This is a question that I've been thinking about recently. I wanted to post it here because as a future male RN I suspect other male RNs would have experiences more relevant.
So, have you changed since becoming an RN? Was it a positive or a negative change, or a little of both? Or have you largely stayed the same?
I'm asking because I think that nursing would change me. I presently work in research, where things tend to be cool and intellectual. In nursing you're caring for others and there are more emotions involved.
Plus, I suspect that caring is not a one-way street; if in your work you care for others and ask them to trust you, I would think in other areas of your life you may find yourself opening yourself up to others to ask for their help, trusting them.
Which is, let's face it, scary for most men, who generally tend towards being stoic and independent. And especially so for me; going through school as one of the "nerds" has made me especially uncomfortable about self-revelation, even to family and friends. But that's what I may face as I proceed down this path...
So, is my theory totally off base? Or have you found your relationships with others has changed since working as a nurse?
Aug 7, '07
I think you're a bit off base here. Nursing hasn't changed me a bit - at least in the way you described. I thought it would have the same effect too. Turns out that nursing isn't a very emotional job - at least in the "critical care" areas that I work in. You deal with a lot of emotional patients and families but it's your job to keep things together. I can't think of one RN that I know or work with that gets emotionally involved with patients or families. You become desensitized quickly, which is good because someone needs to be rational.
Aug 7, '07
Interesting. I didn't think that nurses would become emotionally involved with patients--you're right, it would affect job performance.
But I had expected it to influence other areas of one's life. Perhaps one's response varies by which area one works in?
Aug 8, '07
Nursing is great for us nerds. It's an opportunity to move to vastly more elaborate and complex systems (humans).
Just like computer programs, chemical compounds or anything else on this planet, people react in sometimes surprising, but often predictable ways. When they break, a good troubleshooter can often isolate the fault and develop a (care) plan that leads to resolution.
And in learning and mastering the art of problem resolution with this new, complex system, you are going to grow new skill sets. You will change, your horizons will expand, and you will become much, much better at easing peoples fears and helping them work through their difficulties.
We become who we want to be through action. If you want to be thought of as reliable, compassionate and kind, then be a nurse! You'll be spending 12 hours a day performing reliable, compassionate and kind acts.
Truth is most patients are sick, and since they want to get better, are hoping they get a nurse who is cool and intellectual.
Aug 12, '07
Actually I think I changed nursing, at least a bit somewhere, somehow
Aug 18, '07
I know your post was directed at men but as a female nerd I thought I would answer. I too was afraid nursing would change me. I was never a pink bows, gushy, little bunnies kinda girl. I've always been quiet, observant and self contained. Maybe a little too much. As a NNICU nurse I get to satisfiy the nerd in me with technology. The vents and the pressor and machines and monitors all require rational thought. The babies though....how can you not be change by taking care of the smallest of humans? Its funny though I will give my whole heart to a baby and family for a shift or a hospital stay if I'm primary nurse, and then its like my heart closes again or is open for the the next baby. Because when they come back to see me, i have a hard time remembering them. Some nurses remember complex histories from years and years ago, I have touble with last month. I think that is the nerd moving on to the next problem. Good luck with your studies
Aug 21, '07
does it change you? yes I think it does but in odd ways!!
I have become very assertive, some would say mouthy! I am very confident and know exactly what I want. I want the best possible care for my patients and I will do whatever I have to get that for them. I dont (ok I try not) get emotionally involved- I learnt a long time ago that what happens at work, stays at work. But that doesnt stop me getting upset when something bad happens (and it does). I still remember the first patient who died on me.. and its nearly 30yrs ago. I can see him very clearly.
the hardest thing about being a nurse is developing the black SoH most of us have- you lose a lot of friends and one day you realise that most of your friends are either nurses/police or firemen!! going out for meals is interesting as we all know that nurses can and do discuss things that make grown men shudder while eating!
so yes you change, the way you think changes.. my sons tell their mates not to sweat the red stuff..! unless there is bone showing mum wont worry!! your friends change.. you do care but you learn to cope with all that goes with the job. over here you also learn to drink large amounts of alcohol while training.. or we used to! getting too old now and dont like the hangovers!
Aug 21, '07
Actually outside of work. I dont associate with nurses routinely.
Apr 25, '08
I am an LPN student. I realize now that it takes alot of dedication and hard work. I just wondering what others think of nursing as a career.
Apr 26, '08
Yes, nursing changed me completely.
Toughen me up a lot, and taught me how to value life: people's and my own. And told me the harsh reality that life is too fragile and short.
I deal with chronic patients now. People who had multitude of illness that they have to live with for a long time. Seeing them going through all of the pain just to be alive is amazing. Can't imagine the financial burden and the emotional pain they have to carry. Then you understand what 'tough' means.
I really think that I am 'person' nurse who sometimes dabble too much with the emotional aspects at times. "Is this caring or guilt?", I asked myself ample times as a patient dies or deteriorates. I can choose not to care but knowing the responsibility of a life in your hand, and how you can make a difference is huge. You never know how stubborn chronic patients are until you care for them.
Apr 27, '08
As an LPN student I want to know A nurse perception on nursing.
I get overwhelm with school, work and private life. But I have had my heart in becoming a nurse all my life. Had to put it on hold to raise my kids alone. Give me some encourgement:heartbeat
Nov 18, '11
Yes, nursing has changed me in more ways than one. And frankly, I think those changes are largely positive.
Nov 19, '11
I think we're shaped by all of our experiences, and any job experience is bound to influence you. Nursing may have changed me, but so have the other jobs I've done outside of nursing.
Nursing's probably made me very hard. I think I'm a much colder person than I was when I started out, but I don't actually think that's a bad thing.