what constitutes a "real" nurse?

  1. What constitutes a "real" nurse? I have been an RN for 4 years, with experience in correctional nursing, and in the community as a supervisor of CNAs in the geriatric setting. I have never worked in a hospital except for in my clinicals in nursing school. While I can do phlebotomy and administer shots, I have little or no experience with IVs, trachs, tube feedings, vents, etc. This has always made me feel "lesser" of a nurse. The dilemma is that with the nursing shortage here, I have an opportunity to learn those skills since hospitals are hiring. However, I also have an opportunity to become an instructor for a medical assistant program. With 2 young children (4 and 2 years old) at home, I know it will be very hard to work at the hospital and go back to rotating shifts and weekend/holiday hours. The teaching position is M-F, daytime only. I am torn between feeling like I should be getting those hospital skills, and wanting to teach and have a more normal schedule to be with my family. What do you other nurses think? Should a nurse have a hospital background in order to be a "real" nurse? Has anyone had a similiar situation? I have always had high praise from supervisors, yet somehow, I feel I am not real. Any comments would be enlightening!
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  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   Dplear
    Here is my 2 cents worth on your dilemma...First off you are a REAL nurse, is you passed school and passed the boards, then you are a nurse, the other things are just skills...albiet important one but skills none the less. Each person has a different set of skills and I would not expect everyone to be the same. You have supervisory skills as well as the ability to work with a difficult pt population...so consider yourself a nurse.

    as for the second part of your dilemma....I feel that personally you and your skills and ability would be better served by the teaching postion. There are several factors for this thought. 1) You have the bility to teach and that is an important ability
    2) the most IMPORTANT factor is that you will have time for your family. Your children need you just as much as a patient in a hospital needs you and I firmly believe that family comes first over any job.

    Hope this helps you, and good luck.

    David
  4. by   Brownms46
    I totally agree with the above post! Go for the teaching position...just my opinion.
  5. by   Jenny P
    Very good advice, Dplear. As someone who did work wierd shifts all those years when my kids were young, I often wonder if things would have been better if I had had some sort of "normal" hours instead. Your name says where your heart is, momfirst. I loved my career and my kids, but looking back, maybe I should have been there more in the evenings than I was (both kids have lots of fillings from cavities!). Don't get me wrong, I was very involved with my kids when they were little, but I did lean on my husband to pick up the slack at night when I went to work.
  6. by   Dplear
    Sorry about my terrible typing skills.....
  7. by   Nursz-R-Awsm
    momfirst,
    I have no children yet, but I can tell where your heart is by your name also. Yes, you are a real nurse. They are only small once. Make your memories. I have no doubt there will still be a need if you choose to go into the hospital in the future.
  8. by   sharann
    Hi Mom,

    Listen, the great thing about nursing is the broadness of oppurtunitiy available to us. Who says hospital nursing is the only way? Nurses work in schools, offices,prisons, as teachers etc...You find your niche and what works best. If you decide someday to go back or to hospital work, you take a "re-entry"class or program w/the facility. You won't forget everything! Thank goodness that there are mothers and nurses out there like you. Go for the better job for you and the family now.
  9. by   nosilanurse
    Dear Momfirst;
    You are definetly a real nurse by my standards and by the sounds of it by other persons as well. I also have 2 little one @ home and they and their father are the reasons why in the last 2 years I have worked only, maybe, 3 overtime shifts. Working full time is already to much time away from my family and I refuse to work more than full time, and I only wish I had the oppurtunity to work M-F. TAKE THE TEACHING JOB(Just my oppion lol)
  10. by   mikemw
    momfirst:

    As Dplear said, a real nurse is one who has completed the training and passed boards. You are a s much a nurse as I am working in the ER, as a DON is, as a long term care nurse, as an nursing instructor is, as: Ok you get the point.

    I believe that you will be happiest with a postion that meets your personal needs. If you are happy with a positon then you will be better at at it. Do not take a positon you dread going to everyday (or night) it would only make life rougher and none of us need do that to ourselves.

    Good Luck in whatever positon you persue, and remember you'll always be a real nurse.
    Last edit by mikemw on Jul 3, '01
  11. by   aimeee
    Momfirst, I really know what you are saying! I chose not to do hospital nursing after I got my license too. I chose to go to long term care where they really needed me and where the residents were so appreciative of loving care. But I have felt the same sort of inferiority at times because I never developed those technical skills you get in the hospital. When those hospital nurses came over to long term care to fill in though, they had a hard time managing 25 patients and the nuances of caring for the elderly, and they were awed by how I could so cooly manage the wing. So I've learned that what makes you a "real nurse" is the integrity you bring to the skills you have mastered.

    Go for the job your heart tells you is right for you now. Your kids will grow and life is a series of pathways. As long as you choose the path with a heart, you will be doing the right thing.
  12. by   nursebetti2001
    Hi mom first,
    As the other folks have said before, you are most certainly a real nurse! Every specialty area whether it is in the hospital or in other areas of nursing, demands a specific set of skills. We just learn to adapt our abilities as to what is expected of us.
    It sounds like you really want to do the teaching job. The world needs more people willing to have the patience to teach. Good luck and enjoy your family while you can.
  13. by   majic65
    We are ALL "real nurses"-I once had a professor who told me that there are two kinds of nurses, and they are both necessary and are NOT interchangeable--nurses that like their patients WITH tubes, and nurses that like their patients WITHOUT tubes.
    Best description I evefr heard about the wide world of nursing.
    I'm a "no tube" nurse-I love teaching and many other non-clinical activities--but my sisters in the ICU, the ER, and those home with their babies are nurses as well.
    Go with your heart and your gut!!!
  14. by   lyndalous
    Hi

    So in other words, I just graduated my BSN program, I am so proud of myself and I love nursing, but... I am not a real nurse because I didn't pass my boards. I believe in my heart I am a nurse, I just didn't do well on the boards. I consider myself a real nurse because I have a desire to help people.

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