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Going into nursing with no prior medical experience. Am I insane?

Pre-Nursing   (1,753 Views | 23 Replies)
by Mmonroe2004 Mmonroe2004 (New) New

216 Profile Views; 9 Posts

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165 Posts; 1,525 Profile Views

I did not have any medical background. I have a psych degree and another in addiction counseling. The only class where CNAs were better off was the first semester because they were used to bed baths, turning, etc. Once we got past that, we were on even playing field. Someone just pointed out that we are now past LPN skill status, too, (not that we are licensed) since they are now in our class and we are all in the last semester. There is no difference between their skills I have seen and the skills those of us with no experience have and there are quite a lot of us (most maybe) that have no prior medical background and we are all doing great. If you're interested in it and have great people skills, I think you'll do just fine! Good luck! 

Edited by rnhopeful82

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peacepilgrim66 has 26 years experience as a ADN, RN and specializes in Geriatrics.

14 Posts; 383 Profile Views

I had no medical experience prior to nursing. I was actually an international missionary considering trades to help me into other countries. I wanted to go into agriculture, but a good friend suggested nursing. He said he thought I would make a good nurse. Something about nursing clicked for me. I have no stomach for the gore and my CNA wife always kids me about that. I like the me that I have become as a nurse. I didn't work in missions with it, but I know that as a nurse, that I have touched hearts and impacted lives. I am grateful for the gift I was given in becoming a nurse. Easy Does It.

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126 Posts; 2,989 Profile Views

Having experiences working with patients before becoming a nurse may be beneficial (like you can see what it is like to take care of patients), but it is not a must. I personally did not have such an experience, but I have no problem being a nurse.

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196 Posts; 1,099 Profile Views

No way, my first career was as a schoolteacher!  I graduated with my BSN last December and so far so good. 🙂

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87 Posts; 861 Profile Views

12 hours ago, brownbook said:

I have not seen  much gore in my 35 years as an acute care nurse, even with occasionally floating to the ER and the OR.  Any wounds, injuries, etc., are thoroughly bandaged once a patient gets to the floor.  The average bedside acute care nurse does not see "gore".

How did you swing that? I'm now wondering if your average or I'm average? Or maybe after 35 years you have a high gore threshold? 🌝

I have worked at 4 hospitals. At the bigger city hospitals, I have had several horrific pressure ulcer patients where you can literally smell their flesh rotting away and you have to change dressings, pack wounds that you can put a fist into down to the bone.  Those were in ICU and PCU- the dressing changes alone were 90minutes and they had multiple comorbidities 

And there are the homeless that come in with gangrene in their extremities and that smell that wafts all the way down the hall and takes multiple washes to get off. (essential oils to the rescue to mask the smell)

And the chronic trach vent with pseudomonas where you have to suction Q2H and the suction jar has 500ml in it by the end of the shift and when you do the trach care you better wear full PPD because the patient will cough and that stuff spews all over you.

And that unique c-diff smell from explosive diarrhea running all over the place....

I worked a med-surg floor with all the gi surgeries and the new ostomies that aren't working - don't stick well and leak and burst and have to be completely changed a couple times in a shift....

 

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606 Posts; 10,898 Profile Views

I decided to go to nursing school when I was 35. My degree was in graphic design and I had been working as a writer/editor. During nursing school, I did not work as a CNA but instead chose to work as a writer/editor because I had more flexibility that way. I graduated, quit my writer/editor job, got my first RN job, and the rest is history. I am now a nurse practitioner 10 years later. 

You may be insane for deciding to become a nurse but not because you don't have any prior experience. :-)

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1 Follower; 3,337 Posts; 45,522 Profile Views

11 hours ago, 2Ask said:

How did you swing that? I'm now wondering if your average or I'm average? Or maybe after 35 years you have a high gore threshold? 🌝

I have worked at 4 hospitals. At the bigger city hospitals, I have had several horrific pressure ulcer patients where you can literally smell their flesh rotting away and you have to change dressings, pack wounds that you can put a fist into down to the bone.  Those were in ICU and PCU- the dressing changes alone were 90minutes and they had multiple comorbidities 

And there are the homeless that come in with gangrene in their extremities and that smell that wafts all the way down the hall and takes multiple washes to get off. (essential oils to the rescue to mask the smell)

And the chronic trach vent with pseudomonas where you have to suction Q2H and the suction jar has 500ml in it by the end of the shift and when you do the trach care you better wear full PPD because the patient will cough and that stuff spews all over you.

And that unique c-diff smell from explosive diarrhea running all over the place....

I worked a med-surg floor with all the gi surgeries and the new ostomies that aren't working - don't stick well and leak and burst and have to be completely changed a couple times in a shift....

 

I was visualizing stuff paramedics and EMT's see.  Traumatic amputations, blood covered broken bodies with bones sticking out.

I guess I was, am, indifferent to busted leaking ostomy bags, it's "just" poop, or irrigating infected wounds, it's "just" a bad odor 😄. Even a bad GI bleed, I don't know.... I just focus on doing my job, helping the doctor, etc., and not the copious amounts of bloody vomit. I guess I can compartmentalize.

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60 Posts; 375 Profile Views

"Going into nursing with no prior medical experience. Am I insane?"

Isn't this probably the most common way to go into nursing?

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1 Post; 15 Profile Views

I went into nursing school with no prior job experience besides waitressing. If its truly what you want to be doing your past experience doesn't matter. I had no problem getting used to all the medical terms and you'll catch onto the lingo you might have to look up a few terms or abbreviations that people with a medical background use but you'll be fine!

For example, I had to look up what CAUTI (catheter associated UTI) and CLABSI (Central line associated bloodstream infection) stood for the week before i graduated but you'll get the hang of it quicker than you think!

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2 Posts; 139 Profile Views

I went in with absolutely no medical experience either and did it at the age of 40. It was a tremendous deficit not knowing the lingo or being able to visualize what they were talking about. After 1st semester I was qualified to get a job as a PCT or CNA but couldn't afford that and I was running my own business at that time anyway. Those with experience picked up much faster. As school was winding down I started selling off my business and had time to take a job as a PCT. It did wonders for me in my last semester. Things just fell into place. Do it if you can. 

 

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tshigeru has 3 years experience as a CNA.

53 Posts; 1,106 Profile Views

As a pre-nursing student and a CNA. Being a CNA helped out A LOT! But I know MANY nurses who walked into nursing school with no prior medical experience or background. They are still outstanding nurses and made it through. 

 

You mentioned taking king a medical term this summer. That will help, it’s good to get some medical terminology before nursing school (wish I did that). If you can, volunteer or shadow an RN in a hospital or clinic to see how it’s like.  You could even take a short CNA course and get your license and start working. 

 

If its your calling and you put your mind and heart into it then you can do it! 

Edited by tshigeru

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monkeyshines has 1 years experience.

75 Posts; 1,281 Profile Views

I've been wondering similar things too! I don't think the gore will bug me too much. I'm used to patching up random injuries, and I like watching operation videos for fun (like someone above mentioned). I am 100% sure that it will be different in person, but I look forward to the experience. 

I had planned to get a PCT job at the local hospital here this fall in prep for starting school in the spring, but I'm not sure if I'll end up doing it. I can keep my current job and switch to part time, and the pay and hours are MUCH better than they would be at the hospital. I don't know which route I'll take yet, but I do worry about the lack of hospital experience hurting my job prospects after I graduate. Don't know what I'll end up doing yet!

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