Is it really that bad?

  1. I've seen a lot of people on this website who really don't seem to enjoy nursing. I think nursing is a lot of work, in terms of both education and actual workload, and I'm beginning to worry that maybe I don't want to do this anymore.
    I was planning on becoming an RN and then after a few years going into a Pediatric NP program or doing Nurse Midwife. I really only want to work in Pediatric nursing, but I was really excited about this career path and working in a job that is so intensely focused on helping people. The thing is, so many people on this site say they don't have time to eat or even use the bathroom during their shifts- that is ridiculous. I personally need to eat regularly to keep my blood sugar up or I get dizzy and sick to my stomach- sometimes I even pass out. I realize that patient care is our top priority, and I expect to work my ass off, but quite frankly, I expect to be able to pee if I need to and eat lunch. I am also concerned about the hours, as I am just not interested in working the night shift if it can be avoided, and not for a long time. I don't want to seem like a snob, but I need a job where I can break to eat and work regular hours, because I have problems with regulating my sleep and...I'm starting to wonder if this is the career for me.
    Any advice would be appreciated.
    •  
  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   Kymmi
    I've been a nurse for over 20 years. I started out as a LPN in a LTC facility and worked that for 6 years and then graduated with my R.N in 1989. I've worked pediatrics and then home care for a few years but have mostly been working in ICU/CVICU for the past 10 years. What Im trying to get at is that I've had a few different jobs however I guess I've been lucky because it seems to me that I've never been dissatisified with my career choice. I know I've read the comments here regarding no breaks/lunchs etc and I have had a few shifts over my years that were like that I can honestly say that is the exception and not the norm for me and almost any other nurse that I've worked with. I have to admit that I've worked with a few nurses that always have bad shifts however these nurses are nurses that could have the best assignment and easiest shift however they have very poor time management skills and are easily overwhelmed. As far as a regular schedule that is one thing that I've never had other than when I was doing homecare. Hospital work is 24/7 and although I always work nightshift I work different nights each week but that is my choice. We have some nurses that only work weekends and a few nurses that choose to work 6 days on and 8 days off. I myself prefer to work nights and I also prefer to work 1-2 days on and 1-2 days off. You do have to be very flexible in nursing because you might be having a great day at work and then your patient codes or becomes very unstable and it can all go downhill from there however if you are flexible and can handle a crisis without panic then nursing can be very exciting and rewarding.
  4. by   climberrn
    I don't know about other nurses having poor time management but I'm in agreement with Kymmi. The days of absolutely no lunch or time for bathroom breaks have been few if any and that's when I've got a kid with plunging blood pressure alternating with ICP spikes circling the drain. Most days can be busy but time is made for the necessities.
  5. by   nightingale
    What you see is a lot of destressing here on AllNurses. Are some people unhappy, well sure. You will see many happy and fullfilled Nurses as well out there in the work world. You will read joyfilled testimonials as well. I think it is human nature to need to destress and talk more often about stressors then to talk about how happy you are in something (although it does pop up in conversation around here).

    It is my thought that if you have a vision, and a need to fullfill a dream, you will be content working on that and more so when it is completed. I have done many areas of work and now many areas of Nursing; I cannot imagine life without having been a Nurse. For me, it was calling. Having had the education to fullfill my curiosity and satisfy my intellect has been SO rewarding.

    I hope we get to hear of a Pedicatric Nurse's quest for satisfaction and his/her experience.
    Last edit by nightingale on Nov 28, '06 : Reason: man I wish spelling were easy for me
  6. by   TheCommuter
    Very few people visit this site to post that they absolutely love how their day went at the workplace. Most people come here to vent about the bad stuff, so numerous posts here are going to have negative undertones.
  7. by   nursingisworkRN
    I tend to think this is a great career choice in terms of flexibility and loving my job. But this site is where I can say what I think and feel with some anonyminity and get a great deal of support. You will find the time to pee. I have had days where I get md calls nonstop, and the reality is that you have to pee. It takes about a minute or two and then I am back to the floor. I don't apologize for it, as everbody should be going pee at least two times in 12 hours. My lunch break happens depending on when someone can cover me and the essentials are done. I am in the habit of bringing instant oatmeal, fruit, and bars to work for a snack. I eat breakfast at 6 am, and then try to have a snack or juice by 10 am. If I go past 2pm without eating anything, I get dizzy and a terrible headache. I have only had 2 shifts where I didn't get a lunch break, and on those days none of the floor nurses got a break (boy was I glad I packed my lunch!). I hope you continue to follow your passion....you will find that even on the bad days you are able to pull through. And that on the bad days you usually help people the most. Just remember to help yourself first or you will not be in the capacity to care for others (ie water drinking, toileting, eating, and getting sleep when you are at home). Good luck!
  8. by   LeahJet
    Well, it is now 4:30am and I am eating a sandwich that has been sitting on the counter since before 11pm.
    I work in the ER and it is pretty common for this to happen.
    I've had bad (sick) pts. all night and I am finally able to sit down. It has nothing to do with time management. In fact, I've gotten my pts admitted pretty fast.
    Now as far as bathroom breaks go, I make time for those.
  9. by   traumaRUs
    I do think a lot depends on your practice area. Like Leahjet, I worked in a level one trauma center for 10 years and rarely got a full 30 minute lunch break. I did however, go to the bathroom when I needed to.

    When I worked in ICU, I always got my full 30 minute lunch and most of the time got a 15 minute break too.

    I am an APN now and again, sometimes don't get a lunch or break if I have sick patients. However, that is the exception versus the rule.

    As to the complaining here at All Nurses - its much more fun to complain than to be happy all the time - lol.
  10. by   mom23RN
    I have to say that in my exeprience as well our Trauma Center was notorious for being understaffed, overworked, and just slammed all the time. We rarely got time for breaks. But you can bet your hiney the smokers did.... so I guess if they REALLY had to go they could.

    good luck!!
  11. by   jo272wv
    I have to agree that time managment plays a big part in weather you have time for lunch, and breaks. Dont let the negativity on here guide your choice of becomming a nurse. It is a rewarding choice, one that I truly love. I am diebetic and very seldom not get to eat my lunch and snacks, I guess I am lucky to work with a staff that helps each other when times get tough and this is the norm at all three hospitals in my area. When we have a bad day or a few bad days we vent on here, but then tommorro is always a better day. :spin:
  12. by   santhony44
    Quote from Nightngale

    It is my thought that if you have a vision, and a need to fullfill a dream, you will be content working on that and more so when it is completed. I have done many areas of work and now many areas of Nursing; I cannot imagine life without having been a Nurse. For me, it was calling. Having had the education to fullfill my curiosity and satisfy my intellect has been SO rewarding.
    I agree with this. If you were looking for easy or glamorous, then nursing isn't it, but that's not what I read in your post.

    As for time managment, I agree with TraumaRUs: a lot depends on your work area. ICU and ER are totally different situations in those terms. In ICU, you get your assignment at the beginning of the shift and it probably isn't going to change much. In ER, you get whatever walks in the door whenever. The best time management skills in the world won't prevent a major trauma or code in progress from coming through the door. Things like codes happen in other areas too, but it's not the same as in an ER.

    If you don't give nursing a try, you will never know if it was what you really wanted to do or not. If you decide it's not for you just on the basis of what you read here, you will probably always wonder and wish you had given it a shot.

    We really do all come here to gripe complain, and vent. That doesn't mean that all or most of us are totally unhappy in our choices.

    You will read about people in just plain awful work situations. That can happen in nursing as in any field of work. There are generally alternatives.

    I personally don't know anyone who works at anything- including the self-employed- who loves every single thing about his or her job every single moment of every single day. That's just life.

    I have also met people, in nursing as in other fields, about whom I've commented: "You know, such-and-such would still find things to complain about if they sent her a paycheck to stay home!!" And of course there are those people who don't really want to work at anything. As my mother used to say, "He wouldn't work in a pie factory tasting pies!"

    If you think nursing is what you really want, go for it. There's a huge variety of jobs out there!

    Good luck!
  13. by   RN007
    Mslinzyann,

    I am an RN student scheduled to graduate May 07. I got the call to enter the nursing profession after 20+ years as a PR and marketing professional. It's a long story I won't go into here, but I am blessed to have a chance at a second career so late in my life and I am absolutely loving it. I, too, wish to go into advanced practice nursing after I figure out what I want to specialize it.

    Nursing offers so many opportunities. Yes, you can work a busy floor and be frazzled or you can choose to work in an area with a more 'normal' schedule. I have many different interest areas and each brings the opportunity for different scheduling. For example, I just applied yesterday for a mental health associate job so I can see how the psych floor of our local hospital operates. I have heard great things and I want to see for myself.

    I am also interested in emergency medicine and will do my final preceptor rotation in the ER. I think I could be happy working in acute care and spent time with a wonderful nurse the other day in the cardiac care unit. And finally, I am considering hospice, because I love taking care of families as well as very sick patients.

    Working in psych will be a 12-hour shift, but much slower paced than a floor. ER will have its hectic moments, no doubt, but I do really well with adrenaline rushes. They offer very odd hours that will work for me as a mom of school-age children. CCU is great because you get to focus on one or two patients at the most and there are nurses all around who can help if get tied up with one when the other develops a critical need. They work 8-hr shifts. And hospice is a day job, 8 to 4:30, but you have to be on call from time to time.

    I think if you really want to be a nurse and follow your heart, you can make it work. I know our children's hospital has an awesome reputation and my friends who work there absolutely love it. They employ only RNs and the nurse-to-pt ratio is relatively low because patients are children. As a nurse practitioner, you will choose a specialty, so you could go into the area that best suits your needs (office vs. hospital). The NP who took care of the newborns during my L&D rotation had a fairly easy schedule, aside from the occasional emergency C-section. The critical newborns get transferred to one of the area hospitals with NICUs, so her job is very laid back.

    I'm sorry for going on and on. I just wanted to relate that there are so many ways to make this work for you, if you really want it.

    Take care!
  14. by   EmerNurse
    Regarding venting... remember it's very very easy to say "wow great shift!" to your coworkers, your boss, anyone who's at the nurses' station.

    But we really CAN'T get the tough times off of our chest at the nurses' station. That really isn't the place to vent - not if we want to have a prevailing decent attitude at work. Places like Allnurses give us a venue for getting all those "down side" emotions out in a safe environment with others who understand and who've been there.

    So don't be surprised that you may hear more of the bad on these boards, than the good. No one minds when you vent the good at work - venting the rough times is another story.

    You can pretty much bet if we all truly HATED nursing, we wouldn't be doing it. Since we are, you can also bet that we love nursing, just sometimes hate the situations into which we fall.

close