my perception of nursing...correct? incorrect? want to add anything?

  1. 0
    So I am a caregiver at a LTC facility for adults with disabilities. I want to be an RN and am taking prerequisites for a few of the local community colleges. I was thinking about my perception of nursing. After all, it's hard to know about the job when you aren't actually a nurse. Here are my general thoughts on the pros/cons...feel free to add your thoughts, could be an interesting post!!

    General Pros:

    - Ability to enter nursing from a variety of educational backgrounds: no matter what stage you are in your education there is always a way to enter nursing.

    - Large number of available programs with different entrance requirements (some schools look at prereq's only, others cumulative, others combination: this is great for people who have screwed up in their last degree (like me!) and want a second chance. I can retake courses and do well in my prerequisite courses....you are able to "wipe the slate clean"

    - Lots of potential for your employers to pay for your career advancement (BSN, MSN, etc)

    - The fact that no matter what happens with the economy, outsourcing, or what location you are at as a nurse you will always be needed!

    - Convenience of shift hour options (lots of 8 hr, 12 hr, part time, full time, night, day, evening....you can tailor your schedule the way you like it. While I realize this may not happen for everyone as certain hospitals/places mandate switches, the fact is that there are different locations that offer varying options so the option is out there!

    - Opportunity for overtime, per diem positions (you can always make more money if you want to in this job)

    - So many different types of nursing! You can always find your niche.

    - Nursing can "age" with you....meaning when you are young you can work in a busy fast paced ER and when you get older and want to slow down you can do home health or school nursing (equally valuable specialties of course, just overall tend to be slower paced from my limited knowledge!)

    - The ability to work with the age group that you'd like....seniors to infants, every type of person needs a nurse!

    - Always something to learn, your career doesn't come to a "standstill"...there are always additional certifications to work towards

    - Teamwork aspect of nursing

    - The money (yes, nurses are underpaid. Still, the pay can earn you enough for a roof over your head and food on the table, and pays more than some equally demanding jobs (paramedics and firefighters come to mind)

    - The opportunity to be a teacher to your patients, patients families

    - The distinct privilege to care for people when they are most vulnerable. That is truly a gift.

    - The opportunity to be part of saving lives, or making lives better

    - The opportunity to help people die more comfortably and with dignity

    - Th opportunity to focus solely on your patient. More so than any other career: doctors are focused on fixing the problem, paramedics are focused on bringing the patient to stability until they bring them to the ER, etc. Only nurses have the distinct role of focusing on your patient.

    - The opportunity to be your patient's advocate at all times

    - Bottom line: your job is to care. You are paid to care. More so than anything else. There are doctors who don't give a damn at all but are good doctors because they are good at the subject of medicine and can solve the problem (ever seen House?) You can't do that as a nurse. If you don't care, and you are a nurse than you are a bad nurse. Caring is the core of nursing.

    I'm going to post the cons in a second post as this is getting super super super long.
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  4. 8 Comments so far...

  5. 1
    Yeah, my job involves more than just caring. In my opinion, my job is to save lives. Caring for and caring about are two different things.
    Last edit by RN1982 on Dec 8, '08
    ohmeowzer RN likes this.
  6. 0
    Interesting how some of the cons of nursing are also the pros....again please feel free to add/correct my perceptions:

    - Large number of available programs with different entrance requirements : while this is great for several reasons it is also confusing to keep track of!!

    - Varying shift hours: yes, I think 12 hour shifts are great but lots of people don't like them. While there are options for employment elsewhere, lots of times there are reasons why people can't leave and have to put up with a new shift hour bracket that they don't like.

    - Your schedule varies from the rest of the world: Yes many, myself included, like the idea of working 3 days a week and being considered full time. Still, the rest of the world doesn't work on that schedule! So, great that you work 12 hours monday tueday wednesday, no one else does!! Or if you work weekends you would never see anyone really other than your family as what social events happen on a tuesday night? not many once you become an official adult!!

    - Overtime: not so great when it is mandated, or when you have people calling you day in and day out to work extra shifts. Basically, working even when you don't have to

    - Dealing with the lack of respect from everyone else. Yes, many doctors/other medical professionals are great but there are still the few that believe foolishly that nurses aren't important and treat them like scum. Plus society doesn't really get what nurses do.

    - The whole "sexy nurse" stereotype. Because sure, you all wear hot low cut white halter dresses to work.

    - Always something to learn...this can be intimidating. You never "know it all" and are therefore never really an "expert." Can be hard to feel competent!!

    - Teamwork aspect of nursing...not so great if your coworkers aren't helpful or are the type who "like to eat their young."

    - Lack of support from management...rules that just don't make sense or don't work in reality (if any of you were to call the doctor everytime you suspected you should you would all get yelled at i'm sure!!)

    - lack of opportunity to SIT. self-explanatory.

    - Money: nurses are underpaid!! While the money may be good it isn't in compared to the duties of the job!!

    - Can't check in with friends/family (or use the bathroom whenever you want) like in other jobs. Someone at a desk job, lots of people browse the web and post on forums and shop and do other things on company time....yeah that would never happen in nursing. Plus, even teachers and other professionals...between classes teachers can call home and check in on their families. Nurses can only do that on breaks, or once in a blue moon by getting special permission.

    - General negativity by other nurses: this is something I think every nurse should work on. Gossip and general cattiness runs high when working with a lot of women....this is a self-inflicted problem that I urge all of you (and will try to remember myself in the future). Please try and stay positive!!

    - Insane amount of paperwork. Comes with the territory. Nothing can be done about it, and its not going to reduce anytime soon!

    - Nursing is not a glamorous job. It's not pretty. You deal with bodily fluids on a regular basis, and are made to touch things other people would run away from.

    - You don't get the credit. Let's face it, a lot of the times, if something goes right with the patient the doctor gets the credit and nurses are forgotten. However, if something goes wrong the nurses get yelled at for it by the patient because they are the ones standing there. Still, there are the patients that will thank the nurse. Even if they don't, you have to know that they thank you in their hearts!

    - Getting yelled at for things that are not your fault by everyone: management, your patients, patients families. If the doctor is late or if you are tending to a gazillion other things that made you late for the one patient...the story doesn't matter you'll get yelled at.

    - The inability to provide quality care to your patients because you are given too many patients

    - Getting desensitized. I have noticed this since I started being a caregiver. The first suicide attempt that we had at the facility...man...I bawled my eyes out for many nights and was like "omg the world is so unfair" and it upset me for a very long time. After we had several suicide attempts, the last time that it happened towards the end of my shift, I was able to go home and celebrate a good friend's birthday. While I still cared for the patient, I had in a way become hardened. And i'm not sure that it's a good thing.

    - The ample opportunity for mistakes. There is so much to keep track of that the likelihood of errors is high. And the consequences dire.

    - the fact that your job is to care about others. Sometimes, you care about yourself. You want to focus on your own needs. And that, at work, is not okay.

    Still, overall, atleast for me, the pros greatly outweigh the cons. That's why I want to be a nurse, and that's why I am working on prereqs to get into nursing school.
  7. 2
    I don't think that all areas have a demand for nurses, with the economy downturn some markets are saturated with RN's and it is not easy to find a job. One of my classmates say because of the economy, the long term care he works at as an LVN has about 100 RN applicants right now. He says that has never happened before.
    TheCommuter and RN1982 like this.
  8. 0
    I have to agree. In my area, some hospitals have hiring freezes.
  9. 0
    i'll offer my two cents.


    - large number of available programs with different entrance requirements : while this is great for several reasons it is also confusing to keep track of!!

    while this is true, not all of them are easy to get into. some are competative with long waiting lists

    - varying shift hours: yes, i think 12 hour shifts are great but lots of people don't like them. while there are options for employment elsewhere, lots of times there are reasons why people can't leave and have to put up with a new shift hour bracket that they don't like.

    in some places, new grads aren't offered a lot of choice. it's nights and every other weekend, and holidays. but sooner or later you're going to find a schedule that works for you.

    - your schedule varies from the rest of the world: yes many, myself included, like the idea of working 3 days a week and being considered full time. still, the rest of the world doesn't work on that schedule! so, great that you work 12 hours monday tueday wednesday, no one else does!! or if you work weekends you would never see anyone really other than your family as what social events happen on a tuesday night? not many once you become an official adult!!

    - overtime: not so great when it is mandated, or when you have people calling you day in and day out to work extra shifts. basically, working even when you don't have to.

    i don't work in a facility that mandates, so i'm lucky. it's nice that when times get hard, or i'm saving for something that overtime is usually available.

    - dealing with the lack of respect from everyone else. yes, many doctors/other medical professionals are great but there are still the few that believe foolishly that nurses aren't important and treat them like scum. plus society doesn't really get what nurses do.


    i've never been treated like scum and i've never felt disrespected. people really don't have a clue, but that's o.k. most of the time when i say that i'm a nurse to strangers, they are neutral or respectful.

    - the whole "sexy nurse" stereotype. because sure, you all wear hot low cut white halter dresses to work.

    - always something to learn...this can be intimidating. you never "know it all" and are therefore never really an "expert." can be hard to feel competent!!

    it takes almost a year to feel competent. it is indeed a learning experience. we have to constantly educate ourselves on new treatments, drugs, etc.

    - teamwork aspect of nursing...not so great if your coworkers aren't helpful or are the type who "like to eat their young."


    most of us are good people.
    - lack of support from management...rules that just don't make sense or don't work in reality (if any of you were to call the doctor everytime you suspected you should you would all get yelled at i'm sure!!)

    this is true. sometimes budgetary considerations outweigh every other issue.

    - lack of opportunity to sit. self-explanatory.

    - money: nurses are underpaid!! while the money may be good it isn't in compared to the duties of the job!!

    it's a decent middle income for an associates degree. but at the end of a 12 hour shift that turned into a 14 hour shift, with an aching back and feet, i do feel underpaid. lol

    - can't check in with friends/family (or use the bathroom whenever you want) like in other jobs. someone at a desk job, lots of people browse the web and post on forums and shop and do other things on company time....yeah that would never happen in nursing. plus, even teachers and other professionals...between classes teachers can call home and check in on their families. nurses can only do that on breaks, or once in a blue moon by getting special permission.

    - general negativity by other nurses: this is something i think every nurse should work on. gossip and general cattiness runs high when working with a lot of women....this is a self-inflicted problem that i urge all of you (and will try to remember myself in the future). please try and stay positive!!

    - insane amount of paperwork. comes with the territory. nothing can be done about it, and its not going to reduce anytime soon!

    - nursing is not a glamorous job. it's not pretty. you deal with bodily fluids on a regular basis, and are made to touch things other people would run away from.

    - you don't get the credit. let's face it, a lot of the times, if something goes right with the patient the doctor gets the credit and nurses are forgotten. however, if something goes wrong the nurses get yelled at for it by the patient because they are the ones standing there. still, there are the patients that will thank the nurse. even if they don't, you have to know that they thank you in their hearts!

    - getting yelled at for things that are not your fault by everyone: management, your patients, patients families. if the doctor is late or if you are tending to a gazillion other things that made you late for the one patient...the story doesn't matter you'll get yelled at.

    i'm lucky that in 17 years i've never been "yelled" at.

    - the inability to provide quality care to your patients because you are given too many patients.

    a major sorespot with me.

    - getting desensitized. i have noticed this since i started being a caregiver. the first suicide attempt that we had at the facility...man...i bawled my eyes out for many nights and was like "omg the world is so unfair" and it upset me for a very long time. after we had several suicide attempts, the last time that it happened towards the end of my shift, i was able to go home and celebrate a good friend's birthday. while i still cared for the patient, i had in a way become hardened. and i'm not sure that it's a good thing.


    that's not necessarily a bad thing. we can't self-actualize and nuture ourselves if we get too involved and cry for hours on end.

    - the ample opportunity for mistakes. there is so much to keep track of that the likelihood of errors is high. and the consequences dire.

    - the fact that your job is to care about others.

    agreed. you have to care about people, whether they are gangbanger murderers or not.

    sounds like you do have a reasonably good grasp on what nursing is and isn't. good luck to you.
  10. 1
    Not necessarily true. I will take care of them, hope they change their ways but no, I do think I "have" to care about them.

    As for desensitization, I don't think there is anything wrong with that. For all of the things I've seen since I started working in SICU, I probably would have broken down and cried. So being desensitized is not such a bad thing.
    Last edit by RN1982 on Dec 8, '08
    RN4NICU likes this.
  11. 2
    Quote from WANT2BANURSESOON
    The fact that no matter what happens with the economy, outsourcing, or what location you are at as a nurse you will always be needed!
    There are many unemployed nurses in today's economy as the result of layoffs and hiring freezes, coupled with the incessant practice of churning out excessive numbers of new graduate nurses into the already flooded job market. Hospitals are just as vulnerable to the slumping economy as other workplaces. While some areas need nurses, many other regions have way too many nurses and not enough jobs.

    Contrary to preconceived notions, nursing is NOT recession-proof.

    During the recession of the early 1990s, some nurses would remain unemployed for 6 months or longer as they looked for jobs. This severe nursing glut continued well into the middle 1990s.

    During recessions, patients avoid having elective surgeries because they are fearful of taking the time off work that is needed for full recovery, which results in low hospital census. When hospital census is low, less nurses are needed to keep the floor running.

    More people become unemployed during these rough times and, as a result, lose their health insurance. Uninsured people are definitely not inclined to seek healthcare unless it is an absolute emergency. In addition, medical bills incurred by uninsured patients tend to go unpaid, which means less money for healthcare facilities.

    Though it is an accurate statement that nursing jobs can never be outsourced, remember that nurses can be "insourced" by recruiting foreign nurses to work at US hospitals. These nurses are less likely to whine about working evenings, nights, weekends, and holidays because they are earning more money in America than they ever would in their country of origin.

    A plethora of part-time nurses accept full-time positions during recessions to keep their households afloat when a breadwinner spouse loses his/her job without notice. Plenty of retired nurses are reactivating their nursing licenses and returning to the nursing workforce due to the high costs of food and fuel, and the effects of rapidly shrinking retirement funds.
    ohmeowzer RN and RN1982 like this.
  12. 0
    Like the old Roman god Janus, I believe, who had two faces and looked both ways, depending on the people involved, every facet of a job can be a boon or a bomb.

    Working three days a week can be great if you and your family like it, but a disaster if not.

    A constantly changing knowledge base is wonderful for those who like learning constantly, and feel comfortable sometimes having to say "I don't know, let me look it up," and terrifying for those who fear harming their patients if they don't know everything.

    The secret, I think, if there is one, is to develop flexibility, find the niche that maximizes your strengths and minimizes your weaknesses (we all have both), and commit to making the effort to broaden your knowledge and skills on your own time. Save enough money each paycheck so you won't feel trapped in a bad situation knowing you have the financial flexibility to get out and find something new.


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