An Unapologetic Reasoning On Why You Don't Want To Be A Nurse.

by Mr Midwife

48,007 Views | 54 Comments

Being a nurse is a tough college course to decide to take and too many people are walking in eyes wide shut. There are a lot of disappointments on the way and at times you will feel like you've made the wrong choice. The purpose of this article is to make people aware of these issues but hope that it will strengthen the resolve of the ones who know this is what they want to do.

  1. 33

    An Unapologetic Reasoning On Why You Don't Want To Be A Nurse.

    OK, being a nurse is tough. I don't mean the training is tough, I don't mean you'll have tough days, I don't mean that continuing professional development is tough. Being a nurse is tough and you need to be prepared for a tough career. Yes it is rewarding, yes you will be pushed to become a better practitioner and a better person but it's going to be tough.

    This article will have a UK bias but I'm hoping that the key message comes through, you need to be the right person to be good at this job.

    So you've picked nursing as a soft option through University/College, think it will be an easy Degree/BSc with the healthcare system picking up your fees? Wrong. All those cool fresher parties, all the social clubs, the late nights; they ain't going to happen. Not only are you working on a full time academic degree but you have to put the clinical hours in too, you need to be willing to put this course in front of what you might want personally. This can include friends, previous hobbies or sports or even relationships. Most courses are based around the working system so while you're friends enjoy a few months between terms/semesters you get maybe two weeks off at Christmas and summer, with the occasional one thrown in if you're lucky.

    Nursing education is evolving, you now need to learn biology, physiology, sociology, some psychology, healthcare management, healthcare politics, multidisciplinary team interaction management, and those books don't come cheap. The library won't have enough copies so you'll have to budget more than any of your friends and start pulling in some extra cash.

    So now you've qualified it'll all get better? Maybe, but maybe you'll not get that job you really wanted and have to take a second choice. It's hard to be motivated for a job you don't really want to be doing, and believe me it shows. But you get on with it anyway and try to resist the insipid feeling that no one else really wants to be there either. Try to remember why you wanted to do this job.

    For the most part you will be respected; people generally do love nurses. But that one person who says "just a nurse" or "didn't you want to be a doctor really" is really going to get to you, especially when you experience an issue where management takes the Drs side on an issue when you really believe you are in the right.

    As a nurse and midwife mentor it's really hard to see students coming through who just don't have the stuff it takes to be a responsible practitioner. You can have the academic side but you need to be able to put that into practice and relate to your patients. Likewise the days of people getting through because "they're really good in practice and get really nervous in exams" are over, you need to able to perform in the classroom and the clinic.

    Nursing courses have a very high attrition rate and if you think I'm saying all this to put you off then good, because you are the person who won't make it through and I don't want to waste either of our time. If you can read this and still want to be a nurse then please come and join the family.

    It is tough, it is heartbreaking, it is ecstasy, it is pain, and it is not for everyone.

    Hopefully you will find your dream job and have a long and happy career but the reality of it is that there will be some major obstacles which stand in your way, it will be tough.... but worth it.
    Last edit by Joe V on Jul 7
    forthebirds, MBARNBSN, katchryn, and 30 others like this.
  2. Read more articles from Mr Midwife

  3. Get our hottest student topics delivered to your inbox.

  4. About Mr Midwife

    Mr Midwife joined Nov '09 - from 'United Kingdom'. Age: 32 Mr Midwife has '8' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'Maternity'. Posts: 40 Likes: 67; Learn more about Mr Midwife by visiting their allnursesPage


    Find Similar Topics

    54 Comments so far...

  5. 7
    "For the most part you will be respected; people generally do love nurses. But that one person who says "just a nurse" or "didn't you want to be a doctor really"is really going to get to you, especially when you experience an issue where management takes the Drs side on an issue when you really believe you are in the right."

    I know a few people might be reading this and feel... gee I've heard this before about nursing. As I've not been shy about this (on a nursing forum where many people feel it's their dream), I'm approaching this purely as a job and tailor the good to my scientific zeal. All jobs have pros and cons and unless that job is one very few people can aspire to do (e.g. astrophysics, neurosurgery), the professional utility gained from the 'low-tier' jobs (nursing) can be abysmally low. It is one reason at the outset, if I decide to proceed with this nursing gig, to set my sights on doing more. My life's situation calls for a mid-level type work. The passion of yesteryear doing biochemistry research, participating in engineering physics group projects (an interesting one was for the pacemaker), and more during college years in anticipation of a big healthcare career (in which I get fully paid for my intellect and money spent earning the degree--healthcare schools tend to be most expensive) must take a backseat to other stressful but enjoyable things in life. When people ask the questions I highlighted above in your comments, the response ought to be: why not nursing?

    Though I have options still, for example, between PA and nursing, in my early thirties if I'm waiting to conform to what other people want of me, I won't be a better husband, father, and friend where too many men (especially these days) have succumbed to the daily pressures.

    The essence of this article applies wherever the reader may be located. And it is tough everywhere... especially from the lab to patients (where the pressure is increased exponentially). One more thing, I work in an office setting and nothing is more deflating than knowing what I do is not easily transferable if I move elsewhere. With nursing, PA on the other hand, I'll be a professional (however one may view this term in these profession).
  6. 2
    I hope you will write more about to expect after you get the job.
    kelleytison and SeattleJess like this.
  7. 5
    Thanks for the comments and the likes guys. This was written during a lul on a night shift on postnatal ward but hopefully I got the jist of my idea across.
    I'm hoping that I'll continue to write some more articles but I think when I've had a bit more time I'll come back to add to this one and clarify and expand on a few points.
    mamagui, Krither, hopefulRN'17, and 2 others like this.
  8. 3
    Did you mean unapologetic? Well, call me crazy, but I actually am looking forward to the rigorous classwork and application. I have a great support system in place, I have multiple resources to keep me focused and organized, and I've just started reading some of my nursing textbooks to get a little head start. However, I'm sure that I will be swayed and doubting myself at certain points. But a very realistic point to get across for people who think nursing is the easy route for those who didn't think they could be a doctor, or that it is all unicorns and rainbows.
    eagle78, becka9058, and SeattleJess like this.
  9. 5
    So much truth in this post! In the U.S. with the struggling economy, more folks are considering medical(nursing in particular) and I tell those that just assume nursing is like any other job: you gotta REALLY love people and not mind doing very uncomfortable, even painful things to people. If you don't love people and making a tangible difference in their lives, then you will never make it. It's just too hard.
    Krither, CKPM2RN, babyrn85, and 2 others like this.
  10. 19
    Quote from babaloo8
    So much truth in this post! In the U.S. with the struggling economy, more folks are considering medical(nursing in particular) and I tell those that just assume nursing is like any other job: you gotta REALLY love people and not mind doing very uncomfortable, even painful things to people. If you don't love people and making a tangible difference in their lives, then you will never make it. It's just too hard.
    Balderdash.

    I do not "love people," and I've been doing this for five years... long enough, I think, to have the perspective to say that I will make it.

    People can and do choose nursing for purely pragmatic reasons and still be high quality nurses.

    I told someone recently, "For me, I feel like I'm playing a role in a TV show. I change the role to match what I think my patient needs in terms of our interactions. I do it because I think it's effective, not because I am actually that way."

    Nursing can be nothing more than a job.
    Everline, FutureNurseK, feltshapes, and 16 others like this.
  11. 4
    I am over having a job one day and not having a job the next because my home health employer will never back me up on the job. I can not pay my rent on "gee, they want someone who speaks X language" (after six months), or "gee, they yell and scream at you and let's start the neverending list of craziness" (you were good enough to take their feces for months, but now there is someone else in the wings). To the toilet with you! And don't call us, we won't call you! Just tired of it. It is pretty blank bad when the unemployment interviewer concedes that you are in a no-win situation with this kind of work.
  12. 7
    Well, this is a fine kettle of fish! We need to be good with the books and the practice. But how will we know if we're good on our feet if we don't put ourselves in a position where we're on our feet?

    If we don't go in, we can't find out.

    I have no problem working hard and I already love the intellectual side of nursing. Loved every stage of doing the prerequisites, bookwork and lab work. In fact, I took extra classes on the molecular biology of cancer and organic chemistry.

    I do have some fears about doing the clinicals when nursing school starts. I'm not sure I naturally love people, though I believe I can learn to act that way. Still, I don't know that. And will I be able to manage all the demands coming at once? To think on my feet? To relate to the whole person, not just his data. To become a better person because it surely seems that learning to recognize and get beyond judgment, bias and prejudice is a key component of being a competent nurse. I truly don't know if I can and I won't know until I'm in nursing school.

    All I know is that I want to be able to do this.

    I appreciate your perspective and it sounds true and wise. I only wish you tell me now if I have what it takes. How can either of us predict? I know I'm going to try because although sometimes a dream doesn't turn out the way I expected it was still worth doing anyway.
    eagle78, FutureNurseK, feltshapes, and 4 others like this.
  13. 11
    Quote from ♪♫ in my ♥
    Balderdash.

    I do not "love people," and I've been doing this for five years... long enough, I think, to have the perspective to say that I will make it.

    People can and do choose nursing for purely pragmatic reasons and still be high quality nurses.

    I told someone recently, "For me, I feel like I'm playing a role in a TV show. I change the role to match what I think my patient needs in terms of our interactions. I do it because I think it's effective, not because I am actually that way."

    Nursing can be nothing more than a job.
    Amen! I too, am not a people person, and must put on my "Nursey Face" when I go to work. I never felt "called" to nursing. I felt a need for a career where I could make decent money while consistently learning and working with things that I found interesting. I also need to be challenged with solving problems. Luckily, I read medical books for fun when I was a kid, and all my friends called me "Dr. DirtyBird" when I was in high school. I've always found the human body and diseases fascinating. Nursing seemed pretty logical at the time: I had a limited amount of time and money to receive an education, getting a nursing degree at a community college would not be horrifically expensive, and two years is definitely cheaper than 4. I found the subject matter to be interesting, there's always something to learn and the job is one big brainteaser. Sounded like a pretty good fit to me.

    Helping people was just kind of an added bonus. I'm glad I didn't put that at the top of the list, because I find I'm helping people less and less as more and more changes in the system are occurring. If disease or injury is the enemy, then I, as the nurse, am the grunt soldier on the front lines, attempting to carry out orders and fight with inadequate weapons.

    We can squawk all we want about how hard nursing school and nursing is, but this isn't a lesson people can learn from others. They have to learn it the hard way. I did. Despite my carefully calculated career choice, I still wore rose-colored glasses for quite a while. I was almost completely disillusioned by the end of my first year working as a nurse.
    Last edit by NurseDirtyBird on Jul 6 : Reason: Typo
    eagle78, GM2RN, nandosport, and 8 others like this.


Top