Is Nursing For Me?

  1. Hi everyone, Im currently a sophomore in college, and trying to decide if nursing is something I really want to pursue. I've been debating for almost two years now, and i can't make up my mind..i'm going to list reasons I'm considering nursing and reasons why I'm not so sure, and any advice is greatly appreciated

    For Nursing:
    -no matter how many times I change my mind about my major or career ideas, (which I've done many times!) I always end up going back to nursing-I feel like nothing else will satisfy me/is worth it
    -i've taken some science pre-reqs and I received good grades, so I suppose thats a good sign
    -it just seems like such a worthwhile career, and I want to help people
    -I really care about people and I want to put it to good use
    -I like that theres much more variety in nursing (than say, occupational or speech therapy for example)
    -I like that nurses are so knowledgeable

    Against Nursing:
    -I've never really been interested in science/math..I'm more of an english/history person
    ***-worried I wont be able to handle the stress/pressure involved- I tend to get a bit overwhelmed (though I'm assuming you get somewhat use to it after a while?)***
    -I know nursing school is hard, and I'm afraid if my heart isn't in it completely it will be even more challenging [I am a good, hardworking student thought ]
    -Blood doesn't bother me but bad cuts and sores and things along those lines do gross me out (not a good thing if you want to be a nurse I'm sure) - wonder if anyone else felt that way and if they got use to it?
    -I've read people say to volunteer and such if you're not sure- but I'm not interested enough to do that so thats not a good sign

    So basically to sum this up, I feel like maybe I don't want to study nursing, yet I also go back to it all the time because I feel like nothing else is worthwhile, or will satisfy me the way I think nursing will..almost as if I have no choice to do it whether or not I want to, if that makes any sense..Can any nurses out there tell me what they think about this? And for the record I've researched A LOT of different careers, work areas, etc. so I know what else is out there but nothing else really sparks my interest

    many thanks to anyone who takes the time to read this and reply

    p.s. sorry for my rambling/complaining - & if this isn't under the right topic, I wasn't sure where I should post it
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    About purple23

    Joined: Dec '11; Posts: 11
    from US


  3. by   k-flo
    I am currently a senior in nursing school expecting to graduate in May next year. When I was going to school I was set on pre-med, every since I could remember I wanter to be a doctor, until I decided to shadow a doctor for a semester. To my surprise, I HATED it, I was very disheartened and I didn't know what to do. While shadowing the doc one day, he left for a meeting and I stayed behind to shadow the nurses and I loved it. I guess I had the wrong idea about what doctors really do. So my point is, even if you are not interested in volunteering, that will be the best way for you to get first-hand insight to the field and will let you see if you like it or not. When I started nursing school, I was decided to do NICU nursing but after my ER rotation I think I want to do that instead! So I encourage you to do some volunteering/shadowing, that is the best way to see if your expectations of the profession meet the reality of it.

    You gotta remember that nursing is a very versatile career, there is so many different things you can do with a nursing degree not just bedside nursing. You can do case management, teaching, school nurse, nurse practitioner, you could work for insurance companies, and this is just some of the things you could do...

    And to address the cuts/sores issue, I'm gonna say the first time I saw an IV insertion (first semester of nursing school) I nearly passed out. I hate needles! But I actually got over it pretty quick and I have done plenty IV starts now, so I guess you do get used to it. It is never pretty to see some of the wounds these people have but it gets easier.

    Good luck to whatever path you choose!
  4. by   HouTx
    Seems like you have done some significant ground work already - looking into the challenges that accompany nursing school. Realistically, nursing programs have a very high attrition rate. In some programs, it may as high as 50%. Although some of this is due to scholastic performance, a lot of students also decide to leave when their idealistic picture of "nurse" is shattered by the nitty gritty of reality. Bedside nursing is a hard slog; very physically and emotionally demanding and there is no 'short cut' to more attractive and less demanding nursing jobs(as mentioned by PP) without first gaining clinical experience (in direct patient care).

    Unfortunately, current economics (dwindling resources, over-abundance of new grads) have caused many employers to cease offering jobs to new grads because they cannot afford to support this initial training period. This is adding another dimension to the anxiety of nursing school that was not nearly as bad in years past.

    Please don't make a decision based on an idealized picture of yourself as an angel of mercy- appreciated and adored by your patients and society on general. This is far from reality. Nurses spend over half of their working hours just completing all the "paperwork" associated with health care delivery. Customer Service trumps everything - and no one cares why you didn't drop everything to bring the patient and family their fresh coffee when they demanded it.

    I still love the nursing profession - but it's very difficult to find a job that allows you to practice real nursing.
  5. by   BostonTerrierLoverRN
    I am one of the ones that went in half cocked, and yes it makes it even more difficult. I couldn't decide between Nursing and Medicine. I deeply wanted to go to Medical School, but it just wasn't in the cards for me financially to end up with a BS degree I couldn't really use if I didn't go all the way. So I let the NP option make it all worthwhile. I don't have any regrets now, but would still bust down the door of a Med School if I had the $$$ to go through 7 years of schooling
  6. by   NightNerd
    Just to comment on some of the points you listed as cons:

    -I majored in English and Psych for my first degree, and that was a MAJOR mistake when it came to supporting myself. I can definitely understand having an interest in English and history, but when you're into those things, it's imperative to know what you're going to do with them FIRST. My naive self decided I'd study English for the heck of it, and hopefully write a book by the time I graduated. Needless to say, that didn't happen. Nursing is challening and crazy and not a job where you'll be able to sit still and be orderly, and I understand why that is intimidating, BUT. It's important. You get to be a part of someone's "history" every day. You'll use your writing skills in documentation. You'll have something to talk about with history and literary buffs. There's more to it than that, definitely, but I think you'll find more room in your life for history and English while working as a nurse, rather than nurturing people through any career you can make out of a major in history or English. Does that make sense?

    -Volunteering. I did it for a summer, it was all right, I don't think I'll go back. My reason: it wasn't all that much patient care. Other than fetching water - which is important, don't get me wrong - I didn't really get to interact with people a lot, and it wasn't a good assessment of whether the career was right for me. I started working as a CNA recently, and that is so much better experience and much more telling. I love this job (even though it DEFINITELY has its difficult days!), and it makes me more confident than ever that I can do this. The work CNAs/techs do is direct and, well, intimate, and it offered a more meaningful connection with patients than, "Hi, I'm a volunteer, can I do anything for you?" So I would recommend that route more than the volunteering route if you're still questioning.

    Hope this helped!
  7. by   somenurse
    Havent' yet read the comments above,
    but, my list sounded a LOT like YOUR list when i entered nursing school. I became a nurse, and love it. Nothing else like it, imo.

    I was weak in math, and i invested in some remedial math classes, which were priceless to me. As a young woman more interested in partying and dating, i had no interest in science at that time. I hadn't really really been exposed to it much, and turns out, i LOVE science, and now, if there was another career i'd be interested in, i'd be a scientist. who knew? Certainly not me during my young years!! ha ha. My point there is, you might be underestimating your own ability to slog through the science courses req'd. There will be 40 other students in the room who also might not be sure they can do science, either, yet, they do.

    Re: the gross stuff. I will never forget my own mother's reaction to my announcing i was going into nursing, "You? You were always my squeamiest of all my children! wow!" and of course, then, she went on to say more positive things. And she was right, as a young person, i was quite the squeamy type, oh was i ever!! I'm not NOW at all. nope. Now i am one of the least squeamy ppl i know.

    Yes, we can become desensitized to gross things, over time. I also think, some of us, funnel all our gross-outs, down to one (1) thing, which we will stay revolted about for most of our careers. NOW I can handle most anything, but, it takes everything i have to be steady about eyeball injuries.
    yet, tons of OTHER things that i once was squeamy about, i can now handle pretty well almost all the time.

    I have coworkers who can handle most anything, but, nosebleeds, or suctioning phlegm, or dentures of all things! really? dentures? Most every nurse i know, seems to have funneled most all of her gross outs into one thing, and perhaps, that helps us handle all the Other gross outs, who knows.

    but yes, even a squeamy person can become a very effective nurse. some areas of nursing, are less gross than others, too, like you said, much diversity in the areas to choose from.

    Same goes for stress, much diversity in how stressful of an area you choose to go into. There's always stress, but, some areas are worse than others, imo. and most every job has stress, doesn't it? Still, to be honest, i do think most areas of nursing do require we develop a superior ability to handle stress, and most of us do learn how to do that.

    anyway, best of luck on your decisions!!!
    Last edit by somenurse on Dec 4, '12
  8. by   somenurse
    btw, i am always kind of surprised, or taken aback,
    but how many ppl see gross stuff as the hardest part of nursing. Whether it is someone considering going into nursing, or some neighbor, or stranger at a party,
    it is so so often the gross stuff that they seem to consider as hardest part of the job.

    It's not to me, anyway.
    nah, for me,
    the hard part, or most stressful parts,
    are the sometimes intense personal, sometimes passionate, emotionally loaded person-to-person interactions. When in hospitals, many patients and their families are super stressed out, beyond words,
    and their behavior is not, like the way it as picnics. This goes for some coworkers, too.

    There are occasional coworkers behavior, which can be petty, or even cruel, at times. Guess that can happen with any large bunch of people all working under stress, sooner or later, there's always "one" here or there, who can be a pain to deal with effectively, without letting that person 'get to you'.

    can be a challenge, especially if you are not having your best day, either.

    another stress, can be in the form of patient or family interactions. Right now, somewhere on ALLNURSES, there is an interesting thread from some nurse trying to cope with a very abusive family. Might be worth a read, and picture yourself dealing with that, cuz, it does happen. Imo, dealing with THAT is harder than cleaning out a wound, or wiping up poop.
    It's probably hard to locate any nurse, who hasn't dealt with some extreme personalities in her shifts.

    On, I DON'T SEE A LOT OF THREADS titled, "Help! i'm a nurse, and all this puke is driving me nuts!"
    Nope, that doesn't seem a real common topic on YOu might want to read more threads about what nurses actually ARE having more trouble coping with now and then, it's not usually wounds or poop.

    I am not sure, but, i am guessing, if you lined up 100 nurses, and asked them, "What is most stressful part of being a nurse?"
    i just don't think puke, or poop, would be the #1 stress
    . I could be wrong, but, i don't think THAT stuff is worst part of nursing, nor of being a mom, either.

    (LOL,most of those remarks, i copied from another post of mine, to someone else who was also listing gross stuff as the hard part of's a common thing, imo, for lotta ppl to see poop as hardest thing to deal with in nursing, but, imo,
    it's not the hardest all. BUT, we are all unique individuals,
    and for some, poop could be the hardest thing for THAT nurse, but, for me, it's the dealing with ppl who are stressed outa their minds.)
    Last edit by somenurse on Dec 4, '12
  9. by   nurseladybug12
    I graduated with my psychology degree in 2008. I absolutely loved psychology and school was fun for me. However, I didnt have the financial means to go to grad school to get my masters in order to do something practical with it. I also couldnt find a job better than making $10/hr. So, I had an interest in nursing, so I went and got my ADN and I am currently a new grad RN on a Med/Surg floor. I did it because I thought it would be a respectable profession to go into, I admired nurses that had taken care of me in the past, I knew that I could handle it academically, and I thought I would have a better shot at financial security with that career path. I would say given the present state of the economy, do nursing if that is the only thing you can see yourself doing. You can get a job more easily in that field, and when you are financially secure and you come to find out it is not your passion and your dream come true, you can always go back to school or take classes in something that you enjoy. You can look at it as a stepping stone in life. I dont particularly like working on a Med/Surg floor it is very challenging and I plan on furthering my education to become a nurse practitioner. Also, there are many fields of nursing and many different units one could work in a hospital, so if you dont enjoy your clinicals on a Med/Surg floor just remember that you are not going to be there forever, that is what I keep telling myself. I wishyou the best of luck in which ever path you decide to take.
  10. by   BostonTerrierLoverRN
    Hey, do y'all remember the "Do CNAs have to wipe butt" thread?

    I would read some Nursing Novels by Echo Heron, and look at the job market in your area, then if your still alive and sober, you can make a more educated decision
  11. by   Liddle Noodnik
    I still say training and working as a CNA first is the best route. You usually can get the training paid for by a facility but if not, the investment is not a lot of $. You get to see the nitty gritty all right, but you also get the added benefit that after that experience, you will be a compassionate supervisor when you are a nurse.

    I think too that your experience will benefit you in the likelihood of being accepted into nursing school, AND getting hired as a new grad. And it's something you can do while you are IN school, to help pay for expenses.

    The main thing of course is the world needs good CNAs, and good CNAs need more good coworkers!
  12. by   BostonTerrierLoverRN
    Know that Assisting is different than Nursing with a license, but,...

    (As far as my SNA* experience) It does help! It helps soooo much in the preparedness of your clinical areas or "practicums." You get a "birds-eye-view"of the Nursing Profession- and if you get to work different units, you can graduate already knowing your desired specialty!

    *SNA- Student Nurse Assistant
  13. by   LindaBright
    I agree with two of the previous points, simply because nursing is a very challenging career, and that doesn't even take nursing school into account (but, it does help prepare you for the actual job chaos!).

    Volunteer - you get an idea of what you're getting yourself into, and that gives you a chance to talk to nurses and find out their thoughts and perspective.

    Go for a CNA - if nothing else, its a stepping stone into nursing, both with education and experience.

    I love nursing, but, it isn't a career for everyone, and nobody should jump into anything that has such extensive educational requirements and job duties if they aren't really sure!
  14. by   Devin6xx
    Lol, you def. sound like me.. switching majors and going RIGHT back to nursing. there has to be a reason you go back to the same thing right? so stick with it! maybe start at an LPN level (better than CNA pay) I personally kept swapping between R.N, EMT, radiography, funeral arts and CSI (i dont even know why the last one was on the list honestly) I guess i get over curious. Im not squeamish with blood or wounds or anything, its actually more so have to deal with fecal matter.. lol. ANYWAYS, your telling your self that you truly want to do nursing because your going back to that each time. take stepping stones if you have too! I absolutely loved the medical classes I took in high school thats when I truely wanted to become a nurse, i found it fun and got so excited to take blood pressure haha. Do what you think you will enjoy most! BTW (I am more of an english person too) always hated science classes, though I did not mind anatomy and learning about diseases and I suck with math. Teach your self to love them anyway!