Need help in persuading students to become nurses

  1. Hello I am a pre clinical student finishing my last of the pre reqs this fall. Doing the pre reqs gives me a chance to sit with the non nursing students and I get to know many of them. I am very surprised that not many of them are interested in nursing, including the bright ones in my science classes. I want to do my own little part to help with the nurse shortage. I need suggestions on persuading skills on this subject! It is tough.

    I know the income doesn't seem to interest them much, because even with the economic downturn, many still think they can make a lot more in the financial or internet area.

    Thank you in advance!

    Christina
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  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   RNed
    Not sure if I can jump on the bandwagon and say nursing is a fanastic job in the current atmosphere. However, one point which could be supported is that there is a shortage and job availability is almost anywhere one chooses to live.

    This could be a selling point to the young who are not sure where they will end up. High Tech work is great (I guess) unless you choose to live in our rural communities.

    The biggest selling point is that no matter where you live there will be a healthcare facility somewhere close and it most likely will need nurses.
  4. by   Mijourney
    Hi eventsync. As you may know, only around 50% of all nurses recommend nursing as a career. Only a small percentage of nurses who would recommend nursing are true activists in the profession.

    I feel about the best way to bring more people, especially young people, into the profession is by the attitude you have toward your career as you progress. You will need to lead by example.

    Joining a nursing association as a student I think is an important first step in recruiting new people to the profession and also in giving you a foundation for nurse activism. When you join an association or organization, keep an open mind, because it may not meet all your needs.

    Nursing desperately needs new blood, because it is predicted by some experts that in 10-15 years, the need for nurses will be critical for the boomers and those over 85 years old.

    Thank you for your interest in becoming a nurse activist. It's what is needed now. So many nurses like me have nearly or have become embittered about our experiences in nursing. It's great to see a positive attitude about nursing.
  5. by   mustangsheba
    Christina: If you have to convince someone to go into nursing, they probably shouldn't be there. I agree with the previous posts, concentrate on your own career and lead by example.
  6. by   eventsnyc
    Thank you for your posts. Some very good points which I take with great appreciation.

    Yes, for me, coming to nursing is to answer a calling (the word "calling" here I use it to mean "a long time wish & something that I feel best doing"). I am fortunate because I grew up in a family which encouraged kids to volunteer in hospitals after school. Over the years, I got to know a little about the jobs of some of the health professionals and how valuable their jobs are to the society. I wish more people would have the same opportunity. This leads me into thinking: if we are able to provide more info on nursing in the schools, may be that will increase students' general awareness & interest in this profession. It's hard for a young person to want to pick a profession that he/she doesn't know too much about. (I agree that "increasing the exposure of the nursing to the students" is a better phrase than "persuading".)

    Nursing students, I notice, once they start the clinicals, they keep it pretty much to themselves. This is understandable: the workload is heavy, and we are expected to do very well. Many of us do very well, even with a full time job and a family. Therefore I came to think about doing something to help out when I am still going through my pre reqs.

    I was discouraged recently when I spoke about this topic with a few nurse friends. Their view was: it's good to have a shortage, hospitals will then have more need to increase nurses' pay and working conditions. (Could this be the reason why some nurses are resentful of the new grads, and hence the famous quote: "Nurses eating their young"? I leaned this quote from the BB on this site).

    I agree that more attractive benefits will make any profession more attractive. But in nursing, immediate patient welfare should be factored into this equation. There must be a better way to make medical establishments to better take care of the nurses! Nursing school may need to include business courses some day, so we can better understand the business side of the health care system of today, and would be better equipped when it comes time to negotiate with the decision makers of the industry.

    As for the long term actual benefits, I think we should include recruiting. If we see less and less new people joining this profession, we would not have many nurses to care for us & our loved ones when we are old. And that's no benefit.

    What a difficult subject!

    I came to the decision of getting a second degree in nursing after a successful career running a business in another field. I have a choce & no loans. I am no stranger to hard work, work place politics, long hours, diminished holidays & social life...etc. The satisfaction of knowing that I can one day help patients to feel better is a big reward to me. I am sure that I am one of the many who are in this mind frame and are up for the challenge and are ready to follow their heart. The young people need to be more exposed to the world of nursing, if we seriously do not want to see the nurse shortage to become worse. Just my 2 cents. Hope that my thoughts make sense?

    Nurses work hard. And nursing is hard work. There must be a better way to make the health care system to adjust the nurses' compensation accordingly, one that would not put the patients in risk. Nurses run most of the "store front" work of the health care business. A good businessman would know that it's only good business to provide the best environment for his/her helpers. The health care businesses know that many nurses would stay in nursing because they enjoy participating in the recovery process of people, despite of the bad working conditions. This is the personal strength of those nurses, not their weakness. The health industry needs to respect and reward this strength.

    Best wishes

    Christina
    Last edit by eventsnyc on Aug 4, '01
  7. by   Jay Levan
    First, let me say that a reason you might give someone to join our ranks is my personal reason for hanging in there. That is, that through all the bad experiences, I can always always remember those patients that I know I made a positive change in their lives. That definitely is the only reason I still drag my tired "middle-aged spread" body to work, when scheduled. I know that there are twenty to thirty people who will need my care on that night. Ah but I do have a question? Why is it that whenever we get in a good bargaining position, we always "Shoot ourselves in the Foot" and begin the process of "Recruiting" before we begin negotiating better conditions for all Nurses?? Look I know the situation is bad, and I also know that there are plenty of Nursing groups out there that have a handle on this but they are like the Octopus legs all going off in different directions. A National Union, that would advance a concensus of issues for the entire body of Nursing and I'm not talking "Language Changes" that inevitably make our jobs harder, I would much rather have and would volunteer my time to help in endeavors that would (Hmmm, Develope a National Retirement System??? Develope Minimum Staffing Quotients?? Sorry about the length
  8. by   mustangsheba
    Yes, Wildtime, and we will all be bornagain virgins. You make so much sense sometimes.
  9. by   NICU_Nurse
    As much as I am absolutely, fanatically passionate about becoming a nurse (four months! yay!), I had to think long and hard about the idea of recommending another person go into the field. In school, I've run across a number of people who, quite honestly, would be better suited in another line of work. It pains me to think that people would enter nursing considering it just a job, or even a 'career'; to me, it is so much more than that. I think any nurse would agree that the 'duties' required of us far exceed our actual job descriptions, and I don't just mean having to take on extra responsibilities due to short staffing- I also mean our mostly unwritten obligations to the patients and their families whose lives sometimes irreversibly intertwine with our own. For years, as a student in junior high and high school, I was plagued with horrendous teachers who could give a damn about their students, who made going to school a dreadful nightmare rather than allowing us to take pleasure in the act of learning and growing into individuals. I always felt in my heart that these misguided people must have ended up teaching for other reasons- summers off, inability to fulfill their real dream, etc. To truly be an excellent teacher, or an excellent nurse, requires a certain degree of dedication to your 'craft'. I don't doubt that there are many CAPABLE nurses out there, but how many truly EXCELLENT nurses do we have? To attempt to persuade other people to a career that is wrought with stress, heartache, frustration, and sometimes even guilt (did I do the right thing in that situation? could I have done more but for some reason didn't? am I really a horrible nurse like the doctor seems to think?)...well, this is a mistake. I understand your feeling as if you need to help the nursing profession in some way, but I hope that you will realize that there are thousands of other ways to contribute. Patients deserve truly excellent nurses. We will all be patients in the long run. Capability and competence is fine and good, but excellence is something to strive for. People who do not truly belong in this field will never really strive for excellence. Do you really want to encourage the training of more half-assed nurses who are looking for nothing more than job flexibility and a decent paycheck? And what of that? How disillusioned do you think those nurses will be when they manage to make it into the real world, expecting those flexible schedules, decent wages, etc. and are faced with the sometimes harsh realities of healthcare as it is today? If I were to realistically list what a typical week is to a nurse, I don't think anyone in their right minds would want to actually DO IT. Unless, like me, and like so many other nurses out there, they FEEL it. I don't know if I would go so far as to say that nursing is or should be a 'calling', but I will say that I don't think we should actively be recruiting new nurses just to increase our population or presence. These people will find the place they belong, just as I have, and just as you are. For now, I think the best thing to do is to wish them well and focus on making yourself the strongest asset to our profession that you can be. It takes all types of people to make this world go 'round, and what you can't personally fix will always shake out in the end. Good luck to you in your endeavor! I will see you on the front lines. ;>P
  10. by   Forevermomof5
    I have been lurking around for a while and since I've been reading everyone's comments about nursing it makes me wonder why so many people go through so much and stay in a profession that they don't enjoy.

    I am in the process of applying for nursing school right now. I've worked in a large hospital as a CNA. I can't imagine having another career. It deeply pains me to think that perhaps someday I might be a patient of someone who really doesn't want to be there. While I have been doing my pre reqs, my husband tried to convince me to apply to dental hygiene school (since they start off at 30-40 dollars an hours here in Las Vegas) instead of nursing school. My answer was a definate NO because of the love I have of nursing. I am not going to do it for the money. If it was just about money I would be applying for medical school, not nursing school.

    I just hope that others that are going into this field feel the same way I do. I am thrilled to get back into the hospital setting. I can't wait!
  11. by   jen74
    I have seen many of your posts, and I have a couple of questions for you. How long have you been in nursing, what unit do you work on and would you leave the profession?

    Thanks!

    Jen
  12. by   jen74
    Woah, bitter, mad-at-the-world-man,

    Actually I said 'would' you, not could you. I wondered if you thought it was that bad.I guess so. Next time read someone's question instead of assuming.
  13. by   jen74
    Well,

    I guess I can see how you might have thought that :{ But, really, I wasn't telling you to leave. its just very difficult when you want to enter a field, but you hear so many horror stories. Do you go in it to help or turn away? At some point, I'd love to be a lobbyist. But obviously I have to work as a nurse before I can argue on behalf of them.

    I have thought a lot about what would make the general public care about the nursing crisis. I try not to be a pessimist, but look at our society, what we value. We claim to value education and underpay and overwork our teachers. What about police officers, daycare workers, the list goes on. I guess also, some of the complaints about nursing aren't really that different from what I hear where I work, we have manditory overtime too. The CEO of our company made 19 million, and we weren't even given a measly $201 bonus. The answer HR gives us? If you don't like it, leave. Obviusly the stakes aren't nearly as high.

    I really think most people are too busy trying to deal w/ their own lives to really do anything. They won't understand or care deeply until its their mom/dad/spouse/child etc whose care is compromised. Most people pretend it won't effect them, or hope they can buy their way out of harms way.

    Also, how do you get a CEO or politician to part w/ money and power because your job is hard. I imagine it will be difficult. Not until people are dying in droves, and obviously from improper nursing work conditions, will this issue be addressed. Of course it will take a few 'scientific studies'.At least this is my humble opinion.

    Personally, I want to be a nurse practitioner. I suppose I feel getting my 'floor' experience is necessary before I go on. I am prepared for it to be awful, after reading the posts on this website. But I will do my best. What else can I do?
  14. by   RNinMay
    Hi Wildtime,
    I am a new RN, graduated in May. I wanted to let you know that in my nursing program, we did discuss such things as MONEY, fighting for it, and also the Codependency that is so prevalent in the nursing community.
    I don't think there were very many "Mother Teresa's" in my class. Most of us are in Nursing for the "career" more than the "calling." We had many a debate about salaries vs. hourly wages, unions, and all that jazz. Maybe it will make you feel better to know that these things are being discussed in nursing programs. None of my instructors tried to paint a rosy picture. Most of them worked out in the community or hospitals and were very up-front and down to earth.
    I myself think I am a sort of hybrid in that I do feel "called" to be a nurse, but on the other hand,I am not going to be a doormat. For my first job I did choose a hospital that pays a little less money an hour (like $0.30), but has a much longer orientation program. HOWEVER----that is just to establish my foundation as a nurse. Once I feel confident in my skills and have more experience, I will have no qualms about discussing the M word.

    Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that at least in my program, the issues you mentioned were addressed.

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