I am a fairly recent graduate with a few months experience in bedside nursing and a few months outside of bedside nursing and all I can say is that I am intensely disappointed with myself for this poor career choice. Nursing school does not tell/show you the realities of what nurses do/face because administrators and educational staff feed you utter nonsense throughout your schooling. Nursing is a thankless and dispiriting job... Yes, I said it--thankless and dispiriting. Here's *MY* reason for not liking it as a career:
1) The system is set out to fail you... at least it feels like it. Soo much paper work, so little time. Administrators expect you to do 20 hours worth of work in a 8-12 hour shift. It's not about caring for patients anymore, it's about saving the hospital's bottom from being sued.
2) Nurses do eat their young... and their old. Let's be honest, it's a cliquey profession.
3) It's never any other health professional's fault
(i.e., the docotors, social workers, physiotherapist), the blame always goes back to the nurses. A lot of your co-workers will say, "don't take it personally" but it is difficult when patients/family starts throwing stuff at you or calling you names.
4) You deal with "entitled" patients who think the hospital is a Holiday Inn. Not all patients are like this but you'd be surprised by how many act like it's a hotel. I had a patient tell me that she didn't like my service
because I didn't give her bed bath IMMEDIATELY after breakfast.
5) Working with SOME doctors/med students who have gigantic egos. Surgeons, in my books, are the worse.
6) FOLLOWING a nurse for a day is definitely different from BEING the nurse. I found that the difference between being a student nurse and being a nurse is that while I was a student, the work politics and responsibilities of the job was censored or hidden from me. I was so oblivious, and I don't know why. When I became a nurse, the reality sank in and I felt trap and powerless.
7) The constant surprises (not the good ones). E.g., getting a transfer and an admission 2 hours before shift change. ER nurse tells you that the patient is stable but when they get up to your floor, they're vomiting and feeling nauseated and you have to deal with it on top of everything else because s/he is your patient now. To top it all off, you've paged the resident x3 already and, surprise, no call back. I don't blame anyone in particular for this because it's a systemic issue... ER is always full to the brim.
8) Shift work. Since you said you don't mind it, I won't stress how much I dislike it. lol
What scares the heck out of me is that I'm already jaded after only (almost) a year of nursing =(.
To be honest, the thought of shift work and bedside nursing does not deter me.
Have you ever worked different shifts before? I don't mean it to be sarcastic... but it's definitely not for everyone.
...specializing in an area of interest such as Pediatrics.
You can specialize in Peds from the get go--if you're lucky.
Excellent pay for level of education
This is somewhat true. However, the AMOUNT of RESPNSIBILITY and STRESS you have to put up with is NOT worth $30-40/hrs, believe me. I don't feel any richer that's for sure and I don't spend a lot. Also, take it into account that throughout the next 20 years of your career you're "expected" to attend workshops or continuing education classes to "expand" your skill set without so much a pay increase... tell me then, it's excellent pay for level of education.
I hope you don't feel like I'm browbeating but this is all from MY experience as a nurse so far. Nursing is definitely NOT for everyone. I can't tell you what to do but I want you to think long and hard before making a decision you MIGHT regret. I don't know you, or what kind of person you are but if you can deal with all those things I listed above then you're a better and stronger person than I am.
I've been a reader here at allnurses for a long time... I just wanted to respond to your post because I'm really frustrated with this career. I wish you all the best and luck! You're still young and it's never too late.
PS Have you thought about becoming an Respiratory Therapist, Radiology Tech, Lab Tech?