to nurse or not to nurse?

  1. Hey guys I am new to this online community as well as the world of nursing. I am a college student who is studying to be a nursing student. Up until now I have never questioned my decision to study to be a nurse. I am getting ready to transfer from my current school to a very prestigious medical school that I have dreamed about for quite some time. The only problem lies in a book I read that voiced concern about the corruption of medical care in modern times. This book left me with some disconcerting feelings. Then I looked on this site and saw a lot of people that hated being a nurse and also a lot of accounts of the headaches and politics. *Sigh* I saw nurses that praised their job as well and I have talked to a lot of nurses in person who say they love their job. I guess all jobs have their pros in cons. It is just that I want to know if I the cons of nursing are something I am willing to accept. I have had a very Pollyanish ideal of being a nurse up until now. I want to be a nurse because I want to help people more than anything. I have always been told that I am good with people. I love talking to people and helping people. When I was very sick in the hospital their were these nurses who were so sweet to me and so compassionate. I asked them how they liked their job and they told me they loved it more than anything and I thought to myself that was what I truly wanted to do. However, now that I see more of the reality of it I don't know if it is something that would make me happy. Do nurses get really desensitized? I would imagine that it would be hard having to see things like a guy a who beat up his girlfriend holding her hand as she lay in the hospital bed. I have heard that in hospitals a lot of times at the hospital crack babies will be abandoned at the hospital and when they cry they scream the most horrible screams ever heard from most infants. I suppose these are cases that nurses usually do not see every day. I imagine that nursing is not for the faint of heart. I know I could deal with seeing horrible things, I am a strong person but I could not promise that I would not be depressed. My problem is that I usually want to do much more for hurt people than is in my power to do for them and I have a feeling it would break my heart. Maybe I am too empathetic, but isn't that what is needed? However, I do tend to be very capable and clear thinking when their is crisis around. Another concern is what I have heard about coworkers and patients being very rude to nurses. I am a person who is very intolerable to any type of rudeness I am the kind of person who always refuses to reply to any request that was not presented in a polite manner. I simply cannot stand an environment where people are rude and I feel underappreciated. I know this from experience. Blood and bodily fluids and things like that do not bother me however the thought of giving someone a shot makes me a little nervous for some reason. Science and the human body fascinate me as well as the prospect of improving people's health. I just don't know what to do. I don't want to go any further with my studies of nursing without understanding what I am getting myself into. Can anyone who is an RN tell me about their experiences and how they feel about their job. Also from a professional standpoint and from what I have described about myself do I seem to be a person who is suited to be an RN? Thanks for any input.
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   RN4NICU
    Quote from swedishchick
    Another concern is what I have heard about coworkers and patients being very rude to nurses. I am a person who is very intolerable to any type of rudeness I am the kind of person who always refuses to reply to any request that was not presented in a polite manner. I simply cannot stand an environment where people are rude and I feel underappreciated. I know this from experience.
    On this point alone I would tell you to keep far, far away from nursing. Some patients, some doctors, some families will appreciate you. Others will treat you like a servant. Other departments in the hospital are not always polite - as a matter of fact, few people in a hospital are polite. For me, the babies make it worthwhile...most of the time. Then, there are other times when I wonder why I ever went into nursing to start with. I wish I could paint a brighter picture for you, but I think it is better that you know what you are getting into than for you to look back later thinking "I wish someone had told me it would be like this."
  4. by   CHATSDALE
    Maybe You Should Choose Something Else, Sick People, Their Families And Md Quite Often Do Speak To The First Person They See Ie Nurse In Very Rude Ill Mannered Way, You Cannot Ignore Them You Must Still Do Your Job....there Are Many Jobs That You Will Enjoy In Which You Will Not Deal With People Under Stress That You Find In Nursing....look Around And Yo Will Find Something That You Will Find Challanging And Fruitful
  5. by   IamRN
    Quote from swedishchick
    Then I looked on this site and saw a lot of people that hated being a nurse and also a lot of accounts of the headaches and politics. I guess all jobs have their pros in cons.
    I think anyone w/any employment history will tell you that you find politics in most every (if not all) situations.

    I want to be a nurse because I want to help people more than anything. I have always been told that I am good with people. I love talking to people and helping people. However, now that I see more of the reality of it I don't know if it is something that would make me happy.
    Personally the little successes make the negatives worthwhile. Sure, we can dwell on the negatives, but what good would that do to your patient and to you, as nurse. OTOH, the potential for change is always there. Granted there are a lot of things that are out of our control, however. I like to approach negative situations w/the best possible solution. I guess I feel a career in nursing is what you make of it.

    Do nurses get really desensitized? I would imagine that it would be hard having to see things like a guy a who beat up his girlfriend holding her hand as she lay in the hospital bed. I have heard that in hospitals a lot of times at the hospital crack babies will be abandoned at the hospital and when they cry they scream the most horrible screams ever heard from most infants.
    Desensitized? I don't think I am. However, I need to respect the choices that other people make in their lives. It is not for me to judge, doesn't mean I can't provide support and information (ie in the bf/gf scenario above, I would offer resources for counseling and safe places). If something particularly bothers you just stay away from it. That is one of the beauties of a nursing career. The options are many and if you are not comfortable w/babes born addicted just don't work in such settings. You don't like seeing traumas, stay away from the ER. If you enjoy teaching, there is the possibility of being an educator for patients (cardiac cath, CABG, Diabetes, etc.) The sky is the limit!

    I know I could deal with seeing horrible things, I am a strong person but I could not promise that I would not be depressed. My problem is that I usually want to do much more for hurt people than is in my power to do for them and I have a feeling it would break my heart. Maybe I am too empathetic, but isn't that what is needed?
    I believe one can be empathatic and still be an effective nurse under the most difficult of situations. Simply, there are things one can't control...and that is true for every day life, not just in nursing.

    Another concern is what I have heard about coworkers and patients being very rude to nurses. I am a person who is very intolerable to any type of rudeness I am the kind of person who always refuses to reply to any request that was not presented in a polite manner. I simply cannot stand an environment where people are rude and I feel underappreciated.
    You can, and will, encounter ungrateful people in every profession. There are, however ways to communicate what is acceptable or not in a tactful and professional manner. Another thing to consider, what may seem polite for one culture is not necessarily for another one. One must respect, if they want to be respected. Also, people can act rude, but it could just be from the stress of their health status. Still not acceptable, but it is an important factor to consider. If you want a career where you would get praised every step of the way you may have trouble finding one.

    One thing you don't mention above, is health professionals being rude to each other. As w/any other profession, it happens. I know this from experience.

    Blood and bodily fluids and things like that do not bother me however the thought of giving someone a shot makes me a little nervous for some reason. Science and the human body fascinate me as well as the prospect of improving people's health. I just don't know what to do. I don't want to go any further with my studies of nursing without understanding what I am getting myself into.
    Administering injections was a scary concept for me too. Don't know that many people that particularly were looking forward to that skill, but as one learns what it entails and you practice it more and more your confidence increases.

    I don't think it is possible to understand nursing until you are doing it. It is way different than reading about it; even different than nursing school. If your goal has always been a nursing career then you have to believe that the school you attend will prepare you. Mind you, nursing school only provides information for you to enter the nursing practice under minimally safe conditions, but that is enough to get you on the road of being an efficient and compassionate health care worker.

    Can anyone who is an RN tell me about their experiences and how they feel about their job. Also from a professional standpoint and from what I have described about myself do I seem to be a person who is suited to be an RN? Thanks for any input.
    I love my job. Can't imagine doing anything else; even on the worse of days. The flexibility is awesome and the variety in practice choices are a big plus in my book. Only you can answer the last question
  6. by   angel337
    you have obviously thouroughly explored your own thoughts about the nursing profession which is a plus. when pursuing my nursing career i did the same thing because i knew that nursing was not something i wanted to invest 4 years of school into and not be happy with it. alot of people don't look at the profession in a realistic light and that is what makes them hate their jobs later down the road. like another poster said ALL jobs have negatives not more or less with nursing. i agree that nursing is what you make it. remember that you are dealing with sick people and when people are ill they may behave in ways they normally would not. you must have patience to be a nurse, without patience..nursing can be a hard job to go to everyday. i find that most patients just want healthcare providers to be empathetic and considerate of their needs. i don't have a problem making my patients comfortable ( getting pillows, a drink of water etc..) because i always try to look at things from the patients point of view and i know how i would want to be treated if me or a loved one was in the hospital. some may look at that as being a servant, but its not. you will always have people that are not going to appreciate you, but those people probably treat anyone they come in contact with the same way. i personally like my job very much (ED). there were no surprises for me because i worked in that setting for 4 years before i became a nurse. yes it can be stressful at times, but i can't imagine doing anything else right now.
    i suggest you get a job in a hospital setting as a tech or cna or even a unit secretary. it will give you exposure to the profession and it will help you decide if nursing is for you. you mentioned medical school. if you are interested in having more autonomy and control of decision making then nursing is probably not for you. nurses make their own judgements and decisions about patient care/treatment everyday, but ultimately the physician is in control of that aspect. i hope this helps. follow you heart and you will make the right choice
  7. by   SmilingBluEyes
    My strongest and best advice:

    Grow a thicker skin. Nowhere on Earth will you work where you will NOT encounter extremely rude, harsh and backstabbing people. They can be your coworkers. They can be people you "think" are friends. They can be your "customer". (or patient, same thing most places). They are all over. And it's not just a phenomenon in nursing. The whole world thinks they are "entitled" to things and this sense of "entitlement" drives people to do things that are unspeakably rude and mean at times.

    Grow a thick skin. Get a good book about dealing with difficult people. Here is a book to help you:

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...glance&s=books

    I read it a long time ago and it does help a lot. Remember, when people are mean or rude one simple rule: It's not about YOU! Don't make it about you; cope effectively without losing your cool, and you WIN.

    You can't get away from it but you can be strong in the face difficult people. Good luck whatever you decide but dont' let your inablity to deal with tought people be THE deciding factor in the career choices you make, or you will be VERY limited!
  8. by   JacelRN
    Your post inspired me to reply,

    I feel similar to you and I AM a nurse. I went into nursing believing I could care for people in their most vulnerable times, when they needed a kind face and gentle hands to match. I believed that way...and I still do. Despite any negativities I have encountered, and there have been plenty so far, the overall job satisfaction is apparent. For every 3 patients who are needy, rude, dissatisfied and downright nasty to me, there is the 1 patient who really needs me, and needs my caring attitude. Every day I work, I find that patient. Sometimes they are obvious, other times, I have to work the entire 12 hours to see it. I make it a point despite my circumstances to tell myself "I will either chose to allow this negativity to change my spirit, or strengthen my spirit." It is a fighting battle and not for the weak of heart, but I do not see that in you.

    I encourage you to search your motives and decide from there. Nursing can be everything you want it to be, but you probably will have to fight for it, like most of us do every day!

    Good Luck,
    JacelRN
  9. by   lady_jezebel
    Practically-speaking, it's not a bad 1st degree to have. You'll have guaranteed work, a good salary, and career flexibility. If you decide later that you would like to obtain an advanced degree either within OR outside of nursing, these options will always be open to you. It's a good investment of your time, even if the degree is just a stepping-stone to something else (ex. medicine, law, counseling/psychology, biology, social work, physical therapy, etc...). Since you've already been accepted into an excellent program, I say go for it & work hard to make straight A's so that you have many options after this undergraduate degree.
  10. by   swedishchick
    Thanks everyone for sharing some of your experiences. Some of the advice given was very good. I appreciate the encouragement because I really do feel that nursing is what I am meant to do. I am just going to go where my heart leads me and take it from there. It is really nice to hear from some nurses that like their job and find it fufilling. Ultimately isn't that what we all long for as humans? To make some difference in the world! So all of you nurses who are like the ones I have encountered in my sick days in the hospital who made me feel so at ease with caring eyes and gentle eyes keep up the good work! I hope to join your profession soon.
  11. by   TexasPoodleMix
    I had some of the same concerns regarding nursing after browsing thru this site, etc. I talked to my MIL and some of her friends about nursing and they all stated they love their jobs and wouldn't change a thing. Sure there are problems, but aren't there with every other job too ? There are rude and abusive people in every field , at least in all the jobs I have had. If you really want to be a nurse I wouldn't let the horror stories etc. stop you.
  12. by   irishrose53
    Quote from swedishchick
    Hey guys I am new to this online community as well as the world of nursing. I am a college student who is studying to be a nursing student. Up until now I have never questioned my decision to study to be a nurse. I am getting ready to transfer from my current school to a very prestigious medical school that I have dreamed about for quite some time. The only problem lies in a book I read that voiced concern about the corruption of medical care in modern times. This book left me with some disconcerting feelings. Then I looked on this site and saw a lot of people that hated being a nurse and also a lot of accounts of the headaches and politics. *Sigh* I saw nurses that praised their job as well and I have talked to a lot of nurses in person who say they love their job. I guess all jobs have their pros in cons. It is just that I want to know if I the cons of nursing are something I am willing to accept. I have had a very Pollyanish ideal of being a nurse up until now. I want to be a nurse because I want to help people more than anything. I have always been told that I am good with people. I love talking to people and helping people. When I was very sick in the hospital their were these nurses who were so sweet to me and so compassionate. I asked them how they liked their job and they told me they loved it more than anything and I thought to myself that was what I truly wanted to do. However, now that I see more of the reality of it I don't know if it is something that would make me happy. Do nurses get really desensitized? I would imagine that it would be hard having to see things like a guy a who beat up his girlfriend holding her hand as she lay in the hospital bed. I have heard that in hospitals a lot of times at the hospital crack babies will be abandoned at the hospital and when they cry they scream the most horrible screams ever heard from most infants. I suppose these are cases that nurses usually do not see every day. I imagine that nursing is not for the faint of heart. I know I could deal with seeing horrible things, I am a strong person but I could not promise that I would not be depressed. My problem is that I usually want to do much more for hurt people than is in my power to do for them and I have a feeling it would break my heart. Maybe I am too empathetic, but isn't that what is needed? However, I do tend to be very capable and clear thinking when their is crisis around. Another concern is what I have heard about coworkers and patients being very rude to nurses. I am a person who is very intolerable to any type of rudeness I am the kind of person who always refuses to reply to any request that was not presented in a polite manner. I simply cannot stand an environment where people are rude and I feel underappreciated. I know this from experience. Blood and bodily fluids and things like that do not bother me however the thought of giving someone a shot makes me a little nervous for some reason. Science and the human body fascinate me as well as the prospect of improving people's health. I just don't know what to do. I don't want to go any further with my studies of nursing without understanding what I am getting myself into. Can anyone who is an RN tell me about their experiences and how they feel about their job. Also from a professional standpoint and from what I have described about myself do I seem to be a person who is suited to be an RN? Thanks for any input.
    :angryfire I spent alot of cash putting my daughter through nursing school. 4 months after graduation she has decided nursing is not for her. (keep in mind-that I am not finished with nursing school) She has applied, and been accepted to a local electrician's union. The money will be the same-the pressure will be nothing. The benefits are better and there is a light(no pun intended) at the end of the tunnel. Am I dissapointed? Yes. I would have loved to have her follow my footsteps. Do I wish I would have made the same choice a long time ago. Yes. Nobody appreciates a thing I do. I always wanted to be a nurse. Why? I can't explain it. But- I really wish something else would have lit a fire under me.
    Sorry.
  13. by   TexasPoodleMix
    What happened with your daughter ? I am just curious, I am a young woman myself.
  14. by   irishrose53
    Quote from TexasPoodleMix
    What happened with your daughter ? I am just curious, I am a young woman myself.
    My daughter, who is 27 yoa, has started the electricians classes and works full time as an apprentice. She earns 26.00 an hour and that includes full benefits. At the end of 3 years she will bring home 38.00 and hour and that's take home!! If you add in her benefits her hour rate is 51.00 per hour. To run electric in a residentail setting. Nobody is dying. No-one is going to sue her. No family or MD yelling at her.She is as happy as a pig in a polk. Yea-she has her RN and doesn't give a damn. While I am still plugging along to finish. Go figure. :imbar

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