Long term care isn't for me - does this mean I'm not cut out for nursing? - page 2

Hi everyone - I'm applying for an ADN program to start this fall, and in the meantime I decided that volunteering might be a good thing for me to do to get an idea of whether nursing is right for... Read More

  1. by   lizscott nurse
    Quote from secondfiddle
    Everyone -

    Thank you SO MUCH for all the thoughtful replies. I feel reassured that it might be the LTC environment (and this particular LTC) that is the problem for me. However, KatieBell, you raise an excellent, and very helpful point about the smells. I have never thought of myself as an overly sensitive or "squeamish" person (in fact, I am a horse person and happily spend plenty of time in dirty stalls picking through poop & urine soaked shavings, etc). Of course animal smells are different than human smells, but all the same I consider myself pretty tough in that regard. It is not the smell of feces/urine/wounds that bothers me per se, but the general smell of the facility. The whole thing smells like strong cleaning chemicals mixed with dirty hair and bodies, urine and occasionally feces (on certain parts of the halls). It takes me a day (and a shower) to stop smelling it after I leave. I honestly don't know if this is normal for a LTC or whether this one is a bit rough. I don't notice that it looks visibly dirty or poorly maintained, but again I don't have enough experience to really know one way or the other.

    Everyone's advice was excellent though, and I am absolutely going to think about what my expectations would be and talk to a practicing nurse to see if I'm fooling myself. I certainly don't want to make a poor decision, but I am hoping that it might just be the LTC that is turning me off. Thank you again!
    Not all LTC's smell that way. The one I work in seldom smells of urine/feces.
    And then it's only if someone has a major blow-out. But we keep all the
    yucky stuff tied up in separate plastic bags that go in a large trash bin
    that is in a separate room. Good luck with whatever path you choose
    to take. : )
  2. by   galaxy781
    Im with ya, I dont think i want to do LTC either, I worked in LTC for awhile and some love it but its just not for me, my true calling is peds!! good luck!
  3. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Clean LTC's should not smell of urine/feces all the time.

    And LTC is not for everyone. It's not for me, yet I found myself very happy as a nurse in OB/GYN. Nursing is a HUGE career field; there is plenty of room for non-LTC nurses, you know. And the person said LTC takes a special person; I agree 100% Not everyone can do that and do it as well as the truly dedicated LTC nurse can. My hat is off to all LTC nurses; thank goodness we have you.
  4. by   sunshine9
    Quote from secondfiddle
    Hi everyone -

    I'm applying for an ADN program to start this fall, and in the meantime I decided that volunteering might be a good thing for me to do to get an idea of whether nursing is right for me. (It would be a second career for me). The local hospital volunteer program told me that I wouldn't get much real patient interaction there, and that I should try volunteering at their 115 bed LTC facility.

    I'm on my second week as a volunteer in the LTC facility now, and I already know that it isn't something I'd want to be doing. I find the environment there to be extremely depressing - most of the people are not alert and some are on feeding tubes or catatonic. The smell in there is really terrible as well - a combination of bleach & cleaning chemicals, urine & sometimes strong feces. I am pretty much just changing ice water, but from observing the staff I can say that the work looks to be depressing and quite boring as well.

    So I'm worried now that this might be an indication that I'm heading down the wrong path. I know nurses work HARD and that the work can often be emotionally draining. But I'm looking for advice as to whether it might just be the long term care environment that is wrong for me, & how to figure out if that's the case. I chose to apply for nursing school because I am looking for something to do where I can use my brain and heart, have some meaning in my career, and quite honestly to be able to have some job security and flexibility.

    Any advice/experiences would be much appreciated.
    I work as a CNA in a LTC and unfortunately began to get the same perspective on nursing (that there is not much more out there). Fortunately I got my mind out of that rut and talked to a lot of the nurses about different things. There is definately more out there. Getting your RN helps, unfortunately where I am from LPN's do not have as many options and a lot do end up working in LTC. I love my residents at my nursing home but as a nurse I need to move onto something else. Unfortunately if you truly belive that you do not need to use your heart or that working at a LTC does not have any type of meaning to a nurse, you are truly mistaken. At least in my point of view. These people are in their last stages of life and feel alone and helpless. What they were once able to do, they can do no more. Very depressing. YES. And that is exactly why you need heart and why it has meaning to someone. Because you are helping someone in the last years of their life. I am sure that you didn't want it to sound that way, but I think sometimes that we all forgot what these people are going through also.
  5. by   secondfiddle
    Quote from sunshine9
    I work as a CNA in a LTC and unfortunately began to get the same perspective on nursing (that there is not much more out there). Fortunately I got my mind out of that rut and talked to a lot of the nurses about different things. There is definately more out there. Getting your RN helps, unfortunately where I am from LPN's do not have as many options and a lot do end up working in LTC. I love my residents at my nursing home but as a nurse I need to move onto something else. Unfortunately if you truly belive that you do not need to use your heart or that working at a LTC does not have any type of meaning to a nurse, you are truly mistaken. At least in my point of view. These people are in their last stages of life and feel alone and helpless. What they were once able to do, they can do no more. Very depressing. YES. And that is exactly why you need heart and why it has meaning to someone. Because you are helping someone in the last years of their life. I am sure that you didn't want it to sound that way, but I think sometimes that we all forgot what these people are going through also.
    Oh, gosh, Sunshine9, I definitely did not mean it to sound like I felt you didn't need to use your heart in the LTC setting. Actually, I meant that to be a separate thought in my rambling (i.e., reasons I thought nursing would be a rewarding career). I definitely agree that it requires a great amount of compassion to devote your career to LTC nursing and have a lot of admiration for the staff I see. Those people are angels (well, except for one or two grumbling & crabby individuals who I don't think I would want taking care of my final needs should I ever end up dehabilitated... )

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