Nursing Wisdom Needed

  1. I'm not a nurse, first off. I'm thinking about becoming a nurse, but would like some guidance/opinions.

    How does one KNOW nursing could be the career for them? A little background; I'm not 18 and right out of high school. I'm 31 and have about 11 years experience at a software company. I've been rethinking my career - frankly, i have no real passion for my work.

    My sister is an RN; adult trauma at hospital. She says I'd be great. But I'm been talking to friends, etc...some get very weird about this - "you need to be CALLED to this type of work" is the kind of thing I've heard. One person in the field gave me a look like, "you don't want to go there, you couldn't handle it." There's "only certain TYPES can do this sort of thing," and so on.

    WHY do I want to do this? Well, clearly, I want a career that I care about, instead of a job. A life where I can help others. Nurses are needed. I'm hyper and highly organized, very nurturing. I like the idea of having paths and choices - ie: my sister got burnt out after years of PED ICU - she switched hospitals, moved into Adult Trauma and is now feeling newly challenged.

    I was worried about the gore factor - frankly, I'm not great with blood - but my sister says I will be after my nursing education is complete. Hmmmm. I'm also concerned with separating myself emotionally - how does one not run around crying all day after someone in their care dies? That may sound naive, but if I choke up at Hallmark commercials, is that a sign this career is not for me? That's a joke, but I really would like some opinions of those in a field I've long respected - but how do I know I BELONG in that field? Any comments/opinions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks very much....
    •  
  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   Cindy_A
    Elphaba,
    One suggestion I can think of to see if you like nursing is to become a CNA. You probably wouldn't want to do it full time, because it would probably be a big cut in pay, but you might want to work in a nursing home or hospital every other weekend or something. I think being an aide is a great way to get your feet wet, so to speak. I've always felt that if a person couldn't handle being an aide, they couldn't handle being a nurse. I was an aide before I went to nursing school, and really enjoyed it. I worked in a nursing home and really enjoyed the older folks.
    As far as the gore factor, I really haven't had that much experience with blood and guts and stuff, but plenty with poop and pee! It's amazing what you get used to after a while!
    Yes it is sad when someone dies, especially in the LTC setting where I work now, because you've known these people for a long time. You do fel sad and cry sometimes, but you also realize that death, like birth, is a part of life.
    I got my LPN in 1997 when I was 39, I hope to graduate in May with an R.N. when I'll be 43. I really enjoy nursing. I feel like I can make a difference, maybe not a big difference, but even a little differnce in someone's life makes me feel good.
  4. by   JillR
    I wouldn't worry too much about being sensitive to others feelings and getting choked up watching a Hallmark commercial. I get the same way, it just shows that you have a great ability to empithize with others and you are going to need that ability in nursing. This is good quality when you have mentally ill patients who maybe have attempted suicide. If you go around judging these people and think you are superior, they can tell and that would be counter-productive. These people need help, not judgements from those who do not have the ability to empthize. Do you understand what I am trying to say.

    You probably would not have to worry about too much blood and guts unless you choose to work ER, trauma or OR. The great thing about nursing is that you can choose not to work in those areas and still find it pretty easy to get a job. You will have to witness a sugery in school, but you will make it through that. Not everyone is cut out for surgery and instructors know that, or at least they should.

    I was an EMT before becoming a nurse and that experience along with being a nursing assistant has served me well.

    It's funny because I can go out and take care of people with multiple severe trauma and not blink an eye, but put me in surgery, especially ortho's and I have a hard time not fainting. Just goes to show you, you never know.

    Good luck and let us know what you decide. And don't let anyone make the decision for you. You will be surprised at what you can do.
  5. by   KellyandtheBoys
    I would suggest talking to your sister about the pro's and con about her job. If you have a nurturing type of personality you would probably be good at nursing.
    There are many areas of nursing. Some, like the Trauma I.C.U. see plenty of gore.Some see little gore. As you go through school you do clinicals in different areas and will get a feel for what you like. And, as with your sister, if you are in one area you can always switch fields.
    One factor to consider is nursing generally isn't 9-5 on weekdays. Usually there are plenty of weekend and holiday shifts to work. This is a big drawback for somepeople.
    But high energy organized people are great for nursing. Nurses are on there feet quite a bit which doesn't seem to be a problem with you. And organization is always a big plus.
    Good Luck
  6. by   Tina in DC
    I'm glad to see that you're doing some homework in advance. I too was an EMT prior to nursing school and highly recommend getting your feet wet as a CNA or EMT before nursing school. I started school at 20, but wouldn't hesitate pursuing a new career at any age if I felt a greater "calling". One of the other replies was absolutley right-you do what needs to be done when it comes to the care of others, but this can be done with compassion. It's amazing how you can hold yourself together in the most traumatic situations when you know instinctively that YOU are needed. THe tears do come, but they save themselves for the right time. Defintiely check with the financial aid department at the school(s) you are thinking about attending early!

    Best of Luck!
  7. by   aimeee
    The others have pretty much made all the points that I would. If you're feeling the pull, go for it, girl! You'll do great!
  8. by   boggle
    Best of luck to you Elpha..

    Nursing is one place where you can use your brains, be creative, where science is really cool, where you can teach, where it is ok to feel deeply and laugh heartily, where you can make a difference in peoples lives every day.

    Guess you can tell I really like the good stuff about nursing. As far as the frustrations go, I've had them in other lines of work. In my job, the good far outways the bad.

    If your work situation gets bad, do your best, work constructively for change, and if necessary look for employment elsewhere, where you will be respected. There are so many options for nurses once you get a good foundation of skills.

    If you can, try out some volunteer activities that expose you to nurses, (hospital, nursing homes, developmental centers for children in school districts.) Talk with nurses in different settings about what they do, and what makes them different from the aides and doctors. Check out some journals too.

    Hope you find your way!!
  9. by   thisnurse
    i was an older student with the very same concerns you have.
    there are some parts of the job you will NEVER get used to, like death. you WILL cry but thats ok.
    and you WILL be grossed out at some things but you WILL handle it when the time comes.
    i remember seeing my very first "gross" thing. it was a man with abdominal surgery, sliced from sternum to groin and in a binder. lol...doesnt seems so gross now looking back.
    our instructor removed his dressing and my friend and i saw that wound and just looked away for a minute. then we were ok cos we were used to it.
    there really isnt all that much gore.
    my worst thing is vomit.
    oh how i hate that. i gag. i try not to in front of the patient;sometimes i have to leave the room.
    but i can always compose myself and do what needs done.

    i guess what im trying to say is that no matter what happens, you will handle it. you will not fall to pieces or drop dead.
    some things you get used to, others you do not.
    but there is no more rewarding feeling in any job than knowing that YOU made a difference in someone elses life and that just maybe this world is a little better place because of you.

    lastly, while i do believe that most ppl are called to this profession
    i dont think that a "calling" is necessary. i didnt have a "calling". i just wanted to do something that was important and had an impact. i wanted to help people. nursing was an ideal choice.
    and ppl told me the same thing...."you'll never be able to do it"
    well guess what.....lol
  10. by   CATHYW
    I was exactly your age when I wnet to Nursing School. It sounds to me as though you have pretty much made up your mind, and you are using both your heart and your brain. That is what makes a good nurse-one who can empathize with folks, but (using your training) find a way to help them through a bad time. That is one thing-always remember that, unless you do Occ Med or Wellness nursing, you will always be seeing pts., and their families, at a very stressful period in their lives. Some fields, like OB, are mixed-both happy and stressful. ER patients are almost always at a low point in their lives. However, the feeling you get that you were able to provide help to get someone through a tough time, is what makes it all worthwhile. That, and the fact that you are forever and always learning. Medicine is not an exact science, and can vary from individual to individual, because each one of us is different. Good luck, and be willing to work hard!
  11. by   canoehead
    Test of nursing as a calling...if you can get through more than one page of kday's thread "things that freak you out" without horking you are definite nurse material. If you get through the WHOLE thing you can take your boards tomorrow.

    Seriously, I can't think of another job that combines science and heart so well.
  12. by   jayna
    I Don't believe in this nursing as a call, because am not called..hahahha..i was kind of forced but during my nursing student years, i come to love nursing, it great....
  13. by   prmenrs
    Try job-shadowing if you haven't already. I think you sound great--very bright, organized, nurturing. Start taking your pre-req science classes.

    The blood and guts and emotional part of it are sort of "business"--when you're trying to deal with these things, there are other things on your mind as well, and you tend to be too busy to focus only on the icky stuff. The emotional side is business also, and you will learn how to communicate to support people going through very difficult times.

    Good Luck, and I hope you'll decide in favor of nursing!
  14. by   tiedandsedated
    You decide your destiny and your career.
    If you are interested in becoming a nurse then listen to the only one who is important in your decision..... YOU!
    Good luck!
    Your new career awaits!

close