What's nursing really all about? - page 2

Hi all, I'm going to be honest here, so please no flames! I'm a non-traditional student (25, going back to school, and have two little boys) whose ultimate goal is to go to med school. For now,... Read More

  1. by   manna
    Originally posted by oramar
    That is the most honest post that I have ever seen from a person who is asking for info about nursing.
    Thanks. I tried my best to post it in a respectful way...
  2. by   Genista
    I agree that if you want to be a doc, follow your heart! It will take you several years to become an RN anyway. It would be better to head toward your goal right from the start. Although, I have to warn you, that if you decide to try nursing for awhile...a friend of mine was going to go to med school after working a few years as a nurse, and she liked nursing so much more than she thought she would. She decided that med school wasn't for her, after all.

    To be honest, when I applied to nursing school I did not know what nurses really did. What I thought we did, and what we REALLY do are quite different. I have a tendency to get offended by lay people who think all I do is put folk on bedpans and take blood pressures (I'm not implying that you think this, though). Like my nursing colleagues, I took college coursework in microbiology, physiology, pathophysiology, psychology, anatomy, nutrition, organic & inorganic chem, biology, etc, not to mention my upper division nursing coursework & gen. ed.

    I believe that nursing is not only an art, but yes, involves science too. I feel we are incorrectly viewed by many lay people as caring simpletons, when in fact we are educated, resourceful, critical thinkers with great responsibility. Nurses today have taken on roles that were relegated to the MD only in decades past.

    I take my job very seriously. As the RN, I am the one with the patients for 99% of the time, and it is my assessment, my review of labwork, my putting together of the big picture that alerts the doc to subtle changes, etc. I am not just passing meds, I am responsible for monitoring safe doses, reactions, etc. I give injections, start IVs, and monitor fluids. I am the one who sees the wounds, and does the wound care. I am helping to coordinate for discharge, talking to family & ancillary staff and then collaborating with the MD. Yes, there is caring too, and there is a degree of "yuck" factor. But I just want to stress that nursing is a lot more than simple touchy feely stuff, there is a good deal of assessment and diagnosis, coordination and critical thinking.It is not some easy breezy job. I don't think the public knows that. I have encountered many patients & family who think anyone in a scrub with a BP cuff is a "nurse." Nursing is a career with life long learning, too.

    Being a doc is a whole different ball of wax. I work with some fantastic docs. They are smart, caring, and respect my true role as an RN. But I don't want to be an MD because first of all, I know the long years of school is just the tip of the iceberg. They work sometimes 40 hours straight, are on call, and have the ultimate responsibility for medical care of very fragile and critically complex patients. I honor and respect the extreme dedication it takes to be an excellent physician. It is a true sacrifice, and a life long committment.

    I guess I just want to encourage you to follow your heart. You might love being an MD! But I also want to let you know what we nurses really do! ;-) If you do become a physician, we will be working together as a team, with the same goal in mind for our patients.

    Best of luck to you whatever you decide! Please let us know how you are doing.

    PS- Did you know that nurses can have college degrees ranging from Associate Degree to PhD, in every specialty you can imagine?!


  3. by   Tweety
    I've known a few nurses who went on the medical school. They have been very good to work with because they understand that nurses are their eyes and ears while they are away.

    As a hospital nurse, I realize that I am responsible for meeting every single need of that patient. From what goes in to what comes out (it's good to be upfront about the yuck factor, I had a problem too, but got over it very quickly). From watching for the subtle changes that may indicate danger. From any kind of angle you can imagine.

    I think nursing is a great way to become an MD, you'd be amazed at the knowledge base we must possess to be nurse and this will help you study medicine.

    Be aware too, that nursing school is very very very tough and time consuming. Maybe not as tough as med-school, but definately as tough or tougher as any pre-med degree.

    Good luck and always remember. Doctors don't keep patients alive....nurses do.
  4. by   MidwifeWannaB
    Reading y'alls posts reminded me of something my step-brother said to me when I told him that I wanted to either work in L&D or in a private gyno clinic. He told me, "Going for the easiest thing you can, huh?"
    Didn't make me too happy. Wanted to smack his lazy little face.

    Just wanted to vent. Sorry.

  5. by   Cascadians
    Nursing is supporting a fellow human through times that impact their sense of themselves, whether a jeopardy to their physical well-being or emotional trauma or the joyous birth of a child. Nursing is the true direct hands-on caregiving of another person. Nursing, with all the advances in medical knowledge and technology, has come to involve tremendous responsibility and scientific and technical skills. A nurse holds another's very life in her/his hands.
  6. by   RN auditor
    I want to be somewhat autonomous, I want my profession to involve life-long learning (I'd probably be a student the rest of my life if I could get away with it), and I'm just generally more interested in the "why" of medicine than the "who."

    I sure think that sounds like a good nurse to me. A good nurse is autonomous and always learning. Nursing is not like it used to be where we just followed the orders of the doctor. We are using our assessment skills but taking care of patients holistically, something physicians rarely do. In the evolving nursing profession, nurses are involved in the "why" and the "who" of nursing. That is what makes us the respected professionals we are.
  7. by   Peeps Mcarthur

    I want to point out something about nursing school that may not make it such an attractive choice.

    Like you, I also care more for the "what" than the "who", and that has hurt my attitude in nursing classes. I came into the program with a 4.0, but the "touchy-feely" subjects like psych, sociology, and development of the whole person stuff is killing me!

    In clinicals I search a Palm Pilot's database for relevant medical information, study the disease process, pharmacological options, and track a patients progress by examining lab reports. Unfortunately I'm running my own little part-time program in my own little world. If you asked my clinical instructor what "refractory to thiazides" meant, you would just get a complete look of Deer-in-the-headlights disease:chuckle ......................but, if you asked that same instructor about spiritual distress or therapeutic communication you might be there fighting to get moisture to your glazed eyeballs while still maintaining the posture of complete interest(gotta know where your grades are comming from).

    Why did I choose nursing?

    It took me awhile to get my life together enough to dedicate my self to anything academic. I decided to become a nurse based on what I've seen of thier work while serving the industry in another capacity. I can assure you that even if you do shadow a nurse it will not give you the feel for what nursing school would actualy be like. If you can just love psychology and wondering how people cope with medical inteventions as opposed to performing them for a few years then you will likely do well enough in school so it doesn't put your GPA out of reach for med school.

    I'm sorry I'm rambling. I'm writting a paper on therapeutic communication, and preparing one on effects of Alzhiemer's disease on coping .............and wishing very badly that I was you.

    Do your pre-med classes so you can get the inteview numbers you'll need. Do phlebotomy, paramedic, or something else that pays a little more than whatever you have now and gives you patient contact hours to give you more numbers for the interview.

    Get ahold of some nursing school curicculum from somewhere and take an honest look at it and tell me if you can stand that for 2 years.

    Oh, and I didn't even mention "nursing diagnosis"................trust me, if I was even ten years younger(I'm 40), I would do it the other way around and work in something medical until every med school(Grenada included) turned me down then fall to Physicians assistant at the masters level.

    and forget non-medical nursing all together.

    Now put on that lead apron cause there's not just going to be flaming...............there's gonna be radiation!
  8. by   MICU RN
    I agree, if a person wants to go into medicine they will be very dissappointed. Trust me,I have been there, now because I have been a nurse for 4 1/2 years and am 36 and have two little boys i have decided it is more practical to apply to crna school than medical school. I have the greatest respect for good nurses, however, I just don't buy into the whole nursing thing. especially the grunt work expected of you by the hospital and nursing management, let me give you a great example, I work in an ICU and the doctors depend on me to help carry out their medical plans of care, in that regard I make a positive contribution to the patient's care. However, between using critical thinking skills i am expected to do all the nurses aid work, because most hospitals feel you should be grateful that you only have two patients; it does not matter how sick they may be, so therefore they don't supply an aid, in addition, I am expected to be the clerk at times and be a waiter for the patient and their family members. Get the picture, just yesterday, I must have clean **** about 6 times, now come on if you want to be a MD do you really think you will enjoy this. Doctors and nurses are different in the sense, that doctors wont usually get their hands dirty were as nurses are trained early on to suck it up and don't question why a college educated professional is expected to clean up **** and vomit and be talked to like servant by the doctors and patients. Another reason, if you want to be a pre-med student, I don't recommend nursing because most nursing schools use a seven point grading scale not a ten, therefore your grades will suffer, you will end up with many B's that would have been A's. Trust me, because of the stress and pace you will not always have alot of time to study, so you will probably get some B's which wont help your GPA. Also nursing school does not get the respect it deserves many still think it is relatively easy and have no clue how difficult it is at times. Nurses is good if you want to be a nurse, but if not I would not go there.
  9. by   Pretzlgl
    No flames here either, BUT - if you think going into medicine will make you autonomous, then you should think again. HMO's and administration as well as medicare will cure you of any thoughts of autonomy. I work with surgeons who are truly at the beck and call of the insurance providers. They, by no means, are practicing autonomously. In my humble opinion. Apples and oranges for sure - nurses and doctors are not the same. If you want to be an MD, then go for it!! And best of luck... Being a nurse first will not fulfill what you are looking for.