Just starting out. Advice?

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    I start a CNA course on May 24, and am hoping the expereince will help me decide whether or not I want to get a BSN after a year of working as a CNA in a hospital. Any advice before I begin?

    Thanks,
    Stephanie
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  4. 0
    Just wanted to say I think that is a GREAT idea, and I wish I'd done it. Honestly, if I had, I wouldn't have wanted to be a nurse...would have saved myself a lot of time, tuition money, and agony.

    But oh well, here I am, 7 months into the job. The jury is still out! We'll see if the job grows on me at all! ; )

    (Actually, I like non-hospital nursing...just hate doing the hospital stuff, but doing it anyway to learn & get experience.)
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    What about nursing do you dislike so much? If you hadn't gone into nursing, what do you think would draw your interest?

    I have the broad goal to devote my life to helping other people get through lifes' struggles. Being only 20, and at the beginning of my "career" I think this is a good foundation. Currently I work with people with mental illnesses who are transitioning back into independent life. I love this work, but I am also intrigued by the medical aspect of caring for people. I hope that my love, idealism, and personal vision are fulfilled by nursing.

    I am curious as to how you went through with nursing school, only to discover that it wasn't for you? Did you have the wrong idea about what nursing would be like from the start?

    I am asking these questions because I am very hopeful that I will like nursing through the CNA experience. But there is that fear that I won't...

    Thank for answers! --stephanie--
  6. 0
    I think you are comparing apples to oranges. Being a CNA is not being a nurse, though you'll see a lot. I too was very disappointed when I became a nurse and started working in a trauma step down unit. I hated every minute of it. Thankfully I got hired into the OR, where I'm much happier and excellent in what I do.

    You may be one of those who has a "calling" as I hear it described here. If so, you'll be probably be happy with your decision. Those of us who are more pragmatic sometimes transition with more difficulty and have to search for the right fit. Working as a CNA will show you the real side of nursing in terms of staffing, pressures, etc. It will not teach you how you will see those things as a nurse.
  7. 0
    Orrnlori,

    I hope being a cna is the right thing for me to do. I get different responses whenever I ask people if being a cna will give me a decent preview of nursing life. Some say yes, others say not so much. But I figure it will give me a better idea than if I were even a secretary at a hospital or working as a waitress somewhere. It's the closest I can get!

    I wish I had a calling to be a nurse, but really I have never felt what people describe as a calling. Nursing just seems to include all of the factors that I would like to put energy into. I am a bit intimidated by some of the posts on this website, outlining numerous frustrations that so many nurses seem to share. It seems that the entire field is in a state of major transition, and that is always a difficult time to start new...

    Thank you for your response!
  8. 0
    Orrnlori,

    I hope being a cna is the right thing for me to do. I get different responses whenever I ask people if being a cna will give me a decent preview of nursing life. Some say yes, others say not so much. But I figure it will give me a better idea than if I were even a secretary at a hospital or working as a waitress somewhere. It's the closest I can get!

    I wish I had a calling to be a nurse, but really I have never felt what people describe as a calling. Nursing just seems to include all of the factors that I would like to put energy into. I am a bit intimidated by some of the posts on this website, outlining numerous frustrations that so many nurses seem to share. It seems that the entire field is in a state of major transition, and that is always a difficult time to start new...

    Thank you for your response!

    Stephanie
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    It will give you a better idea than if you were a secretary, sure. You are 20 years old, a baby really, please don't be offended. You have plenty of time to figure things out for yourself. It's the people who are 40-50 and wondering about nursing that I worry the most about, less working years left at that age and a mistake could be quite detrimental.

    I think there is a certain group of people who are idealistic at any age. I think it's great to be that way. Me, I'm a white/black sort of thinker, there are few shades of gray in my world. And I've never really been idealistic about "helping" people. I'm not really sure what that means when someone says it. Nursing is about helping people and sometimes we truly do something that means something to someone. But it doesn't happen much, not really often at all in my experience. We do a job, it's a hard job, and it's mostly a thankless job. It's rewarding if you make it such. But there's a lot of garbage you deal with from doctors and administration. It makes it hard to see the silver lining sometimes.

    A patient will appreciate what you do for them while you are doing it. But once they are well, many times, it's the skill of the doctor they will announce to their friends, not the nurse who held their heads while racked with nausea or wiped their raw bottoms when suffering from diarrhea. It's just the nature of the beast. You make your own sunshine. Good luck with whatever you decide.
  10. 0
    SORRY THIS IS SO LONG - but it should clarify some of my frustrations:

    I got my issue of Nursing2004 today. I generally flip through magazines backwards (no reason, except that they seem to "flip" better that way...and maybe because the meatier articles are in the back). So anyway, I'm flipping through and thinking, "well, this is what I do like about nursing...this medical info is really interesting..." etc., etc.

    THEN I get to the legal advice column at the front of the mag, where people write in with questions about various scenarios they've encountered. One nurse wrote about her hospital's policy of having every pregnant woman, no matter how far along, always be transported via wheelchair - no matter if they've come in to deliver or for a routine test. She relayed an incident in which a 7-mo-pregnant patient came in for an ultrasound, but there were no wheelchairs available. She called up to the doc's office and the doc demanded she send the patient on up, on foot via the elevator, and to not wait for a wheelchair.

    The legal advice was that if the nurse sent the pt on foot and the pt fell, the nurse would be liable. The advice columnist said the nurse should not have let the pt go to the office on foot, that she shouldn't let the doc bully her into it, etc.

    So my frustration is this: It is interesting to know about the medical things, the patho, the treatment for various diseases/conditions, etc. It is rewarding to "help" or "make a difference," etc. It doesn't even bother me to do some of the icky stuff and not get thanked for it. BUT - what bothers me is the fact that instead of doing any of these things, I so often find myself dealing with scenarios like the wheelchair one!

    Instead of taking care of the tasks that need to be done - instead of doing the most thorough and best assessment I can do - instead of being able to focus on the patho and theory behind my patient's condition and plan of care...I end up spending time trying to navigate issues like the wheelchair one.

    Also:

    I was telling a friend the other day that I am frustrated with things like being expected to act independently in a critical/code situation, or know all the pharmacological implications of every drug my pt's taking - yet, I have to get a doctor's order for which infant formula a baby can take before I can feed the baby.

    We can have policies that say parents have to step out of the NICU during change-of-shift/report time - yet, we don't have a policy against admissions coming in during change-of-shift (therefore, trying to get a baby's weight, start IV's, fax orders to pharmacy, etc.,etc. DURING report).

    We are expected to understand all the radiological/etc tests that are done in the hospital, and know what our pt's results are from those tests - yet, we cannot discuss the results with the parents at all (therefore, being forced to sometimes LIE to babies' parents).

    It's like nursing is the "catch-all" job in the hospital. In other professions, there is more of a hierarchy, a clear delineation of what kinds of tasks go to which role. But with nursing, you're doing everything from cleaning a baby scale to hanging vasoactive drips to faxing orders to pharmacy to suctioning a vent. You're doing a lot of gruntwork while at the same time, expected to have practically the same knowledge base as the M.D. Just doesn't make sense to me. I mean, I'm getting used to it, and I do understand that a lot of that gruntwork does have important physiological implications (cleaning:sepsis prevention, wrinkled linens:bedsores, etc.). BUT there is simply not enough time in the day for me to tend to EVERY DETAIL that needs to be tended to as a nurse - AND be there emotionally for my patients AND get all my charting done in a timely fashion!!

    So - these are just some of my frustrations!

    I'm 33 yrs old, just became a nurse 8 months ago. I think I am getting to the point in my life where I just don't want to put up with some of the absurdities in the nursing profession, as compared to other professions. I am old enough to know that life is too short and my family (hubby and two young daughters) is too precious to me to spend my days frustrated and wiped out. And I am young enough to go switch back to my previous profession, and to (eventually) recover financially from the cost of nursing school.

    The only things keeping me in the profession right now are (1) guilt about "giving up" on the investment I've made getting INTO the profession, (2) guilt about knowing that I do give good care, and maybe I should stay in it to counterbalance some of the BAD nurses I've seen, (3) and the thought that ONE DAY, which seems to be very far away, I will enjoy it more because I'll have more knowledge and/or I'll be in an environment I prefer.
    Last edit by KarenAR on Apr 12, '04


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