Discouraged from pursuing Nursing...

  1. 0
    Hello all,
    I have found this website's forums and articles extremely helpful over the past few months, however, now I am posting myself with hopes of receiving some insight from practicing Canadian nurses.

    I am 20 years old and up until very recently had my heart set on nursing as my career path. After graduating high school I have been working several dead-end retail/customer service jobs at minimum wage. I finally said 'enough' and decided I needed a real career and not just a job. I considered several different options for a Bachelors degree (which is what I eventually would like to complete at minimum) but nursing immediately caught my interest for the following reasons:
    - Options to specialize in different areas and to work in varying settings
    -**Helping people!**
    - Excellent pay for level of education
    - Options to upgrade skills such as pursuing a Masters degree to become a NP

    All of these reasons were enough to make me want to pursue nursing. I have even registered for my nursing pre-requisite courses at a college for this fall. However, recently I have found that I am feeling a bit discouraged. I have spoken to several nurses and I find many of them are burnt out or seem unhappy. My friend's sister has been a nurse for 15 years and she even mentioned to me to look into dental hygienist school because it is a less demanding job both physically and mentally, yet still warrants a comparable salary. I have also been reading that the job market in BC is over saturated and it is difficult for new grads to find placement. Others have told me horror stories about the way nurses are treated by patients and even doctors. The bedside nursing stories are not too appealing either but are something I can deal with.

    So as of now I am a bit leery of moving forward with my plans to attend school this fall. To be honest, the thought of shift work and bedside nursing does not deter me. However, my long-term career goals were to move up the ladder and eventually find a position in management or specializing in an area of interest such as Pediatrics. (Although I do realize that would take several years.) I am now wondering if this is a realistic expectation for nursing as a career or if it is more realistic to expect to be working in a long-term care facility or something similar and having little hopes of advancement?

    Does anyone have any words of advice for me? For those currently employed in Canada, if you had to do it all over again, would you?

    My other area of interest would be health administration and I am considering enrolling in a Bachelors of Business Administration or similar program.

    For those that read this entire post, thank you! I am utterly confused about the next step in my education and career path, I feel like I am losing time and can't waste another year pondering... Any insight would be appreciated!
  2. 26 Comments so far...

  3. 4
    The only fly I see in that ointment is the lack of jobs at the moment.By the time you have completed the prerequisites and finished nursing school things could very well be different.I would advise you to not take to heart the grumbling and venting that you may hear from seasoned nurses.It is a stressful job and if we have had a bad day we would tell you "don't do it!".But in the end we love our jobs(I do). Climbing the ladder and getting into management is doable but to be really effective in that position you need to work in the trenches first.Specializing does not take years.I have a friend that is an LPN and has been out of school for just a year and she recently got a pediatrics position.
    I feel that learning and getting lots of experience in bedside nursing is a must before moving onto any roles away from the bedside.But that's just me.Yes you will encounter the odd grumpy or demanding patient or an abrupt doctor or two but it's not that bad really.Gone are the days when nurses were just handmaidens that carried out the doctors orders.We are an important contributing member of the health care team.Generally we are treated with courtesy by the doctors.We have autonomy and regularly use our skills qnd nursing judgement to decide how to provide care to our patients.The most awesome part about being a nurse is the wide variety of work settings that are available and how much of an impact we make on people's lives.
    You're not losing time.I was 38 when I started.
    joanna73, kazer, trrippy, and 1 other like this.
  4. 2
    To be honest, no I wouldn't do it again. Once you are working, you are sucked in by the money and it's hard to find something comparable $ wise.

    I'd do Health Records Technology. Two years, own workspace, breaks, no family interaction, very few nightshifts.

    I have a friend who went from LPN to NP. Took the better part of 20 odd years. But he's good at what he does.

    How you are treated by patients and their families depends on where you work and managements tolerance level. I've been physically assaulted by demented seniors in LTC and had managers say "what provoked them?" No how are you. LTC is their home and it appears to be OK to physically and verbally abuse staff. I work in an inner city hospital. So we see all social demographics. Trust me the wealthy are often nastier than the homeless. Over the years, I've learnt that I prefer to work with the homeless and prison population.

    As a nurse in acute care you are blamed for the doctor being late on rounds, the delay in diagnostic tests, and it's your fault if the icewater isn't cold enough. Patients are powerless and need to vent their frustration on somebody that can't fight back. They won't scream at the doctor or the radiologist but the nurses and NAs are somehow fair game.

    In the last decade appreciative patients are fewer and far between. We determine that by the chocolate and doughnut scale. They've decreased dramatically which is good for our waistlines.

    Day surgery patients tend to be more appreciative than longer stays.

    Like Lori said, specialization can take less than a year depending on where you are and how you interview.

    It's a bit premature to decide that Pediatric NP is your ultimate goal. I went into nursing filled with the idea that I would love Geriatrics and find a fulfilling career there. Huge wrong. I discovered that surgical nursing is my home. I enjoy being a floor nurse and will stay at the bedside until I walk away. I've said it before and I'll say it again, LTC nurses are a special breed but I'd hang up my uniform for good if I had to go back there.

    Look into other healthcare related fields. BCIT has some good programmes. And remember money isn't everything. I know several RNs (with and without a degree) who would walk away if they could but it's the money that keeps them there.
    joanna73 and loriangel14 like this.
  5. 0
    Everyone has days when your discoraged and you find no use in your job, but other days are great. I'd persue your dreams if thats what you want.You need to really look into it and make sure its the job that you feel is right.Just because you hear stories doesn't mean their all true.Sometimes they just try that to keep you away, i dont know why they do but it just happens like that. Im only in highschool but im studying to be an RN. But i asked nurses about it and they will say the same thing that in the end you do learn a lot and in the long run it is worth it. good luck
  6. 0
    I am really lucky to have accidently found an area I love. I really enjoy what I do and at the end of a day I feel like I have made a difference.

    If you want to be a nurse, be a nurse. Like lori said, who knows what the job market may hold. Before I went to nursing school I too thought LTC was awful, never wanted to work there, thought you would get stuck if you did. However I really ended up enjoying it and even worked there for a while, learned a lot and had no problem getting a job in a hosp after. In terms of wanting to move up the latter LTC is no place to shy away from. There is definitely a need for management (Director of Care) there.

    Where I live there are jobs, you can get ft with a year at hosp if you are will to work anywhere. It sounds like you are pretty realistic about not walking into your dream job. But I bet you could get into peds right after grad pt (there are also respite homes, homecare, public health, doc offices, schools, camps and I`m sure more that I`m missing other then a hosp)

    Good luck, I say dont let others discourage you and got for it.
  7. 2
    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?
    koi310 and Fiona59 like this.
  8. 2
    Quote from Sarah01s
    Everyone has days when your discoraged and you find no use in your job, but other days are great. I'd persue your dreams if thats what you want.You need to really look into it and make sure its the job that you feel is right.Just because you hear stories doesn't mean their all true.Sometimes they just try that to keep you away, i dont know why they do but it just happens like that. Im only in highschool but im studying to be an RN. But i asked nurses about it and they will say the same thing that in the end you do learn a lot and in the long run it is worth it. good luck
    Have you ever had a paying job?

    You are in highschool! My sons considered nursing for all the reasons the OP did. Then they had coffee with some of my male co-workers. One is now a medic in the Forces and the other is travelling Europe and has decided not to go near nursing.

    When you say you are studying to be an RN, let's see Grade 12 Sciences and Math? Trust me nursing school is very different from that.

    Working nurses want people to know what they are stepping into (literally and figuratively) and it isn't pretty. Ever dealt with union politics, excluded managers and constant contract violations?

    Yes, people vent here but they do it for a reason and not to be judged by idealistic children.
    joanna73 and loriangel14 like this.
  9. 2
    I'd get a job in a facility that involves direct patient care. That way, you can see what the work is like before you make a decision.
    loriangel14 and Fiona59 like this.
  10. 1
    Eveyone has different experiences. Just because a couple of nurses enjoy their job, it doesn't mean that the experiences of those who DO NOT enjoy nursing is not worth exploring and questioning. Why would anyone try to "keep you away" from going into nursing?

    I hope when you finish nursing school and your first year on the job as a nurse, you come back to allnurses and share all your fun stories about nursing. Let's see if your views change then. All the best of luck to you.
    Fiona59 likes this.
  11. 1
    Everyone has days when your discoraged and you find no use in your job, but other days are great. I'd persue your dreams if thats what you want.You need to really look into it and make sure its the job that you feel is right.Just because you hear stories doesn't mean their all true.Sometimes they just try that to keep you away, i dont know why they do but it just happens like that. Im only in highschool but im studying to be an RN. But i asked nurses about it and they will say the same thing that in the end you do learn a lot and in the long run it is worth it. good luck
    I replied to the quote above, decided to edit and I lost it. Dang it. Anyway, I guess I have to repeat myself.

    Everyone experience nursing differently. Just because a couple of nurses enjoy their jobs, it doesn't mean that the epxerience's of those who DO NOT enjoy nursing are not worth exploring and questioining. Why would anyone "try to keep you away" from nursing?

    I hope that one day, when you finish nursing school and your first year as a full fledge nurse, you come back and share your stories on allnurses. Let's see if you change your tune then. Best of luck to you.
    Fiona59 likes this.


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