Needing a little input/advice from the guys...

  1. To begin, let me say that what got me interested in nursing in the first place was ER nursing. I worked at a small, rural hospital for a couple of years doing ER registration on the weekends, and then at a large, urban medical center doing the same thing. Now I'm working at a smaller "community" hospital in the same city as the medical center as a unit secretary. I'll train in the student nurse role in a couple of weeks.

    That said, I'm now in my second semester clinical rotation of nursing school, and I have to say that I'm really not enjoying it. I feel like I'm not learning much and not doing much. This is my Adult Health I class, and pretty much all I do is bathe my patient, do vitals, accuchecks, and pass some meds (only with my instructor right there, and it's not often that I get to do this). Also, so many of the other students' (all girls) patients seem to respond much differently to them than to me. Stuff like "I should give you a tip" or "you're so nice." My patients seem to like me just fine--always "thanks so much for your help" and that kind of stuff. And the girls always talk about how cute such and such a patient is, or how they just love so and so's patient. I find myself not having any of those kinds of responses. I enjoy helping people, but I don't find that I have much of an "emotional" connection with my patients. Is this just the difference between males and females and the way we operate? I'm thinking it is, but I just need some input/reassurance here.

    I guess most of it is that I'm just used to the fast pace of the ER. I'm more concerned with what's going on healthwise, how to fix it, and getting the job done than I am with having a strong emotional bond with my patients. I find that areas like ER, OR, cardiac cath lab, endoscopy, special procedures, and management are what catch my interest. Those areas tend to be much more focused on specific, acute situations and procedures rather than longer-term interactions with the same patients. I know it sounds silly to ask, but does this make me a bad candidate for being a nurse? Am I in the wrong profession?

    I work full-time and go to school full-time, and I guess everything is just starting to get to me. I am planning to cut back at work, but I just find myself discouraged with school sometimes. I have mentioned my interest in the above areas to some of my fellow students, and it's like they think I won't make a good nurse or something. And I'm starting to wonder myself. I enjoy helping people, but my interests just don't seem to lie with floor nursing. Sorry that this message is so disorganized--I'm exhausted and just needing some encouragement. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

    -Ed
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   EricJRN
    Ed,

    Sounds like you've got a really full plate at the moment. I think that kind of load would get anyone down. Hang in there though! You make some interesting observations (which I believe to be true in many cases) about the differences in the way males and females may respond to various patients or clinical situations. For the most part (and understanding that there are always exceptions) I agree that males have a tendency to be more oriented toward problem solving and less so toward emotions.

    Don't let anyone make you feel bad for wanting to pursue nursing in a critical care setting. We need good nurses in all specialties and with the prevalence of nurse internship programs for new grads, it's often no longer a requirement for the nurse to 'do his time' in med-surg first. You're not a bad candidate for nursing just because you prefer one setting over another.

    Good luck to you as you continue in your program. I hope everything works out for the best.
  4. by   West_Coast_Ken
    Quote from EdBSN09
    I'm now in my second semester clinical rotation of nursing school, and I have to say that I'm really not enjoying it. I feel like I'm not learning much and not doing much. This is my Adult Health I class, and pretty much all I do is bathe my patient, do vitals, accuchecks, and pass some meds (only with my instructor right there, and it's not often that I get to do this).
    Hey, Ed, I had this discussion just this afternoon with a fellow student. She feels [quite strongly] that we are not being tought enough so that we can be ready to become RNs. And we are NOT, beasuse....the purpose of nursing school is to give us a basic level of understanding theory wise, to give us some basic skills clinical wise and also to check us out to see if we're going to be a danger to our pts or an asset. Nursing school is just to get us ready for the real training which is OJT and that's usually in the hospital setting.

    We can't do RN stuff because we're legally not allowed to. There are strict limits what a student nurse can do and for very good reason. Also, the individual RN we're working with at clinicals is responsible and so we have to do what they say and do not what they don't allow. At one clinical site the RN is fine with us starting IVs at another she just won't allow it.

    From what I've seen in the hospital and read about on these posts we'll likely feel VERY overwhelmed as a new RN we'll have so much to learn and do. Think of it this way...many new RN's feel they don't become proficient until 1-3 years and that is working full time. How in the world could any college program teach that? They just can't and they don't even try. They shouldn't, either.

    Keep up with it and I'm sure you'll do fine.

    Regards,

    Ken
  5. by   bearsden
    Ed,

    Hang in there. I think we all feel the crunch at times. I work full time as a satellite engineer and am going to school 3/4 time at night. All I can say is, this is the busiest I have been. This semester has really put the screws to me. But like those before us, I will get through it as you will and all those after us.

    I have also talked this over with fellow students (male and female). It seems that the nontradition students do have a harder row to hoe, but they also seem to be the most motivated bunch at the school I go to.

    As Ken has stated, we are getting the bare bones training. That gets us ready for the real that comes later. This is no different from any other career field out there. A school can't teach you everything. Schools just prep you for the next step.

    Hang in there,
    Ray
  6. by   gerry79
    Ed,

    Hang in there! I am finished in 3 weeks, but I too went to school at night and worked full time.


    School is teaching us the fundementals of being an RN. I imagine the real learning comes after graduation.
  7. by   Dougthenurse
    ed,
    yes, guys seem in general to be friendly in different ways than women and less outwardly emotional and patients generally respond likewise. that doesn't mean they don't appreciate you as much. you got your compliments from the patient, so don't worry about it.
    the important thing to learn in clinicals is getting organized, getting a routine, doing your tasks efficiently. as said above, you really don't learn how to do nursing until you're on the job. most places have lengthy training time after employment with a preceptor/s, usually 3 - 6 months and often more, depending on where you're going to work. clinicals are usually what you make of them. so ask questions and ask if you can do things that aren’t offered. nurses are often too busy and don’t offer students interesting tasks because it slows them down. but i am partial to students that try and ask questions etc
    i prefer acute areas of nursing too. i am not cut out for floor nursing. i work in a surgical trauma icu in a level 1 trauma center. i prefer patient's that are sick as heck, it's more challenging and more interesting to me.
    there are more types of nursing jobs than in any other profession - from insurance company nurse to flight nurse, research to wound care, psych to school nurse, pharmaceutical rep to bed sales rep. and the shortage of nurses is only going to get worse (more $). you can also work anywhere.
    you’re in the right profession. you need to work where you will be happy, so don’t settle when you apply for jobs. (watch out for burnout with ft job and ft school.)
    good luck
    doug
    Last edit by Dougthenurse on Nov 17, '06
  8. by   Spatialized
    Ed,
    Don't worry too much that you're not getting as googly-eyed as your female counterparts; you seem to be maintaining a professional distance that will protect you and the patient. It doesn't mean you don't care any less, or that you're not cut out for nursing. It means you're not a huge touchy-feely, hon', sweetie kind of nurse (I think we all know what I'm talking about). Like man others have said, it takes all types. Just because you don't fit into your classmates' preconceived notions about how a nurse is to be doesn't mean you're not cut out for it. You know you're not cut out for it when you hate school, dread cliniccals and generally don't care at all for the patients you're taking care of. The fact that you acknowledge that you're feeling iffy about nursing seems to me to be a good sign. Don't worry, things will change, you'll see more acute stuff as time goes on. In my program we did nothing but high-acuity units in the 4th semester of the 2 years, so your ER, ICUs, step-down/tele units were mostly concentrated at that point in the program.

    Cheers,
    Tom
  9. by   Darth Nightingale
    Quote from EdBSN09
    <snip> I know it sounds silly to ask, but does this make me a bad candidate for being a nurse? Am I in the wrong profession?

    Thanks in advance.

    -Ed
    Just focus on the prize. At some point nursing school will be over and you'll be able to go forth and seek the adventure you need. Until then just deal, and make the most of it. It is what it is.

    FYI... If I ever get my hand chopped off and I go into shock as I'm being raced into the ER. I really don't care about making an emotional connection with the Nurse, the doctor or anyone else. Just find the problem... and fix it. I think you are going into the right profession.
  10. by   danh3190
    Sounds like you're already figuring out what you want to do when you graduate. If you love the fast paced work, great. Hope you're in the ER when they wheel me in someday.

    I'm always amazed by the variety of personality types in my nursing class. I'm probably a lot like you and we have lots of touch-feely types too. Thank God for the variety because between us all we'll have all the bases covered.
  11. by   tddowney
    "I find that areas like ER, OR, cardiac cath lab, endoscopy, special procedures, and management are what catch my interest. Those areas tend to be much more focused on specific, acute situations and procedures rather than longer-term interactions with the same patients. I know it sounds silly to ask, but does this make me a bad candidate for being a nurse? Am I in the wrong profession?"

    Logically, if you are in the wrong profession for being drawn to these areas, then the people working there now are also in the wrong profession...unless they're working there against their will. And I'll bet most of them are good nurses.
  12. by   rotary
    I remember feeling like I wasn't learning much and felt quite restricted in what I was allowed to do in clinical during the first couple of years, but that can change when you're in 3rd and 4th year of nursing school.

    This past semester on a cardiology unit, all students were responsible for 7 patients and took over the duty of the RN completely. I was incredibly stressed and couldn't sleep the night before because we had so much responsibility.

    Like you, I'm also drawn towards areas that place more of an emphasis on technical procedures rather than beside nursing, and in on way is this a bad thing. Find the area you're passionate about, and stick with it. Good luck with everything.
  13. by   vss04
    No, you are not in the wrong profession. Nursing needs all kinds of personalities to deliver the "right" kind of care. Since I been studying to be a nurse at a quite "old" age, Im 53 years old now, I guess that you will see focus of interest will be different depending on what phase of life you are going through. Follow your passion for the moment, youll be a great nurse, Im sure! umpiron:

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