Is nursing a calling?

  1. With all the 'disdain' many nurses harbor because of a prior false illusion of science/patient care in a profession they otherwise would relish, is helping others the main reason for considering a career as a nurse?

    Did you arrive at this conclusion after an honest assessment of your academic strength/personality? Some have mentioned that they wanted some kind of interaction; while there are jobs that lack that (e.g. research), most jobs require interaction.

    And it seems, no matter the job, someone is unhappy. Consider that the family physician is generally considered to be overworked and less compensated compared to a medical specialist (e.g. cardiologist, neurosurgeon). It is one reason why medical students have shun family practice residencies. Furthermore, there is also the stigma even in medicine, that maybe he/she did not get into a competitive specialty! Future optometrists fear their jobs will entail more selling than consulting. PharmD students worry about the ruthless business as usual corporate-like environment in retail and dread the counting the pills stigma. PA fear the stigma of being the physician's assistant. The dentist worry about excruciating debt and most feel the need to convince others that their jobs entail more than just looking at teeth all day. The DO would fume if he/she were considered a chiropractor and the latter is often questioned about their 'doctor' status.

    Yet, all these provide a service that is highly sought when the need arise.

    I worked as a nurse with a lot of pride before.... albeit as a family member in a hospital.
    Perhaps, it is my personality, but I don't consider myself demanding and if I pushed that call button in the wee hours, it was more out of concern (I.V. machine keeps beeping), for their expertise and wanted reassurance that the cancer drugs wouldn't weaken him too much. Here's what I did, however: I cleaned him when the cancer drugs affected his bowel control. I brought him foods and drinks from the patient lounge. I washed him and only stopping short of inserting IVs.

    These experiences are worthy of a bit of introspective about what I can and cannot handle. Could I be so invested as such in strangers, very unlikely. Let alone if they or family members were indifferent. I would still try to do my job as a nurse to the best of my ability. I cared that my beloved was under the care of a competent nurse and was treated with dignity in my absence. I would want every family member to be reassured but to also appreciate that my whole nursing package has become a rare commodity.

    So, is nursing a calling and who embodies such a profile?
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    About SmoothKeys

    Joined: Jan '13; Posts: 34; Likes: 45


  3. by   ImDaMan11
    Yes, people who want to be nurses and work hard to become one.
  4. by   emtb2rn
    No, it's not a calling. It's a career.
  5. by   ADN2B
    No, it is a profession that you choose to be in.
  6. by   ImDaMan11
    Lol, what do you even mean by calling anyway?
  7. by   llg
    For some people, it is a calling. But for others, it is not. For some people it is a career. For other people, it is just a job.

    We have to learn to accept that we don't all become nurses for the same reasons -- and don't bring the same belief systems and convictions to our nursing practice.
  8. by   Susie2310
    For some people nursing is a calling. For some people it isn't. The majority of nursing positions involve establishing nurse-patient relationships, i.e. direct patient contact. If you feel annoyed by your patients' requests/complaints, can't tolerate their lack of independence, find dealing with bodily fluids offensive, are generally annoyed by patients families, and don't care about furthering your patient's well-being and advocating for your patient, well, that's a bad sign if you are planning in working in direct patient care. Patients and their families do pick up on these things, and a bad situation is created if the patient/family do not trust the nurse. So no, you don't need to be called to nursing, and many nurses aren't, but you do need to be willing to listen to patients and their families, to try to understand them, and to be motivated to do your best to take care of them.

    Smoothkeys, you mentioned a concern about whether you would be as motivated to take care of strangers as you would your own family. Nursing school will give you an initial clue as to how you feel about taking care of strangers, and to your level of motivation. Working as an aide or PCT will also give you some idea.

    Many nurses do not find their frustrations in nursing are primarily related to taking care of patients. Some people find the demands of the whole corporate health care machine intolerable. For anyone considering nursing as a career, I really suggest testing the water as much as possible before investing a lot of time and money in a profession you may hate. Right now there is no shortage of nurses, and there are nurses who hate their jobs and hate taking care of patients.

    There are nursing jobs that don't involve direct patient care, but often they require bedside nursing experience. There are also jobs working for insurance companies, but if that is your end goal before becoming a nurse, why put yourself through the stress and expense of nursing school? If one's goal before starting nursing school is to find a nursing job with minimal patient contact, I would suggest another major.
    Last edit by Susie2310 on Jan 24, '13
  9. by   uRNmyway
    In an ideal world, nursing would be a calling. Unfortunately, it isn't. There are some who think it might be for them, realize it isn't once they start, but invested so much time and debt into it, they just keep working. Others do it because they are told its a guaranteed job after a few years in school, and they want security. Others do it because they genuinely care about people and want to make a difference.
    What we need to remember is that there are many, many different kinds of nursing. Some nurses HATE med-surg or mother-baby and could never do it for any prolonged period. Others would cry their way to work every day if they worked in administration. I guess what I am trying to say is you can have a 'calling' for nursing without it being for the traditional meaning of the word.
  10. by   SmoothKeys
    Quote from ImDaMan11
    Lol, what do you even mean by calling anyway?
    Thank you for taking the time to respond, if only lazily. But judging from your jejune reply to this poster, perhaps I could be asking for too much.

    I'll let you search for 'one's calling' but for now, I've decided to post a direct quote from the Harvard medical school website (not sure if I can post links here):

    The study of medicine is a powerful integration of science, technologies, experience, and experiment that enables its students to alleviate human pain and suffering wherever in the world it may occur. At its finest, it is a quest to improve the human condition.

    To study medicine at Harvard is to prepare to play a leading role in this quest.

    For over two centuries, Harvard Medical School has excelled not only in teaching the practice of medicine but also in bringing out the best in those who practice it.
    If medicine is your calling, there is no better place to be than at Harvard Medical School. We look forward to receiving your completed application.

    Perhaps, in your first reply you agreed with nursing being a calling since you started with .... "yes", but disagreed with it in your second post?

    You're 'DaMan' all right. Thanks again for your thoughts!
    Last edit by SmoothKeys on Jan 24, '13
  11. by   ImDaMan11
    Lol, yes because this calling you speak started to sound more like just a choice. Sorry if I was offensive, I can tell u put quite some time in that post.