etc.

    I got tired of hearing..."boy you must love your job - being able to help people - but how do you stand the blood, bedpans...etc." It was hard to adequately describe my job to non-medical folks and they usually thought we were overpaid.

    I then left hospital work and with every job I've taken - I have taken a pay cut. How often does that happen in the private sector of business, engineering, etc.

    The good side of nursing is that there are multiple different arenas to work in....the bad side is usually you lose money, benefits, etc.

    I think nursing is an okay job if you can work part time and the money made is "play" money for you. If you depend on nursing to support yourself or heaven forbid a family - you are out of luck.

    The great wage issue of nursing is related to the fact it is still predominately a female dominated position. In addition, persons attracted to nursing are usually care taker types to which money is not the primary motivating factor. However, money usually does become an issue when you face the fact that you are very limitied as to what you can do for your patients. You will make enough money so that a minimum wage job won't meet you needs, yet not enough to consider retiring early. The physical and emotional toll of the job does not get recognized.

    What can we do?..... educate others......educate ourselves....band together....


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