23 years and going strong

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    Today, I have been a nurse 23 years! Yes, I would recommend it, but I am convinced that a key to longevity is the willingness to reinvent yourself now and then. So my resume does NOT reflect that I have worked the same hospital, the same shift and the same unit for 23 years.

    I have worked stepdown, ICU, MICU, ED,(2 different hospitals) public health (a county health department), case management and drug abuse prevention in a school district. At times, I have desparately hated it all and would have killed to have the greeter job at WalMart. But most times, I have enjoyed what I was doing.

    Don't be a slave to money. Yes, do expect a fair wage but there really isn't enough money in the world to make nursing a satisfying job if you hate the work. so make sure your nursing job is fun and satisfying and stimulating to you.

    Put time into your life to take care of yourself and do fun and non-nursing things. I'm still working to perfect this one.

    Let go of the notion that the only real nurse is a bedside nurse. I held this one for a long time. It mostly limits your possibilities. But, make no mistake, I miss bedside nursing and might do it again sometime but right now it doesn't work for me, for my family.

    Don't expect nursing to fulfill all your needs. It makes a poor lover. Don't expect your administrator to fulfill all your needs. They don't want to be your lover.

    When you are striving to meet the needs of families, don't forget your family comes first. As a Drug Lady I can tell you that shift work is really hard on families and some of the kids I see at work are suffering from too little contact with their parents.

    Today, I would do it again, and become a nurse! Though that answer is subject to change, this is how I feel about 90% of the time.
  2. 6 Comments so far...

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    I have to agree with Molly.

    Although I just posted a reply on another topic and stated I had been a nurse for 24 years it now dawns on me that I have been doing this for 25 years now (a quarter of a century? WOW) I must be getting old!

    But, yes, I would do it all over again. One of the great things about nursing is the ability to change "jobs" and still be a nurse. There are many, many areas in which a nurse can find employment.

    I do occasionally get "burn out" but that is when I reassess and look for a new arena of interest. When it becomes "work" to get up and go to your job it is time for change (at least for me).
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    I have also been a nurse for 23 years. I agree with you, MollyJ, about the need to reinvent yourself at certain intervals in your nursing career. There are many opportunities out there for nurses. I am beginning to think that nurses cannot do bedside nursing for 20+ years and not get burnt-out. I have been described as looking shell shocked! I am just plain worn-out and have made some very necessary changes to re-energize myself. It took me a long time to realize that it was o.k. for me to leave bedside nursing. I can still be a nurse and explore other avenues. However, I still occasionally feel guilt at abandoning my fellow comrades, who are still battling on the frontlines. I feel weak for not being able to hang in there any longer.
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    If I had it to do over again I would still be a nurse. If someone would have asked me that the first year out of school I would have said NO WAY, but over time I have become to appreciate the benefits the profession has to offer. It is a career full of diversity. I can get a job in many different areas and still be called a nurse.

    Nursing is the most respected profession in the country. I am proud to be part of that, aren't you?
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    I've only been a nurse for 2 years, I went into it because of my ma. A nurse for 34 years and the best damn nurse God ever invented. She worked in CCU when CPR was just invented. She worked there for almost 15 years before burn out set in. She went to home health and then nursing home. She then found her true calling. She is an LPn instructor. Her students think she is the devil sometimes with how hard she in on them, but she when they graduate they all come back and thank her. She told me not to go into nursing. Her feeling was the work was too hard and the pay stunk. But I remember how proud she was when she talked about her job. How people would stop her in the grocery store and thank her for taking care of their loved ones. I remember sitting in the back of her class and thinking she's waaaay smarter than any doc out there. So my ma didn't verbally reccomend nursing. She was a walking billboard for it.
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    One of the things I promised myself when I came back to the BB was to steer away from the negative posts and draw towards postive posts like yours and the other nurses that have responded.

    I'm currently doing my prereqs so that I can apply to the ADN program next fall. I have been working in the medical field for the past ten years but ot in direct patient care. The respect I have for the nurses I work with and have worked with is very high. Stress, overworked, sometimes close to the edge...but they all convey the message that by helping even just one patient, it is all worth it.

    Nursing is definitely not for the fainthearted, but it can be rewarding...inside where it really counts.
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    I've not been a nurse long (at all), 2months!!! But I love hearing "experienced" nurses say 'they would do it again'. It's encouraging and gives me a warm fuzzy in my belly! , Thank you.


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