Recruiting for the Future

by P-RN 5,224 Views | 8 Comments

We as nurses have the ability and responsibility to encourage people to enter the nursing profession which will impact not only their lives, but those of the patients and families they will care for in their nursing careers. Those same people we have recruited may go on to inspire others to become nurses thus promoting nursing for future generations.

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    Recruiting for the Future

    A frequent topic of nursing discussions and articles has been that of nurses eating their young. This refers to the instances when older, more experienced nurses withhold the support newer nurses need when starting out in their careers. Rather than using their expertise to guide and aid new, inexperienced nurses, many older nurses seem to have the attitude that as they once had to struggle and learn to cope with the challenges of nursing without anyone's assistance, so should the new nurses have to go it alone.

    It has been a chronic problem that has driven new nurses to leave nursing areas they had aspired to work in, and oftentimes caused new nurses to leave the nursing field entirely. No one knows how many talented people have been driven from the field of nursing, but it seems to be a widespread problem if all the articles and discussion in nursing forums is representative of most nursing environments.

    For the nursing profession, with nationwide shortages, it is most unfortunate, and for new nurses who have spent years in school only to get discouraged and leave nursing early on, it is tragic. Nursing is losing many extremely talented people each year who might otherwise have had long, productive nursing careers.

    Another important area nurses sometimes neglect is that of nursing recruitment. I refer not to hiring nurses, but of encouraging people to go into the nursing profession. All too often we complain of our difficult and stressful work, long hours and the many challenges we face, but neglect to talk about the rewarding aspects of our work, the reasons we entered the nursing profession and stay in it.

    It is human nature to complain, and it often helps to recover from a stressful shift by venting, but we are sometimes woefully unaware of the harm we do by discouraging interested people from considering nursing as a possible career choice. A person who might have grown up aspiring to become a nurse could all too easily reconsider if the nurses they encounter always grumble about the stress, patient workloads and long hours, never mentioning the satisfaction derived from caring for the sick, helping bring babies into the world, or assisting the terminally ill to make their transition in comfort and support. We sometimes forget in the daily struggle just how much good nurses accomplish. There are many good reasons why nurses are one of the most trusted professions in survey after survey.

    Whenever an interested person asks about my work, and this happens most often when I am on the job, I talk about the many rewarding aspects of nursing, and I like to stress that one of the great things about nursing is the tremendous diversity in nursing roles. There are so many areas of expertise in nursing and if a new graduate is unhappy in one area, they have so many choices available to try until they find a perfect fit. A nurse has so many options: caring for the elderly, for babies and children, working in the OR, ER, home care, teaching and and so on. There is something to satisfy the interest and aspirations of most anyone.

    A year ago I met Maria at the dog park where most afternoons we take our dogs to play. Maria's daughter was in nursing school and I came to know Lisa through her mother who frequently mentioned that Lisa was doing well in school and would graduate soon. Lisa graduated with honors from a local university and looked for a job as a graduate nurse, but was not successful in finding a position that was a good fit for her.

    Lisa was primarily interested in pediatrics but most places weren't hiring or were only hiring experienced pediatric nurses. Lisa and I spent afternoons at the park talking about our careers as we watched our dogs play. Lisa seemed to be the kind of person the hospital where I am emloyed looks for; she is kind, thoughtful, empathetic and humbly intelligent.

    I started making phone calls to help her get her foot in the door, and our park conversations became "mock interviews". She was able to answer the "tough questions", and was very soon ready for her interview. Lisa interviewed and was hired and is in the midst of her orientation process. We continue to talk at the dog park or the hospital cafeteria if she has a question or just needs to talk. I'm excited to watch as she grows to be a valued member of the pediatric nursing team.

    Sue and I would meet Friday nights to watch our husbands play softball. The topic of conversation in the bleachers often focused on Sue's dissatisfaction with her career. She had a good job with a pension and excellent benefits, but wasn't getting the job satisfaction she needed to be truly happy. Sue would often refer to the time when she worked as a medical assistant in a physician's office. She seemed to remember every patient and still kept in touch with the staff even though it had been several years since she had worked in the office. She had even kept her medical assistant licensure active after all these years.

    I suggested she apply at the hospital unit where I worked as we were looking for a Patient Care Assistant. It would mean a huge pay cut, but the hospital would pay her tuition to go back to nursing school which seemed to be her calling. After a bit of soul searching Sue decided to take the plunge. She was hired as a PCA, went to school and graduated. Sue has been working as an RN for five years now and has never regretted the change of careers. She still sends me cards on occasion to thank me for encouraging her to make the career change.

    On numerous occasions I have had someone approach me to say that they had met me a number of years earlier when they were either a patient or visiting a patient and had chosen a nursing career based on questions they had asked me about my career and how I liked it. I don't always remember the person or the earlier encounter as usually a few years have passed, but it has been extremely gratifying to learn that I have had a positive impact on someone's life and on the nursing profession in general.

    Nursing is a profession with so many different fields that there is an area to satisfy nearly everyone. One person may not enjoy working in one specific area, such as pediatrics for example, while another person may find that to be their favorite area. Another person may prefer intensive care or even a management position. There truly is such a wide range of areas in which to work, and it is difficult to predict where a person might excel and be most gratified.

    We have the ability and responsibility to encourage people to enter the nursing profession which will effect not only their future, but those of the people they will care for in their nursing careers. Those same people we have recruited to become nurses may go on to encourage others to enter the profession thus promoting future generations of nurses. We need to always be looking for that passion in people we meet because one never knows who might have all the great qualities we look for in a nurse. It is an awesome responsibility, but also a wonderful opportunity to help ensure the future of nursing.
    Last edit by tnbutterfly on Feb 12, '13
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    Joan Bechard RN,BSN,CCRN Joanie has been a nurse for 28 years and has been employed by the same hospital for 22 years. Twenty of those years were spent as a PICU nurse, and two years as an Imaging nurse. Martin W. Radebaugh RN,RRT,BS Marty has been a respiratory therapist for 38 years, a nurse for 27 years and has been employed at his current hospital for 17 years.

    P-RN joined Feb '13 - from 'Miami, FL, US'. Posts: 2 Likes: 12; Learn more about P-RN by visiting their allnursesPage


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    8 Comments so far...

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    Very true on that first point seen below. It is a reason I didn't continue in ICU for the lack of support and brick wall barrier to my development, not to mention a bully manager who went out of her way to get her newer nurses struck off! The Union had a list of nurses before me who left for the same reason and said a court date in the future would occur and I along with the others would be a witness, however, she remains the bully manager in that department shockingly and some of the staff were still too scared to leave! The excuse I heard was that she was difficult to replace which is nonsense! There would be far better managers with people skills and management skills in nursing who would do a far better job and could easily take her place. Had to be one of the worst unhealthy places I ever worked in and I walked and 10 others followed me out the door I was told by staff that remained there before that manager stuck her knife in fully along with her sheep she managed to influence to do the same(senior staff on her floor).

    I also remember a nurse student who was a student when I was, first term and first year and had a bully mentor and he didn't even wait to discuss it with his tutor, he left fast! He was likely going to become a far better nurse than the nurse that mentored him.
    Have to say it made me highly angry, I almost left Nursing three times in the past myself as a result, and was going to become a lawyer instead, then dare those not so nice ones to pick on me or others then. I have remained a nurse as I found far healthier places to work, however I have never returned to an ICU environment to date.

    [QUOTE=Martinradebaugh;7160220]A frequent topic of nursing discussions and articles has been that of nurses eating their young. This refers to the instances when older, more experienced nurses withhold the support newer nurses need when starting out in their careers. Rather than using their expertise to guide and aid new, inexperienced nurses, many older nurses seem to have the attitude that as they once had to struggle and learn to cope with the challenges of nursing without anyone's assistance, so should the new nurses have to go it alone.

    It has been a chronic problem that has driven new nurses to leave nursing areas they had aspired to work in, and oftentimes caused new nurses to leave the nursing field entirely. No one knows how many talented people have been driven from the field of nursing, but it seems to be a widespread problem if all the articles and discussion in nursing forums is representative of most nursing environments.
    SENSUALBLISSINFL and carolLeeAnn like this.
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    I can't begin to tell you how much this means to me. Thank you so much for writing this. I will be starting nursing school in August, and I'm an older student. I often come on here for inspiration to help me get through the unknown. I am nervous but very excited because I've always wanted to become a nurse. After having kids and being a stay at home mom, I went back to school, finished all my prerequisites, with a 4.0. I didn't let anything discourage me, but hearing all the negative comments started to make me question my decision. But after reading this, you have made me more sure than ever!!! I will not let anyone discourage me or get me down. Thank you, I needed this!!!!
    carolLeeAnn likes this.
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    I have a very basic problem with the entire premise of this article, but chose to post it in General Nursing so more people would see it. Tool on over there and see what you think.
    elkpark likes this.
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    Hello All,
    I am so relieved that I am not the only one. I always thought it was me because I was very shy. I started out as an LVN over twenty years ago. I landed the perfect job on a Telemetry Unit on the day shift. I was so excited! Unfortunately, I was going through the end of an abusive marriage and ended up in the shelter the very week I was to start orientation. I was so upset. I had to call my manager and let her know that I could not start until the following week until I obtained an emergency order of protection. She was nice enough to let me start the following week.
    So, on my first day of hospital orientation, they gave us a tour of the hospital. When we arrived on my unit, I was introduced by my manager to the other nurses. To my horror she said "This is Carol, the one I was telling you about." The nurses looked at me and said "Oh, that one" and then looked at me as if I crawled out of the dumster. I was so humiliated.
    I quickly figured out that two of the older nurses were close friends with the manager. I was a newly licensed nurse. Instead of helping me understand things, they would go to the balcony to smoke frequently with the manager and talk negatively about me.
    Luckily there was one good experienced RN I worked with. She was very helpful. We always worked as a team. We did a lot of double shifts together. It was a completely different atmosphere when the others went home for the day. My friende finally transferred to the ER on the NOC shift. So, I was all alone again.
    Then, we ended up with a new unit clerk, about my age. They loved her. After almost four years the last straw was when the unit clerk ordered up another LVN's medical records so she could see how much she weighed. The LVN was over 300lbs. The unit clerk was laughing and making fun of her weight. She was showing the older RN's her medical records. I could not believe it!!
    I mentioned to my manager that I would like to transfer to another unit but, she discouraged me by telling me I was not good enough and no one would take me. I stayed on another year before I quit.
    I was working for a registry at the time anyway. I was sent to some of the top hospitals in the S.F. Bay Area and everywhere I was sent I was treated with dignity and respect. I am a very good nurse and was told so by the other hospitals.
    When I left my main job, I felt as if a load of bricks had been lifted off my shoulders.
    I relocated to the central valley in 2000 and started working in skilled nursing. I went back to school and passed my R.N. boards in 2007. Now, I'm having a hard time getting back into acute care. I really miss it. Not the mean nurses. Also, I am not mean to new nurses. I am as helpful and respectful as I can be. I love showing new nurses how to do things and explain the how's and why's we do them.
    Thank you all for sharing your stories. I really enjoy reading them and I appreciate them as well.
    Carol LeeAnn
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    Thank you for this post. I am one of those people, my dharma (calling) has always been to be a nurse, a caregiver. I am compassionate and caring. I was unable to pursue my dream when younger, but the minute I had the chance I took it and graduated last year, and I have been looking for a job since I passed my boards.

    I often read about nurse bullying on AN, and worry and wonder; since I am an adult new graduate, how am I going to handle a bully at work, if that ever happens.

    I know there will be cliques; as any profession, there may be some drama and gossip; as other jobs. I am not into drama or gossip. I want to be a safe, good nurse I can be, learn from what an experience nurse can teach me to achieve this. I am respectful and very professional. I pray that I get a good preceptor who can become a great mentor and work in a unit where I am embraced as a new graduate and blossom.

    I get discouraged at times that I have yet to find a job, but doing my best to not lose faith...that job is around the corner, I just know it
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    Maybe it's just me, but I don't really see that it's a nurse's responsibility to encourage people to go into nursing; I'm certainly happy to encourage and mentor anyone I run across who does want to go into nursing, but I don't go around trying to talk people into it, esp. when most nursing programs are routinely turning away large numbers of people now. Seems to me there are more than enough people wanting to go into nursing already, and it's certainly not for everyone.

    And, nowadays, I usually tune out on any article that mentions "nationwide shortages" in nurisng. Huh????

    I second every word GrnTea said in her excellent new-thread response to the article!
    Rose_Queen and GrnTea like this.
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    My kind of fun.
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    Very thoughtful. I am a final year BSN student and am extremely excited about beginning my career. I still recall the sort of discouraging comments from many of my seniors at college when I started college. I was confused, for Nursing as I have heard and known about was a rewarding and respectful career. My Mother is a nurse and my mentor in this amazing field which 'happened' to me. But now I know it was a 'calling'. I am so positive that entering Nursing was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life. It had been tough facing seniors who bullied, staff nurses and instructors who do the same, and on top of everything, even the faculties from other departments bossing around nursing students. But once you get the hang of it (the realization that they are just pouring in their dissatisfaction with themselves, over us), none of it matters. Because I realize that I have entered a beautiful, fast and demanding profession. Respect to all the Nurses around the world for being a miracle in their own beautiful ways!!!


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