if you've ever worked in food service...

  1. Right now I'm a student (not in nursing school yet... finishing up a degree in psychology) and work part time at a well-known family dining restaurant. I've been there for almost two years and I really feel like I am starting to burn out. I no longer give people the benefit of the doubt... I've had to deal with so many jerks and idiots, I assume you are a jerk and/or idiot until you prove to me otherwise. Little things that customers do are starting to really get to me and while I'm always nice and polite on the outside, the things I'm thinking are not always so kind. It's actually kind of hard for me to admit this and I am considering leaving my job because I don't like the changes I see in myself.

    So what does this have to do with nursing? Well, I'm scared that I will "burn out" in nursing the way I am "burning out" in food service. They're both fast-paced, service-oriented jobs, right? I mainly do to-go at my job, and the 3 minutes total of interaction time I have with my customers doesn't allow for much of a pesonal connection, but is plenty of time for a PITA person to pi** me off!! I'm just hoping that nursing will allow me more opportunity to get to know and appreciate the people I am helping, which I feel would make all the difference. How idealistic/unrealistic am I being?

    If you've ever worked in food service, or any customer service kind of job really, how would you compare it to nursing?
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   SCRN1
    I worked in food service while I was in college my first go 'round right after high school and I've also worked as a receptionist at a vet & doctor's office before becoming a nurse. In my opinion, no matter where you go and work with the public, the "public" is always the same. Hopefully with nursing, you will enjoy it more because of being able to get to know the patient a little better. But you can still experience burn out. I know you didn't ask for advice, but just to see if you will like working in a medical atmosphere, why don't you trade your food service job for a job at a hospital? There are all kinds of positions you could get there and it'll help you better decide if nursing is for you. Good luck in whatever you decide to do!
  4. by   Retired R.N.
    Quote from ktliz
    Right now I'm a student (not in nursing school yet... finishing up a degree in psychology) and work part time at a well-known family dining restaurant. I've been there for almost two years and I really feel like I am starting to burn out. I no longer give people the benefit of the doubt... I've had to deal with so many jerks and idiots, I assume you are a jerk and/or idiot until you prove to me otherwise. Little things that customers do are starting to really get to me and while I'm always nice and polite on the outside, the things I'm thinking are not always so kind. It's actually kind of hard for me to admit this and I am considering leaving my job because I don't like the changes I see in myself.

    So what does this have to do with nursing? Well, I'm scared that I will "burn out" in nursing the way I am "burning out" in food service. They're both fast-paced, service-oriented jobs, right? I mainly do to-go at my job, and the 3 minutes total of interaction time I have with my customers doesn't allow for much of a pesonal connection, but is plenty of time for a PITA person to pi** me off!! I'm just hoping that nursing will allow me more opportunity to get to know and appreciate the people I am helping, which I feel would make all the difference. How idealistic/unrealistic am I being?

    If you've ever worked in food service, or any customer service kind of job really, how would you compare it to nursing?
    I worked a wide variety of jobs before I started nursing school, and also between nursing positions when we had to move across the country on account of my husband's jobs. I never found any perfect job, and I really don't think there are any. That's why they pay you to come in to work!

    If you want to be surrounded by pleasant customers or clients, nursing might not be the best occupational choice. All too often when you see your patients they have health problems that lead to reactions that range from simple grouchiness to unbridled hostility. Nurses learn to recognize that patients are SICK. If they were healthy and well they wouldn't be in a hospital or clinic in need of nursing services. Hospital stays are so short these days because of antibiotics and advanced techniques, however, that nurses no longer have to wait quite so long to see the improvements in their patients.

    I would suggest that you spend some time shadowing nurses before you decide to enter nursing school. It would be a shame to spend all that time and money on preparing for a career that you don't like.
  5. by   Lisa CCU RN
    Personally, I swore I would never work in the food industry again for the same reasons you named.

    My only consoliation is that when people are ill or you are dealing with imminent death, I can understand people being a bit difficult.

    At least in nursing, if you're any good as a nurse, you have a good possibilty of getting a thank you sometimes or making a real difference that is a lot more serious than whether or not you forgot to leave pickles off someone's burger.
  6. by   LoveMyBugs
    I am school, doing my pre-reqs, I used to work in food service for 10 years, the last two years in food service was horible for me. I couldnt stand the way people complained about the smallest little things, but made it into very big issues. I then took the CNA class and am now working as a CNA. I am much happier, because I am taking care of people who need help and I know that they are sick, and in pain and am able to understand. If you can try becoming a CNA while you are still in school, and see how you feel.
  7. by   medsurgnurse
    I really wish I could tell you that at least when you're a nurse people will treat you differently; but I can't. The truth is many times people treat nurses like food service workers. That's just the perception many people have of nurses. "you are here to serve me." But at least you'll get paid more than food service. And the Thank yous that you get from patients are priceless.
  8. by   Jo Dirt
    Quote from ktliz
    Right now I'm a student (not in nursing school yet... finishing up a degree in psychology) and work part time at a well-known family dining restaurant. I've been there for almost two years and I really feel like I am starting to burn out. I no longer give people the benefit of the doubt... I've had to deal with so many jerks and idiots, I assume you are a jerk and/or idiot until you prove to me otherwise. Little things that customers do are starting to really get to me and while I'm always nice and polite on the outside, the things I'm thinking are not always so kind. It's actually kind of hard for me to admit this and I am considering leaving my job because I don't like the changes I see in myself.

    So what does this have to do with nursing? Well, I'm scared that I will "burn out" in nursing the way I am "burning out" in food service. They're both fast-paced, service-oriented jobs, right? I mainly do to-go at my job, and the 3 minutes total of interaction time I have with my customers doesn't allow for much of a pesonal connection, but is plenty of time for a PITA person to pi** me off!! I'm just hoping that nursing will allow me more opportunity to get to know and appreciate the people I am helping, which I feel would make all the difference. How idealistic/unrealistic am I being?

    If you've ever worked in food service, or any customer service kind of job really, how would you compare it to nursing?
    You haven't met jerks and idiots until you've worked in the medical profession. So, you might end up like me, totally burned out and hoping to find something else.
    Right now, I'm experimenting with soap recipes. If I can make up some nice batches I can go sell them at the craft fairs, and maybe I can start a little business, and I won't have to deal with so many jerks and idiots....
  9. by   RNfromMN
    I've waitressed, bartended, cocktailed, & kissed some major pa-toot working in a high class hotel...pretty safe to say that I hated 99% of my customers. I think I get where you're coming from

    Last year a group of students were sitting around complaining about their busy class load, or the homework, or paperwork or something & our instructor offered us this:

    "You chose to go to nursing school, right? You've chosen to be here. These patients - the people we're taking care of - none of them chose to be here...none of them chose the diagnosis they have."

    Really gave me something to think about...& I think it points out a major difference between customers & patients. You don't have to sympathize with customers...they chose to eat at your restaurant. And I swear, for some of them, part of going out & enjoying themselves is treating other people like crap. You really have no choice but to sympathize with patients...they're sick. They don't feel good.

    I hope this kind of helps...burnout is rather common in the nursing field, but again, I think it's because some nurses choose to get burnt out. No one's forcing them to come & do this job everyday.

    I totally agree with what other people have posted in here, as well, about how diverse the nursing field is. For me, I think I'd definitely get burnt out working in a hospital. I plan on doing it for a year or 2, to acquire some skills, then I'd like to work with severely mentally retarded people...that's an area I've worked in as a CNA where I can't imagine getting burnt out. But hey, if it happens, I can go be a school nurse...or a travel nurse...or work with babies...or even be a cruise ship nurse. Or a teacher, even.

    My
    Last edit by RNfromMN on Dec 9, '06
  10. by   nursemike
    The best thing about working in food service is that you'll never have a worse job. I often feel that some of my co-workers might complain less if they spent a couple of weeks in a drive-thru. But nursing does entail some of the same grief, and a good deal more stress.

    One thing that helps is setting priorities. If a patient complains about waiting for a cup of coffee, I explain that I was attending to the more urgent need of another patient. I may say, "I'm sorry you had to wait." but I never apologize for doing the dressing change or putting someone on a bedpan, first. And, really, many patients do grasp that next time you might be doing the life-saving intervention on them while someone else waits for coffee.
  11. by   BSNtobe2009
    For me part of the stress in food service (I worked in it for 5 years before graduating from college) is having to be nice to people and have your INCOME directly impacted by how well you could play kiss-butt to rude people.

    I had a lesbian couple once that came into our restaurant every day, ordered the same thing, and then one day when it wasn't right accused me of being prejudice against "their kind"....I almost laughed in their face because I was LIVING with two gay guys at the time that were close friends. So...uh...no...I don't have an issue with the culture.

    I had these ladies that came in every day...called in their orders to go...and then when they go there during lunch rush they asked for a table...which we didn't have becuase we were always on a wait...the manager finally told them not to come back because they always made a huge scene until we got them a seat.

    Then there was a guy that found a baked cockroach in his quiche...yup...from a customer standpoint, it was horrifying, but as a worker, it was hard not to burst out laughing as I stood there and apologized.

    You know...I could go on and on all day.

    When you start working for regular wages you have a HUGE stress lifted and it ALLOWS you to do your best.
  12. by   morte
    worked with a nurse years ago, who waitressed on the side, she said "same job, different end"

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