Please share your story
I am a student nurse and naturally, I have come to realize that Nursing is not only a career it is a lifestyle. If I am not in class, I am studying, if I am not in clinical, I am writing care plans. I appreciate this as a part of my education as one day I will provide total pt care.
I am curious what life is like after nursing school? How does it affect your role at home? ect.
Thank you for sharing. I really look forward to hearing some insight from nurses who live the life!
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- 5Nov 3, '11 by leigh_86usNursing is not like other jobs. Great pay, great benefits, and job security but you sacrifice your off time. If you call in sick, your work can't just wait until tomorrow. Subsequently, you can be called in on your days off to cover for others. Family members have a hard time understanding you can't be there for every birthday party/wedding or even every other Christmas or Thanksgiving. There is no such thing as "off time" because if you are eating at a restaurant and someone chokes or you are getting groceries and someone collapses in the aisle, you are obligated to jump in and do your job. If you make a mistake at work you can't just shrug it off because most of the time it's literally a matter of life or death. You must continually read and research to stay current in your field. 12 hour days on the floor are mentally and physically demanding and I usually spend my first day off vegging out all day.
But it also a great job. When family members hug you or you keep a patient from crashing, it's the best feeling in the world. When you earn the respect of experienced doctors or keep an inexperienced resident from harming a patient, you feel real satisfaction. Nursing, like many other things in life, is a mixed bag. I feel like being a nurse defines me because it isn't a job you can just breeze through all day then leave at the door when you come home.
- 1Thank you Leigh... What you have described is exactly what sprung my interest in posting this thread. If you wouldn't mind sharing, how do you handle the home matters? Has your family grown more supportive as the years have passed.
Also, in regards to your "out to dinner comment," what if a situation arises, with the understanding that you should jump in and help; but you know your limits, can you be deemed negligent for failure to provide help?
- 1Nov 3, '11 by LindaleeRNThink of your graduation from nursing school as your birthday. Your nursing life is just beginning when you granduate. That's when the REAL learning begins! As for me, after spending a year on a general MED-SURG floor, I transferred to an IV team for a year. Then, I went to ICU. ICU was where I really learned what being a nurse was all about. I worked with some amazing nurses who taught me so much. Ditto about the physicians, Resp Therapists and the whole host of others who shared their knowledge with me. In the beginning, I spent as much time (and, often stayed after my shift) as I could soaking up the experiences and learning opportunities. Yes, it's tiring...but oh so rewarding! You will find a way to balance your work life and your personal life. For me, changing from 8 hour shifts to 12 hours shifts was such a bonus. 2 extra days off per week was so helpful to a young single mom. More time with my son, more time to be his mommy. Hang in there...the best is about to start!!! :-)
- 0Nov 3, '11 by leigh_86usGetting together for family stuff just takes a little more planning. I live far away from my family so traveling around the holidays is horrendous anyway, so instead I designate one time a year in the warmer months to get together with everyone. As far as weddings, I let the family know I need plenty of advance notice and usually can work something out, as long I am not expected to do it more than a couple of times a year. It can be nice to just stay home on Thanksgiving or Christmas. As far as the liability issue, I am pretty sure if you try to help you are covered by the Good Samaritan Law but I was told in nursing school if you don't help and they find out you are a nurse and were present you could get sued. I figure I would do what I could regardless.
- 1Nov 3, '11 by LouisVRNI really enjoy my job but it is a job. I do check my email from home and will do some research at home but otherwise I don't let it effect my time with my family. I am glad I only work 3 days a week and get to spend 4 with my family. Occasionallly I will sign up for an extra shift if I know we are short but I can count on one hand the number of times I've been called and asked to come in when I haven't been scheduled and then you always have the option to refuse
- 1Nov 3, '11 by murphyleIt's funny that you ask this question, as I just had this conversation the other night with an SN who was shadowing me through the usual twelve hours of mayhem that constitutes an emergency shift.
I come from a family of medical professionals, in particular both my parents, who are a surgeon and a surgical nurse administrator respectively. I laugh that I grew up in a hospital, but in truth it isn't a joke; since the OR started operations at 6 AM and school wasn't till 8, every day was Take Your Daughter To Work Day. We'd go to the hospital in the morning, Mom would take her break and run me to school at 7:45, and then pick me up again at 4 PM and we'd go back to the hospital till 6 or so. Likewise, Dad's call schedule dictated what we could do, where we could go, and whether or not we could participate in family events. More than once we had to leave parties, christenings and the like because of an acute appendix or whatnot. I never knew any other way of life. When I went through nursing school, I and my classmates had the same lessons drilled into our heads. (It may not be coincidence that our program director was also a former DON of surgery...)
Now, as a practicing nurse in a very busy emergency center, I very rarely work less than 4x12 per week, and get called in on a fairly regular basis. Is it stressful? Sometimes. There are occasions when I'd like to go out with my friends or go on vacations, and I can't because I'm at work. Does my family understand? Absolutely; in fact, they'd be righteously furious with me if I went to a party or family get-together and declined a call from the hospital as a result. Would I change it? Probably not. I was raised to believe that when you sign on the dotted line and accept your licensure, you take on an obligation to care for every patient that's out there. Your own life, and that of your family, must become a secondary or tertiary concern; your primary responsibility is to your patients. If you can't make that commitment... this may not be the career for you.
I'm aware that mine may not be a popular viewpoint or opinion, but that's how I learned, and that's how I manage my practice. As always, your mileage may vary.
- 2Nov 3, '11 by Kooky KorkyQuote from leigh_86usthere are rewards, also many pitfalls and lots of unfairness, incompetent managers. just keep reading here on allnurses. best wishes to you, op.nursing is not like other jobs. great pay in some jobs, great benefits mine are nothing special, and job security are you kidding? one false move and you're fired, few jobs available these days for new grads or experienced nurses but you sacrifice your off time - only if you answer your phone. get an answering machine.
if you call in sick, your work can't just wait until tomorrow. subsequently, you can be called in on your days off to cover for others. again, just don't answer your phone. unless you want the overtime.
family members have a hard time understanding you can't be there for every birthday party/wedding or even every other christmas or thanksgiving. this is all too true.
there is no such thing as "off time" because if you are eating at a restaurant and someone chokes or you are getting groceries and someone collapses in the aisle, you are obligated to jump in and do your job. most states do not require you to take action unless you are on a paid job. you do not usually have to volunteer. check your own state's laws. there are good samaritan laws, but they will not protect you if you make a mistake. it's often best not to get involved other than to call 911, hold a coat over someone injured and getting rained on, direct traffic, pray, stuff like that. never identify yourself as a nurse at a scene of illness or accident. never.
if you make a mistake at work, you can't just shrug it off because most of the time some of the time it's literally a matter of life or death. usually not, thank god. you must continually read and research to stay current in your field. 12 hour days on the floor are mentally and physically demanding and i usually spend my first day off vegging out all day.
but it also a great job. when family members hug you or you keep a patient from crashing, it's the best feeling in the world. when you earn the respect of experienced doctors or keep an inexperienced resident from harming a patient, you feel real satisfaction. nursing, like many other things in life, is a mixed bag. i feel like being a nurse defines me because it isn't a job you can just breeze through all day then leave at the door when you come home.
do you care about working on holidays, weekends, at night, in the evening (not good if you have kids doing sports, concerts, lots of other activities or you just want to be home to do homework, get the dinner and baths and bedtime stories and tuck them in. forget it if you're working evenings or night shift).