What's nursing really all about?

  1. Hi all, I'm going to be honest here, so please no flames!

    I'm a non-traditional student (25, going back to school, and have two little boys) whose ultimate goal is to go to med school. For now, I'm looking to get an undergrad degree in something that'll be flexible and allow me to work for a few years before I apply - since my kids are so young I want to wait until they get a little bit bigger.

    I've been considering nursing, but I really know nothing about the profession (hence my ignorance, so please excuse it). For all I know, all nurses do all day long is clean people up and take temperatures. Please tell me that isn't so?

    I know nursing is a valid profession in its own right and I'm so glad there are so many dedicated nurses out there.

    I've been waffling between considering nursing (my fear of the "yuck" factor) and x-ray tech, because I'd like to have some exposure to the medical field. Nursing only edging out ahead because I can get a BS in that as opposed to the x-ray I'd go for two years and have no degree to show for it.

    Any input? Please don't flame me with comments about how awful I am for considering nursing but not intending on devoting the rest of my life to it, I'd appreciate some honest, politely put, constructive criticism, though.

    Thanks.
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  2. 21 Comments

  3. by   CindyJRN
    I admire your straightforwardness and ambition. Nursing is a career and for some, a calling. We do so many different things I don't know where to start. Male or female, 18-80 we have a career that is full of opportunity. Yes, Nursing is good money and security. Have you researched what type of Nursing may interest you? Even with the "yuck" factor, I truly love my job. No, bedside Nursing is not for everyone. But teaching, research, administration, etc. may be right for you. Continue to read the different sections of this Bulletin Board and ask questions if you need to. If you decide this is not the profession for you it is perfectly ok! Good luck and best wishes on whatever you decide.
  4. by   Lynn_RN
    My advice to you would be to contact your local hospital and ask to speak to the Director of Nursing. Tell her/him your dilemma and ask if there is any chance that you could shadow a floor
    nurse for a day. This will hopefully give you a better idea of what nurses really do. Nursing school is very stressful at times, especially if you don't know what you are getting yourself into. Nursing, itself can be stressful, but also very rewarding if your heart is truely in it. Good luck and let us know what you decide.
  5. by   micro
    No flames here.
    I guess in a way I have always been drawn to helping people and ultimately nursing(i.e. a calling of sorts). But still after 10++ years, I still do not know what area I want to specialize in for the rest of my working days, if any at all. Nursing provides this variety if so choose.
    But I also, with the right $$$ not be a nurse fulltime or at least not what I am doing now.....and do something else of totally different scenario and vocation.
    I feel that as long as you have a heart and mind that is geared towards people.....along with a high intellect and thinking quick on your feet........high flexibility and adaption skills also...come on in.....it is a great and hard way to make a paycheck.......but it does at least pay decent.....and it is always there for you to work in....fulltime, overtime, part time, per diem........

    good luck to you.......and to your kids.....

    micro
  6. by   oramar
    That is the most honest post that I have ever seen from a person who is asking for info about nursing.
  7. by   Karon
    Your questions are very honest and up-front. However, my answer for you would be that if you want to go to medical school, then go to medical school. Nursing is an awesome profession. Doctors are the ones that come by once or twice a day and write orders. Nurses are the ones that are there for their patients and that, I believe, make the biggest difference in the outcome of the patient. Doctors spend a few minutes with their patients, nurses spend a whole shift with their patients. I work in ICU and I'm the one that's there assessing and reassessing, looking for the minute changes that tell me the patient is getting better or worse, implementing the plan that the health care team hopes will make the biggest difference in the outcome, holding the hand of the dying patient and being there for all involved. I love my job and could never imagine being in a profession that only allows me a limited number of minutes with the person that I'm responsible for taking care of.

    Good luck in whatever decision you make.
    Karon
  8. by   RainbowSkye
    Hi manna,
    I absolutely agree with the advice given by Karon, if you want to be a doctor, go to medical school. Going to x-ray tech school or nursing school or whatever will only delay your medical career (maybe forever).
    I've been a nurse for 28 years. I have never wanted to be a doctor, we're talking apples and oranges here - two totally different professions although we do share the same client.
    Oh, the yuck factor is just as prevalent in medicine as it is in nursing.
    Good luck to you.
    BTW (no flame meant here, really): What is it that you think doctors do?
  9. by   manna
    Originally posted by RainbowSkye
    Hi manna,
    I absolutely agree with the advice given by Karon, if you want to be a doctor, go to medical school. Going to x-ray tech school or nursing school or whatever will only delay your medical career (maybe forever).
    I've been a nurse for 28 years. I have never wanted to be a doctor, we're talking apples and oranges here - two totally different professions although we do share the same client.
    Oh, the yuck factor is just as prevalent in medicine as it is in nursing.
    Good luck to you.
    BTW (no flame meant here, really): What is it that you think doctors do?
    Just have time for a quick reply to this, but also want to say thanks for the many positive replies on this thread. Hopefully I'll have time this evening to come back and reply to a few of the others (at work right now).

    This is what I've heard, but I think it's unrealistic of me to expect to not to have to work for a year or two before applying to med school. I have about two years left for a bachelors' degree, and I would prefer both of my children be in school by the time I begin applying (my youngest is now 9 months).

    I meant my question in the most respectful way possible, as I said, nursing is a wonderful profession in its own right and I'm thankful there are so many people devoted to it, it's just not something I see myself doing for the rest of my life.

    The reasons I want to be a physician? I think that's something that most pre-meds have a hard time articulating. I'm drawn to medicine as I'm sure many people are... in my future career in medicine, I want to be somewhat autonomous, I want my profession to involve life-long learning (I'd probably be a student the rest of my life if I could get away with it), and I'm just generally more interested in the "why" of medicine than the "who."

    Perhaps that last bit sounded callous, I certainly don't mean it that way, I'm just not sure how to better explain it.

    Thanks, again.
  10. by   manna
    Originally posted by CindyJRN
    I admire your straightforwardness and ambition. Nursing is a career and for some, a calling. We do so many different things I don't know where to start. Male or female, 18-80 we have a career that is full of opportunity. Yes, Nursing is good money and security. Have you researched what type of Nursing may interest you? Even with the "yuck" factor, I truly love my job. No, bedside Nursing is not for everyone. But teaching, research, administration, etc. may be right for you. Continue to read the different sections of this Bulletin Board and ask questions if you need to. If you decide this is not the profession for you it is perfectly ok! Good luck and best wishes on whatever you decide.
    Thanks, I'm glad my question wasn't seen in a negative light. I realize that I might offend quite a few nurses who are disgruntled with doctors or doctor-hopefuls who don't realize how much work and dedication there seems to be involved in the profession of nursing. Heck, from what I've observed half of the "doing" in medicine wouldn't get done it not for nurses, huh?

    Thanks for the ideas! I'm going to continue browsing around the website here, and searching out some others online!
  11. by   manna
    Originally posted by Lynn_RN
    My advice to you would be to contact your local hospital and ask to speak to the Director of Nursing. Tell her/him your dilemma and ask if there is any chance that you could shadow a floor
    nurse for a day. This will hopefully give you a better idea of what nurses really do. Nursing school is very stressful at times, especially if you don't know what you are getting yourself into. Nursing, itself can be stressful, but also very rewarding if your heart is truely in it. Good luck and let us know what you decide.
    What a great idea! Doh!

    I don't know this never occurred to me.

    I used to work in a physicians' office/hospital here so I have some connections that they ought to let me hang around and have a looksie!

    I'll keep ya posted!
  12. by   RNsweetie
    Karon has it right on, I have always known that I wanted to be nurse, and nothing else. You should follow your dreams while your boys are still young instead of 2 yaers now and ? years later. They will adjust and soon you'll be done and doing what you know you where ment to do. PS I think you can tell a nurse that wants to be there and one that wants to be somewhere else.
    Good luck with your decision and best wishes with what ever you choose.
  13. by   llg
    You've gotten some good feedback on your post in this thread. I just want to add a little more.

    When I went into nursing 25 years ago, I was pretty sure that I did NOT want to be a hospital bedside staff nurse for the rest of my life -- and I was right. Fortunately, nursing offers such a wide variety of career options that I have been able have a rewarding career without leaving the nursing profession -- though I have gone back to graduate school twice and now have a PhD. I have done a little administration, a little research, a lot of teaching, and some clinical consultation -- and I have no regrets about it.

    Nurses work in schools, clinics, home health, etc. They work for computer companies designing health care systems. They work for politicians as health policy consultants. Nurses work almost everywhere. It's just a matter of finding what you like to do as a nurse and then going after it.

    The other thing I like about nursing that is NOT true of medicine is that it is easier to move from one city to another, easier to take time off for family reasons, etc. That's something to consider. If you have a $100,000 plus student loan to pay off from medical school, it's kind'a hard to just work part time. As a nurse, you only have to get that first degree on your own. There is a good chance you can get financial help from your employer for graduate degrees (though the amount of that help varies.)

    I advise you to check out the following websites. They contain a lot of information about health care careers.

    www.ahec.vcu.edu
    This website is geared toward the state of Virginia, but has good information for others as well. It includes an on-line Health Careers Manual that discusses many different health careers, educational requirements, salary ranges, etc.

    www.discovernursing.com
    This site is published by Johnson & Johnson as part of their efforts to education the public about nursing careers. It includes a wealth of information about nursing careers and provides links to many major nursing organizations.

    Good luck,
    llg
  14. by   manna
    Originally posted by micro
    No flames here.
    I feel that as long as you have a heart and mind that is geared towards people.....along with a high intellect and thinking quick on your feet........high flexibility and adaption skills also...come on in.....it is a great and hard way to make a paycheck.......but it does at least pay decent.....and it is always there for you to work in....fulltime, overtime, part time, per diem........

    good luck to you.......and to your kids.....
    Thanks Micro.

    It's a scary thing, committing to a career/educational field. I tend to stress over my "major" in college quit a bit as I'm worried about quitting my full-time job to go back to school, making ends meet, etc.

    That's something that I always heard about nursing and sounded appealing - the flexibility. I just don't know if I'd be doing the profession a disservice by studying it as for now I'm not really sure my heart's in it. Although, that could change. *shrug*

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