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Vtachy1 Vtachy1 (Member)

High school students get angry if you tell them the truth about nursing

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Have you ever experienced this? Twice I've encountered this lately, once when a friend of mine got all bent out of shape when a surgeon told her daughter that he would not recommend this career. She was ticked off!!!

Then I have been gently giving bits of truth about how nursing is to a friend's high school senior daughter that is thinking of pursuing nursing. And it makes them so angry. They think that I'm a Debbie Downer, but I'm telling honest facts about how the nursing profession is. I didn't know I could make enemies like this!!

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Yeah, that's the infamous "shoot the messenger" philosophy.

Why not send them some links for the new grad threads here at AN. Tell them to look around other threads here as well, so they can have a balanced view.

And have them look at job listings in the newspaper or on line. Let them see how few openings there are for new grads.

After that, walk away, knowing you have done what you could.

There will always be some new grads who can find work, and sooner or later the logjam will break free and there will be more jobs than applicants, but in the meantime I'd encourage only hardy souls to go into nursing.

Brace yourself for the fact that if these folks go the nursing route and can't find work (or they do find work, but it's not to their liking), they'll come back to you and say, "Why didn't you tell me?" :D

Edited by rn/writer

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Someone has to burst there life is perfect cherry somtime

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My 17 year old cousin wants to be a surgeon. I think she's fairly serious about it, taking AP courses and planning on a biology or chemistry degree. However, she did make a FB post about being tired from getting up so early (5am) for her Barnes and Noble job. I jokingly commented that it was good practice to get used to waking up early and being sleep deprived for when she is a surgeon. I did tell her about how most surgeon's schedules are with early rounds, call, etc. She didn't get mad with me but I did get the impression she hadn't really considered all that.

When people ask me about nursing, I tell them realistic things--holidays, weekends, long shifts, crazy co-workers, bad managers, rude patients/visitors/physicians. However, I also point out that there are good points to nursing as well and no job is ever perfect. I'm not going to sugar coat it because people should know it's a hard job, but at the same time I don't want to dwell on all the negatives.

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I guess nobody really wants their bubble bursted when reality dowses their dreams. I'm sure we all had at least a little bit of a romantic idea when we entered into this field- you know, looking good, saving lives, earning the admiration and respect of everyone far and near.

We were going to change things for the better and no one could squelch our belief. Anyone who tried was merely a naysayer or a hatchetman. We'd show them!

Luckily, the first person who gave me the low-down on the Reality of the nursing business was a Hospital Administrator. I had worked under her in a previous assignment, as a House Parent in Children's Home. One of the first things she told me to expect from Nursing was that there was a lot of paperwork. So, I had an idea of what to expect. I first became an LPN based on what she said- more "hands on".

But I still thought I was going to save the world. Oh well, it's been one hell of a ride...

Dave

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And what high school students think of the job as a nurse itself just makes me want to drag them to work with me.

I've heard this from two girls in my A&P class "Oh well CNAs just empty bedpans.. LPNs do that too. RNs are the nurses.. and CRNAs are one step down from anesthesiologist and make $160,000 a year so I want to be a CRNA"

Drives me up the damn wall.

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My baby brother wanted to be a pediatric cardiologist since he was 7 years old. I was astounded that he even knew what that was. He is a brilliant kid-took his SATs when he was 13 only 2 weeks after our mother had passed away (and scored higher than I did!) and entered into accelerated classes in the summers at Duke. I took him to the OR with me one day and one of the anesthesiologists that knew his background kept my brother with him for the day so that he could observe. He was starry eyed! Then another one of my good friends who is a surgeon took him to clinic with him for a day and reality hit. He saw that there was a ridiculous amount of paperwork and he understood the roadblocks that faced medical professionals. Instead of going into surgery, my brother decided to go into International Medical Law. He will be going on to Stanford for a dual degree in Law and Medicine when he graduates from school in May in order to reach his goal.

Sometimes it takes a bit of shadowing in order to let our young people realize what the responsibilities and the nuts and bolts of the medical profession entail. I remember when I was a teen and thought that everything my parents said was total bunk. An eye opening experience such as shadowing can give them a more realistic view instead of trusting that what we are telling them is TRUE. Yes, there are good and bad parts of our jobs, and it serves them well to actually SEE those good and bad parts before they make the long and exhausting journey to accomplish their goals of entering the medical profession. Like my brother did, it will also help them reconsider and possibly change the direction of their goal while still being involved with medicine.

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Eh. Young people get mad at us old people almost no matter what we say about just about any topic, not just this one. None of them realize we were them at one time. There is nothing different about this - just good old fashioned not liking to be told things.

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Eh. Young people get mad at us old people almost no matter what we say about just about any topic, not just this one. None of them realize we were them at one time. There is nothing different about this - just good old fashioned not liking to be told things.

It's the circle of life. Everyone writing on this thread probably did the same thing to older people trying to tell them the "the truth" about something or other.

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Your truth may not be my truth. I still don't understand people who say they would never recommend nursing to someone else. Really? Because there are other professions out there that require equal or less educational investment, involve less BS, more money, more free time, less paperwork, and better job opportunities? Not many. There are certainly many professions that are superior to nursing in some of those categories, only to be inferior in others.

There is a fine line between offering a realistic view of a profession, and being negative debbie-downer.

And who wants to be told that they don't really know what they're talking about, or that they don't really understand what they're getting themselves into? No one, really, and teens probably least of all. Most young people have a fairly unrealistic idea of what the future entails for themselves, but they seem to do okay anyhow.

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Every career has it's ups and downs. I overall think nursing has many pluses- good pay for the level of degree required, in general job stability once hired, no being asked to move or travel, better job outlook than most other majors offer (despite the current down turn), a wide variety of options both education and career wise, a mixture of thinking and doing, and...wait for it...you get to help people.

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Your truth may not be my truth. I still don't understand people who say they would never recommend nursing to someone else. Really? Because there are other professions out there that require equal or less educational investment, involve less BS, more money, more free time, less paperwork, and better job opportunities? Not many. There are certainly many professions that are superior to nursing in some of those categories, only to be inferior in others.

That's why it's important to direct them to other, more objective sources of information. Like shadowing, talking to a variety of people in the field, looking at job ads, and visiting a board like AN.

One of the differences between nursing and many other careers is that, courtesy of the media and wishful thinking, nurses are often viewed in a romanticized light--the whole "lady with a lamp" and "angel of mercy" bit. You don't get this kind of idealism with engineering or the IT field or business jobs.

It isn't being a Debbie Downer to encourage those who are considering going into nursing to set aside the storybook version and take a good hard look at what's really out there. That includes the job shortage for new grads as well as real conditions in the workplace.

It's true that nursing can offer wonderful opportunities to some, but the more realistic a person is going in, the less likely they are to be disappointed down the road.

I wouldn't discourage anyone from going into nursing if they have seen an accurate and well-rounded picture and still want to go forward.

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