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Am I Just a Cynic or Is nursing a poor career?

Nurses   (12,484 Views | 93 Replies)

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I need to ask other nurses if they are as dissatisfied with nursing or is it just not for me? I've been a nurse for 2 years and I hate it. (I am going back to school for something else, I will not be a nurse that hates her job and does it for anyother 20 years.) I am an RN and have worked in the hospital (tele & med/surg) and LTC. While there are differences, it seems that they all have the same issues that upset me.

#1 I feel abused from every angle. I feel like a servant to my pts, family can be so demanding and rude, some doctors can be more condisending that family (but even one it too much, a Ph.D. doesn't give anyone the right to belittle others.) Management is, well management. Short staffing the floor and aloof to issues. It seems these issues (which I've seen on many boards, are "just a part of nursing". There's always that nasty doc no one likes talking to, or that crazy family member that makes our day nearly imposible. Is it over sensitive of me to not want to deal with this anymore?

#2 I feel like the general public is moving towards a "anti-healthcare" attitude. People sue for everything. It seems that people don't feel we are entitled to break (as we've discussed in another post), I've seen first hand many times that the public wouldn't care if you were 9 months pregnant, they expect you to lift mom single-handedly out of the chair and into bed, and NOW! because they "don't want to wait" for you to get help. The nurse doesn't even need to be pregnant, she could be 110lbs and "mom" could be 400lbs and her 25 family members (8 of which are young strapping men) will demand you get mom up to the commode NOW!, and all 25 will stand there and watch and god forbid the guy across the hall is coding!!! Even another human being dieing is not important enough for you to derail from getting their 400lb mom another package of gramcrackers..and so an and so on. And all the while they think the nurse is LAZY!!! I hear this very often. (This actually happened to me at a diner) the couple behind me and my husband were having a bash fest on how lazy and stupid nurses are. They never considered that maybe a nurse was in earshot! My husband lit into them, and they apologized but said that the nurses at a local hospital "killed" their grandpa. I asked about grandpa who was 89 y/o had a "failing heart and kidneys" but "was doing well untiL he went into the hospital". I want to DUMP MY SOUP ON THEIR HEADS!! This seems to me to be very common that people blame nurses(or docs) for inevidable deaths.

#3 Short staffing that's only getting shorter...need I say more.

#4 Missing time with family. I will admit I knew about this before I got into nursing so I can't complain. But since I've had my son, I no longer want to miss holidays. I'm sorry, but my pts are not worth the times I will miss with my family on holidays. I want to be home christmas mornings with my son and 10 year from now I won't remember the pts I had on xmas but I will remember that I missed his first xmas (or second or what ever).

#5 Liability. I knew this too, so I can't complain, but people make mistakes Cashiers ring you up for the wrong amount, cooks make and waitress serve the wrong food, I'm sure plumber or contruction workers have been called it to fix something but after wards it still leeks or whatever and they have to be called back to do it again. I'm not saying that nurses are the only profession that our mistakes can be very dangerous, I'm saying that even the smallest mistakes, one that would never hurt anyone, gets everyone up in arms about it. And pts and there family expect nothing short of God caring for them or their family. A nurse on the floor I used to work on went to take a blood sugar on the wrong pt. The family was there, it never even got done. They stopped her, but the pt was confused and wouldn't have been able to tell the nurse she was a BGM. The family had a melt down and reported her and she got in a lot of trouble! Its not like she was about to give morpine to this lady. I know a mistake is a mistake, but there's no forgiveness in nursing, not matter how tiny the mistake. We can not make mistakes, as per the general public. Well, I'm careful, but I'm not perfect.

Sorry to sound so negitive. Am I just looking at this all wrong? Does anyone else feel this way, but it doesn't bother them? :(

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10,263 Posts; 58,138 Profile Views

I hated being a floor nurse. Now I'm not one.

I love what I'm doing in informatics.

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racing-mom4 is a BSN, RN and specializes in ICU/ER.

2 Articles; 1,446 Posts; 11,822 Profile Views

Nursing is not for everyone~~in fact it is not for most. If you feel this passionate about it, then I would follow your heart. There is no rule that states you must always be a nurse once you become licensed.

Many people change careers. Best of luck in following your dreams.

I bet your almost feeling guilt about it, like your letting your fellow nurses down. I am positive if you were a school teacher or a banker and said to your fellow bankers "ya know I think this just isnt for me, I am going to look into something else" no one would look down for you. Heck they would probably throw you a going away party!

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kristenncrn has 7 years experience and specializes in Peds (previous psyc/SA briefly).

138 Posts; 4,095 Profile Views

My friend, every single thing you said has been echoed by hundreds (thousands) of nurses. They can't all be wrong!!

I wrote a bit about this same subject earlier in the thread about nursing being the best job ever... but I would say that there are so many options as nurses. I wish from a selfish standpoint that you could find an acceptable position still in healthcare and help to create positive change for all of us. But that's selfish!

What I really want to say is that I am 100% convinced that nothing that you typed means anything negative about you as a nurse or a person.

Best of luck - I'm sorry that your (and my and so many other people's) experience has had so many challenges.

Kristen

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116 Posts; 2,842 Profile Views

I don't think it's the profession, I think you need to find a job that suits your family life and doesn't make you feel dumped on as much as your current job (though realistically, every job has its drawbacks).

Maybe working in a doctor's office, or something where you don't have patient contact like an insurance company, medical library, law office, etc. Maybe switch to education or informatics.

Even switching hospitals might do it - different locations attract different types of people. Not to be culturally incorrect, but I've done clinicals at one of the local hospitals in a lower-income neighborhood, I've found many of the patients and families to be very gracious and thankful. You might also consider switching to a different floor of the same hospital, maybe the clientele and environment will be better.

I think the liability issues are impossible to escape, but consider also you could have someone injured by tripping in your driveway or getting into a fender bender with you. Lawsuits are unfortunately the first response to every problem nowadays. And wherever you go, there's always going to be a moron to work with. If you improve everything else, these things will seem less of a burden.

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littlepeach has 7 years experience and specializes in ob; nicu.

96 Posts; 2,331 Profile Views

I Like The Idea Of It, But The Institution I Work For Is Killing Me Slowly. Been Here For 7 Years, Now I Am Disgruntled.

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Antikigirl has 13 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in Education, Acute, Med/Surg, Tele, etc.

2,595 Posts; 13,459 Profile Views

I hear you sweety! I said the same thing! But a wise nurse once told me in RN school...you are a baby nurse till 5 years in, so experience the good and bad and learn from it till then and by year five you may really honestly have a clue to whats going on and what to do to make it better for yourself. I thought she was nuts...she was 100% dead on, and 5 years went by fast...didn't seem so at times...but yes..it went fast.

Look at your options carefully, look for opportunities realistically according to your experience level, and set realistic goals to achieve things in your job you desire. Say for instance you are doing what in my neck of the woods is called the GRIND...Med surge. Not that that is a bad thing...it is just what we call it because you grind your gears learning and experiencing things that can be different from moment to moment! Okay you have done this for 3 years and really don't like the potpourii of cases, and find that you like cardiac more...well, why not take some time and learn telemetry on your own if need be, or express some interest in someone in "the know" that can help you and appreciate that desire. (to be honest..with the right teacher telemetry is easy to understand and experience! Not as tough as folks make it out to be!). There...you just took your first baby step into a broader horizon...then keep it up from there!

You can do this with most of the interests in medicine...find the right goal..the right people to help...and the right motivation. Then it is up to you to formulate your personal goals to achieve it. Heck, we all did that in RN school...we can do it now!

Good luck hon, and keep a journal of these experiences like I did too...it is great some days to look back and laugh at the stupidity of things I USE to take personally or bothered me so (typcially the stupidity of patients, staff, or patients families I endured! LOL!). SURE helped me!

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queen777 has 8 years experience and specializes in med surg, geriatric, clinical, pool.

1 Article; 208 Posts; 4,778 Profile Views

I need to ask other nurses if they are as dissatisfied with nursing or is it just not for me? I've been a nurse for 2 years and I hate it. (I am going back to school for something else, I will not be a nurse that hates her job and does it for anyother 20 years.) I am an RN and have worked in the hospital (tele & med/surg) and LTC. While there are differences, it seems that they all have the same issues that upset me.

#1 I feel abused from every angle. I feel like a servant to my pts, family can be so demanding and rude, some doctors can be more condisending that family (but even one it too much, a Ph.D. doesn't give anyone the right to belittle others.) Management is, well management. Short staffing the floor and aloof to issues. It seems these issues (which I've seen on many boards, are "just a part of nursing". There's always that nasty doc no one likes talking to, or that crazy family member that makes our day nearly imposible. Is it over sensitive of me to not want to deal with this anymore?

#2 I feel like the general public is moving towards a "anti-healthcare" attitude. People sue for everything. It seems that people don't feel we are entitled to break (as we've discussed in another post), I've seen first hand many times that the public wouldn't care if you were 9 months pregnant, they expect you to lift mom single-handedly out of the chair and into bed, and NOW! because they "don't want to wait" for you to get help. The nurse doesn't even need to be pregnant, she could be 110lbs and "mom" could be 400lbs and her 25 family members (8 of which are young strapping men) will demand you get mom up to the commode NOW!, and all 25 will stand there and watch and god forbid the guy across the hall is coding!!! Even another human being dieing is not important enough for you to derail from getting their 400lb mom another package of gramcrackers..and so an and so on. And all the while they think the nurse is LAZY!!! I hear this very often. (This actually happened to me at a diner) the couple behind me and my husband were having a bash fest on how lazy and stupid nurses are. They never considered that maybe a nurse was in earshot! My husband lit into them, and they apologized but said that the nurses at a local hospital "killed" their grandpa. I asked about grandpa who was 89 y/o had a "failing heart and kidneys" but "was doing well untiL he went into the hospital". I want to DUMP MY SOUP ON THEIR HEADS!! This seems to me to be very common that people blame nurses(or docs) for inevidable deaths.

#3 Short staffing that's only getting shorter...need I say more.

#4 Missing time with family. I will admit I knew about this before I got into nursing so I can't complain. But since I've had my son, I no longer want to miss holidays. I'm sorry, but my pts are not worth the times I will miss with my family on holidays. I want to be home christmas mornings with my son and 10 year from now I won't remember the pts I had on xmas but I will remember that I missed his first xmas (or second or what ever).

#5 Liability. I knew this too, so I can't complain, but people make mistakes Cashiers ring you up for the wrong amount, cooks make and waitress serve the wrong food, I'm sure plumber or contruction workers have been called it to fix something but after wards it still leeks or whatever and they have to be called back to do it again. I'm not saying that nurses are the only profession that our mistakes can be very dangerous, I'm saying that even the smallest mistakes, one that would never hurt anyone, gets everyone up in arms about it. And pts and there family expect nothing short of God caring for them or their family. A nurse on the floor I used to work on went to take a blood sugar on the wrong pt. The family was there, it never even got done. They stopped her, but the pt was confused and wouldn't have been able to tell the nurse she was a BGM. The family had a melt down and reported her and she got in a lot of trouble! Its not like she was about to give morpine to this lady. I know a mistake is a mistake, but there's no forgiveness in nursing, not matter how tiny the mistake. We can not make mistakes, as per the general public. Well, I'm careful, but I'm not perfect.

Sorry to sound so negitive. Am I just looking at this all wrong? Does anyone else feel this way, but it doesn't bother them? :(

And thats just why I quit. Every point you make is the honest to God's truth! Go home to your son. Give him memories so one day he will not be like my daughter and remember mom had to work as a nurse because honestly no one cares.

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Miss Mab specializes in mostly in the basement.

414 Posts; 7,194 Profile Views

I don't think you're a cynic.

I think you've described what has been your, and countless other's, experience in the manner of a realist. For that shared reality that you have witnessed.

I don't believe nursing is a poor career. Like you, I've only been at it going on a few years and I enjoy and am inspired by everything I know about being a nurse.

However, I can't really recall the last time I actually had time at work to practice nursing.....

Best to you. Don't ever let anyone lead you to believe that 'you' were somehow not up to the task---not chosen for this 'mighty work.

It is most definitely not you.

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Antikigirl has 13 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in Education, Acute, Med/Surg, Tele, etc.

2,595 Posts; 13,459 Profile Views

Actually...it is kinda funny. Take a look at two of my posts from today. One had to do with something that makes me question why I am a nurse...a family that asked why we nurses were giving their loved one clear blood (see "scratching my head")...and wouldn't take a nurses word for the truth of the situation that was pretty much common sense to most people....to the joy of seeing a little girl smile at me with the biggest grin I have ever seen thinking I was a doctor (but to her that was just a title, she saw a woman with fun scrubs and a neat steth on her neck...) and how much that moved me!!!!!!!(sunshine in a hospital cafeteria).

Nursing is like that! One moment you are preoccupied by trying to do all things for everyone...only to be disappointed in the realization that you are one person and can't do that...or are doing most of it but the people that are judging you are idiots or too self centered to be realistic anymore (which happens in times of trouble)...then the next you see something that floors you with joy...something simple, like a childs giggle in the drab mood...or a hand touching yours in thanks from a elderly lady who really appreciates your kindess...or that doc that gives you a half sarcastic look when you are right and mutters "thanks"...LOL...it is that dynamic!

I was told when young to find your own joy...make your own joy...and others will follow if they are worthy and atuned. I think nursing is a prime example of that in solid form!

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1 Article; 5,758 Posts; 32,847 Profile Views

No doubt it is a really good career for some people. Unfortunately, a lot of people have poor experiences with it. For many, many people it does not turn out well. All their training and studying goes down the drain.

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Tweety has 28 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac.

4 Followers; 29,019 Posts; 48,784 Profile Views

You're definately not alone. Your concerns are major problems in our career.

We either find our peace with nursing or we move on. No shame in moving on. No shame in reconciling ourselves and finding a way to work with it.

Good luck in finding something that fits.

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