"Atypical" Nurse? How discouraging...

  1. Hello!

    I'll be 30 next year, and I'm unmarried with no children. I'd spent my early career years in a field where that was an advantage (I moved intercity/internationally often). Right after uni I'd done a year in AmeriCorps that really planted the seeds of nursing in my head, and now I'm finally doing what I feel I should. But! Now that I've jumped in and started my pre-nursing track I've been absolutely shocked by the negativity I've been getting from nurses and nursing students I've met recently - due to my choice of lifestyle.

    I was asked the other day by an RN family friend how I could possibly be thinking about going into nursing when I couldn't even be selfless enough to take care of a child. Couple of weeks ago I was even told that patients wouldn't trust me as much if they thought I "hated men and children" (!!!!), and that getting hired would be harder since "family life shows that you're a reliable, caring person". These are just a handful of negative opinions I've been served, and they're certainly jarring.

    I'm hoping this kind of attitude is just due to the region I live in now. But it's making me feel truly awful. Is it that strange to find a single, childless person over 30 in nursing? And is there really that strong of a general impression that a single woman is an inadequate caregiver?
  2. Visit Darjeeling22 profile page

    About Darjeeling22

    Joined: May '09; Posts: 52; Likes: 51
    Business Owner; from US

    57 Comments

  3. by   vashtee
    Good lord, where do you live? I can't believe those comments. You sound like you stepped back in time 100 years!

    I know lots of single people your age, nurses and non-nurses alike.
  4. by   Spidey's mom
    Oh dear - I am so sorry you are getting remarks like that. Unfortunately I think many married couples who choose to be childless get them too.

    Do not take to heart these comments. Whether you are married or not or have children or not has NO bearing on what kind of nurse you will be.

    It has more to do with the kind of person you are. Team player? Patient advocate?

    Mother Teresa wasn't married and didn't have any biological children and she was very compassionate.

    Scott Peterson was married and killed his pregnant wife. :icon_roll

    You will be a fine nurse - I can already tell.

    steph
  5. by   Always_Learning
    Ugh - you're right; it is discouraging. While my situation is not exactly the same as yours, I am nearing thirty and just got married in the last 6 months, and I do not have children either. Unfortunately, I too have been met with discouragement when I tell people I am pursuing nursing. I hear everything from, "Why in God's name would you want to do that?!" to "You want to teach nursing, right?" (And no, I do not want to teach, although I definitely appreciate those who do). This is why I think it is extremely important to have intrinsic motivation and know that you are doing what you want to do. If nursing is your dream (or even if it's skydiving, painting, or dancing, for heaven's sake), find people that support you and celebrate your dream. I have had to choose not to be around some of the discouragers...at least until I have "RN" behind my name.

    There is no "atypical nurse" any more than there is an "atypical human being." Nurses come in all colors, ages, temperaments, personalities, backgrounds, cultures, and family situations. And there is no prerequisite for being a decent human being. After all...I bet those folks who say you're not "selfless enough" would certainly appreciate your expertise if they fell over on the sidewalk with an MI...whether you have kids or not. :grad:
    Be encouraged!!
  6. by   ambermichelle
    The comments you have received are anomalies and do not represent what most people think. In fact, probably almost no one would agree with them. So ignore them. Everyone is not always going to agree with everybody's lifestyle, personality, anything. You can't please everyone. I don't know you, but for your sanity try not to be that sensitive.

    You are absolutely correct to feel they are unfair, but people will say many negative things to you all your life, and don't waste a moment of your life letting it bother you.

    Also, why would patients even know about your marital status or whether or not you had children? I think the people who made those comments, in addition to being unfair and insensitive, are not too bright.
  7. by   fuzzywuzzy
    I think this has less to do with nursing and more to do with being childless in general. People without children get flack for it all the time, and I will never understand why it's so offensive to other people when someone decides not to have kids. The comments about how not having children is selfish are among my favorites... they don't even make sense. Plenty of people have children for very selfish reasons, and plenty of people choose NOT to have children for SELFLESS reasons. In the end, it doesn't matter whether you were selfish or not, because it's an effing personal decision and no one else's business! Are you HURTING anyone by being single and childless? I think not. Meanwhile there are people all over the world making babies who will be abused, neglected, etc., but YOU'RE the selfish one.

    If someone wants kids, has them, raises them in a great environment to be good people, then power to them. But it has absolutely nothing to do with you.
  8. by   Virgo_RN
    I cannot believe the crap that comes out of people's mouths sometimes. You will be a fine nurse.
  9. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from ambermichelle

    Also, why would patients even know about your marital status or whether or not you had children? I think the people who made those comments, in addition to being unfair and insensitive, are not too bright.

    :yeahthat:


    steph
  10. by   leslie :-D
    you are no more an atypical nurse, than the 'typical' nurse being angelic and merciful.
    thankfully nurses are as unique as the people behind the license.

    i say embrace who you are, and let it show!
    everything else will fall into place.
    sure, you're going to encounter ignorance in one-size-fits-all, and far too often.
    it's important to always hold your head high, and 'appreciate' the view.
    i think we all can grow when challenged w/adversity.

    truly, be your very best, whatever/whoever that may be.
    it's your time to shine.

    wishing you the very best.

    leslie
  11. by   Couture85
    If it's any comfort at all, your situation sounds more like the typical nursing student than the atypical one (if there is one lol).
  12. by   leslie :-D
    Quote from fuzzywuzzy
    Are you HURTING anyone by being single and childless? I think not. Meanwhile there are people all over the world making babies who will be abused, neglected, etc., but YOU'RE the selfish one.
    i esp appreciated this part of your post, fuzzy.
    ain't that the truth though?
    besides, many folks just aren't happy unless they're judging, gossiping, belittling, blah blah blah blah blah.

    personally, if someone criticizes me, i DO think about what was said.
    if i agree, i'll try and change it.
    if i disagree, i tend to emphasize that trait that drives the other person nuts.
    yes, VERY immature, and i'm trying to grow up in that area.
    but geez, some people need to get a life.
    and if being single/childless negates the makings of a good nurse, boy...the defiant part of me would want to....
    nevermind.
    i did say i'm trying to grow up.
    (but op, you can give them bunny ears behind their back)

    leslie
  13. by   Lovely_RN
    That's the silliest nonsense I have ever heard of. I went to RN school with a really talented LPN who had over 10 years of experience in Med/Surg and telemetry. She was over 40 and single with no kids by CHOICE. She said she never had a desire to marry or have kids and preferred animals to most people. She was so good and experienced that our clinical instructor was in awe of her!
  14. by   Moogie
    Quote from Darjeeling22
    I was asked the other day by an RN family friend how I could possibly be thinking about going into nursing when I couldn't even be selfless enough to take care of a child. Couple of weeks ago I was even told that patients wouldn't trust me as much if they thought I "hated men and children" (!!!!), and that getting hired would be harder since "family life shows that you're a reliable, caring person". These are just a handful of negative opinions I've been served, and they're certainly jarring.

    I'm hoping this kind of attitude is just due to the region I live in now. But it's making me feel truly awful. Is it that strange to find a single, childless person over 30 in nursing? And is there really that strong of a general impression that a single woman is an inadequate caregiver?
    The attitudes you are encountering are ignorant and reprehensible. Simply not having a husband or kids does NOT mean you "hate" men and children. Moreover, there are MANY single, childless people in health care professions. Have any of your detractors heard of someone named Florence Nightingale?

    Additionally, there are also many wonderful, caring nurses who happen to be homosexual. Unfortunately, there are far too many ignorant homophobes, even among health care professionals, and anyone who dares to be different will likely experience negative remarks. A gay friend from nursing school endured discrimination from instructors and snide insults and comments from fellow students. It's been over twenty years and I am still outraged about how he was treated by members of a so-called "caring" profession. Have heard similar stories from lesbian nurses and students. :angryfire

    To the OP, it doesn't matter if you're straight, gay, bisexual or asexual. It doesn't matter if you're married or single and it certainly doesn't matter WHY you are single. You need to be happy with yourself and your lifestyle. Anyone who tries to make you doubt your ability to care, simply because of your single lifestyle, is completely out of line and is projecting his/her own insecurities onto you. Go out there, become an excellent nurse, and show your detractors they are WRONG.

    Quote from fuzzywuzzy
    I think this has less to do with nursing and more to do with being childless in general. People without children get flack for it all the time, and I will never understand why it's so offensive to other people when someone decides not to have kids. The comments about how not having children is selfish are among my favorites... they don't even make sense. Plenty of people have children for very selfish reasons, and plenty of people choose NOT to have children for SELFLESS reasons. In the end, it doesn't matter whether you were selfish or not, because it's an effing personal decision and no one else's business! Are you HURTING anyone by being single and childless? I think not. Meanwhile there are people all over the world making babies who will be abused, neglected, etc., but YOU'RE the selfish one.

    If someone wants kids, has them, raises them in a great environment to be good people, then power to them. But it has absolutely nothing to do with you.
    Thank you, Fuzzywuzzy, for your eloquent statements. The decision not to have children can be one of the most mature, selfless decisions a person can make. Additionally, there are families that have fertility problems. Does that mean they're not "real" families if they have in-vitro, use a sperm or egg donor, adopt, or not have children at all? The stigma against childless couples is ridiculous. As you said so well, some people have children for selfish reasons and others don't take care of the children they have brought into the world. No one can make a blanket statement that someone with children is "caring" and without children is "selfish."

    BTW, I have children and, ironically, I've had to put up with ignorant comments because I chose to leave nursing for several years to be a SAHM. "Oh, you'd be so much further ahead in your career if you would have worked all those years." Right. As a SAHM, I did no work---just sat on the couch, watched soaps and ate bon-bons all day. Whatever.

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