Before You Became A Nurse....


Hello Everyone!

I am new here and this site seems to have endless valuable information, I am glad I found it! So I just got into the BSN program at The University of Texas-Houston starting in the Fall. I have a BS in Journalism and Advertising so this is a career change for me. On to my question....

Were you ever worried that you would be too nervous to do the things nurses do? I love taking care of people and really care about those in need and I become emotionally attached to everyone. I'm worried that I will hate doing things to people that cause them pain. When others are in pain I feel it too (emotionally that is!) I know in the long run it may make them feel better etc etc, but I am still worried about it. Any advice?

I talked to one nurse and she said she thinks that makes better nurses, because they learn to do those things better as to cause as little discomfort as possible. That was just one point of view so I would love to get others. Thank you!



7 Posts

Specializes in geriatrics. Has 14 years experience.

The way I get threw that issue is I know even though I may have to hurt someone, its....

1. Not intentional

2. It is for their benefit

3. I am doing it to help heal them

I too, become emotional at times, but I just tell myself it is only to make them well again. I try to inflict as little pain as possible, but there are times when you cannot help but to hurt your patient. Those are the times I remind myself of the three things I mentioned earlier.

Specializes in Peds Hem, Onc, Med/Surg. Has 8 years experience.

I always tell my patient, trust me I don't want to hurt you in the least bit but I have to do it to make you feel better.

After I say even the most loud and complainy patients aren't so loud and complainy.

That is something you get over rather quickly.

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

OMG - you are following exactly the same path that I did!! Journalism first then nursing. I like to write, but doing it as a job was a real downer - and unbelieveably nasty & competitive. I got my BSN from UT-San Antonio but my MSN from UT Houston. I still LOVE nursing.

I hope you never get over that awful "twinge" whenever you know that your intervention will cause pain. i never have. Empathy is part of nursing. I think you'll find that as time goes on, you will be able to push past the 'ickies' because you know that your actions are a necessary part of the therapeutic process. As you become more skilled, the amount of pain you cause will also lessen -- one stick for an IV instead of two.

I also discovered somewhere along the way (to paraphrase a great quote from the movie "Roadhouse") that 'pain doesn't always hurt'. Physical pain is usually time-limited and can be minimized or eliminated with medication or manipulation. However, in the context of illness, there are far greater 'hurts' than physical pain -- loss of personal identity, surrender of privacy and dignity, loss of control, etc. And these 'big hurts' are the ones nursing expertise can most effectively treat.

Good luck on your career! Keep us posted on your progress.


27 Posts

That is crazy! I work in the Oil Industry now and it is very slowly killing me! I can't wait to begin at UT in August and get my second bachelors : ) Are you still in Houston? If so are you working in the Med Center?

I know that empathy is a huge part of being a good nurse, it shows you care! I am so nervous that I won't be able to do things because I hate hurting people, but I know I will be fine once I get going.

Specializes in ICU. Has 13 years experience.

Along with the very good advice you have already been given, I just want to add....

Once you are on the job, you will learn soo much more. You will become a new person, almost. I find that my outlook is different towards life now. It took about a year of nursing to realize that I changed.

In all this changing, I have become a better nurse. I used to be very shy and stayed to myself. Now I can be in Wal Mart and strike up a conversation with complete and total strangers, and not think twice about it.

You will learn to not let it bother you as much. That is what I'm trying to get at. At first it might bother you, but your coping mechanisms will kick in and you will learn how to express yourself physically and emotionally to get through those tough procedures.

Specializes in OB/GYN, Peds, School Nurse, DD.

I had a lot of anxiety when I started nursing school. I wasn't sure if I really wanted to be a nurse, but I knew that at that time(1970s) it was one of the few well-paying jobs for women. For the first year i was terrified of hurting patients, terrified of talking to patients, terrified of my instructors and certainly terrified of doctors.

Let me stop and say, I was only 17. I had never even had a serious boyfriend and I felt very uncomfortable with the intimacy that nurses have with patients.

I was scared to give shots, in particular. But I had a very kind, encouraging instructor who picked out the right patient and then walked me through it--a very old man with a hip replacement. My instructor showed me where to put the shot, how to "throw the dart" and then he said, "this man is in a coma. He won't even feel it." Those were the magic words. I prepped the hip, "threw the dart", pushed in the med...and fainted dead away. I woke up in the other bed surrounded by nurses. My patient never knew a thing.

I really turned a corner though when I went home for summer break and got a job as a CNA in the local hospital. They assigned me to night shift on a cancer ward. This was not a fancy "oncology floor." This is where they sent people to die. It was really a horror, but within about a month I realized that I really cared about these sick and dying people. I worried about them on my off days. I talked with them sometimes in the middle of the night, when they were hurting and scared. I held them while they died. And I learned to perform all those intimate procedures that nurses do with professionalism. I can thank those cancer patients for that. They made me in the nurse I am today.

I think what you're feeling is pretty normal. Nursing is kind of a weird profession. What other job requires you to ask very personal questions and perform invasive, embarrassing procedures on other people?

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