I'm Not a Nurse, but I am Deliberating It...


It's rather ironic that I'm just now considering being a nurse. For years while growing up, my dad badgered me about becoming one. It's the profession my mom chose, so that may be the reason why my dad was so set on me becoming the same, but I never had any interest in it whatsoever. Math and science were always my weakest subjects, and they remain so even now. Also, the very idea of being trapped in a hospital all day taking care of countless sick and injured people just sounded... morbid, to describe it in a word.

Art seemed like it was the more obvious path for me to take. I play both piano and violin, and my life-long dream is to become a professional novelist. However, it was during my sophomore year of high school that I began to understand how unwise it would be to get a bachelor's degree in -- say -- Creative Writing or English with the hopes that it would help me become an author. It's incredibly difficult to make a living as a novelist, and it tends to take several years before one can actually be successful. I knew I needed a stable career to go for instead, and any writing I do could be on the side.

Currently, I'm just about to enter my senior year of high school, and I turn 18 this July. It's time that I finally crack down a figure out what I'm going to study in college, not to say I haven't been doing this for the past two years. I've researched practically every and any career that I held even the slightest amount of interest in (and trust me, there were a lot), and each of them just didn't seem like the right fit for me. But, just when it seemed I had run fresh out of all ideas, a sudden interest in health care and medicine bloomed within me.

I quickly became enchanted by multiple different health care subjects: optometry, nutrition, and nursing being the main ones. I eventually scratched out becoming an Optometrist from my list, as I don't see myself becoming an eye doctor. (No pun intended.) I then finally narrowed my career choices to becoming a Dietitian and becoming a Nurse.

I'm a bit hesitant to study nursing: partially because I used to hate the idea of becoming one, and partially because I know my mom has a lot of annoying people to deal with every time she puts on her scrubs and goes to work. However, many of the things I used to hate about nursing as a kid, I now feel fascinated with. Many of the nurses I know are incredibly kind, selfless, and intellectual, and I know that their careers likely helped shape them into the strong women they are today. Also, when my grandmother was dying in the hospital, it was these nurses who helped brighten the entire experience. They were so sweet, and they genuinely seemed to care about my grandma. They inspired me. I wanted to become like them -- to help people when they are at their most vulnerable state, even if it means having to work through a lot of stressful, morbid, or gross situations. I wanted to be that person who helps brighten people's days, simply just by being helpful and friendly in any way possible.

My mother recently told me that she didn't want to be a nurse when she was younger either, and that she also struggled with math and science. She wasn't drawn to the career until she volunteered at a retirement home with some or her high school friends. Even though nursing can be stressful and frustrating, she still says she genuinely loves her job. I think that I may be the same as her in this sort of way.

I created this thread for advice. Does it seem like I could be a good nurse? I don't think I have any issue with dealing with needles or other people's bodily fluids, but I don't have enough experience in either to say for sure. Also, I'm still considering becoming a Dietitian, and I'm having some difficulty making a decision between the two. Any information and/or advice would be much appreciated. Thank you for your time and consideration. I know this was quite a bit of reading to do. :)

Specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia. Has 46 years experience.

I cannot make a career choice for you but here's a couple of thoughts:

1. An optometrist is NOT a physician - just FYI. An ophthalmologist is a physician.

2. Look at the job market for dieticians - it sucks, so does the pay

3. Nursing is a very flexible career, you can do patient care at the bedside, you can do home care, you can do telephone triage and never see a sick person. The variety is incredible.

4. NO ONE should push you into a career - only you can make that decision, and LOTS of people do not know what they want to do at 18. I know I didn't. There's no harm in working for a couple of years and seeing what it is that 'lights your fire' AND pays enough to support the lifestyle you want.


1 Article; 101 Posts

Specializes in LTC. Has 7 years experience.

I agree with the pp...you can also still go to community college and take the gen ed courses and common pre reqs while you are still searching your major. I wanted to be an fighter pilot when I was a kid...nursing never even crossed my mine. I started out as a CNA and continued my education. Good luck..


138 Posts

I admire your ambition at such a young age! It's hard to know what you want to do with the rest of your life. Nursing has as many positives as it has negatives, it's all in how you look at it. I touch a lot of lives, I love that. I work in hospice, I deal with amazing people but also stressful situations. The biggest part is at the end of the day, I make a difference. Can you spend some time volunteering in a hospital or nursing facility to get a better feel for it? Also, my sons school offers a cna training course, excellent experience! Good luck to you, you sound like a great young person! :)


3 Posts

@marycarney: Thank you for taking the time to reply, but there are a few things I wanted to point out:

1. I know an optometrist isn't a physician, and I never said it was. I only referred to an optometrist as an "eye doctor", which it is. Part of the reason why I wanted to be an optometrist instead of an ophthalmologist is because I was interested in eyes, but I didn't want to go into all the complexities that is required of an ophthalmologist.

2. I was unaware of what the job market for a dietitian was like, but I had my fears that it might not have been so well. My local hospital doesn't have one, and it doesn't seem to want one either, but I wasn't sure what other hospitals were like. Part of the reason why I mentioned considering that career was to perhaps find out more information than I have online so far. Also, is the pay really that bad? If I remember correctly, I think the average annual salary is about $48,000. It's less than a nurse makes, I know, (around $60,000 a year?), but I had not perceived that as bad. Thank you for pointing out that the job market is bad though.

3. I'm not being forced into this. I mentioned that my dad pressed for me to take on nursing, but I'd always flat-out rejected the idea whenever the subject rose. My current interest in nursing isn't from him, but from myself alone.

Ultimately, I am glad you posted what you did. I just think you may have misunderstood some of the things I'd said, and I wanted to clear this up. Thank you, and have a nice day!


3 Posts

@blessedmomma247: For a while I was thinking that I may have to do this, but it certainly is preferable if I can figure out a good career for myself before I start college. That way, I won't be scrambling to switch my major once my "Eureka!" moment finally does hit. I do see what you mean though. For now, I'm going to look more into nursing, and if I decide not to pursue it I just may take general ed classes my first year of college. Thanks!

@lovinlife11: Aww, thanks for all the compliments, though I'm really not as great as I portray myself. You did make a pretty good suggestion, and I'll see if I can volunteer somewhere for a bit, especially now that I'm on summer break for a couple months. Maybe this will make things a little more clear.


294 Posts

Has 5 years experience.

I'd suggest just taking general Ed requirements for at least the first year. Definitely shadow a nurse, maybe you can go with you mom to work one day?

You sound like a wise girl and to realize creative writing and the such are not the most reliable is very smart. Good for you!

I think you'd be a great nurse! I hope it works out for you!

whatever you decide, I simply thinks its awesome that your trying to figure out your future at such a young age.. Kudos to you, and Im sure whatever you do, you will be successful. You seem wise beyond your years!!! :)

Specializes in Medical Surgical.

Check out your local hospitals and see what kind of volunteer programs they have for high school students. The hospital I volunteer at has a program for high schoolers to come in and job shadow. That might give you a better perspective, also. Or maybe you could shadow your mom at work? I don't think I would want to deal with all of the negative aspects of my nursing program unless it was something I really wanted (for example, over-achievers questioning your every move, teachers telling you exactly how you will dress, etc.). At this point nursing has been rewarding to me because I want a career that helps people, I love science (not so much math but I can do it), and my patient experiences have been pretty positive so far. There has been a couple of incidences when I volunteer in the ED and answer a call light for the patient who came in with itchy feet but no visible rash and wants to know why they doctor hasn't came to see her yet, or the patient that wants that dilaudid NOW because their pain is a 10/10 yet there is no tears, yelling out in pain, or medically seemingly anything wrong with them!!!! :) Hopefully that gave you a little bit of perspective

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

A bit of caution here - Nursing is no longer the 'fail safe' career it was for your mother. New grads are having a very difficult time finding jobs. The total number of nursing positions has decreased. The physical workload is increasing. Salaries are stagnant. Very high burnout rates.

Have you considered any of the 'therapies'? With your background, it would seem that Music Therapy would be an ideal fit. http://www.musictherapy.org/ It is also a health care profession, but very creative at the same time. Take a look at Occupational Therapy also.

Specializes in CCM, PHN. Has 8 years experience.

Took the words right out of my mouth, Hou Tx!

You seem well suited for OT of some kind! Look into all the modalities of OT - and the market is decent.

Nursing is NOT all "sick people in the hospital." I've worked in Public Health and case management now for 5 years and haven't set foot in a hospital. My company also has a phone triage department and those nurses never see patients! There's also insurance review, utilization management, school nursing, research, informatics. Broaden your view of nursing and that might help you make a decision.

Also. Tone down the defensiveness. You came here for advice, and most of us are older and wiser. Biting back with long winded, bristling responses to every post won't bode well for you. I wish I'd shut my mouth and listened more when I was 18, that's for sure. Lighten up, listen and relax.


298 Posts

Has 2 years experience.

You sound extremely mature and intelligent. Sounds like you'd make a great nurse and seems as if you want to be a nurse for all the right reasons. New grads are struggling to find jobs, but not all new grads are. I feel nursing offers a pretty good pay with a somewhat stable job, especially compared to many other jobs. I say go for it although I really know nothing about being a dietician. You also have good insight into the profession as your mom is a nurse. Does she know that you are now considering nursing? She can probably offer you the best advice.