The Calling: What Made Me Pursue a Nursing Career - page 3

by Ruby Vee

18,727 Views | 35 Comments

“Become a nurse just for the money? How can you possibly be a good nurse if you’re doing it just for the money?” The implication seems to be that in order to be a good nurse, one has to have a “calling”. This is the idea... Read More


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    I had to sit and really think about why I decided to go into nursing when I was 44 or 45.

    At that time I was working for a major medical insurance company as a senior medical claims adjuster making $16 an hour with huge responsibilities and no hope of ever making decent money. I was telecommuting and miserable spending so much time by myself. I remembered how much happier I was as a waitress or bartender and the socializing that went on. It was also during the time when there were lots of nursing jobs advertised and I wanted a job that had transferable skills shoud I decide to return at some point to Canada.

    I looked at the nursing pre-reqs and the credits I'd accumulated over the years, yup, I had a bunch completed. So I got more pre-reqs under my belt and applied for RN. I didn't get accepted the first try and someone told me about LPN-RN bridge program so I went straight to a private LPN school. I had to get out of that job I hated so much.

    I had no clue about nursing and what it all involved. I had no clue during our first clinicals in an LTC, but I did discover that I really enjoyed geriatrics.

    Circumstances change and I didn't complete the LPN-RN bridge program. I returned to Canada as an LPN and have no intention of going on to RN. I'm just tired of school and there's lots of jobs for LPNs where I live.

    I am happy working as a home health supervisor in a seniors lodge and I make a decent wage.
    Red35 likes this.
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    I have to say that I am definitely going into it for the money. I make the same as a nurse with less flexibility. It gives me the same income but allows me to work nights when I'd like to be working and be around during the day as my toddlers grow up. I can watch their every move like a stalker mommy and improve their quality of life.

    But seriously, nursing is not for everyone. And my mom attempted it and dropped. My grandma is a surgical tech at the VA. And my great gran died as a nurse. I personally shunned the life after spending many years of my life entering the doors of the VA hospitals at 5 in the morning while my dad dropped my mom (grandma) at work. I would not listen that it was a good career choice.

    Now that I am 33 I am re-careering and finally listening to my ma who told me long ago where she knew I belonged.
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    That was a great read, thank you for sharing. I'm in nursing school right now and doing it for the financial security.... I worked in a career for 14 years and could never break out of the yearly salary rout. Besides I really like science and learning about medical problems...
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    Good read Ruby. I rarely comment on an article but I can relate to many points in this one. It's great if someone enters nursing on a calling, but it really bugs me when those who did feel that they have the right to question the motives of those who didn't. Thanks for stating it so well.
    Last edit by GM2RN on Aug 8, '12 : Reason: grammar
    Ruby Vee likes this.
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    Thanks for that. It was the one sounding familiar (other than being a teacher)I was most assured of getting and so, it was the only one I applied for. No inner or outer calling I can think of. Good thing is, once you are a nurse, there is a desire to help.
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    It makes me happy to see that people's attitudes are changing about "the calling". I was shamed and bullied out of admitting that I was going into for money and job security. When I told people I was going into dialysis, they would sneer and snort as if my choice was beneath them. Now as I push the dialysis machine down the hall and run into my former classmates, at least once a day someone will ask me "how do I get into dialysis?". Yeah, getting into nursing to "help people" will put you on the fast track to burnout.
    ShaynaSmart and heydelilah like this.
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    Quote from Natkat
    It makes me happy to see that people's attitudes are changing about "the calling". I was shamed and bullied out of admitting that I was going into for money and job security. When I told people I was going into dialysis, they would sneer and snort as if my choice was beneath them. Now as I push the dialysis machine down the hall and run into my former classmates, at least once a day someone will ask me "how do I get into dialysis?". Yeah, getting into nursing to "help people" will put you on the fast track to burnout.
    I don't think the majority of nurses EVER subscribed to "the calling" theory. It was just a very vocal minority, and most of them in the new nurse, student nurse, pre-nursing student and wannabe groups. As you've become a nurse with some experience you're having less reason to cross paths with those groups and more reason to identify with us mean old biter nurses.
    Patti_RN likes this.
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    Quote from Ruby Vee
    I don't think the majority of nurses EVER subscribed to "the calling" theory. It was just a very vocal minority, and most of them in the new nurse, student nurse, pre-nursing student and wannabe groups. As you've become a nurse with some experience you're having less reason to cross paths with those groups and more reason to identify with us mean old biter nurses.
    I totally agree with this. But even now you won't see many nurses admit to money being the reason they got into nursing without qualifying that admission by saying "but that's NOT the only reason." Dealing with the stigma attached and the resulting flack from such an admission seems to be too much for most to handle.
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    After not doing so well in high school (save for my bio, chem, spanish, and music classes), I entered college not knowing what to do w/ my life. I chose bio originally, ended up taking O chem and got an A and A+ in the 2 courses. After that, I thought I could take on the world, so I decided to pursue med school. Thinking it over for years, realizing the lifestyle didn't match up w/ my desires, I took my biochemistry/molecular bio degree and got a lab job. Thinking about escaping, I looked at dental school; I quickly realized I have no desire to look in people's mouths all day, and it was much less of an interpersonal job than I was looking for. Never had I even thought of nursing until my ex-gf brought it up. After analyzing the pros and cons, I realized it can be a very satisfying and rewarding job that will get the bills paid and allow (hopefully) a more family-oriented schedule.
    ShaynaSmart likes this.
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    Absolutely LOVED this article! Thank you for sharing it.

    This kind of reminds me of a conversation I was having with my wife a few weeks ago. We were having the "If every job paid the same, what would you want to do?" discussion. At first I said I would still want to be in nursing school. She looked at me and said, "No you wouldn't. Be honest." So I thought about it for a few seconds and I said, "You're right. I'd want to work with animals."

    When I graduated high school in 2006, my dream was to become a vet. A year later, with a spotty community college record, I realized I didn't want to go to school for 10+ years, so I thought about becoming a vet tech. I didn't even finish one semester of the program before I realized that the credits wouldn't transfer if I wanted to do something else, which given the salary averages, was something to consider.

    So, there I was, working as an assistant manager at a local pizza place, a job I had held since my senior year of high school, when one of the managers who had just finished up the nursing program stopped by to tell us about her job offer and salary. My mind was made up right there, in that moment. She had worked her butt off while in the nursing program and at the end got a really great paying job before she had even graduated. That was when I realized nursing just made sense. It would give me enough money to support my future family, but it would allow me to finish school more quickly, so I could actually START making that family sooner!

    Now that my partner and I had that conversation (and now that I've read this post) I don't think I would answer the question "Why did you get into nursing" the same as when they asked our class that.
    I would know how to respond: I picked nursing for the money and job security, and I also picked it because it was the hardest thing I could do in the shortest amount of time and it's full of variety.

    As for my passion for animals, I'll just shower affection on our Chow-Chow. : )
    DanaNP likes this.


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