Okay so I've seen this post around a few times, but everyone seems to have different circumstances. I know that my indecision is currently being felt by many, and I just wanted to get an opinion from some other nurses out there.
I'm just about done my first year of nursing (bsn), and I am stressed out of my mind. I can't sleep because I can't stop thinking about this, I'm crying all the time, and can't focus my mind. I'm not too sure what made me apply for nursing in the first place, it just sort of came to me. I spent a year at a college, taking some courses to lighten my load for the first year of nursing. I still wasn't sure if nursing was right for me when I started the school year, but everyone assured me that I would know at the end of the year if it was right. Well, I'm at the end of the year, and I'm more confused than ever. Obviously I am aware of the job security, the countless options, how there's always something to do, etc, but I feel that that's not enough when it comes to a career in nursing, I don't want to hate what I'm doing just to have job security and a good paycheck.
I have loved all the theoretical work and book work we have done, and I just went into my first clinical setting this semester at a rehab/medical floor at our local hospital. I learned very quickly how difficult and draining it was, and how as an actual RN, I would have so much more to do. I ended up making a decision about mid semester that I would finish the semester, then not return to the program. I really did not enjoy clinical. I hated how stressful it was, and how their lives were in my hands. I learned how extremely significant a med error could be, and how an error of mine could seriously injure a person. I like doing vitals, but the charting is endless, and I hate the paperwork we have to do. I like interacting with the patients, and am okay with the sight of blood, but am feeling woozy looking at and cleaning wounds, etc. The thought of putting an NG tube or catheter in someone scares the heck out of me and really grosses me out. I am a very emotional, and stressful person as is, and I worry that nursing would just lead me to have a mental breakdown. However, I do love helping people and interacting with them, and I love science and learning how the body works with diseases, etc.
I have always thought I would be an L&D nurse, and never really considered or had any pull to work in any other speciality or floor of nursing. Obviously though, I haven't had the chance to experience OB yet, and I hear it can be crazy stressful, and have so many ethical issues.
Lately, I have been second guessing my thoughts of dropping out of the program. I don't want to regret this decision 10 years down the road, wishing I would have stayed in. The night shifts and holiday work make me cringe, but I just feel so unsure about what I should do. Now that I have experienced what an actual nurse would do day to day (on a rehab floor at least), it makes me extremely disgruntled to think of having to do that all the time.
I have learned that nursing is an extremely draining, and a physically and mentally tough job. I appreciate all the nurses so much more after experiencing what you guys have to do, and the amount of work that goes into a crazy 12 hour day. I just want to know, have any of you been in this position? Did you almost drop out? Do you wish you would have? I'm not looking for someone to make this decision for me, as I know that I can only make this decision myself, for me, but I just want to know if nursing is something I should seriously reconsider since I feel this way? I used to feel so passionate in the beginning, but now, I feel depressed.
Thanks for all of your help.
Apr 8, '13
I'm glad you see that this decision must be made by you. Anyone on this forum cannot tell you what to do because we don't have all the info. That said... I will share a story.
In my program I had a friend. We carpooled to clinical and about halfway through our first semester he started to vent to me every morning. He hated wiping bums, he hated answering call lights, he hated ambulating little old ladies, it was not what he had signed up for. I listened and made sympathetic noises, mirrored emotions and all that therapeutic communication business. The one morning I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, halfway through the morning rant I blurted out "well maybe nursing isn't for you." We stopped carpooling after that. My friend finished the nursing program, but he is not a registered nurse today.
I will say the same thing to you. Some people aren't meant for nursing. Does that mean you won't be able to be a nurse, not at all. I am not one of the (extremely lucky) people who feel that nursing is a calling, but I love being a nurse. I don't go nuts for diapers or bed baths or ambulating LOLs either, but that's not the point. If these tasks define the job for you and you despise them it's time to reevaluate. You have indicated that job satisfaction is very important to you, if you feel nursing will not satisfy you there is nothing wrong with that (other than the fact you have invested a year of your life).
I wish you luck in making this decision, hope you find your path.
Apr 8, '13
Honestly? I work with people who told me everything you have written. They are unhappy nurses and it shows in their attitude, interactions with coworkers and patients. They stayed, got the huge student loan and are stuck.
I love how people think the options in nursing are limitless and there is job security. It's a myth. To get any of the non bedside jobs you either have to have seniority, be injured, or take on a job that nobody in their right mind wants. As for job security? Sure we're unionized. But you know the saying, last in/first out. Governments are cutting back and it's wearing us down. Do more with less (staff, equipment, supplies).
There are lots of other areas in healthcare that are less stresful than nursing.
But just remember, in the end, the majority of us are government employees. Nobody has a guaranteed job anymore.
Do you want to incur student debt, be forced to continue a job that you may loathe because you owe the government money?
Oh, and L&D is incredibly stressful and postpartum isn't much better.
Apr 8, '13
I really appreciate all the honest advice, and the last thing I want to do is be that nurse that is unhappy, and treats patients and co-workers poorly. I promised myself after seeing the way some nurses treated the patients on my floor, that I would never treat a patient like that, and if it got to that point, that I would leave. With that being said, it's hard to leave with a huge student loan debt and find another job. I appreciate your imput Fiona about the government and set backs. Originally I wanted to go into public health but after realizing that there are about zero jobs out there, I changed my mind quickly.
I really appreciate all the help, it's very insightful coming from other nurses, and not just lay people who have every opinion possible about what I should do with my nursing career and life.
Apr 9, '13
I'd get out before the debt and you feel trapped. Nursing, and many other jobs are not for everyone. There are many jobs in health care with less stress and better hours. If you stick in health care you may get some credit or at least be a bit more knowledgeable. I don't know where you live but here in Ontario (at least at my hospital) we have a need for ward clerks. Its a two year diploma here. Nothing makes my job easier then a clerk who knows their stuff. What types of things attracted you to nursing? You said public health, social work might have some of the same qualities, but jobs are scarce.
Good luck, I think your making a wise choice to get out before your in over your head.
Apr 9, '13
Have you considered becoming an Advanced practice nurse? Less stress, better hours and more autonomy. Considering that you're more book smart you should check out this avenue you'd be able to do all the things you like. To be honest though I think you just hated the rehab hospital. My first clinical was at a rehab hospital and all I felt like I was doing was answering call bells and wiping butts. I think you need to give it a little more time I was under the same opinion but I'm now exposed to so many other areas. My eventual goal is to be a NICU nurse. Just give it sometime you'll find your niche
Apr 9, '13
So you telling her to hang in for the four years of school she hates so she can work the minimal 2-3 years of full time work at a job she may hate then work part time at the same job while going to school for another two years and then maybe she will be happy? The answer to wanting to leave nursing is not to get further into it. FYI babies butts may be cute but you still have to wipe them while deal with the erratic and irrational parents.
Apr 9, '13
If you don't like shift work now: you will likely be doing shift work as a nurse, for part, or more likely: all of your career. Make a pros and cons list, and see if it that helps you realize whats most important to you.
Apr 9, '13
Yes, you will be wiping behinds wherever you go. Advanced practice nursing is not theoretical... The NPs I know are up to their elbows with everyone else.
Last edit by CodeteamB on Apr 9, '13
Apr 9, '13
Daisy, thank you. Why a student with no experience in our real world would advise another student to go on and become an NP is beyond belief. The OP doesn't need that hassle.
Health Records techs do a two year diploma and make good money without body fluids an patieNt contact. But they probably have a forum where they vent!
Apr 9, '13
Read some of the threads around here. There is no job security in nursing anymore, and you're working shifts, holidays, weekends.
L and D and postpartum equals lots of bodily fluids and double the patient load because you have Mom and baby. Many areas are not what you would assume.
Is nursing for you? Only time will tell. I'm not sorry I chose nursing, but in hindsight, I would have liked OT or PT. You're helping people, better hours, politics is not as bad as nursing.
Your second year will probably be the deciding factor. You might enjoy it, you might not. Whatever you decide, be honest with yourself.
Apr 9, '13
The fact that nursing is so hands on is what I liked about it, and I really can't ever see myself doing any sort of secretarial/clerical job for a living, not enough critical/exciting thinking involved for me. That's why I thought nursing would be a good choice. It's not that I can't handle body fluids, as I have been for the last 13 weeks in clinical, I obviously don't enjoy them though. I love teaching people about health, diseases, etc, and trying to figure out what's wrong with them based on their symptoms and way to work around that. I do not however, like doing that in an emergency situation, and that's what I would be worried about going into nursing. I like things that are quicker paced, but not "do this now and think fast otherwise this person could go downhill". I find the whole rehab aspect interesting to some degree, but I don't like the work. I don't like rating what a person's bowel looks like, or assessing their scores on a FIM or Braden scale. I find it so boring. But it's so hard to tell what other areas of nursing would be like because I havn't had the chance to really experience them. I know people always bring up the "niche" thing, but I worry that I'm not "cut out" for all of it. Again I really appreciate all of the advice!!
Apr 9, '13
There are many nursing positions that do not involve being in an emergency position. I wouldn't like that either.I work on a Complex Continuing Care Floor and we have many rehab patients. We also have palliative and patients waiting for nursing home placement and some medical as well. I really enjoy the teaching aspect and figuring out what is going on based on symptoms.Unfortunately assessing BM and doing charting is part of the job as well. Any nursing job will have charting, you can't escape that.