Nursing: The Perfect Career

  1. The following is an (edited) copy of an article on my website
    RN Career Change .

    Are there any other reasons you would add?

    10 Reasons Nursing is a Perfect Profession

    by John Lundholm, RN, M.A.

    1. CHOICE OF MANY SETTINGS Although the majority of nurses work in a hospital setting, we are not limited to working in hospital settings. There are nurses working in schools, universities, research laboratories, industrial settings, courtrooms, community centers, and just about every other work setting you can imagine. Even with in the hospital setting there are many options. You are not limited to bedside nursing.

    2. VARIED POSITIONS Nurses can do much more than just direct patient care. They are managers, researchers, teachers, writers, consultants, entrepreneurs, medical reps, leaders.

    3. BROAD SKILLS BASE The reason nurses can function in a variety of settings and roles is our broad skills base. We must be skilled at assessing, problem solving, integrating information, communicating, observation, and a hundred other discrete and interrelated skills.

    4. HIGH TECH/HIGH TOUCH Nursing integrates the highest levels of scientific advancement in medicine, and the most personal of interactions. We can choose settings which at one extreme surrounds us with instruments, machines and data, or at the other allows to share in the profoundly personal experiences of birth or death.

    5.IMPORTANT WORK Our work often has an impact on the quality of life or death. What we do, and how we do it matters.

    6. WELL RESPECTED Nurses are well respected by the public. We are in a position of trust.

    7. CHALLENGING Nursing can be as dull and routine as any job, but it can be as exciting and challenging as you want it to be. If you're not being challenged in your current position, there's a position in nurse that will challenge and bring out the best in you.

    8. EASY TO BALANCE This is especially true of direct patient care in a hospital setting. Although planning is essential, nursing is very much a matter of responding to immediate concerns. When you leave work, you leave your work at the hospital, since you don't know what you will be faced with when you return. This makes it easy to balance nursing with the rest of your life. You're not always "on the job". Your time off can truly be time off.

    9. SECURE You can always find a job as a nurse. It may not be in the position or setting you would prefer, but with your skill base you are a valuable worker.

    10. WELL PAID I know some will disagree with me, but considering the fact that a person can enter the profession with an associate degree and within a few years earn as much as, for instance, a masters level social worker (check the classifieds if you don't believe me) says a lot for nursing. Remember, you are not confined to bedside nursing. It's not common, but there are nurses earning six-figure incomes.

    (article appears at)
  2. Visit CCwizard profile page

    About CCwizard

    Joined: Jul '01; Posts: 3


  3. by   Stargazer
    I think that pretty well covers it. I have issues with numbers 8 and 10---I definitely think both $$/benefits and level of investment/responsibilities depends heavily on your position and practice setting--but overall, that list is pretty well inclusive of all the reasons I went into nursing.
  4. by   P_RN
    interesting post.

    i also think 8 & 10 might be off track a bit, but i definitely disagree with no. 6. people may say they trust, may believe they trust nurses, but i think they no longer respect nurses as they once did.

    i have seen this at work, at church, at community meetings, and even here on the internet on other forums. all i see is "my nurse didn't do this or that." "i had to ask to go home early because of the awful nurses."

  5. by   ArleneD

    I think your reasons are right on track. Stargazer and P_RN, you worry me with your posts about #8. Why do you say there's no balance? This is one of the reasons I've chosen this career. Looking forward to your comments.
  6. by   deathnurse
    Musings of a simplistic, behind a desk mind. There certainly is an "air" of respect surrounding nursing when it comes to a television show, but it is completely lacking within actual practice. Patients, families, visitors, physicians one and all have no respect for our bedside decisions.

    An associate degree will put you on par with a bachelors, salary wise. No respect for higher education. And forget about tacking on a "MSN, CEN, RNc, or those other little flags of self worth---they are not compensated, not recognized.

    There is no respect for staying power. You will retire making about the same salary as a one-year experienced nurse.

    Your motives may be genuine in attempting to maintain an adequate nursing force, but I think I can read between the lines of your web page.
  7. by   momfirst
    My own experience with #8 has not held true. I was a HomeCare RN and although I only worked days, I had to wear a pager and was on-call 24 hours a day for half the week. If someone called in, I had to scramble to find coverage, or cover the shift myself. This could occur at anytime of the day, and happened at midnight a few times. Prior to this, I was in Corrections, and although I did not bring any work home, if someone called in, we had to do mandatory double shifts. This definitely impacted my personal life. Being on mandatory rotating shifts every 3 months also affected my personal family life. Logistics such as who was picking up the kids and at what time had to be juggled. When I was on evenings, my husband was left to do double duty. When I was on nights, it even affected our sex life!!

    Balance was also hard when having to work holidays and missing family get-togethers on the weekends, as any nurse can attest to who have had to work on Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.

    With that said, I agree that nursing occurs in a variety of settings. For the above reasons, I have changed into a position that allows me a normal schedule that lets my family come first (thanks to the input from you all).

    Nursing is a great profession if you don't allow it to sacrifice your personal life. As a recent patient in the hospital for the first time, I was forever grateful for the great nurses. Hospital nurses: You have no idea how important you and your care are to your patients. Remember that you do make a difference, every day!!! You inspired me and renewed my desire to continue nursing.
  8. by   RNforLongTime
    Well, I for one, would hardly call nursing the Perfect Career. My hospital developed a new program called the IRP pool (Internall Resource Pool). This program was put into place to try and avoid the need for agency nurses during this severe nursing shortage. It offers a higher rate of pay(1 and 3/4 times your base wage) and you can choose which floors that you want to work but you do not accumulate Paid Time Off(PTO) or seniority and it would not count towards days in a row, my hospital pays you time and a half for working more than 5 days in a row. This plan works well for part timers who want more hours but not for the full timers such as myself. The downside to this for me is a RN working IRP hours can BUMP the most junior nurse on the floor she signed up for. This happened to me tonight as I am the most junior RN on second shift on my unit. I had to go work another floor and was NOT happy about it at all cause the floor I had to work on is a Surgery floor and I hate that kind of floor. Plus I was assigned to care for a 1 day post-op total hip and I have NEVER taken care of that type of pt before. Well I will be speaking with my head nurse tomorrow and am planning on telling her that if they continue to do this to me that I will QUIT! The IRP nurse cannot be pulled to another unit as it stands right now so they pull the junior nurse, which will always be me!

    Plus how can a person have a life if she is going to be mandated over to third shift. This happens on my unit a lot! I have had to cancel numerous doctors appts because of that. Then when I do get a day off I am too tired to do anything! I work 5 days a week second shift and don't see much of my husband as it is and when I get mandated I see him even less.
    The pay is decent at best but it needs to be a LOT better especially with the nursing shortage in full swing.

    Just my 2 cents

  9. by   P_RN
    ArleneD. What kaknurse posted pretty much says it all for me on #8. Once a friend died and I had asked to be off for the funeral. Believe it or not, the floor called with an urgent message that I needed to call the hospital! It turned out that they re-thought my being off and told the charge nurse to call me in.

    In 1993 right after the Hillary Clinton redo of health coverage, older folks decided to wait and see what happened. Well total joints usually = older person. Ergo no work.

    There were days our floor was 90% VACANT! At first we were sent to other floors, a nightmare in itself as we were the only 12 hour floor at the time. Imagine doing 8 on assigned patients and then 4 on different patients, sometimes on a DIFFERENT floor.

    If I were in charge I'd have to spend literally hours trying to find places for the "un-needed" to work. Later we just had to tell nurses not to come to work! If you wanted money, you used vaca time. If not or no vaca time.....NO PAY. I did a LOT of per diem HH that year as I had prepaid for a trip to Europe.

    Number 6 applies to #8 in that I don't think the hospital administrators had RESPECT for their own nurses.
  10. by   MollyJ
    I essentially agree with this list.

    Believe it or not, #8 was the most truthful for me when I did hospital nursing. Though sometimes a hospital event would haunt me for a while, I was never as "swallowed up whole" as when I did case management. I was obsessed with my clients and I became a little convinced that my son probably felt he needed to be dying of something to catch my attention.

    #10 is difficult. In teaching, teachers come in low, but if they stick around long enough, they may make better money and they do reward advanced ed. In nursing, we chose the opposite. High sign on's but you can max out the pay scale relatively fast. It would seem that nursing's approach gives you (logically) higher lifetime earnings, but both are problematic.

    #9 made me smile. I always believed this until the lay offs of the 80's. I think the health care industry's appetite for nurses will diminish when the system collapses and we come to terms with the idea that we can produce more health care than we can pay for. That could be years to decades away, but I think nurses that love nursing would be wise to position themselves for a post-hospital boom collapse.

    Interesting post.
  11. by   Stargazer
    Arlene, my issue with #8 is that it seems to assume that all nurses work a shift and then go home. That is one kind of nursing job. We don't all work the bedside at a hospital or in a clinic or LTC (and frankly, even when I did, I was on committees, did teaching and even rarely had a case so upsetting that I couldn't help "taking it home" with me).

    Flight nurses, case managers, and nurse executives, just to name a few, spend a lot of time being on-call. As a cruise-ship nurse--a job most people perceive as "easy"-- I was on a pager (which frequently went off) 24/7 for 4 months at a time. As a nuse executive, I am currently lucky enough not to be required to carry a pager, but have to do coverage for my boss and colleagues when they are out of town, which means getting called on nights and weekends. My job also requires me to travel, often over weekends, which are supposed to be my scheduled days off.

    It would be lovely to know when I left the office in the evenings, especially Fridays, that I wouldn't have to think about my job again until the next morning or the following Monday, but it just doesn't work like that. And I know I'm far from being the only one.
  12. by   SusieQ1243
    I think you should include "travel opportunities" under #1.

    As far as #10 is concerned, I think you should say "With just a two-year associate's degree you can make as much as the average factory worker with a high school education! Plus, you get to work your tail end off helping people not die!"

    MS degreed social workers don't make squat either!

    Don't get me wrong.... I think the 'concept' of nursing is wonderful but all too often the reality of it doesn't measure up as the "perfect career".
    Last edit by SusieQ1243 on Jul 12, '01
  13. by   Mijourney
    Hi. Thanks for the article CCWizard. I do agree with many of the reasons but not all. The article is probably very encouraging to those who seek or feel they have perfection in their career. When I entered nursing, I wasn't seeking perfection, because I don't believe that there is a perfect job. Although I have a very tolerant attitude about my job right now, I do know of nurses that are very happy with their jobs and wouldn't change their jobs for the world.
    Last edit by Mijourney on Jul 12, '01