Do I have the guts?

Nurses Career Support


Hello there,

I am a 25 year old woman living in Pittsburgh, PA. I have a four year degree in Agricultural Science but have found little use for it in Pittsburgh. I currently have a good job but it is not full filling and I know it is not the right place for me to be. I have spent the past year examining myself and reassessing where I want to be. I have decided to pursue a career in Nursing. I am beginning my search of academic programs but one question keeps coming to mind, do I have the guts? During my experience in agriculture I have given animals injections and seen some pretty disturbing things - prolapse, infection, etc. and none of this really bothered me but one thing I am unsure of is taking blood. I have donated blood but each time am unable to watch. How did you know, before you went into nursing, that you had the guts to take blood samples, etc.? Were any worries you had relieved through your training? Perhaps I am thinking about this too much and should just see it as a simple procedure?

Any advice you have would be appreciated.


I put off nursing for a long time because I wasn't sure if I had what it takes. I thought I would throw up cleaning up BMs and was fearful that I would be a chain puker if someone would vomit. I was also nervous about giving shots and taking blood because I didn't want to hurt anyone. Pretty silly now that I think about it, but I didn't want to get into the field unless I was sure I could handle it.

Well, here comes my truth: You are never sure until you do it. I joined the nursing program without knowing how I would handle the less than appealing aspects of the profession. I am in my last semester and so far I love it.

I found I can handle what has come my way so far and I hope things continue that way. Through my clinicals I have gained confidence in my skills and I am no longer worried about hurting someone with a needle. The BMs don't even phase me anymore and as far as blood goes...I hate having my blood drawn, I hate being jabbed with needles, and I never watch. I can see other people's blood or inject them and that doesn't bother me, but my own blood forget it!

I wouldn't let the blood factor stop you if nursing is your dream (unless you can't handle seeing blood of any kind). Even then, there are avenues in nursing where you won't need to deal with it too often.

The hospital I work at has its own lab and its own IV team, so unless a nurse works in ER, he/she never has to draw blood. I know there are several hospitals in my area that are the same way. Check the hospitals near you. You may not need to worry about drawing blood afterall.

Good luck with your pursuit!

Colleen: Boy, do I know how you feel! I was 30 with a 4 year degree in criminal justice working as a probation officer when I chucked that for nursing school. I am now a BSN with 14 years of experience as an RN. I passed out in my OR rotation and to this day faint when I have lab drawn on me. HOWEVER, that never seemed to affect my ability to do clinical procedures. The average non-medical person really doesn't spend a whole lot of time with blood on them so you can't tell how you'd react. I found that when it came to doing invasive procedures or dealing with stool or vomit or sputum, I always kept in mind that if this were my mom or dad, wouldn't I want them to be clean, comfortable and respected? That always worked for me.

You are very wise to research the opportunities in nursing education. There are more options today than ever although nursing education can be seen as somewhat rigid. I went to a one year accelerated program for my BSN and it was great for me. You don't have to spend 4 years out of the work place.

There are also a lot of opportunities in nursing and many have nothing to do with getting blood on your shoes. I work as a government consultant and although my clinical knowledge is essential, I no longer do hands on care. Good luck with your decision!

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