I became an RN three years ago at age 44. Let me start out by saying that I am proud of my accomplishment and proud for any person who survives and graduates from nursing school. Most people have no idea how challenging nursing school is or what the duties and responsibilities of a nurse encompass.
My first job was at my local large medical center/teaching hospital on a trauma unit, which was a great place to learn but completely overwhelming for so many reasons. As so many have shared, the sheer magnitude of responsibilities and learning was overwhelming. Laundry list of meds, diabetes, pumps, labs, wounds, tubes in any and every orifice including man-made holes, burn patients and care, back breaking boosts, washing and cleaning only to have a fresh mess, start an IV/draw blood, depressed/elderly/bariatric patients medicated to stupor and dependency, bariatric patients sick because they weigh 300 lbs., broken bones, chest tubes, poor/city/ghetto population, sad cases, working the system cases, nowhere-to-go-so-stuck-on-the-unit cases, the stench of so many gross bodily things, DOCUMENT it all, admit them, discharge them, need pain meds, wait for a doctor/resident, AND, add a topping of ever changing shifts, 12 hour night shifts, some very wonderful and friendly but many very nasty, mean co-workers (and arrogant doctors) who make you want to cry out of sheer frustration, parking and walking a 20 minute walk away, sometimes in the rain and snow, and then go home to your family and try and have some energy left for husband/kids/aging parents.
I stayed there almost a year until I found a day/ambulatory position. For which I am sincerely grateful.
I am not fishing for sympathy; I am trying to ask, do you feel like sometimes how can it possibly be worth this horrible job? Dealing with gross things, depressed/sick/sick because of their lifestyle/flat out crazy patients, their families, and on top of it, some horrible co-workers? (and I do need to say, I have had absolutely WONDERFUL, caring, helpful, kind coworkers whom any patient would be lucky to have). But nasty people can ruin your whole already sucky day.
So, I became a nurse because at age 40, I had a degree in something else but wanted a career where I could make a difference in peoples' lives daily. Sounds corny but absolutely true. Is it age? Do others of you my age (now 48) feel like to work on a floor is just physically and mentally impossible? I can't help but think that this type of nursing is for the young.
And I must reiterate, the average person has no idea what a nurse does or needs to know to take care of patients. A good, experienced nurse is worth their weight in gold.