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- Jan 6, '04 by JudyPRNUndertaker, I have been a nurse for 32 1/2 years. I have worked in hospitals, nursing homes, private duty and have been at this psych facility for 22 years, (as a nurse!) I graduated from a diploma school of nursing and went back to get my BS. Being a nurse is my defining character. I don't remember wanting to be anything else. (Except when I was 4 and wanted to be a ballerina and my gramma talked me out of it). Some of my jobs I loved and some I didn't. I never approached it as a 'good' job. In the Dark Ages when I started, I got paid $3.50/hour. I think that the desire to be a nurse must relate to who you are, what you are about. Your experience as an undertaker will be helpful. If you want to be a nurse you can. It is hard work, not glamorous, stressful, demanding, challenging, dirty, dangerous. But it is also uplifting, lifesaving, soul satisfying, spiritual, life changing, and eminately portable. In my years, I have always encouraged students, shown them everything I can, helped them in every way I could. Lord knows I needed all the new nurses I could get to come help me. I have also actively pursued the students who didn't care, who just wanted a job, who cheated on the work they handed in, and made sure they didn't come help me when and if they graduated. Nursing is one of those professions that defy a simple explanation. It is too many things to fit into one defination. We have not worn nursing caps for years because we don't have room for all of the hats we must wear on any one day.
Give it a try. You will have ample opportunities to change your mind during your education. It's not engraved in stone once you get started. If you want a taste, get a job as a nurse aid, QMA, CNA, however they are designated. Investing a little time in that area will let you know if it is what you want. In the meantime, keep your day job.
- Jan 6, '04 by CCU NRSAs in all things you will make your own final decision. I will try to explain a typical day for myself in CCU.
We are on a two to one Pt ratio, if staffing is sufficient if not we are on a 3/1. We have generally very sick Pts that are in various stages of grief/coping/communication they may or may not make their needs known they usually have anywhere from 2-10 family members and average(now I am saying average) level of education would be HS grad.
We have Physicians that come and go as they please without any apparent ryhme or reason as to the schedule they keep, and they may or may not (50/50) have an emergent procedure they need to perform on your Pt when they arrive.
I have to assess both patients and document said assessment in basically two places to be safe. Then I have to,pass any AM meds, doing any dressing changes, site care, trach care, turn q2 (every 2 hours)and clean any incontinance that occurs and tend to various IV drips and Tube feedings and foleys and JP drains etc. On each Pt while assisting my fellow nurses and being assisted by them to turn clean, medicate do FSBS (finger stick blood sugar)etc as part of the team. I also have to deal with pharmacy, PT (physical therapy) dietary and case managers to name a few.
All in all if you have good peoples skills are confident to answer any question concerning any disease, illness, process, procedure and any intervention that you may utilize and are able to manage time wisely with minimum of wasted effort you will probably do fine.
see this thread for more education.
- Jan 6, '04 by MICU RNShadowing some nurses is a great idea, at least do that before you change careers. Also ask your self what do you expect from nursing as a job, if you want plenty of autonomy and prestige, I certainlly would do something else. If you have the personality of someone who wants to be the quarterback and call the shots, definitely don't go into nursing. In addition, ( and I probably will take heat for saying this) what they don't tell you in nursing school is that to get to the really good jobs in healthcare i.e., plenty of autonomy, respect, good compensation, usually requires at leat a master's degree ( MD,PT,Phram D, NP, CRNA, and physician assistent) these jobs offer much more autonomy and respect than bedside nursing, but you have to pay the price with more education. As the old saying goes there are no short cuts, you can't go to a community college for two years and expect to receive the same treatment as professionals who went to college for least six years. I can't tell you how many nurses I know who think they are smarter than all the doctors they work with. Not that undergrad nursing is not hard, it is as you will find out if you go to nursing school. But I would not go through all of that to be a bedside nurse again, I just find the negatives outweigh the positives. My biggest negatives are: lack of autonomy, compensation and the attitiude that the nurses should have to do aid work, clerical work and act as waiters besides performing nursing duties. Good luck with your decision, nursing is a good profession for the right person and is a noble career, but it is not for everyone.
- Jan 6, '04 by undertakerIn response to TraumaRU's, mapleton, Ill. I have a very strong interest in Trauma or the OR, but I know they are very competitive to get into. I Definitely will look into a shadow or trying to get some exposure. Thanks for the advice!
- Jan 7, '04 by laurakcI have been in nursing for almost 8 years. It is funny, things have changed so much in only 8 years. My only advice is you can't help everyone, and when they are ready for help, they will ask for it. I am a ER nurse and find that it is usually when people want to do things their way, but get the outcome that they want that it stresses me out the most. I think nursing is a great field, but I am sure it is not for everyone. Now, blood and grief don't normally bother nurses. It is usually the fact that you can work your entire shift playing "waitress, maidservant, etc" and then when the family complains about you, it is not usually the nursing skills they are talking about. It is most often that someone wanted tea and you served them coffee, or you got a drop of blood on the blanket when you were starting the IV, or something like that. It is rarely that they doubt your ability as a nurse. THAT IS VERY FRUSTRATING!!! But it is all worth it when you can save lives and change lives occassionally. Just always be able to bite your tongue, smile and remember the few times that you were glad to be there for the patient or family.