How to know if I would be a good nurse? Personality traits common among happy nurses

  1. How do I KNOW if I would be a good nurse. I am 39, considering a career change from being a homemaker and elem ed. teacher.
    Are there common traits amont "happy" nurses? My personality is somewhat reserved (but friendly and loving people), detail oriented, merciful, not liking the "limelight", service oriented. I am not an extremely "high-energy" person, but enjoy a challenge. I like studying ( have a BS with high honors) and think I would enjoy the course work of nursing school. My mind is not oriented toward mechanical workings necessarily, and I wonder how much of that would be involved. Any thoughts on personalities that do well in nursing?
  2. Visit Leigh Mayfield profile page

    About Leigh Mayfield

    Joined: Nov '01; Posts: 3


  3. by   wildtime88
    You did ask about character traits that are shared by happy and content nurses? In other words nurses who do not complain and will endure through thick and thin.


    willingness to do anything they are told to do or assigned to them without objection

    ability to work hard and long hours

    ability to hold urine for long periods of time

    ability to go without food

    ability to make excuses

    ability to always say it could be worse no matter how bad it gets

    ability to run out of the area when a coworker complains about a problem

    ability to feel bad when you are told it is your fault when in reality it is not

    ability to become a martyr to save face and feel self important

    ability to control the urges of wanting something that you do not make enough money to buy because of low pay when compared to your duties and responsibilities

    ability to not b***h and complain

    ability to face many of these things on a daily basis and be happy and content to keep coming back for more and be happy about it

    These are just some of the character traits shared by good, happy nurses. Remember happy nurses do not have anything to complain about and thus have no reason to make waves. They live in a world of their own no matter what is actually going on around them.

    It has also been implied by some nurses that you must have a calling in order to find true happiness in this profession in order to be truly happy. In some way this calling will give you the strength and resolve to accept the problems and allow you an excuse in which you can internalize the need to keep coming back for more punishment no matter how bad it gets.

    Ask yourself, Do I have such a calling that is strong enough to endure for the rest of my life?
  4. by   donmurray
    ps. The reference to holding urine....Applies to your own...and other peoples! I think you caught Wildtime after a bad day!
  5. by   OneChattyNurse
    I think that wildtime may have misinterpreted your post. From the traits you mentioned, I feel you have a good shot at nursing. I do agree it is hard work and the pay is not the greatest compared to other fields, BUT it can be very rewarding. There are many aspects of this field that are less than desirable...staff shortages, long hours, and mandatory overtime to name a few. However, if you feel strongly about becoming a nurse, I think you should go for it!!!

    One way you can get a better idea is to go to a college and take one of those tests that asks you a bunch of questions and then rates the professions/occupations that would suit you based on your answers. This is not a "fail-safe" method od choosing a career, but might give you some insight! There might even be a test like that on the internet.

    I have to admit that I sometimes get EXTREMELY frustrated with my job, but overall I am very happy to be a nurse!

  6. by   Julie, RN
    A sense of humor is a must!
  7. by   RNforLongTime
    I agree with Julie,RN a sense of humor is a definite must. I think that if I hadn't been able to laugh, I'd have quit this job a long time ago.

    From what you have mentioned, I think that you have the qualities to make a wonderful nurse! Good luck and keep us posted!

  8. by   Leigh Mayfield
    Thanks, Shari and Kelly for your responses. Yours was the kind I was looking for (nevermind the other responses given, sorry for their frustrations)!!!! I think I will look into the personality survey you mentioned. Thanks!!!!!!!!!
  9. by   Steeleferg
    Wildtime obviously has no idea what the definition of apathy is: it is the total lack of feeling or emotion; lack of interest or concern; INDIFFERENCE.

    Bad day or not apathy is not a good trait for any profession and certainly not anythig involving nursing or the medical world. In Nursing, in particular, it is necessary to have a COMPLETE LACK OF APATHY OR INDIFFERENCE. If that is the first trait listed Wildtime lists he/she is in the wrong field.

    Empathy and compassion, a sense of humor and the ability to deal with a high level of stress are most important. (I also made a mid-life career change into Nursing and though I am, as yet still a student , at the age of 41, in pusuit of a BSN, there is more reward in the profession of Nursing than anything I've done in the last 20 yrs.)
  10. by   wildtime88

    I am fully aware of what apathy means, lack of concern.

    Excuse me, but if you are a student then you have truly not experienced what it is truly like in this profession.

    You can be happy to be a nurse, but not happy with the profession. You can be a happy nurse too who sees nothing wrong.

    You can also have a concern for your patients and no concern for what is going on as far as working conditions.

    This sounds hard to believe and a contradiction, but just wait, you will see it. You will see that the nurses who are the happiest are the ones who resemble Stefford(sp) wives in almost all the cases.

    When you actually step out of the idealogical student world of nursing and into reality, look around and see who are the happy nurses and remember the character traits I listed.

    If you think that people like me should not be in nursing, then you might just change your mind when you see just how many nurses are like me. Especially when you realize how many patients you will have on your hands, if we all leave.

    Remember the old saying that ignorance is bliss. It is the unhappy nurses who are looking and pushing for change in the profession. The so called happy nurses would not change a thing. Heaven help you and the profession as a whole if all that stay are the happy nurses.

    I know my words must seem harsh when talking about such a noble profession in where some see a little personal suffering as a good thing to prove their self worth, but after you get a chance to personally suffer for a while then you might just catch my drift.
    Last edit by wildtime88 on Dec 6, '01
  11. by   wildtime88
    Leigh Mayfield

    <Are there common traits amont "happy" nurses?>

    I am sorry you did not like my answers to your question. If I would have known that you were looking for the soft sell recruitment type of answers which then to step around the reality of nursing, then I would have been all to happy to accommodate you.

    I will be this honest with you though. You said you are not a high energy type of person. Now if you meant that literally and not just in the sense of personality type, then you are going into the wrong field.

    Nursing is a field that requires a lot of energy in the form of self motivation as well as the energy to act quickly and for long periods of time. There are very few jobs available to a new nurse where you can sit back at a desk and watch the world pass by. In many of the aspects of nursing it truly does require a self starter to initiate things. You might have orders to follow but many times they are just a goal that you have to achieve on your own by initiating the steps and then following them personally to their completion. There is a lot of hands on and not just sitting back making sure someone else does it.

    As far as limelight goes if this means being the center of attention then you will be in the lime light in that you will be in the center of just about everything. You will be responsible for a lot and will be held personally and legally responsible for things that our under your control and many things that are not. You will be the one who manages your patient if you choose to become an RN. If you choose to be an LPN then there will be a lot of multi tasking that you will have to perform and you will be personally accountable for the completion of those tasks. LPNs have to be self starters too.

    Now would you like me to give you the soft sell recruitment pitch or do you want the whole truth?
  12. by   Steeleferg

    "Idealism increases in direct proportion to one's distance from the problem."

    I feel duly put in my place... I concur I've had neither the experience or training to speak from the point of first hand knowledge. I was not questioning your dedication, professionalism or desire to change those aspects of the profession which need changing. I was attempting to say that apathy is not an admirable trait in any job. Apathy will not motivate you to change anything. I know of at least 2 RNs who have left due to the "political BS" (their words, not mine) they had to deal with, i.e. the forced OT, too many pts to adequately provide care for, ad nauseum. Wouldn't you agree they left due to apathy with the profession??

    I do take exception to your statement that only "unhappy" people will take a stand towards improving the overall profession and that if all that is left is "happy" nurses, those of us soon to come will be doomed. People satisfied/happy with their job (nurse) and also satisfied/happy with their profession (nursing) can also desire changes for the better. Happiness/satisfaction do not go hand in hand with apathy. I am old enough and informed enough to know exactly what I am getting into.

    I think maybe the verbage is the original message was wrong; good would have been more appropriate than happy.

    As I stated before I was not questioning your dedication to the profession, just your choice of apathy as a trait of happiness. Please forgive my (inexperienced) rashness.
  13. by   thisnurse
    there is a big difference between what nurses SHOULD be and what nurses are. wildtime is right....apathy is prevalant.
    im sorry students, nursing is NOT what you are taught in school. or maybe it is but they arent telling you everything.

    i think the most important character trait is perseverance. you have to be able to withstand everything that wild has posted. hes not lying...thats how it is.
    you have to be able to withstand abuse by patients, families, coworkers, and administration. you have to be able to cope with that because it does happen. not everyday, although it seems like it sometimes.
    you have to be able to deal with change. sometimes situations change by the second. you have to be prepared for that.
    and of course you have to have heart. you have to be able to put other people before yourself.

    i LOVE what i do. ive held other jobs but nothing like this. and no, im not happy with the profession and the way things are going for us, but i am happy to be a nurse.

    its not all bad, but hey...its not all glamour
  14. by   shavsha
    Hi Leigh,
    I replied to your private post...Read it if you haven't already. In my opinion, there is room in nursing for just about every personality. Some love OR -lots of machines, equipment, no patient contact. Others like home/health hospice. There are folks who trouble shoot IV's all day, and ER and OB nurses where it is feast or famine. I think some of the qualities that are ESSENTIAL in nursing are a good mind (ability to think beyond the box), honesty (living with personal and professional integrity), being a team player, able to get along with all kinds of personalities, and being able to set boundaries for yourself.
    Also, know that wherever you work there will be negative people (who come by it naturally) and good people who are just burned out. I strive in my job to be respectful and friendly to everyone, not participate in gossip, do my fair share of making the workplace a safe and happy place to work.
    From your posts I'm guessing you would make a wonderful nurse. No one would say nursing is an easy job but don't let negativity scare you away!