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Doubting myself because I want to be a nurse so I can "give back"

Nurse Beth   (5,239 Views 38 Comments)
by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Advice Column) Writer Innovator Expert

Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and works as a Nursing Professional Development Specialist.

14 Followers; 88 Articles; 226,313 Visitors; 1,756 Posts

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Dear Nurse Beth,

I am 27 years old. I take my final prereq this fall, and assuming I can pass the teas test I submit my application this fall to the nursing program. My back up plan is to go for a BS like my mother since my final prereq also finalizes my associates. My question is it as rewarding as I hope it is. I want to go into this with my eyes wide open since I will not have the finances to back out if I gain acceptance.

My friends, and family all tell me I am doing it for the right reasons I want to help others. I have been a patient in critical need, and had my needs answered so I want to give back. I think of nursing more as a dream at this point than a career. Something that makes it easy to get up each morning when I have a goal in mind. I want to be one of those people that answers the call of those in need especially since I would be dead if not for nurses and doctors.

I am not asking if It is worth it I believe it is. What I am asking is am I doing this for the right reasons. I have a tendency to doubt myself because I am 27 without a degree, but I have done well in my prereqs, and have been told I have a decent shot at getting in this fall. So assuming I can gain acceptance there will be no going back for me.

Is wanting to help others because I have received assistance the right reason to pursue nursing?

 


Dear Doubting Yourself,

When you ask nurses why they decided to become a nurse, you hear some reasons more than once. One of them is the person who was ill and for whom the experience was a pivotal moment in their life.

You are a grateful person who wants to pay it forward and help others. I can't think of a better reason for being a nurse than wanting to help your fellow human being with skill and compassion. Meet their needs. Help them as you were helped.

You tend to doubt yourself, so give heed to your family and friends' counsel.

Sometimes in life you look back and only then do you see the open doors that guided your life path. You are in your last semester of pre-reqs. You have a good shot of being accepted. If you pass the TEAS and are accepted...I would call that a clear series of open doors.

You ask if you are doing it for the right reasons. Absolutely. You ask if wanting to help others is reason enough to pursue nursing. It may be the best reason there is.

Best wishes, nurse-to-be,

Nurse Beth

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1,216 Visitors; 46 Posts

Give me a break. If you want to "give back" volunteer at the hospital and go find a job that will give you satisfaction. If you are doubting yourself then this is not for you. Help an old lady across the street but don't go into this profession with this attitude. You have to KNOW this is your decision. This is like "I know I want to be a mom someday, while walking around 9 months pregnant". If you like wiping someone's behind for the fourth time in eight hours, or cleaning up vomit that is filled with blood, changing the stinkingest dressing and not vomiting or gagging, the you might think "I can do this." I have been a registered nurse for 25 years all of the above has been done by me not a CNA but an RN. This is a real job and needs a hard look at the job. Are you doing this to "give back" or to really give knowledge to uneducated in a person's medical condition. Giving back does not work. My sister "gave back" for 33 years and hated every minute of it. So think this through. Are you doing nursing because your mom did it? Not a good reason. My son started in the medical field and worked for 15 years and hated every minute of it. He is now in computers. And loves it. He grew up watching me and I made it look easy. But it is not. I just wanted you to know.

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JayHanig has 18 years experience and works as a Retired RN.

3,610 Visitors; 135 Posts

Frankly, I would run screaming in the other direction. I was severely injured in a plane crash back in the late 80's and felt the same urge to give back. My experience with broken bones naturally led me to orthopedics. What you need to understand is that nursing has changed over the years, and not for the better.

Whatever altruistic urges I may have had in the beginning were beaten out of me by management. If you enjoy working short staffed, being evaluated by people incapable of doing your work, and constant changes that impede your ability to provide safe and timely care, then nursing is for you. Call me burned out: I truly am. I retired at the age of 55 after 18 years working at the bedside supposedly doing what nursing was supposed to be, every minute of that in a hospital setting. The thoughts of ever returning to that just make me nauseous.

I feel sorry for the current generation of nurses still in the fire. I have nothing but contempt for most middle and upper management, both in nursing and in hospital administration. There was a time when I had a nursing career. By the time I got out it no longer was; it was just a job and a crappy one at that. The last five years I was working I switched from full time to weekender, just to minimize the time I had to be there. I made it a point never to be available during the week for extra shifts... even the double time they occasionally had to pay when they'd run off the good help wasn't enough to get me to work extra.

My point is: be very careful what you wish for. You might get it. And if a career in nursing isn't a blatant example of bait and switch, I don't know what is.

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honeyforasalteyfish works as a Towel related.

3 Articles; 22,956 Visitors; 262 Posts

Thank you. I do need an attitude adjustment. I suppose I am what would be called "a special snowflake." You know what though I am a living special snowflake because a nurse practitioner caught my lung abscess before it was to late. Everything is happening so fast in my life. Its like a hurricane, and I love every minute of it. I peer mentor I tutor, I take BNA course, I take my final prereq, then I take the teas examination. My confidence has been rocked by my failures, and I don't know why. Because of what I have overcome personally in the last year is far more than I ever thought myself capable of. I never thought I stood a chance because of my illnesses. I know this is what I want. Why because I want no one to think they cannot do something at a young age because of illness. Will I get in? Who really knows all I can do is my best. My crohn's is under control, my depression is under control, my lung abscess is gone. Boom this fall I know if I am in, or not if I have any future in nursing on any level. Its all happening so fast. I have like no time to catch my breath, and its only going to get more intense. You know what though so far I love every minute of it. Do I need an attitude adjustment I suppose I do, but sitting there listening to a 45 year vet RN I couldn't help but smile at her awesomeness. That is the kind of person I want to be period. There is only one way I am going to get there. Who knows I may fail miserably, or I may succeed beyond my wildest dreams. I have no idea, but I am forever grateful for the opportunity presented to me, and I don't intend to let it go to waste. I am far from perfect, and far from the best candidate. You know what I do have the though. Genuine empathy I don't have to fake it. I don't have to fake my enthusiasm for life any more since I started down this path. I don't have to fake loving my classes, or listening to a grizzled RN vet talk about teaching me the skills I need to become a CNA. I am flat broke, and I have no guarenty of success. You know what though I love every minute.

Edited by honeyforasalteyfish

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45,176 Visitors; 4,987 Posts

Oh. puhleeeez!!! This post makes me think of joining a convent. Desert Lady & Jay, you're my kind :rolleyes:

Honesty in advertising ...

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JayHanig has 18 years experience and works as a Retired RN.

3,610 Visitors; 135 Posts

I need a drink.

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Jensmom7 has 36 years experience and works as a Hospice Nurse.

11,169 Visitors; 1,907 Posts

I need a drink.

Hey, it's 5pm somewhere.

I say let OP do whatever his little heart desires. Nothing any "grizzled RN vet" tries to tell him about the world of Nursing beyond his rose colored glasses is going to make any kind of impression.

For someone who supposedly admires, may, reveres Nurses as he claims, he sure doesn't want to listen to those who actually walk the walk and talk the talk.

If nothing else, once he gets into a Nursing program, we'll have free entertainment from his future posts as he bemoans the fact that being an RN isn't really all sunshine and unicorns, and he actually may have bad days at work.

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Julie Reyes has 6 years experience and works as a PICU RN.

1 Follower; 44 Articles; 64,625 Visitors; 260 Posts

wow. While some people have responded in a less than tactful way (more like a punch in the face), I slightly understand some of their responses. Slightly.

I don't think it really matters what calls a person into nursing. Be it a life changing experience to following in their parent's footsteps to wanting to do it to prove they can and shove it in their ex husband's face that you smarter than he is (me). I can't think of a degree where people have NOT got some reason or another for pursing a particular field. I can't fathom why it should matter WHY any one pursues whatever degree they are going for.

If someone thinks they want to give it a go, then go for it 100%. Give it all you got. There are hundreds of different fields within nursing, and if one isn't your cup of tea (wiping butts), then go into a different field (informatics, administration, teaching, etc, etc, etc). Besides, the difference between wiping adult butts versus baby butts may be all the change in fields one needs to find sanctification and happiness in a career...)

There are hundreds of avenues within nursing. If anyone is miserable in nursing, all they have to do is go down a different path. You will have the degree already - and that will put you ahead of the game and will give you options.

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1,692 Visitors; 45 Posts

If you think it's what you want to do, go for it. But you had better find some confidence and a backbone, because I can assure you that behind the scenes, it was the confidence and knowledge of that NP. I get that you've had failures, everyone has. But don't let that stop you. But recognize that as a patient, your view of nursing is very different. It's not all sunshine and roses. You'll rarely get thanked. You'll be kicked, slapped, cursed at, yelled and and so much more. So if nursing is for you, have a come to Jesus meeting with yourself and find that confidence.

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45,176 Visitors; 4,987 Posts

Just to be clear - my sentiments are reflective of the "Dear Beth"' response, not the sample's letter writer.

The letter write who's writing her may have overblown, altruistic, unrealistic, even sappy career expectations, but I don't think any of us respondents would be quite so negative (and caustic) to the presented letter writer. Honest yes but not quite so harsh!

I hope I'm right in saying that I think other PP may be feeling the same as I when we responded as we did.

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Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and works as a Nursing Professional Development Specialist.

14 Followers; 88 Articles; 226,313 Visitors; 1,756 Posts

I like to encourage new nurses and student nurses as well as be an advocate for change within nursing-which I know well :)

A lot of idealistic young nurses start out with low confidence and self-doubt, and go on to become amazing nurses. Best wishes

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JayHanig has 18 years experience and works as a Retired RN.

3,610 Visitors; 135 Posts

"May have"? I'd say the chances are somewhat better than the sun rising in the east tomorrow. But maybe that's just me.

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