Negativity toward nursing as a career choice

  1. 8
    I wanted to start this thread for awhile, and since today I am in a particularly bad mood, I decided it was definitely time to do so.

    So many times I've seen pre-nursing students starting topics here asking for advice regarding applying to nursing schools, competition, learning process, denials, challenges, difficulties finding a job, etc. And as a trend, I see lots of replies saying that all pre-nursing and nursing students should take their rose-colored glasses off and look reality in the face.

    They say that nursing is a bad career choice since the field is over-saturated, we will not find a job, everybody will treat us like crap and the pay is much lower than what we expect it to be. Now, I do understand that everybody have different experience and are probably trying to help, but some advises these people give leave me super puzzled. So many times they encourage us to choose another specialty like PT, OT, Pharmacist, PA, etc. Let me tell you something, ALL of these specialties require higher education = more years in school + more debt as a result. If you choose to go for PA, PT or OT you will have to have a Bachelor's degree before applying and schools usually require additional medical experience as well. These schools are extremely competitive, even more competitive than nursing. So, for many people, to get a Bachelor's in Science (aka in Microbiology, Biochemistry, etc.) and NOT to get into program will lead to limited career choices. What are you going to do with this degree if you don't get in? Work in a lab for 9$/hour? Well, at least no one will treat you like crap, right?

    In addition, many of these "better" jobs have lower demand than nursing (pharmacy, for example, is super competitive, the debt after school is astronomical and jobs are extremely hard to find).

    About other negative sides of the profession. Some say that doctors, PA's, patients and their families will treat you like crap and you will overwork yourself for the money you get. Give me an example of a profession in the medical field that will pay you the same as nursing with only Bachelor's degree, where everybody will treat you the way you deserve, the jobs will lay down in front of you and, in addition to that, you will not have to work hard for your money? Anyone?

    Every job will have its pros and cons, including nursing. I think it is a good career choice with great opportunities. To all of you who want to do it - go ahead! There is no "perfect job" nor "easy money". We all have to work for it and try to make the best out of the experience we get, unless you win a lottery and can afford helping people for free...
    Last edit by Joe V on Mar 14 : Reason: spacing
    gforge88, SPinOR, shannonyocum, and 5 others like this.
  2. 42 Comments so far...

  3. 12
    The posts that generally inspire us to tell people to take off the rose-colored glasses are the ones who think there's still a nursing shortage, that they're going to make $100,000 their first year of nursing, that taking out $100,000 in loans is a good idea, that they can go right into their specialty of choice, have a 2.2 GPA, etc. It's the ones who have unrealistic expectations.
    The people who recognize these things, that wonder if nursing might be for them, are open to shadowing a nurse, etc are often encouraged to check out nursing as a possible career option. I see far more encouragement of people who are considering pursuing nursing than discouragement.
    Everline, elkpark, PrettyGirlLexi, and 9 others like this.
  4. 1
    I don't think that it's for everyone, although people might think that nursing is. or maybe what was once great for a person is no longer fulfilling. You could read opinions on all sorts of things all day, but in the end, you're going to do what you want to do. You said it yourself, "every job has pros and cons". I was just talking to my husband the other day. We were discussing the politics of nursing and he pointed out that most jobs have politics these days.
    PrettyGirlLexi likes this.
  5. 17
    It isn't negativity toward nursing you are observing, but rather negativity toward the flawed perception of nursing. So long as website banners and Facebook ads scream "NURSING SHORTAGE, CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT SKETCHY FOR-PROFIT COLLEGE TO MAKE KAZILLIONS AND CUDDLE BABIES ALL DAY," there will be people here ready to dismantle ridiculous claims.

    I will forever be grateful for how much users on this site have prepared me for both nursing school and the real world, and I'm a better person for it now. Since you haven't yet begun your journey, perhaps it would serve you well to change your perspective. If seasoned nurses and new grads alike are uniformly cautioning people against romanticizing this career, maybe they're on to something?
    maxvoca, Everline, mimigins, and 14 others like this.
  6. 12
    If I could "Like" RunBabyRun and nekozuki's comments a few more times, I would.


    I am a seasoned nurse, and have seen both shortages and gluts of nurses. I encourage and discourage wannabes on a nearly daily basis here.....the ones who get my encouragement have realistic expectations and want actual help and advice. Ones without a chip on their shoulders, poor attitudes and "you owe me something" demeanors from the get-go.

    Those who fit into the aforementioned categories will certainly get my total discouragement, derision, and whatever else I can throw at them to clue them in to how very offensive they are being.

    Then there are those who receive gentle discouragement: those who honestly believe in the marketing hype of for-profit nursing schools, or are simply misinformed (as most of the general public is). These are people who have asked questions politely, have not been antagonistic, but unfortunately are on the wrong track for whatever reason. THESE are the people who are often told "this isn't the career you think it is".

    Some may call those kind of answers "unsupportive", which I think is very mistaken. We are trying to support a realistic view of nursing, competitiveness of schools and job openings.

    I do think most see that and understand; people who write "you are just stepping on their DREAMS" and such are missing the point.

    Dreams are good. But sometimes, they are also the silliest, most unrealistic expectations ever....and I would be SO angry if someone knew full well I was insanely misdirected and let me continue on like that without giving me a clue.

    Come to think of it, THOSE are the people who finish school and whine "why didn't anyone tell me nursing would be this hard/ this competitive/there are no jobs?"

    Sometimes, the truth just hurts.
  7. 5
    I know of many people who wake up in the morning and think, I will become a nurse today because I will get paid tons of money and just pass some meds and that will be it. Then they go and sign up at a for profit school because all they want is your money and do not care that your grades are terrible and have generally no idea what goes into nursing. Then somewhere down the line these people complain about how hard school is and I'm flunking the tests and it's the instructors fault I am failing. They are having problems with the basics and there is no way they will make it through school and now they are stuck with a huge loan that has to be paid back and no career. Actually a close friend of mine is going through this right now. She hasn't dropped out yet but I forsee it happening in the next few months.

    Nursing is not a bad career choice if you know and understand what it entails. That it is hard work. There are no shortcuts, and you will be on your feet all day and doing heavy lifting and dealing with people. People don't understand what it is actually like to deal with the public. It's hard and taxing. It can also be very rewarding. But it is like every other career choice whether you are a teacher, lawyer, doctor, nurse. There are pros and cons. I have been in a variety of fields and there are the same people everywhere complaining about management, the job itself, and the low pay. Nobody thinks they get paid enough for what they do. And I can honestly think of a couple of careers where that is true.

    I would go into any field the the correct expectations and assumptions of the job and not what a fairy tale story tells you.
  8. 2
    Just out of curiosity, what do you guys consider to be 'low pay'? I'm in the process of getting into the nursing field now. I have a masters degree in social work and work as a therapist. I've worked in many different aspects of my field and have been doing therapy for more than 7 years. I have yet to break 40k a year ( with the exception of 3 months at a facility which severely violated ethical client and staff treatment). Finding jobs in my field that pay at that level or higher with opportunity to grow is next to impossible. When researching this field I saw that compensation was significantly higher (avg salary for a nurse is DOUBLE the avg salary for my current field in my locale) and I'm still able to effect change and help others. The average starting salary for social workers with masters degrees in my area is in the low 30's and with the decline in funding for mental health services, raises come very seldom if ever. While I understand that I won't be making 6 figures, I would have a more stable financial place in my life.

    I don't mean this question to sound as if I'm only in it for the money, just wondering if my perspective is off. I'm still planning on pursuing this option as it can only open more doors, not limit my career choices.
  9. 1
    Quote from jcol1460
    Just out of curiosity, what do you guys consider to be 'low pay'? I'm in the process of getting into the nursing field now. I have a masters degree in social work and work as a therapist. I've worked in many different aspects of my field and have been doing therapy for more than 7 years. I have yet to break 40k a year ( with the exception of 3 months at a facility which severely violated ethical client and staff treatment). Finding jobs in my field that pay at that level or higher with opportunity to grow is next to impossible. When researching this field I saw that compensation was significantly higher (avg salary for a nurse is DOUBLE the avg salary for my current field in my locale) and I'm still able to effect change and help others. The average starting salary for social workers with masters degrees in my area is in the low 30's and with the decline in funding for mental health services, raises come very seldom if ever. While I understand that I won't be making 6 figures, I would have a more stable financial place in my life.

    I don't mean this question to sound as if I'm only in it for the money, just wondering if my perspective is off. I'm still planning on pursuing this option as it can only open more doors, not limit my career choices.
    It's a huge variance, depending on geographic region. Some metropolitan places will start a new BSN/ RN off at around $40 an hour; cost of living greatly affects the price. Some places would start the same person at $21 an hour.

    Some places offer nearly unlimited overtime, allowing someone to nearly double their income. Some have ZERO overtime, you get only the specified hours, not a minute more.

    You'd have to research the region in which you expect to live and work.
    mpreavis likes this.
  10. 2
    From my research about my area (southeast florida), entry level nursing salaries range from $25-35 an hour. Compared to $14-20 an hour for social workers (experienced higher end, entry level lower end). One trend in this area is to pay us $25-27 an hour on a fee for service basis. Meaning, no client contact, no pay. Doesn't take into account driving time, paperwork time, no shows, etc. when I worked under this pay structure, take home ranged from $200-500 week without considering gas and maintenance costs for my vehicle. And forget health insurance, that was $200 month! That was a breaking point for me, how is it I have a masters degree and can't afford to pay my bills???? Made no sense.
    kissmypineapple and Isis Phoenix like this.
  11. 0
    Quote from jcol1460
    From my research about my area (southeast florida), entry level nursing salaries range from $25-35 an hour. Compared to $14-20 an hour for social workers (experienced higher end, entry level lower end). One trend in this area is to pay us $25-27 an hour on a fee for service basis. Meaning, no client contact, no pay. Doesn't take into account driving time, paperwork time, no shows, etc. when I worked under this pay structure, take home ranged from $200-500 week without considering gas and maintenance costs for my vehicle. And forget health insurance, that was $200 month! That was a breaking point for me, how is it I have a masters degree and can't afford to pay my bills???? Made no sense.
    I don't know what your sources are, but expect a much lower figure as a new grad RN. 18-22/hr is what my west palm and Miami nurse buddies have made as they've started their careers. And in SE Fl, they had to be bilingual, work nights/weekends and sign contracts to do it.


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