Sismom,I just wanted to tell you that we all started out with high hopes, good attitudes, hope for our future in nursing, and a sense of doing something worthwhile in this world by becoming a nurse. I was an LPN for 20 years and have been an RN for 2 1/2 years. I am 43 years old and wish like h*** that I had spent my time and money to do something else when I returned to school.I worked the first ten years on the floors and the second ten years in a clinic setting and part-time doing private duty.I have been fortunate to have had 4 wonderful jobs (1982, 1985-6,1990, and 1993-6). Some others were ok and a few others were downright terrible. I then returned to RN school, worked on a terrible floor for one year and returned to research (the 1993-6 job, only with another supervisor, now an ok job) I also work part-time for an agency on the floors. In the ten years I was away from the floors, something drastic happened. It was starting to get bad in the late 1980s when I left for the clinics, but now working conditions are so BAD! I'm working the part-time job for two reasons, the money to pay back school expenses and to keep my finger on the pulse of floor nursing. I was away from the floor for so long that I was behind in my skills as far as knowing the latest treatment regimes, new meds and new technology(computers, etc). School was a real refresher course and I simply don't want to lose it again. So I tough it out for 3 shifts a month. My full time job in research is tough right now because of all the new government rules and regulations and is going to get much worse due to the fact that they have mapped the human genome and there will be a flurry of new clinical trials in the next few years. But for now research is in transition. The doctors who have been doing it the "old way" for so long do not realize the paperwork has increased, leaving less time to actually see patients and they are reluctant to spend money on new technology(computers), therefore making our job that much more difficult as the way of doing things is increasingly becoming more computerized. So, we started out with high hopes and we expected to be treated like adults and to be asked our opinions and none of us ever suspected things would become this bad. Instead we were told you WILL NOT be allowed to apply for a day shift opening when you are ready to come back from maternity leave(1980). You WILL take the next two days off without pay(1981)and if you don't like it, you can find another job, which I did). You ARE FIRED (for no reason,3 months after my best evaluation up to that point,I sued and won)(1983)This was when Reagan cut back on Medicare and DRGs were started. You WILL work all three shifts this month(1986). You WON'T be getting a cost of living raise or a merit raise this year(1990-3). And more recently, you WILL find a way to do your job with no ancillary help to do baths, make beds, run specimans to the lab, fill ice pitchers,answer the phone, take off orders, etc, etc, etc. I just got my raise for the year on my last check. (1%)!!! So you see I didn't start out bitter and disillusioned. My attitude was created by the lack of respect and total disregard for my professional standing as an educated, hard-working, always willing to learn something new self by the bureaucratic money hungry backstabbing upper management types who have no idea what I do for a living. They, with their many degrees and I'm sure they must have taken some psych classes along the way but have forgotten Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. They have twisted us around their little fingers and, yes, we have let them by our very nature of caring that led us to work in a "helping" profession, our lack of unity, and the fact that we are mostly women who are overloaded with family, houses, and jobs. I don't know what the answer is. I attended a seminar recently and learned the future of nursing will be care ar home provided by the family with teleconferencing over the computer. I can't imagine it. Things are falling apart, and still we hear there is no money, but where I work,new buildings are going up constantly, and they can't get anyone to work there, not even from Canada and the Phillipines. Forgive me, but I can't recommend nursing to you, I wouldn't wish it on anyone right now. If you are two years into the program, you are at a point where you can switch majors. Go into chemistry or biology. Be a laboratory technician or a radiology technician. You still can work with patients a little and you'll have a better, more sane life, because try as you might, it is VERY difficult to separate you moods and your level of exhaustion from your job and your home life. Luckily I have an hour commute and I use it to make the transition but by the time I get home, I can hardly get out of the car somedays. Then when I get home, about all I can do is sit and stare. I have heard the same thing from many co-workers. Good luck with your decision whatever it is.