Does anyone else get grief from their family for choosing nursing?


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Specializes in Peds, Oncology. Has 4 years experience. 408 Posts

My family was all really proud of me, except my stay at home mom sister. I think there's a bit of jealousy maybe because she was in college with his first child but dropped out and four kids later hasn't went back. The other day she told me she thought all I do in school nursing is help little kids wipe their butts. Ummm, ok.


vintagemother, BSN, CNA, LVN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, Med-Surg, Psych, Geri, LTC, Tele,. 2,714 Posts

I recvd grief from my then husband and my mother. I did it anyways. No regrets. Nursing is a good career for me, decent money,I love the work I do. Poop doesn't bother me and I truly care for my LTC clients. I make good money for a 1 yr degree. Hope to bridge to RN next.


DeLana_RN, BSN, RN

Has 24 years experience. 819 Posts

I can relate. My mother thought I was too introverted to be a nurse, that I should work "in a lab or something - by myself" instead. Never mind that I absolutely hated the clerical jobs I had before becoming a nurse (which she thought would be appropriate or adequate/good enough for me). And never mind that I was in my thirties when I started nursing school!

Sigh... I can only hope I'll be more supportive of my own kids when the time comes.


RNperdiem, RN

Has 14 years experience. 4,544 Posts

Luckily, both my parent have sisters who are nurses. Nurses are respected and make a good living. They might even "marry well" : doctors(the older generation still put a lot of stock in a solid MRS degree as a second degree as well)

Both my parents had another sibling who were doctors. They were fully aware of the workload and sacrifices involved in a career in medicine.

ThePrincessBride, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in Med-Surg, NICU. Has 7 years experience. 1 Article; 2,579 Posts

Considering I am the ONLY grandchild in my mother's family to have graduated college, not at all! I have gotten nothing but support and encouragement for going to nursing school, graduating with a BSN and passing my boards. I am only the second nurse in the family, but my grandmother and mother love to brag that they have a nurse for a granddaughter/daughter, and everyone turns to me for questions (lol).

My mom is an ACTUARY with a PHYSICS degree and even she thinks I was smart to pursue a flexible career. She wants me to go further and become a nurse practitioner, but most importantly, she just wants me and her sons to be happy. :)


Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis. Has 25 years experience. 20,958 Posts

I wouldn't care if they did. They put me down for joining the military. That hurt. But I have long since stopped caring what people who don't pay my bills or live my life, think.


Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis. Has 25 years experience. 20,958 Posts

THIS, x100.

The only grief I get from family members is clearly routed in jealously, and they are family members I really won't care about when it comes time to cut them out of my life.

NickiLaughs, ADN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency, Trauma, Critical Care. Has 13 years experience. 2,383 Posts

Im sorry your mom is being immature. Youd think parents would be more supportive with their kids. Next time just say, its either nursing or a life in crime....

She should put things in perspective, its an honorable profession, god forbid her child do something like that...

My mom has a weak stomach but is proud of me, ive worked at a couple big name hospitals, she brags, but turns white if I tell a story. So I am gentle around her.

My father had cancer as a child, and loves hearing my horror stories of trauma ER. He additionally is proud, but he wanted me to be a doctor. It actually is more irritating that he doesnt approve of my husband. I just say its probably good he didnt marry him.

At one point, being an adult, you end up deciding to surround yourself by positive influences and sometimes negative family members stop being worth their negative energy. I had an ultimatum with my dad regarding my husband. If he wanted to remain a part of my life he needed to be civil. Hes no peach either. We managed to work it out but not everyone can.

Edited by NickiLaughs
forgot info


nurseprnRN, BSN, RN

2 Articles; 5,114 Posts

Yeah, that's true. And like I said, I'm definitely not going to let it stop me from trying. But no one wants their parents to be disappointed in them, right?

Well, some of us got over that before we got out of middle school. :)

What I always say is that it surprises me (when it really doesn't) that when someone says "nurse" the first two things others think of are "bedpans" and "vomit." Then I say that the popular depictions of nursing on TV and soap operas have about as much to do with reality as Welcome Back Kotter does with actual high school teaching (your parents will get that reference, or try Glee).

I look at it as a public education measure (and nurses are educators), explaining what I and many other nurses do for work that involves education, autonomy, responsibility, creativity, and leadership.

I say that when somebody asks me what I do, I can choose many words to describe myself include screaming liberal, baseball and football fan, mother, wife, grandmother, cat staff, teacher, editor, writer, and nurse, and nurse is always the word that comes out out my mouth first. It informs all I do, all of the rest of it, even being cat staff :)-- I give meds, evaluate the outcome of the vet medical plan of care, do psychosocial evals and interventions, take out sutures and save us both the followup travel to the vet. And the baseball and football fan, too-- how do you think I know immediately what's going to show up on the injury report tomorrow, the day after the game? Certainly all the family roles, and the writing and teaching. All because of what I have learned and become by being a nurse.

The best thing you can do at this point is to smile and say, "I know you want the best for me," change the subject, and live your life. They'll find out when they see you doing it. Meanwhile, you can have in the back of your mind that probably half of the RNs in the country are not working the bedside your limited-imagination parents envision. When you get there, you can educate them some more.

It took my parents (and, for that matter, my siblings) a good while to figure out that my brain and talents were not being wasted, not at all. Now that they're all a lot older, all of a sudden they have a lot of use for what I know and the resources I have.

It's a great beginning with more options down the road than you can possible imagine. Check out the Specialty fora (top yellow bar) and see. Good luck.



198 Posts

For the most part, my family is decently supportive of my decision to become a nurse. A bit surprise maybe, but not disrespectful. Except for my mother. She acts like she's happy about it, and says she thinks it's a "very nice career" and that she's proud of me and think's I'm being selfless. But she always manages to get in little jabs here and there that makes me think that SHE thinks I'm above nursing.

For example, the very first time I brought up nursing as a possibility, all she said was "ew that's disgusting." No lie. Also, a few days ago my brother asked me if I wanted to be an OR nurse and my mother interjected with "no she's gonna be the type of nurse that wipes people's asses and gets vomited on." Or sometimes she'll say things to try to discourage me and make me change my mind. Things like "being around sick people all day is just going to depress you" or "you don't know anything about math or science, how are you going to be able to do nursing?" It's just little things like that, you know?

It bothers me a bit, but it's also not going to stop me from going for it. I respect her right to an opinion, but hers seems to stem from the fact that SHE would never want to be a nurse, so she can't understand why I want to be one. I just wish she could respect my decision and have a little faith that I didn't just choose this career on a whim without any idea of what it's going to take.

Do any of you get things like that from your family? How do you deal with it?

Your mother sounds just like my father. When I graduated high school, I announced I wanted to go to nursing school. He actually forbid me to go. He said no daughter of his was going to empty bedpans for a living!

So I never went to nursing shcool. Here i am now in my 40's. My youngest will be leaving for college at the end of the year and I am preparing to finally pursue my dream.

Im still shocked that some people (like your mother and my father) have such little respect for nurses.



493 Posts

Reading this thread was comforting :)

My mom wishes I would have

majored in Communications, made tons of friends, and joined a sorority. Instead I'm busting my butt to get straight A's, gain leadership experience, and prepare myself for Nursing School.

We just want different things.... She says she's proud but has those hurtful comments as well. She doesn't understand that Nursing school is hard and thinks I could have challenged myself more majoring in business or communications...

I don't get it! I'm in the process of coming to terms with this and not caring what she thinks :)

(Disclaimer: I know you can be in a sorority and get good grades. This is just an issue between my mom & I)



4 Posts

My mom is a nurse and when I told her I was going to change my major to nursing I thought she was going to be really happy but she said jabs about it..."ill believe it when I see it" and "what about medical assisting" which I thought was a diss because she thought I couldnt make the grades or something. It did bother me but like what alot of people are saying on here, that shows more about her issues than mine. She should be happy im challenging myself and setting myself up for a good future. On the bright side it toughed my skin alot so if/when I get crap from instructors It wont bother me at all haha. Noone knows what youll be good at/ enjoy better than you do, even your own mother. And I'm sure when shes older and needs help she will be happy that I can afford to provide whatever care she need.