questions about what it takes

  1. 0
    hi, i'm definitely shopping around for a new career in human services, moving over from the technology sector. i want to do something meaningful, which is also going to pay me a living wage. I was pursuing an MA in Counseling but it's just too expensive, plus i won't be able to afford the student loans i already have when i get out. So now i'm thinking about becoming an RN via an AS degree.

    What I like about potentially being an RN, is:
    - assessment and diagnosis
    - science & technology
    - opportunity to care for people
    - enormous professional flexibility, including possibility of psychiatric nursing or forensic nursing, among many others that interest me
    - i can start earning a living while i consider further education
    - i can actually find a job
    - the tuition is more affordable (or maybe my employer will pay for it)

    What I'm concerned about:
    - the thought of giving someone a shot scares me, something i'm hoping i can get over. i'm really afraid of hurting someone who is already scared of that needle.
    - i don't want to do direct patient care that involves bed baths or cleaning up excretions, sorry to be so delicate but i just know i would really hate doing that kind of work. no i don't have kids!!! : ) Do Rn's typically perform these duties or can we rely on other staff? Do the various direct-care nursing disciplines differ?

    I'm involved in direct patient care now, in mental health services. i work with developmentally disordered teenagers and i really like it so far, although i don't know that i want to do it forever. my coworkers are second to none.

    i need a career that balances my personal need to do something to contribute to society, and take care of myself and my financial obligations. right now i make dirt for pay, it's hard to survive let alone think about educational expenses, but i know i have to do it. i'm hoping for scholarships and/or tuition reimbursement if i get a staff position where i work now.

    i have considered medical imaging but it doesn't seem to offer the same professional range, or future progress. Plus i have to lift bodies to position patients, so when i'm older it will be harder to keep up. i'm 38 now, and i already have some back and knee trouble.

    i live in the boston area.

    any advice or feedback would be hugely appreciated. i'm mainly interested in knowing more about day-to-day professional responsibilities and career insight. if you have a huge anti-nursing rant, please don't take it out here! Thanks!!!!!
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  4. 11 Comments so far...

  5. 0
    Welcome to the BB. I am not a nurse yet, but have worked as a CNA so maybe I can help a little.
    Have you thought about shadowing a nurse for a couple of days in different areas to see what you like and do not like about nursing.
    About cleaning people up...well, you'll come in contact with it at some point in your career. I did it as a CNA (I don't have children) and I thought I couldn't handle it until one day a pt thanked me for helping him after he soiled himself. He kept telling me how embarrased he was. It made me realize that it's worse for the pt than it is for me. Now I'm fine with it.
    Hope this helps a little. I'm sure a experienced nurse can give you more concret answers.
  6. 0
    thanks much iliel! i'm definitely thinking about shadowing, i appreciate the suggestion. as i DO work in a hospital one would figure i could find a nurse somewhere's about! it will still be good to get the general consensus though.
  7. 0
    As a nurse you will be cleaning up people and you will be doing lifting, repositioning, and general tugging on them! If you use proper body mechanics and get some help, you will do fine....
  8. 0
    Ok, I will take this one piece by piece.


    Originally posted by Ellie2

    What I like about potentially being an RN, is:
    - assessment and diagnosis

    You assess, you never diagnose. Only the MD can do that (officially, of course).

    - science & technology
    (get used to machines that go on the blink and hearing beeps and alarms in your sleep. I refuse to have a doorbell because I just can't handle one more alarm!)

    - opportunity to care for people

    A plus, just don't expect them to appreciate what you do for them. Some will, but many will not.


    - enormous professional flexibility, including possibility of psychiatric nursing or forensic nursing, among many others that interest me

    - i can start earning a living while i consider further education

    Interestingly, none of the RN-BSN / RN-MSN programs around my area, at least, are scheduled for the reality of the working nurse. They start classes at 5pm....I reminded one Dean of Nursing that most nurses work 12-hr shifts...there are more online courses becoming available, though. So I wait it out myself.

    - i can actually find a job
    True, you can always do that. May not always be the job you want, but you can always work - at least until we get another rash of layoffs again.

    - the tuition is more affordable (or maybe my employer will pay for it)

    That's because of the desperate nursing shortage.

    What I'm concerned about:
    - the thought of giving someone a shot scares me, something i'm hoping i can get over. i'm really afraid of hurting someone who is already scared of that needle.

    You'll get over it. And there will be some patients you'll wish you had a bigger needle to stick with.


    - i don't want to do direct patient care that involves bed baths or cleaning up excretions, sorry to be so delicate but i just know i would really hate doing that kind of work. no i don't have kids!!! : ) Do Rn's typically perform these duties or can we rely on other staff? Do the various direct-care nursing disciplines differ?

    RN direct care disciplines differ in many ways. But there will be times that you will have to clean up a patient who is covered from head to toe in bed in poop. And you will have to manually disimpact someone. And you will have to insert an NG tube and you will have to give an enema and insert a foley catheter....at least in school and likely in the professional world at some point. The "nice" nursing jobs have a way of not being available for a very long time...and I don't know about the Boston area, but around here they don't pay a living wage (around $30,000/yr for a public health nurse position with the state - best hours and benefits around, though. Hospital nursing pays about 75% more).

    I'm involved in direct patient care now, in mental health services. i work with developmentally disordered teenagers and i really like it so far, although i don't know that i want to do it forever. my coworkers are second to none.

    i need a career that balances my personal need to do something to contribute to society, and take care of myself and my financial obligations. right now i make dirt for pay, it's hard to survive let alone think about educational expenses, but i know i have to do it. i'm hoping for scholarships and/or tuition reimbursement if i get a staff position where i work now.

    Have you considered physical or occupational therapy?


    i have considered medical imaging but it doesn't seem to offer the same professional range, or future progress. Plus i have to lift bodies to position patients, so when i'm older it will be harder to keep up. i'm 38 now, and i already have some back and knee trouble.

    We all have back and knee trouble. It is possible to move into management or educational positions down the road though, once you have enough experience etched into your brain so that you can be a good advocate for the nurses under you.

    i live in the boston area.

    any advice or feedback would be hugely appreciated. i'm mainly interested in knowing more about day-to-day professional responsibilities and career insight. if you have a huge anti-nursing rant, please don't take it out here! Thanks!!!!!
  9. 0
    i appreciate the considered reply. yep i'm looking at occupational therapy mainly, PT seems pretty saturated or so i've heard from friends who were studying same. i am having a really hard time also, finding a nursing program that allows me to work full-time, which is absolutely necessary. not even the community colleges. also no part-time programs which really blows my mind. st. elizabeths' in NY has a weekend/evening program supposedly designed for the working human, don't know if that helps you -- too far from me.

    i figure my fear of giving shots is pretty much like most of my other fears - once i actually do it, i'll be fine. i will look more closely at OT and psychiatric nursing.

    best, Ell
  10. 0
    In my nursing clinicals, particularly in psych clinicals, there were occupational therapists there with big balls playing catch with the patients lined up in a circle around the room. I look back on that and look at my life now and wonder, "WHAT was I THINKING?" I really wish I had gone that route. My life would have been much, MUCH different and I believe much easier and maybe I wouldn't be the brassy ***** I seem to have become at times. I KNOW my kids would at least be living with me instead of with their father. Just something to consider. I realize there's more to it than that, but it's certainly a lot cleaner and much better hours and more respect.
  11. 0
    ouch, babs i would laugh if i didn't know how much that hurt. although being a brassy you-know-what is hardly a bad thing in my eyes.

    we have an OT at work, i'll keep an eye on her.

    a lot of this is, how can i get myself into a human service job with a higher wage as quickly as possible, without painting myself into a corner. my resources for school are extremely limited, and i can't really rely on loans for reasons too complicated to get into. I'll have to look into OT programs in my area and see what's available.
  12. 0
    You can also check out sites like collegescholarships.com - and there are some others. Do a web search on college scholarships and weed through the few scam artists that are out there (there are a few) but there are a number of very reputable sites as well as links to government money that may be available to you. I know how it is to be at the end of your rope, knowing there's got to be a better way to make a better living...I'm sort of there right now, exhausted after coming in from a shift that takes a two-hour commute (getting up at 0200 to be there by 0500) just to get my 40 hrs in this week (and I NEED 50) - but I also believe that everything comes to fruition at the time that it is absolutely needed. As my minister father puts it, God has a way of putting you on the bus and THEN giving you the ticket. Something I have to keep reminding myself of from time to time, myself. I truly wish you the best of luck, and let me know how things go, OK?

  13. 0
    I have to say, I LOVE nursing, but if I had it to do over again, I WISH I had known about OT. I work in an NICU, and OT's come up to help the babies learn how to bottle feed. They also make us lots of stuff to help with developmental aspects of care, like making positioning aids and helping to keep the babies in proper physical alignment, like keeping their hips in proper positioning to prevent physical deformity, or using various devices to prevent shifting of the skull bones from lying in one position too long. They also work with the babies with fine motor skills, like helping them learn to grasp small objects and do ROM exercises. They're actually like a combination OT/PT, but all of them are certified OT's. I also met a woman who works at a pediatric hospital here and shadowed her for a day when I was in nursing school, and she just had a blast working with kids all over that hospital in various ways. The only bodily fluids they clean up on our unit is if a baby spits up (which does happen) during feeds, and even that is usually with the assistance of the nurse.

    I love my babies, love my unit, love what I do, but sometimes I think I might have been equally or even more happy(ier) had I gone down that route. Definitely something for you to consider. ;>) You still get lots of direct patient interaction, but the responsibilities are very different.


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