Are you happy with your nursing career choice?

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    by Joe V
    Specializes in Programming / Strategist for allnurses.

What's better than getting into nursing school? (Getting out of nursing school.)

How do you feel about your career choice? Are you still happy that you made the switch to nursing? How do you feel about your nursing school? Please share your thoughts with the community...

Specializes in Ambulatory Care, Community Health, HIV.

I feel kind of mixed about my choice to become a nurse. I am pretty exhausted all the time, especially emotionally since I am an introvert and interacting/ holding space for everyone else's needs for 10 or12 hours per day is draining. I really like the relationship-building and the chance to help educate patients on their health, and meaningfully help their lives. I'm not sure I would choose nursing again, but as of now I feel pretty much locked into this path, so I am continuing my education in this field because I am scared to leave and unsure what I would transition into. I am also hoping to cut back my hours in the future: I currently work four days per week and I feel it is too much. Three days would help me manage my work-life balance better. 

My experience is different than most nurses, as I will be retiring soon. I am not sure when, but probably this year. I graduated from nursing school in 1971. I have worked in hospitals, LTCs,  LTAC, corrections, public health, private duty. In 1971 I worked in a large hospital. I would have 2-4 patients. Usually maybe 3 of them were ambulatory, and maybe one need assistance to get up. Patients needing surgery would be admitted say, on Sunday afternoon, wander around bored, get an enema, (from me), get a backrub, (from me), take a Betadine shower. The the next morning, they would be awakened, take another Betadine shower, and go off to surgery. Then return to the floor maybe 10 hours later, require vital signs, and observation, then go home maybe 5-6 days later. They would be polite, and say please and thank you, and bring candy for the nurses. I am talking cholecystectomies, hysterectomies, etc. We worked 8 hour shifts. However, now, you might have 5-6 patients, none of which are really ambulatory, everyone has IVs and an assortment of meds, and cardiac monitoring, and SCDs, and O2, and they may be confused, or have Covid, and have angry family members, you know the score. You spend 12 hours running up and down and hallways. After 12 hours you are so tired you feel sick. I get it. Frankly, I don't think I would want to be a nurse nowadays. You basically need the strenght and fortitude of a Marine.  


23 Posts

WOW, @soontoretire2020, it’s WILD to hear how much hospitals have changed. I can’t even imagine the situation you’re describing when you first started — so different from today! 


170 Posts

I too have mixed feelings about becoming a nurse. It allows for a variety of settings yet its also a very limiting degree in some ways as it makes it very difficult to transition out of nursing completely if one so desires w/o going to back to school or taking a huge pay cut.

Nursing has changed exponentially since I graduated in the early 90's. At that time (and really until the last 10 yrs or so) nurses were not "used" to the point they are now by employers. Nurses were supported (or at least the places I worked) and while there was documentation, it was not the crazy amount there is today, it was more balanced. The focus was patient care first, profits second, now it seem to be all about profit first, second and third.

Nurses also had a choice to work 8 or 12 hr shifts, sometimes 10 and because of that staffing was such it was rare to have to stay late or be pestered on your days off to come in. It's a revolving door now and nurses are leaving in droves where I live because they are tired of being taken advantage of and burned out in short periods of time. I'd like to say the employers where I live care about the exodus, but the truth is, they don't seem to..they just throw out bonuses to new hires and advertise constantly. 

Smaller hospitals are being gobbled up by the larger ones and that is also changing the scenario for many nurses as is Covid.

Going to be interesting to see where nursing is in another few years for sure.


115 Posts

I'm not happy as a nurse and I wish I knew then what I know now. However, I really enjoyed nursing my patients. I just hate the management of healthcare for profit. It turns nurses into patients. 


  1. Pass Nurse Staffing and Patient Safety Act!
  2. Move to California (where I see RNs are striking about safety even with staffing laws?)
  3. Do something else..

Pretty happy so far. Making a change and moving to a different department - telehealth nursing ? So very different from inpatient care so I have at least 10 weeks of orientation. Also, I can possibly WFH

Specializes in Wiping tears.



20 Posts

Nurse since 1987 and NO, I have come to hate my career choice. Lousy management,  poor ratios, crappy schedules, nasty patients and their nasty families, horrible wages, hours, benefits, etc. I have and will continue to discourage anyone from being sucked in to this career choice.  

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