HI Nurse Beth,
I'm wondering if I'm making a horrendous mistake by choosing nursing.
It's not something I've always wanted to do.
I'm a career changer who previously worked in environmental restoration first and animal care second. I got a horrendous number of injuries (multiple dislocated ribs and concussions being the worst) and found jobs difficult to come by in the first field; the second didn't pay well enough for me to be able to save anything, and I didn't feel like I was having a positive impact on the world.
I chose nursing because I am good at and interested in biology, I like being useful/helping, and it seemed to have a good combination of availability of jobs, financial stability, and not having to go into debt for schooling. I was thinking of the OR, scrubbing specifically, because I'm team-oriented, task-oriented, and self-motivated (self-starter and I don't need praise).
However, I have Aspergers and sometimes people's emotional needs utterly baffle me. I'm excellent in school (4.0 GPA, 96 on TEAS) and can learn tasks (gave insulin to pets, did construction demo), but I also have anxiety and Type II Bipolar. Those are mostly under control, but actually seem to be getting worse as I get older, so I kind of expect they'll continue to add challenges, rather than "clearing up."
Would I still be shooting myself in the foot to go into nursing? I start a CNA job two days hence; should I use that as a measure of whether nursing would be a good fit? Would a medical profession like MA-Phlebotomist be better?
Thanks for any thoughts.
Dear Am I Making a Horrendous Mistake,
Thanks for your question.
Yes, working as a CNA should help give you insight into the amount of socializing and communicating required. It may prove to be an overwhelming demand for you.
If you decide to go to nursing school, watch the students around you to learn how they respond to patients. You may not have the feelings, but you can mimic the actions. It will take a lot of energy on your part.
Once you have completed school, you would need to gain some experience and then consider the specialty best suited for you. Nursing informatics does not require high empathy and is interesting. OR is a good setting as well because it has lower patient interaction but requires highly skilled people.
I remember a new grad nurse who just didn’t fit in on the general Med Surg floor. Why? He was technically excellent but didn’t relate well to patients, meaning he did not make eye contact, display empathy, or make small talk.
He went on to become a certified registered nurse anesthesiologist (CRNA) and has succeeded wonderfully.
Recently I had surgery and he is the CRNA I requested- as do many of the nurses where I work. He is skilled.
You asked about Medical Assistant (MA) or phlebotomist.Those are options, yes, but neither pays nearly as much as nursing.
If not nursing, have you ever done an aptitude test to help find the ideal field for you? If your anxiety is work related perhaps it can be mitigated by technical, skilled work in a structured setting with low social interaction.
I hope you will keep us posted with your thoughts.