Published Aug 12, 2005
I posted this in the student section but thought this maybe a better place for this question. How does one know if they possess what it takes to be a nurse. I suppose my number one fear,if I did become a nurse, would be making a mistake and killing someone.
I think something you should do is to ask yourself WHY you want to become a nurse in the first place.
Faeriewand, ASN, RN
You could get your CNA first to see what nursing is like and see if it is for you. :)
I agree with the poster who suggested becoming a CNA first and seeing how you like it. I personally think that nursing is all about CARING, first. If you become a CNA and find out that you really cannot stand it, then... well, I guess you have your answer. =)
Caring... and a good amount of common sense helps too. =)
I hear your fear. To me this shows that before you are even thinking about becoming a nurse, you have a healthy fear of what impact we can have on the lives of people. Congraduations!! You are half-way to being a safe nurse. I believe that there is a healthy fear that keeps us "on our toes" and self-vigilant about what we are doing. Constant safety checks help to prevent misktakes. And each nurse must have the ability to look for and prevent those mistakes that she/he may make: Or in the event that a mistake is made, to own up to the error and rectify if possible.
The other half of the formula is EDUCATION. This is a continual process in nursing. However, you will not get a license to practice unless you meet minimal criteria to practice as a nurse. Then, you have to keep yourself on top of the latest and best practices. Your employer will often help with this by providing educational offerings. There are multiple conferences, seminars, that can impart continuing knowledge. Just remember, you cannot possibly learn it ALL in nursing school. Learn enough to be safe. Keep that (saftey) at the forefront of your brain and activities and you will do well. Will you never make a mistake? Probably not, we all make mistakes. But hopefully, these will not be of the sentinal variety (poor outcome for the patient).
If you have not taken the plunge to nurisng yet, take it. We need people like yourself with a healthy fear of doing wrong.
RosesrReder, BSN, MSN, RN
I think that you should have the desire to be a nurse and possess the qualities. As for knowing if you have what it takes to be one, you can't really determine it unless you try it IMO.:)
Remember no one is born knowing, but if you have the desire to become one and the important qualities (caring etc...) then the rest can be taught in school and hands-on when you get your license. Best of luck to you. :)
Depends on what you want to pursue. For me nursing was nothing more than a stepping stone to CRNA school. Never did like bedside nursing as I spent half the shift dealing with BS paperwork.
At least you recognize yourself as a hoop jumper. However, just remember 1/2 of that CRNA title includes what you are using as a stepping stone: RN
It is my opinion that you are never anything less than an RN when you move forward into advanced practice. It is those who loose site of this that sully the profession. You will still deal with patients -- at a bedside that now is an OR table -- and you will still deal with paperwork. As to the time spent at it, I don't have a quantifier. But you will never get away from documentation and patient involvement, even as a CRNA. And now, you will deal with surgeons as well -- good luck -- I don't envy you.
You could get your CNA first to see what nursing is like and see if it is for you.
Faeriewand, I was a C.N.A ten years ago. Actually, I liked working with the elderly. It was a hoot.
I also took care of my grandfather (when he had his eye removed) and my husband, just recently.
Thank you for the input Born RN. This fall I am taking a "pre" anatomy and physiology to the nursing anatomy and physiology.
Fortunately, that is something I do have. What type of nurse are you or what type of nursing do you primarily do?
To positively impact someone's life...or the hope of doing that.
As for knowing if you have what it takes to be one, you can't really determine it unless you try it IMO.Like the Nike comercial "Just Do It!!!"
Hoop Jumper, please pardon my ignorance what is a CRNA?
I know that fear you speak of, I am a CNA right now in the process of getting my GED and going to LPN school. I work with people in independent living, assisted living, long term care, rehab, and in alzheimer's units. I was born to care for people. As a child I'd spend time with the people of the nursing homes my mom worked at, (she's been a CNA for 20+ years). As a child she took me to work with her and would have me sleep on the rubber couches! I always knew that my place was with the elderly and their is no greater validation than a genuine thank you. I was 16 when I dropped out of HS and began working at the nurseing home. I was so lucky to have worked with some of the greatest nurses I will ever have the plesure of knowing. They encuraged me to become a nurse and tought me so much that is not in the books! One of the major ones is to go with your gut. I was 16 and resonsible for feeding residents, I had one lady who all of a suddon began coughing, snot poured out her nose, signs of asperation with no past history of symptoms. Well I stopped feeding her, told my Supervisor she needed a barium swallow and gave her the story, well that moment she was given honey thick liquids till the test was done. Sure enough it was asperation, and she was put on a puree diet and pudding thick liquids! But the amazing thing to me the was that my superviser trusted the instinct of a sixteen year old high school drop out! I was tought then and there that no matter what role you play in nursing, you have the ability to save lives. I know that fear of accadently killing or causing harm. I am constently lifting people in and out of chairs to bed, my back could fail at any moment and we'd go to the floor. But we'd go together so I could break their fall. I think this feild requires selftlessness. My feet may hurt, I may have a hundred things to do but I will stop to help a person in anyway. Even if I am not their CNA. I take my down time to go and sit with the dying, so they may not die alone. You have to have faith to be there and if you have faith than death is now sad, but a joyus reunion with lost loved ones. As a CNA we are first responders, we answer the call lights or check on the residents first. I have read several books for first responders. It's more what you don't do that could kill a person, seaking apropriet medical attention, documenting personality changes, listening to the concerns of your CNA's, and double checking meds. Some nurses I have come across treat CNAs like crap. Act as though they are so much better and ignor call lights or the phone ringing. That kind of stuff makes me very mad! I do anything to help the nurses, skin asessments during rounds, I&O+BM's maked in the MARs, filling out lab sheets, starting tube feeds, anything short of actully getting meds out og the cart! And when a nurse could help me some don't. But most are very greatful for my assistence and even put people to bed. I never expect time consuming assistence like that but I do think answering a call light, putting a person on the pot now and then, or even when I'm on a break would be nice. I hate coming on the floor and seeing 10 lights on worring that someone could be on the floor! So the ability to work as a team and go out of your way to help you fellow care giver is a good trait in the nursing feild. In my experience it's young new or inexperienced nurses who doubt the skill of CNAs. But they are the ones you have to be there most for, and speak up when you know they're not doing something right, or by facility standards. Not be mean, but for the resident's sake people who boast their new degree and put down others seem to make mistakes. I even had a nurse try to put a stari strip on a typical skin tare. Or sware the know how to run a suction machine, fiddling for 5 minutes while the resident was in respitory distress, I ran and got the nurse on the other unit luckily a nurse of 30 years she came in and had the residents air passage cleared in 2 minutes or less, amazing to watch old pros at work! Those are the people who should be training! Another ability you need it to know when you need help and not let your pride stand in the way. I think that the CNA training is not enough. We need basic nursing, reconizing signs of illnesses, CVA, and more. So I have over the past 7 years read everything I can on the care of the eldery. There's a few book I'd recamend picking up while you waiting to get into school, Trama Care For Nurses- all the think fast info you need to remember on the spot. That's one of the books I'm most thankful for. And a ton on bed sores causes, treatment and prevention. And Anatomy and Phisiolgy Made Incredibly Easy. You need to keep up with new lititure and constently expand your knowlage. I think that if you truly love to help people you could have what it takes. It you have had children or cared for them, than you more than likley have reasoning skills and pacients (sorry spelling bad!) Sometimes a resident just doesn't feel like complying, try and find out why, Alzheimer residents are often put off by little things like hair color, clothes, approch. Reapproch a different way, but if all else fails enlist a well liked CNA to hand the meds to the resident. As long as you watch that's legal. Sometimes you have to be tricky! Back to the fear thing, great things have come out of fear. Civilization came out of fear, the massing of humen beings, was formed to wart off preditors, armys, provide food and such. I have seen people's heads split in two from falls, terrible horrid, gory stuff. But rare in LTC. You'll probly come across head injeries. The thing to remember is that those bleed most and sometimes a lot of blooding is coming from an area relitivly small that may not require stiching! So keep that in mind when you see a person bleeding on the floor. Be calm for them. If you've had kids than you proibly have made some ER trips. If you were a CNA than you proibly can deal with BM, urine, vomit and snot. Sorry this is so long I am passionet about caring and tend to ramble. These are the reasons I know I can be a nurse. If you agree with what I'm saying you'll be great! Also if you are not a CNA you should become one, plus in some states CNA's are able to skip some classes in nursing school. Good Luck!
A couple of suggestions, if you want to decide if you're cut out to be a nurse.
1. Are you good with science? While nursing isn't pure science, it's an applied area, and if you're not good with dealing with scientific areas, nursing probably isn't for you.
2. Are you good with organization? Can you deal with simultaneous multiple demands? In other words, nursing requires shuffling demands on one's time from colleagues (other nurses, physicians, other caregivers), patients, as well as supervising others, and often dealing with family members.
3. Do you genuinely like working in close contact with people? If you are someone who prefers to work alone, you might want to reconsider.
4. Are you "quick"? By this, I don't mean intelligence, though that's needed. I mean, are you a quick learner, someone who's able to assess a situation and deal with it easily.
5. Some have recommended being a CNA to see if you like nursing. That's not a bad idea (I did it) but being a CNA is not being a nurse, and as a nurse, one deals with a whole different set of priorities and problems. I would especially encourage finding a nurse (local hospitals might help with this) who would let you shadow for a day, seeing how a nurse organizes a time schedule, deals with problems, and works through day-to-day practice issues.
6. If you don't have some of these skills, it's not the end of the world. All of them can be learned. But it's important to know that they are things nurses deal with on an everyday basis.
7. Notice that I said nothing about caring. That's because -- in the end -- nursing is not about caring. It's about doing your job. Caring comes and goes, and most days you will find that you genuinely care about your patients' well-being, and that's good. But there will be days when you honestly don't give a rip. That's OK, too. When those days come, you simply go on, doing your job, and being good at your career. "Caring" is sometimes overrated, as though a nurse who is professionally or technically incompetent can get by on "caring." Not at all. Caring is not having heart-felt emotion for your patient. Caring is being a top-notch professional who is skilled, competent, and able. That's what counts.
Jim Huffman, RN
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