A question for those who have been there... done that...

  1. Hello Everybody!

    This is my first post, I hope I'm putting it in the right forum. My apologies if this is a question that has already been discussed, but there's a lot of information on the site and after several hours of browsing my question has not been answered.

    I have recently made the decision to change careers and enter the nursing profession and have been looking for as much information as possible about the field. I am concerned at the wide and varied opinions regarding the quality of nurses' working environments. Are hospitals really that bad? I worked in a small community hospital as an assistant when I was nineteen and I absolutely hated it, but I've decided on looking back that I was simply too young to handle the stressful and busy environment. Now I am more mature and feel that I am ready to take on more responsibilities, and I believe becoming a nurse will help me do that. I am interested in the ER or possibly ICU, and have a strong interest in getting advanced training later on, maybe be a CRNA or NP.

    But back to my question... what is it REALLY like? Is a nurse just a slave that the doctors dump @&#! on, or are they respected members of the medical team? Should I avoid working in a hospital and try to get a job in an office setting? Or is the hospital environment as exciting and challenging as the "hey you should be a nurse" recruitment websites say?

    Thanks in advance for any comments you might have!
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    About Lady Nicole

    Joined: Sep '06; Posts: 4

    10 Comments

  3. by   JBudd
    Every hospital is different, and doctors are humans just like everyone else. Some people/places stink, others don't. I've worked at my hospital for over 20 years, been on strike once, but on the whole it's now a great place to work. Mostly because we made it so. My ER docs are wonderful, respect our opinions and say "thanks" quite a lot. One got married this summer, and there were people from every single department there.

    So, it all depends on what you enjoy doing. While in nursing school, sign up to observe in any units you don't get a chance to do clinical in; see what all is out there.

    I wouldn't plan on the advanced degree until you work for a while, experience really helps. Welcome to nursing!
  4. by   TheCommuter
    Nursing is a fulfilling career if you have compassion for assisting others. You will be dissatisfied if prestige is an important factor in your next career selection because nurses are quite low on the prestigious totem pole. Engineers are viewed as 'smart', but nurses are viewed as 'helpful'. Philosophers are regarded as 'rational thinkers', but nurses are regarded as 'not so sharp'. Attorneys are considered 'professionals', but nurses are considered 'working class'. There are many more examples of the lack of prestige in nursing and, personally, I think much of it can be traced back to the humble pink collar origins of nursing.

    Overall, I have no regrets. Prestige is not significant to me.
  5. by   Lady Nicole
    Hey, thanks for your answers, your advice is very practical. I am looking forward to starting school, I feel eager for the experience that will come with learning about all areas of nursing. As far as "prestige" I'm not sure that's quite what I'm looking for, but I've always had a lot of respect for the responsibility that nurses, doctors, and other medical personnel have who are trying to save and improve people's lives. I want to make a difference that way.

    Thanks again!
  6. by   Antikigirl
    I felt the same way too when I was starting out! Oh man, I hated hospital work...and made it about 6 months and quit running and screaming! I swore up and down I would NEVER do it again!!!!

    Then, I spent 6 years doing other nursing jobs, DD homes, camp nursing...then finally an ALF working there for 4 years. Boy did I learn a ton about myself and my patients by working with the biggest population of pts...elderly! I was humbled big time, and really got to learn who I was as a nurse and may I say...calmed down a bit, and learned to handle the stress much more .

    Well...the ALF couldn't keep me basically...so I went to agency and found a wonderful small community hospital...one of the ones I had done clinicals for and didn't have the best experience as I recalled. BUT...it was great! I had learned so much, and matured as a nurse that it was a breeze (well...4 years of being the only nurse for 140 + people in a LTC type facility teaches you time management and stress techniques pretty darn well let me tell ya! LOL!).

    Now I work for them full time in med surge/ortho/OB and loving nursing again! You could have bowled me over with a feather! I swore I would never go back to hospital...now I love it!

    The docs and other staff are excellent and very friendly! I feel valued for my opinions and work by everyone! Patients are typically kind and more relaxed then other larger hospitals. I wouldn't give up the community feel of that place for anything!

    So, take a chance...see what is out there for you! I did agency till I found the right place I could call 'home base'...then I hired on on MY terms! That was cool!

    Good luck!
  7. by   TazziRN
    The best way to get a idea of what nursing is like is to volunteer at a hospital, become a CNA, or (if you know someone who is a nurse) shadow a nurse for a shift or part of one. My daughter told me she wanted to go to nursing school and the only exposure she had ever had was what she heard me talk about. I got permission to have her shadow me, and she got an eyeful. She's applying for nursing school next summer.
  8. by   Ruby Vee
    [font="comic sans ms"]nursing is a great career. if you don't like hospital nursing, there's school nursing, occupational health, clinics, home health care, long term care, and many other choices. if you hate the bedside, move into management, staff development, advanced practice or many other choices. if you have children, your schedule can be as flexible as you need it to be. work nights, weekends and holidays opposite your spouse and never need child care. or work monday through friday and see your spouse every evening and weekend. there are choices. the pay isn't bad, either.

    don't get too worried about the threads entitled "nurses eat their young" or "why are nurses so mean?" the disgruntled are more vocal than the satisfied, and often, reading between the lines you can discern why negative things keep happening to that particular poster. some units are hard on newbies, that is true. some units target older nurses at the top of the salary range. i'm not going to say that doesn't happen; but i don't believe that's unique to nursing, either.

    don't be put off by threads such as "have you ever put a doctor in their place" or "rules for the er." nurses need to vent, and no one but another nurse can really understand. vent threads are about venting -- they aren't representative of the daily life as a nurse. i myself have contributed many stories to threads like like that, even though the overwhelming majority of my interactions with physicians, managers, fellow nurses and ancillary personnel have been thoroughly positive. even the most positive person needs to vent sometimes!

    the one thing about reading the vent threads -- than can prepare you for the worst of the job. as i said, the unhappy are the most vocal, so there probably aren't as many positive threads. take that with a grain of salt. i for one am not nearly as tempted to share a postive story -- it's harder to give it a humorous spin. but do a search for the happy threads, and take comfort from the fact that they're there. they can show you the best of the job.
  9. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from ruby vee
    [font="comic sans ms"]if you hate the bedside, move into management, staff development, advanced practice or many other choices.
    one of the many reasons behind the so-called nursing shortage is the fact that many nurses dislike the bedside and move into management. i honestly think there are too many 'chiefs' and not enough 'indians' in nursing. a person who absolutely detests hands-on patient care should seriously re-evaluate his/her career decisions. this is just my honest opinion.
  10. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    Quote from TheCommuter
    One of the many reasons behind the so-called nursing shortage is the fact that many nurses dislike the bedside and move into management. I honestly think there are too many 'chiefs' and not enough 'indians' in nursing. A person who absolutely detests hands-on patient care should seriously re-evaluate his/her career decisions. This is just my honest opinion.

    I agree totally.
  11. by   catlady
    Quote from TheCommuter
    One of the many reasons behind the so-called nursing shortage is the fact that many nurses dislike the bedside and move into management. I honestly think there are too many 'chiefs' and not enough 'indians' in nursing. A person who absolutely detests hands-on patient care should seriously re-evaluate his/her career decisions. This is just my honest opinion.
    I don't mean to be critical, but it's not really fair to suggest to someone who's put in ten, twenty, thirty years at the bedside and has had enough that they should just give up nursing altogether. Working in the trenches is hard, and people who've done their job well deserve to have other options when the trench warfare becomes just too much. They still have a lot to offer. Would you rather have someone in management who's never worked at the bedside? I think I was a pretty fair manager because I could remember what it was like to be a staff nurse, but at the time I just didn't want to be that person. Of course, now I've chosen to go back to bedside nursing, but I don't see myself staying here forever.
  12. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from catlady
    I don't mean to be critical, but it's not really fair to suggest to someone who's put in ten, twenty, thirty years at the bedside and has had enough that they should just give up nursing altogether. Working in the trenches is hard, and people who've done their job well deserve to have other options when the trench warfare becomes just too much.
    I was explicitly referring to people who plan to go straight into management after completing nursing school without working in 'the trenches'. Perhaps I should have been more specific. I still believe that prospective nursing students who detest bedside nursing should reconsider their career choices because, in my opinion, the bedside is the heart of nursing.

    There are too many 'chiefs' and not enough 'indians' in nursing.

    I didn't intend to hijack this thread.

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