mclennan, BSN 20,270 Views
Joined: Sep 25, '06;
Posts: 747 (58% Liked)
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I say DO IT. Take the risk. Money is dumb. Happiness rules. Keep your RN license and pick up 5 or 6 shifts a month per diem if you really think you're gonna starve. But you won't. Not if you resist the mainstream expectations that you're "supposed" to have a new car, own a home, and breed. RESIST!!!!!
I wish I'd taken bigger risks when I was your age, and done what makes me happy instead of listening to everyone tell me what I "should" do. ROCK the poorhouse and your parent's house. Screw nursing and help the animals. Don't be on your deathbed listing your regrets. Do these things NOW while it's easy for you. Every minute that goes by while you sit on your butt soul-searching, it gets harder and harder to change careers, move home, go to school, and take a pay cut. Money is NOTHING. Happiness is EVERYTHING. You sound like you have a good head on your shoulders, and a better situation to support your dream than most. GO FOR IT.
Thumbs up to you and a high five, OP. I have been a BSN/RN for 6 years now, and done bedside, case management and public health. I HATE all of it. The last 3 years I've really spiraled downward into total hatred for the job. I'm cursed with being really good at it - I'm always a patient favorite, and have never received a bad review. But I'm so over it.
I'm starting a new job in two weeks doing case management, and have already decided if this doesn't re-ignite some hope and passion for this profession I'm done. I'm gonna try for a year, and if I still hate it, I'm headed for grad school to teach nursing. I had an awful nursing school experience -and if I can do anything, at least I can help avenge my experience by being a good teacher.
Why do I hate it?
1. The obvious: the health care system is broken. Horribly. And I'm sick of being a part of it.
2. The bubble is going to burst, folks. Nursing salaries are going to take a nosedive. Of this I am certain.
3. The quality of schooling and therefore quality of nurses is in the gutter. I can't believe some of the people I have worked with. How the hell do half these dopes graduate? They can't spell and can't speak clear English. I don't get it. I don't want to be lumped in with people like that.
4. I have worked with "under-served" populations for way too much of my nursing career, and their sense of entitlement and demanding services they don't need has embittered me and ruined my faith in this profession forever.
5. I like animals and machines more than people.
One other thing. It's so sad how we who hate nursing & want to leave have to keep that such a secret, or that ANYONE is shocked by something like that. Nursing is just a vocation, an occupation, a profession. No profession should completely define a person. YOU ARE NOT YOUR JOB. You are a human being, first and foremost. Nursing is not the noble, altruistic, self-sacrificing job it used to be. Sorry, Charlie. Florence Nightingale is DEAD.
Some people end up hating it, just like some accountants end up hating their job. A nurse leaving the profession really should not be judged so harshly, it doesn't mean she's an uncaring, cold, uncompassionate person. In fact, it's probably the opposite. Too many nurses who hate it STAY in the field and make everyone's lives - their co-workers, bosses, patients, and their own - MISERABLE. So kudos to those who bail when they know they need to. I wish you all the best of luck.
I definitely agree with #7. I was a successful student for a lot of reasons, but looking back, I know a big part of it was the fact I didn't have kids or pets, only worked VERY part time, (a few shifts a month) and generally accepted the fact the nursing school was my "life." I watched many classmates who tried to work, who had children, who got married & had weddings to plan, who got pregnant, who had drama going on in their personal lives or were always partying FAIL.
I'm not saying it can't be done if you have family obligations or a job but it's 100000X harder. Too many people (especially females) are led to believe we're supposed to be SUPERWOMEN who must be 100% successful at everything and overachieving perfectionists every minute. There is no better recipe for failure than believing that. Just set your life up so you can focus exclusively on nursing school. Don't whine about it, because it is what it is.
Also, figure out what works for YOU. Lots of people say don't cram, don't procrastinate. Well, some of my best A grade papers were written all night before the 8am deadline, smashed on vodka & Red Bull. Cramming worked for me. Figure out your quirks and don't always follow the rules.
Hey. Watch it. We nurses who "work in offices" make HUGE DIFFERENCES in people's lives. Just as much, if not more than nurses in clinical settings. You might have pushed meds through an IV, hung blood or suctioned trachs, but nurses who "work in offices" made sure your patients got their procedures approved by their insurance companies ahead of time, fought for more follow up with specialists, ordered their DME, arranged for post discharge care at home, educated their families, helped them determine DNR status, coordinated referrals with their PCP, facilitated communication between hospitalists, specialists, PCPs, the insurance company and the patient/family, hooked them up with social workers and transportation resources, got them their meds delivered to their door for cheap, consoled and counseled the family about end of life issues, mailed out tons of info on disease management and local agencies, met with the patient in the office to give them salt substitutes, a scale, a BP cuff, a glucometer and strips, and spent 2 hours showing them how to use these things correctly, and spent HOURS documenting all this within compliance, and sitting in endless meetings with doctors, management and other nurses "who work in offices" trying to provide the best care for patients for the most important time in their health care.....OUTSIDE that hospital room. GOT IT? Good.
Honestly, if you have the experience in ambulatory that is required to sit for the ANCC cert exam, you can pass the test without dropping $ on prep materials.
I had 4 years of full time clinic nursing serving a very diverse population. I didn't study at all - and passed it on the first try. Much of the exam is common sense, basic nursing theory (like Maslow), and some cultural competence stuff (which everyone should know by now unless you've been living in a cave the last 20 years). Seriously. Check out sample exam questions. Purchase a prep book if you must, but really and truly, if you've been in ambulatory and have a basic grasp of the concepts you'll ace it.
Oh, dear fellow introvert. Please don't be bamboozled into thinking case management is the answer! I've worked in CM off and on for the last 6 years and let me tell you, even though some CM jobs don't require face-to-face, you will have more contacts per day with dreaded PEOPLE than you ever will in an entire week in a direct care job! There are no patient ratio laws to protect nurse case managers, and with so much EBP directed toward outcomes affecting reimbursement now, case managers are DOGPILED with panels of 100+ patients to manage, often with no help. It varies wildly employer to employer, but it is my theory that because CM as a specialty is so under-developed in terms of standards of practice, each company just makes up their protocols as they go. There are even 3 specialty certifications available for CM - that is how fractured it is. I'm tired of hearing CM advised as some golden ticket out of bedside nursing when often it's just as much a nightmare as the floor, sometimes worse. Maybe it will get better as CM is spotlighted for a lot of new developments, but as with any nursing practice standards, improvements will take a VERY long time to come to fruition.
Look into utilization management instead!
A lot of my nurse friends seem to have "project" boyfriends, failing marriages or are single/divorced. My marriage fell apart shortly after I graduated BSN school. He just couldn't tolerate how nursing school turned me into such a mess (stress, anxiety, depression, constantly sick and losing weight, insomnia) then we moved across the country for a job for me, and that was the nail in the coffin.
2 years after that debacle I met the boyfriend I've been with now for 3 years. He teaches special Ed in a public elementary school. It's working pretty well - we're both in helping professions that get crapped on a lot, we're both in our late 30s and have learned a thing or two by now, and are together because we want to be and not because we NEED to be.
Also, neither of us wants marriage, kids, to share money or own a home. I am thoroughly convinced those things put people and relationships under way too much pressure. People think they need these things that represent happiness. They usually don't. These things are just conventional expectations that we've been conditioned to believe represent achievement and adulthood. So many relationships fail because of the pressure to be married, to have kids, to own a house, etc.,etc., blah blah blah. Women ESPECIALLY fall into this trap.
I encourage all youngins' to keep their minds wide open and enjoy their youth. And nurses, don't take on "project" boyfriends you think you can "fix" like your patients!!!
Thanks Commuter for an excellent article.
I've made decent middle class income in my 6 years of nursing - but after all the co-pays for anti depressants, talk therapy, psychiatrists and chiropractors due to work related stress, culmulatively I'm probably just above the poverty line. Ha.
Be VERY careful with Craigslist. Especially in L.A.
Never EVER go check out a place alone.
Ask for references and actually call them. Seriously, ASK for references of former renters or roommates.
When you do search, have upfront cash, references and all your info ready.
Remember, living in L.A. means basing your entire life - work, friends, hobbies, EVERYTHING - on traffic. Choose your location carefully and listen to locals who know what's up.
Likely the best place to find a living situation will be in the "Valley" i.e., San Fernando Valley. Look in places like Van Nuys, Simi Valley, Granada Hills or Chatsworth. MAYBE Sherman Oaks ($$$$) and MAYBE Encino ($$$$). Remember the Valley is HOT, isolated, and very, very non-diverse. It's a lot of strip malls, chain stores and beige development homes.
If you want to live in L.A. proper, and commute up to Calabasas, live on the West side. Affordable in this area are Mar Vista, Culver City, West Hollywood. And by "affordable" I mean you can score a studio apt. for maybe $1300/mo. That price usually does not include laundry or parking. For that, make it $1500.
Look for rich people in the Valley renting rooms out in their house! That's probably your best bet.
Depends on what you mean specifically by "public health." Going into "public health" can mean about 100 different nursing jobs! I was a PHN for 4 years and worked in clinics, did home visits, community health education, case management, disease management, staff education, immunization campaigns, well baby/WIC exams, elder care, HIV testing and counseling, diabetes prevention stuff.......sometimes I sat at a desk, sometimes I busted my butt in a clinic, sometimes drove all over town to collaborate with community organizations or do home visits, sometimes gave presentations to hundreds of people, sometimes worked in mobile clinics in trailers, sometimes staffed booths at community health events.
I loved it and never missed floor nursing for a second. Just be aware PH nursing isn't just one job/position.....there are tons of things PHNs do. Good luck!
Reminds me of when I volunteered at an AIDS hospice (well it was a group home, but in the 90s we didn't call it a hospice even though that's what it was) and cared for this wonderful man. He was 6'4 and near the end, he wasted away to only 100lbs. or so. He spent a lot of hours sitting in a deep bathtub of warm water, nothing else was very comfortable for him. One night I asked him if he'd like anything to eat or drink and out of the blue he said, "you know what I'm craving? A big, day-glow fruity island cocktail. In a big glass, with the little umbrella and garnishes and a straw. Ice cold. I miss sipping drinks like that on vacation."
Well, of course there were several men in recovery at this place and alcohol was banned. At first I thought, I'll figure out how to make a virgin drink like that for him. I called my uncle who was an ex-bartender in his 60s. I'll never forget it. He said "to heck with that. Let's make this man a proper drink." I stopped by his house the next day and there he had a whole setup, a Thermos with the drink in it, and a hurricane glass packed with fruit, umbrella and straw. He even wrapped it all up in a box so I could smuggle it in.
I did. I arrived & found my patient in his bath, candles lit & music playing as usual. Got a huge container of ice from the machine, and locked the door behind us. I took out the glass, iced it and poured the drink. It was a hideous bright blue and loaded with rum. I fixed up the garnishes and umbrella and gave it to him. I have NEVER seen such a blessed out look on a human being's face!
After only 5 or 10 minutes I could see the blue drink coming out of him in the bath water. His GI was so destroyed that almost anything he consumed was passed so quickly he couldn't absorb it. I didn't say anything. I let him enjoy the cocktail. He finished about half, then handed it to me and said "you finish it. I insist." (I was not a nurse then and an off-duty volunteer). I pulled up a chair next to the tub and settled in. We sat there a long time, talking about our favorite vacations and wild times. I very stealthily changed the bathwater until it was clear again.
He died about a month later. At the visitation I tucked the little cocktail umbrella in his suit pocket and kissed him goodbye.
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