Love Nursing? Or ????
In this article I share some of my experiences prior to nursing school and look into the ways my views on the profession changed after reality knocked at my door.
I just want to share my journey on how l got into nursing school and where I am now as a student.
Something happened in June 2009, I had only one year left of high school ahead of me and from there the pressure to choose a career from family and friends started to increase day by day. I was young and all I wanted to do was to travel therefore a course in tourism management was all I wanted to do, however, it was not considered a 'stable and high paying job' in their opinion.
My cousin is a nurse and at the time, even if she was always complaining about work, she was able to convince me to pursue a nursing career since from her perspective I had all the basics attributes to become a good nurse. She used to tell me that I was caring, patient and hardworking, therefore, I was going to be able to succeed and make everyone proud.
From that moment, it felt like I became obsessed with nursing and healthcare in general, I started watching tv programs such as Grey's Anatomy on a daily basis and I became immersed in conversations about the reasons why nurses are seen as ‘angels’ on earth.
I believed the stories about it being a high paying job and that satisfaction rate was always high.
It got to a point I saw a group of student nurses and professionals in their uniforms walking down the street and I started running to them just to ask about their experience in the program and field. For some reason, they all had only positive things to tell me,leaving out the challenges they encountered on a daily basis.
I was able to build this fantasy world in my mind thinking that all nurses are nice and that there was no such a thing as gossip or backstabbing in the 'caring profession' until I started school and reality hit me in the face.
Fast forward few years, after a series of rejection letters from Universities, I managed to get admission into a nursing program. During my studies, at some point, however, I started asking myself questions such as if the course I was attending was a matter of just passing exams or in some cases only learning about things that cannot be applied to real life situations.
Did I waste my time getting a loan for something that can never pay me as much as the loan I took out, unless if I work overtime and public holidays? Was I trapped into thinking I was going to have ' the good life career' everyone aspires? This came as an eye opener to me because in all those years of rejection from colleges my life revolved into preparing myself for nursing school, it was like I was mentally and physically thinking and reading about anything related to this field.
I am now in my second year of college and I have had clinical experiences in hospitals and different healthcare settings and I am always miserable especially before a twelve hour or a night shift. The facilities I have worked at are always short staffed, therefore my mentors have limited time to fully teach me the ropes of the job and it seems that management only keeps adding more work to already overworked nurses. Is this what I signed up for? Or the glam of being a nurse was just an illusion?
I am not a quitter and since I am not getting any younger I do not want to leave the program especially after all the time invested in it, however I am now in search of my true passion and would advise anyone thinking of going into nursing to not feel pressured into doing something you not sure about. Don't be like me and do listen to every part of a story not only the positive aspects of something. Life is too short to be miserable and settle just because is the norm. Please do share your opinion and let’s have an open conversation about this topic.
Thank you for reading my story
My name is Stef and I am currently a second year nursing student and an aspiring blogger.
Joined Dec '16; Posts: 16; Likes: 12.Dec 27, '16It may not seem like it but it is great that you learned this lesson why you are still young. Knowing yourself and going against the grain will make you happier in the long term then settling for something in the short term to stop the badgering. You plan to stick nursing school out, great. If you don't like it at least you will have a job which can fund your career change.Dec 27, '16Well, first of all I agree with you that people rarely sell you on the "bad" side of nursing. I know that is difficult to realize. I think a lot of students go through a similar feeling, especially because you're being bounced around to every area of nursing and you may not know which one even appeals to you yet. If you decide it's not for you, just know that it's okay. There are a lot of career changers out there. It's okay to change your mind. I hope that whatever you end up doing, you love it! Best of luck to you.Dec 27, '16Generally, the places you go to for clinicals are not going to be the cream of the crop in terms of health care facilities. This is for various reasons, one of which is that you are likely at a lot of teaching facilities where a lot of money goes into the teaching of docs and not necessarily into nursing staff. Look at the job postings for clinical sites you go to. Are they actively hiring? Or are the nurses complaining that they are always short staffed but looking for more people? Are there a lot of travelers working there? Are you in a state that has mandated nurse-to-patient ratios?
When I was in my second quarter of med-surg, the facility I went to made me really question my decision to make the career change into nursing. I was completely exhausted after every clinical day, I had serious concerns about patient safety (as did my clinical instructor - there were many 'pearl clutching' moments), and I couldn't believe this was anything I would want any part of. To top that off, I knew with 100% certainty that I wouldn't be going into L&D, Psych or Public Health Nursing, LET ALONE PEDS! I was screwed, I knew it. Was I really going to be going through the doldrums of med-surg at a hospital like that? Then, I got into my peds rotation, had nothing but hemonc patients and knew I had found my niche. Luckily, one of the other clinical instructors got me into her hospital (top pediatric hospital on a hemonc floor) an I couldn't be happier.
I have mentored other students who felt they were pressured into nursing. There are many things that are awful about nursing and some days I go home wondering what I got myself into (and no one pressure me!). I encourage those students to stay their course because they are in a position that so many other pre-nursing students are dying to be in. Nursing school sucks. Nursing clinicals suck (also, you should be focusing more on learning about disease processes and interacting with patients than anything about nursing as a job because, as you said, your nurse preceptors can't really teach you that). Figuring out how to be a nurse after you graduate sucks. Not having a job offer before you graduate sucks. There are many things that are just awful about nursing -- but, they are also true of many other jobs. Adulting as a whole sucks. But, if you manage to find your nursing niche and get into an RN residency program (which fills the gaps of what you think you should be learning in clinicals now), you'll find that the sucky parts suck a whole lot less and you feel more empowered in your choice.
Good luck! It definitely gets better!Dec 28, '16Being a nurse is way better (even if more stressful) than being a nursing student! I'm 8 months into working, and I love it even when I "hate" it. Nursing school was endless drama for no reason. Even though I didn't participate in the drama and gossip, it was always present. Every single career will have catty, lazy, rude, or generally just unpleasant coworkers. Nursing is no exception. But if you can make good --professional-- relationships with your coworkers, it doesn't have to be back-stabbing and games. It can be teamwork and courtesy and good communication. And it can be amazing*.
*It can also make you want to tear out your hair and cry. But every career has that.Dec 28, '16How much longer do you have until you can take the NCLEX? My advice is to stick it out-after a while I think even the starting pay rate might be worth it for you and then you can maybe find an area of nursing that you like...there are so many choices out there and they aren't all at the hospital.Dec 28, '16If you still have a year of school or more, I think there is nothing wrong with changing programs (how about pre-pharmacy, nearly the same pre-reqs as nursing, just a little more chem). Better you know now than later. I try to talk young academically inclined students out of nursing all the time. I say, why are you getting a 4.0 to be a nurse? Get a 4.0 and then go to pharmacy school or something in science or business. But if you do become a nurse, the nice thing is there are a lot of non-hospital options. One of my NP hospital friends often quotes me in saying "the hospital is a hostile work environment." And what I mean by that is that generally, as a profession, the hospital has a lot of negative aspects. Irregular hours, different work days from week to week, more work than time, high stress, working holidays/weekends, dealing with unpleasant body functions, having to request vacation time months in advance, etc. Some people love working in the hospital. But I think the normal would be most people want to have a somewhat fixed/normal schedule, work less than 10 hours a day, have breaks where you can actually walk away from the area you work, have opportunities for advancement that involve better pay, flexibility in leave dates, etc. Working the hospital is very much like working in a factory...you are tired to the assembly line. I did 7 years inpatient and 1 year mixed outpatient/case management and what I've learned is that why I like the challenge of the hospital, I like the normalcy of being out of the hospital. I will gladly trade $20k/yr in income for a better quality of life! If you want to finish your nursing program, consider getting your license and working in an outpatient setting that will not have much of the downsides you mentioned. Also start planning your next career move!Dec 29, '16It got better for me! I was the exact same way at first, NOW....I can't see myself doing anything else ever ever ever! I absolutely love my career and feel grateful to have nursing be a beautiful piece in my complicated life.
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