The Calling: What Made Me Pursue a Nursing Career - page 2

"Become a nurse just for the money? How can you possibly be a good nurse if you're doing it just for the money?" The implication seems to be that in order to be a good nurse, one has to have a... Read More

  1. by   Stephalump
    The world is full of varying personalities, and none are "right vs wrong." A good portion of our country journeys through life led primarily by their feelings, career choice included. The concern isn't so much about pay or security, but of good feelings and happiness and and people and puppies.

    Then there are the thinkers, who make moves based on pragmatic reasons almost exclusively. What makes the most sense for my pen and paper goals? Logically, what is best for me and my situation? No puppies.

    The two differing types never quite seem to understand each other. One sees the other as flighty and insincere, or cold-hearted and materialistic. Both are simply living life the way they're program to live it.

    If I were to follow my "calling" with zero thought to odds and bank account balances, I wouldn't be pursuing nursing school. I'd be pursing volunteer work abroad or working in a coffee shop in NYC trying to make it on Broadway. I don't think doing something that does't make my heart flutter makes me a bad person. But I also don't think nursing making someone's heart flutter is a bad thing. The world isn't quite so black and white.

    I also think the "calling" is related to the intensity of some experiences people have with nurses. While I really and truly appreciate my accountant, I don't walk out of his office in tears, filled without gratitude for how he saved our financial lives. Maybe someday I will, but as of now he's brought forth zero emotion in me, and I've had no big A-HAH moment with accounting. Someone a bit more practical may look at him and say, wow, he has a stable job, decent income, and I can do math! A-HA!
    Last edit by Stephalump on Aug 7, '12
  2. by   Natkat
    I personally feel that if you get into it to "help people" or "make a difference" you won't last long because people can be mean and ungrateful. I got into for the money but I stay in it because I have a passion for science and medicine. The awful personalities I come across are just pesky annoyances to me, like flies or mosquitoes buzzing around my head, and I brush it off. I won't let them get in the way of pursuing more knowledge. On the days that I do have sweet patients who are kind and thank me for what I do, it makes up for all the needy, abusive and negative people who try and suck the life out of me. It's a sweet perk to an otherwise so-so job, but I don't wake up in the morning expecting it to happen. I'm extremely happy and grateful when it does but it's not the whole reason I go to work every day.
  3. by   nlynrob
    Thank you for this! I don't feel like I have a calling to be a nurse, and people have thrown that in my face a lot. After all the "you need to know you're MEANT for this" and "you would have known your whole life if you had a passion for this, not just figuring it out now" it starts to get to you and you begin doubting youself. I loved reading this!
  4. by   justami
    I never understood the idea that nursing has to be a "calling", or your not going to be a good nurse. Such nonsense, being a nurse doesn't equate with being a Nun, Priest or a Martyr, nursing is just a job like any other. Personally, if I could do it all over I probably would not become a nurse, like another stated on here, "I would be in NY trying to make it on broadway", for some reason it is only later on in life after we feel somewhat secure that it suddenly occurs to us what we should have done, and what would have made us happy. I have trememdous respect for those who follow their dreams early on without regard to whether they can pay their rent or have money to eat, while I am rather brave I guess I just wasn't brave enough.
  5. by   Spidey's mom
    I appreciate all the perspectives here. Stephalump's probably mirrors mine the most.

    I came upon nursing by accident in my mid-thirties. Not a calling definitely although I do enjoy helping people.

    Everyone comes at life's decisions by their own road and no one should judge the other person.

    I too have been annoyed that you cannot be a good nurse unless you have "a calling" and that kindness matters MORE than smarts.

    edited to add: I've only worked in rural areas with patient/nurse ratios such that I do see nurses sit by patient's bedsides and hold their hands and listen. Even in the ER.
    Last edit by Spidey's mom on Aug 7, '12
  6. by   zoey8
    Great article!
  7. by   Clementia
    I am in nursing for the money, plain and simple. I do my job conscientiously and do the best I can for my patients, but the only reason I'm here is because administration pays me. I used to be much more idealistic, but following a major burnout crisis, I lost all that.

    I am glad that there are people who are in nursing because they love it. That's awesome. But those of us who have no passion for anything about our jobs but the paycheck are nurses just as much as those with a calling.
  8. by   itsmejuli
    I had to sit and really think about why I decided to go into nursing when I was 44 or 45.

    At that time I was working for a major medical insurance company as a senior medical claims adjuster making $16 an hour with huge responsibilities and no hope of ever making decent money. I was telecommuting and miserable spending so much time by myself. I remembered how much happier I was as a waitress or bartender and the socializing that went on. It was also during the time when there were lots of nursing jobs advertised and I wanted a job that had transferable skills shoud I decide to return at some point to Canada.

    I looked at the nursing pre-reqs and the credits I'd accumulated over the years, yup, I had a bunch completed. So I got more pre-reqs under my belt and applied for RN. I didn't get accepted the first try and someone told me about LPN-RN bridge program so I went straight to a private LPN school. I had to get out of that job I hated so much.

    I had no clue about nursing and what it all involved. I had no clue during our first clinicals in an LTC, but I did discover that I really enjoyed geriatrics.

    Circumstances change and I didn't complete the LPN-RN bridge program. I returned to Canada as an LPN and have no intention of going on to RN. I'm just tired of school and there's lots of jobs for LPNs where I live.

    I am happy working as a home health supervisor in a seniors lodge and I make a decent wage.
  9. by   ajjones1322
    I have to say that I am definitely going into it for the money. I make the same as a nurse with less flexibility. It gives me the same income but allows me to work nights when I'd like to be working and be around during the day as my toddlers grow up. I can watch their every move like a stalker mommy and improve their quality of life.

    But seriously, nursing is not for everyone. And my mom attempted it and dropped. My grandma is a surgical tech at the VA. And my great gran died as a nurse. I personally shunned the life after spending many years of my life entering the doors of the VA hospitals at 5 in the morning while my dad dropped my mom (grandma) at work. I would not listen that it was a good career choice.

    Now that I am 33 I am re-careering and finally listening to my ma who told me long ago where she knew I belonged.
  10. by   trisem1
    That was a great read, thank you for sharing. I'm in nursing school right now and doing it for the financial security.... I worked in a career for 14 years and could never break out of the yearly salary rout. Besides I really like science and learning about medical problems...
  11. by   GM2RN
    Good read Ruby. I rarely comment on an article but I can relate to many points in this one. It's great if someone enters nursing on a calling, but it really bugs me when those who did feel that they have the right to question the motives of those who didn't. Thanks for stating it so well.
    Last edit by GM2RN on Aug 8, '12 : Reason: grammar
  12. by   huneni05
    Thanks for that. It was the one sounding familiar (other than being a teacher)I was most assured of getting and so, it was the only one I applied for. No inner or outer calling I can think of. Good thing is, once you are a nurse, there is a desire to help.
  13. by   Natkat
    It makes me happy to see that people's attitudes are changing about "the calling". I was shamed and bullied out of admitting that I was going into for money and job security. When I told people I was going into dialysis, they would sneer and snort as if my choice was beneath them. Now as I push the dialysis machine down the hall and run into my former classmates, at least once a day someone will ask me "how do I get into dialysis?". Yeah, getting into nursing to "help people" will put you on the fast track to burnout.