Questions from a future nurse

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    Hi it is my last year of high school this year and I am thinking about becoming a nurse when I leave school. I live in New Zealand and i originally thought I would be a doctor but the competiveness and all the years of study put me off. I still want to work in the medical field though and help people and do a rewarding career where I feel like I am making a difference, so I thought I could go into nursing. Is nursing a good career and is it a rewarding one? I am a really keen triathlete and am representing my country at the world triathlon champs in London this year. I am really passionate about triathlon and am keen to keep up the training while becoming a nurse however is this possible? I train about 15 to 20 hours a week but am still a top student at my school. Part of the reason I decided not to be a doctor was because i knew I couldn't keep up my training while being at medical school. Also do nurses make good money? I would not do a job just because of the money but I eventually want to have a family and I want to be able to provide them with the opportunities I have had. If there is anyone that could just give a bit of information about training and working as a nurse that would be really great! Sorry for all the questions and thanks so much!
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    I am not entirely sure how training in NZ is arranged so it would be difficult for me to offer much advice on time management between your athletic goals and your career goals. I know in the Philippines nursing students are expected to see X number of specific cases (coworkers of mine had to camp in L&D for days to see 30+ deliveries) which is completely different from my school where I never saw one.

    Also from my limited knowledge of NZ I know the cost of living is high, however if all things are created on average, nursing comes in somewhere around $45K USD starting, which is pretty minimal, but not undoable. My husband works in software programming and makes double+ that with a BS.

    I believe there is may be a forum specific to forum nurses, also there may be more information in the student nurses forums that will clarify your concerns!

    Best of luck!

    Tait

    Here is the link to the Aussie/NZ nursing forum: http://allnurses.com/nursing-australia-new/
    Last edit by Tait on Mar 29, '13 : Reason: Website
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    Sophie,

    you posted in the correct thread!

    So you are in your last year of school. Do you have career days when people working in various fields come in to talk to students? That way you could ask directly? I've done a couple of career days when my boys were in school.

    Alternatively, call the local colleges that train nurses, make an appointment and go talk to an advisor.

    Nursing school involves a huge amount of information to be processed in a short time. I believe that the Phillipines are the only nation that trains the way the above poster outlined. Never heard of any of my co-workers having to do that and I work with nurses educated in the UK, US, Australia, India and the various Canadian provinces.

    In my opinion, I don't think you could keep up your training schedule whilst being in school 8 hours a day, research assignments, and arrange for the practical times for your course. I could be wrong but you need to talk to people locally.
    loriangel14 likes this.
  6. 0
    Hi Sophie,

    I am a nursing student here in NZ. I study in Manukau Institute of Technology in Auckland. You are right about medicine taking long to finish (Uni of Auckland and Uni of Otago in the South are the only institutions in NZ that offer the course, with limited slots) I wanted to be a doctor so I did research: it takes 6 years including the initial 1 year or pre-med (where u take science courses like chemistry, anatomy, maths) and you have to pass with at least a B average, pass the UMAT test (aptitude test to determine if you are fit for the course), then get invited for an interview and pass that too!

    With nursing, a full time Bachelor degree takes 3 years, you must finish the course within 5 years or you have to repeat, as is the case with me. i took 4 years off to work and travel overseas. Now I study full time (I am in my first year, again) and I still have time in the weekends and after classes to do other activities like gym, hiking, going out. But come 2nd and 3rd year there will be a lot of clinical placements (you go to hospital/community to basically observe/work a shift without pay for 8 hours per day). It's important to pass too but your good performance during clinicals will help you get a job because of the good references from your preceptors. I know newly graduated RNs being offered jobs in the same ward they worked in as students. Be prepared to work hard and experience some burn out, but there is a lot of support for students in MIT and the lecturers want their students to pass (MIT boasts the highest of grads).

    I'm glad you chose nursing as a profession it will be a bonus too that you do sports! There are a lot of RNs that do sports, I know a few. Good luck!
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    Also your other questions about pay, yes nurses make good money compared with other professions, thanks to the nursing union. A new grad gets paid approx 50K NZD per annum (and rising, with the help of the union or NZNO, negotiating with the Ministry of Health), plus plenty of sick/annual leave and flexible working hours, depending on which area you want to work in. And nurses do get pay rise, so the longer you work the higher your income but the most a nurse in a ward earns is about $70-75K. Like most professions, upgrading your practice by taking post grad courses (like masters or phd) will help make you more marketable (higher salary). Certain areas pay more than others, for example mental health.

    It is a rewarding career, but a lot of hard work (as you probably know, nurses are on their feet most of the time), and some nurses suffer work related and stress related injuries like back pain, I did lol I worked in a hospital as an assistant for years. Working in a good team and with appreciative patients was the most rewarding part for me. When there are awful patients or awful teamwork/management then it's so stressful it can lead to burnout, fatigue, and depression. Knowing that, I still decided to pursue my bachelors degree and hopefully make a difference in the future. You'll find that most patients are great and most wards have fantastic teams! Just be realistic, open minded, and enjoy the journey, if you do decide to enrol after your high school studies. Hope to see you in MIT I do mentor first semester students


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