How do I know if nursing is for me?

  1. Hi everyone,

    I'm considering nursing school, and I know that the schooling and the work itself is demanding. Before I make a final decision, I'd like to get some input to find out how I can look inside myself to see if I'm cut out for it.

    A little background about myself...

    I recently turned 44. I'm relocating to California from Ohio with my wife, as I was laid off earlier in the year as a webmaster for a hospital. While working at the hospital (and having been a patient a few times), I was exposed to the medical field a little more than others might have been. I was involved in a short-lived volunteer program where one day a week we would devote our lunch hour to helping out in various units, doing things like filling ice pitchers, restocking patient room supply cabinets, delivering meals, etc.

    I'm not a college graduate, and my minimal college career was less than stellar -- but it's been 22 years since I attended any sort of college class.

    I'm not only trying to figure out if nursing is for me, but if there's any way to determine what kind of nursing I might fit into after graduation, that would be helpful. I don't really know the typical career path for an RN -- what a typical first job is after graduation, etc.

    Any insights?

    Dave
    dabarak@yahoo.com
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  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   klone
    Do you have kids? IMO, that's the best litmus test for whether or not one is cut out for nursing.
  4. by   jenrninmi
    Hi Dave,

    I'd say why don't you try taking a couple of prereq's and maybe that will give you an idea as to whether or not you can handle college. Also, deciding what kind of nursing you'd like to do...I'm assuming what unit or what not...I think you'll decide that once you go through your clinical rotations...
  5. by   susanna
    Quote from klone
    Do you have kids? IMO, that's the best litmus test for whether or not one is cut out for nursing.
    I have a cat... Does that cut it?
  6. by   allthingsbright
    i know some hospitals in my area allow people to "shadow" a nurse for a day-you might look into something like that. i've known poeple who have become med assistants to check out the atmosphere a bit and work around nurses, docs etc before they decide for sure. as for picking a specialty, ive heard the best time to do that is while in clinicals when you're trying out all the different areas of nursing. whats awesome about nursing is that there are limitless possibilities in terms of work options after grad. good luck!
  7. by   davebarak
    Hi everyone,

    Thanks for your answers! No kids here, just never really happened (although it still could -- my wife is 10 years younger than me). I may see if there's a shadowing program available.

    Dave
  8. by   LouisianaNurse2006
    I don't really know if nursing is for me either, but I enjoyed the pre-reqs. I have 3 kids that I am doing fine with, but I'm not really sure why that would matter?
    I guess I will find out next semester when I start clinicals. I have NO medical background, and the only hospital anywhere near me with nurse shadowing requires you have a semester in the nursing program FIRST.
    I have been wondering the same thing, I geuss you really have to get in the middle of it before you know for sure if you are cut out to be a nurse.
    Does anyone else have any ideas for "knowing for sure"??
    THANKS!
  9. by   klone
    Quote from LouisianaNurse2006
    I have 3 kids that I am doing fine with, but I'm not really sure why that would matter?
    Because being a parent is probably the ultimate example of selflessly caring for others, as well as some of the yucky stuff that nursing would entail, such as wiping up blood, puke and poop.
  10. by   LouisianaNurse2006
    Quote from klone
    Because being a parent is probably the ultimate example of selflessly caring for others, as well as some of the yucky stuff that nursing would entail, such as wiping up blood, puke and poop.
    Okay, that makes sense, but as a parent, all that just comes so natural out of the deep love you have for your children. (they are precious to me)
    I could never feel like that toward a patient. My kids "yucky" stuff doesn't bother me, but I fear that a strangers "stuff" might.
    So, I sometimes question my being cut out to be a nurse because, I may have the brains, heart, and energy for the job, but what about having the stomach for the job? Is that something you just get used to?
  11. by   klone
    Quote from LouisianaNurse2006
    Okay, that makes sense, but as a parent, all that just comes so natural out of the deep love you have for your children. (they are precious to me)
    I could never feel like that toward a patient. My kids "yucky" stuff doesn't bother me, but I fear that a strangers "stuff" might.
    So, I sometimes question my being cut out to be a nurse because, I may have the brains, heart, and energy for the job, but what about having the stomach for the job? Is that something you just get used to?
    I was actually quite surprised the first time I had to change a poopy diaper on a 65-year old man. I expected that it would be gross, but poop really is poop, regardless if it comes from a 3-year-old or a 65-year-old (unless the 65-year-old was exclusively breastfed, then it might be a little different ). It was funny, I jumped right in and did it, and a few of the other (younger, childless) students looked a big green and aghast.
  12. by   abundantjoy07
    if you have a heart for caring for people and tending to the physical and mental necessities that person might have. that's pretty much the biggest thing...

    but, it's also great if you want to do something other than a regular 9to5 job too. but going to school is hard and you have to be able to make it through that. it's easier if you have a love for science. whatever you decide, it should be something that you are certain that you want to dedicate your life to (just because making to where you want to be is so hard...it would suck to give up).

    at my school i had to take a cna course. even though the cna doesn't have all the duties of an rn , it gives you a feel for what nursing is really all about!
  13. by   Tweety
    Besides having a strong stomach, or be willing to develop a strong stomach (I never had kids and had to learn) there are some traits that you can look at. Are you disciplined and organized, do you have thick skin and can handle a lot of criticisim, are good a good learner fairly decent with math and science or biology, do you like people, are you compassionate or empathetic, a good listener, have a good strong back??? There are others, but I'm sure other people will chime in.

    Now naturally none of these traits are necessary, I've seen posts from shy people to people who hate science, to disabled people with bad backs, but it helps.
  14. by   Quickbeam
    Please know that having kids is absolutely no indicator of success in nursing. Some of the worst nurses I ever knew were the ones who assumed being a Mommy meant they knew everything. Please.

    Nursing takes heart and brain and physical stamina. I always recommend that interested people take a job as a nursing assistant. As an NA, you'll find what you need to know about whether nursing is right for you. There are many, many career changers your age in nursing school. Best to you.

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