The Real World of Nursing

  1. I'm a high school senior.

    Can someone please paint me a real world picture of nursing? Describe to me the challenges, the pains, the rewards? I want hard, cold, real facts.

    I know that it's an individual's choice. But would you recommend or NOT recommend a young person to go into this profession?
  2. Visit MJB profile page

    About MJB

    Joined: Sep '03; Posts: 36; Likes: 1


  3. by   huganurse524
    Ok, I am going to tell you exactly how I feel about it. I am 23 and I just graduated from nursing school and I am an LPN and I just started my new job and I love it. Grant it you are on your feet alot and beleive me they hurt bad and you are always short staffed but I wouldn't change being a nurse for anything. When it comes to nursing you either love it or hate it. There are times when it sucks but I went into it to help people and make a difference I am doing that. I like making patients day a little brighter. I know it sounds corny, but I do. Beleive if I could do it over again I would have gone to nursing school after graduating from high school. If you are not sure if it is for you check around and see if you can volunteer at a hospital or nursing home or become a CNA it only takes a couple of months and I beleive the cost of the program is around 5 or $600. That way you will get a foot in the door and see first hand what nurses do and if it is something for you. Believe me the worst part is school because they scare the crap out of you and I would get sooo frustrated and cry and want to give up but I had my family to support me and I made it through and I am glad. Well I guess I have rattled off enough. Hope this is helpful for you if you have any other ?'s just let me know.
    Good luck in everything that you do
  4. by   Tilleycs
    If you want to see the good and bad, spend a lot of time reading the threads on this board.
  5. by   rncopper
    Nursing was not my 1st career choice. In fact, it really happened by chance. I actually started nursing school the first time in 1975; I had no medical experience, where everyone else in my class had tons! I thought I wasn't really cut out to do this.

    Unfortunately, life got in the was MANY times. But after my first time in nursing school, I KNEW this was what I wanted to do! It took me almost 19 years to finally graduate (I received the Perseverance Award at graduation) and I have been a nurse a little over 10 years now.

    I LOVE what I do! Yes, sometimes I gripe about management (they are probably the biggest PIA!), staffing, my pay, some of the patients! But, when that one patient sez "Thank you!", I forget about all the negatives. Your feet hurt, your back hurts; heck, I even was hurt at work and out of work for 1.5 years! But when someone is getting well or lives because of what I did, I feel proud! Most of the time, I feel confident in what I do (the other times, I find out the answers); it has really help my self esteem and self confidence. I finally like myself because I know that I am good at what I do! I don't "know it all" and NEVER profess to! I can't imagine myself doing anything else.

    The hours s*ck sometimes, but I only work 3 days a week! Now I am traveling; have been doing it ~2.5 years. I think I have really found heaven! I have always said that even if I won the lottery tomorrow (but I THINK I have to play, first!!!!), that I would still work as a nurse!

    Being a nurse is not perfect, it is not glamorous, it doesn't necessarily head you toward the millionaires club, but I LOVE IT!!!
  6. by   Sarah Kat
    I just took my PSB LPN entrance exam today. I can't tell you what it's like to be a nurse, since I don't know yet, but can tell you what it's like to spend time round the clock in a hospital with a dying loved one and only retain sanity because of the nursing staff.
    Last year (in March) my mother-in-law was diagnosed with colon cancer and liver cancer. We didn't know at the time, but it was stage IV. She was only 46, and she died less than 2 weeks after her initial diagnosis. We practically lived in the ICU the whole time. Doctors are busy, and oncolological surgeons aren't always the best at communicating with family, so the nurses were our point of contact.
    Our nurses supported us, made sure we knew what was going on, cried with us, even hugging us. I learned that nursing is so much more than patient care. I'm getting teary-eyed just writing this.
    I can tell you that the nurses at the hospital we were at were overworked, underpaid, and understaffed. In West Virginia we have mandatory overtime for nurses (which may be changing soon). Despite the apparent negatives, the nurses I know (both from the hospital and the two that are mothers of my friends) have a genuine need to help and hearts that are big enough to share their love and life with perfect strangers.
    I think the bottom line is nursing is not for someone who just wants a job; it's a career for people who have to help others. It's a calling (some get called sooner than others).
    If I could go back and do it again, I wouldn't have majored in psych straight oughtta college. I would have gone straight to an LPN or RN program. I didn't have the proper respect for nursing because I was raised in an upwardly mobile family (they wanted me to be a doctor or a lawyer). It took going through one of the most difficult experiences in my life to lead me to my choice to be a nurse. At least I can use the 30 or so credits I have combined with my LPN program to get my ASN/RN. My longterm nursing goal is to get my BSN and then go to grad school to be a Certified Nurse Midwife.
    Good luck with your future and remember to be true to yourself.
  7. by   jnette
    I think you'll find your answer to that question in your heart.
    That's where nursing begins.. in the heart. How well you do, and what you GIVE, spills out from the heart.

    As stated above, there's much to contend with.. many frustrations and disappointments... crazy hours and expectations... a lot of hard work physically and emotionally.

    To me, nursing is all about GIVING... so look inside. What are your resources? What have you to GIVE? And how much of it do you WANT to give? Are you able to give without expecting nothing more than an occasional smile or timid thank you in return?

    If so, the rest will come. You must first take a long, deep, and honest look inside. Then go from there. Happy Hunting !
  8. by   NursePru
    I'm not a nurse yet either, but I can tell you after working in the computer field (and having thought about Nursing when I first started college) that you will probably end up revisiting the idea of Nursing if you do choose something else. If you just look around on this board you will meet so many people who are going into nursing because it was something that they always wanted to do, but didn't have the resources. If you get enjoyment from helping people or being appreciated Nursing is probably one of the professions that would be good for you. Of course their are plenty of unapprieciative people out there, but that goes with any job. I work for a large corporation right now until I start Nursing school, and the complaints that I read on this board are the same general complaints that I hear from Teachers, Mechanics, Dental Assistants, get the point. It doesn't matter what profession you go in, for the most part, at one point you are going to feel underpaid, underappreciated, not like your management team, not like your hours. Its part of being in the work force, so don't let these gripes on nursing alone stop you because you are going to run into them no matter what profession you choose. At least with nursing, you know you are making a difference.

    Good luck!!
  9. by   Chrislynn2003
    I'm not going to lie to you. Nursing school can be tough and will be at times. I never really understood what it entailed when I went to college right after high school. I am a very nervous person, so when I started clinicals my junior year, I was petrified. That is the type of person that i am though- some people jump right in and fit right in. I was also a bit shy, but I have become more assertive over the last few years. I just started a new job as a grad training to work in OR. Well, like i said I am a nervous person, and start to shake and forget to do things. But as time goes on and i feel more comfortable i become more relaxed. Just remember if nursing is something you really want to do, go for it. Nursing is the profession for me, there just is nothing else I would like to do. We work hard and put forth a lot of effort to learn and sometimes people can be very rude or you will feel underappreciated when you are a new grad. And nursing is not for everyone; you just have to find a spot in your heart for it. Good luck to you as you decide on your future carreer. There are other things to do in healthcare, such as ultrasound tech, patient care tech, phlebotomist (remember money isn't everything). Find what is right for you. Wish you the best of luck :wink2:

  10. by   Erin RN
    I have been a nurse for 13 yrs and I wouldn't change it if I could!! Here are some perks:

    It is a 24/7 job therefore you can pretty much work as much or as little as you want as well as whatever time of day you want..try finding that in any other profession!!

    There are so MANY venues you can work in...I have done long term care, management, floor nursing, Emergency room, Home Health IV case management, Chronic disease case management and am currenty doing workers comp case management (Which I love) I also review med mal cases for the hospitals insurance companies..

    NONe of my friends are in professionons that they have so many areas to choose from..they may be able to change locations but the job pretty much remains the same..this is NOT the case with nursing!!

    The pay, although not astronomical, is good...and the payback, at times, is AWESOME...The first time you go home after coding a child successfully or helping an elderly person die with dignity you will understand. The first time someone hugs you and says, "Thank you" you will understand.

    With nursing the sky is the limit in education as well..if you want to go "all of the way" it is is a stimulating arena if you choose. The learning never stops unless you quit listening (which some do). I like to be stimulated and I have found that nursing continually does that for me.

    Being a nurse becomes part of who you are...rather than just a profession. The general public looks at you like you really know something that they don't...sometimes this isn't true but it is nice to be asked questions and have people take what you say as what is..of course this does require the learning part..many times I have to ask around or research something before giving an answer.

    NOW for the bad:

    Nursing school!! Difficult, more like boot camp (at least the one I went to)

    Angry patients and MDs

    Charting everything in a bizillion places (PIA but necessary)

    Sore feet and physically demanding (depending upon where you choose to work)

    Emotionally demanding..I left the ER after a young mother came in to triage and literally threw her dead infant into my arms..we worked on that one a long time..but...Guess my "cup" was full!!

    Having a profession that becomes part of who you are..I know I said this was a perk but it can also be a negative..there have been times (not many) when I wished I could punch a time clock and not care when I went home.

    Having said all of that...if you want a job that you merely are a body, perform tasks and leave at the end of the day and don't EVEN think about what happened or wht will happen tomorrow then nursing is not for you. However, if you want to "be a nurse"..go for is a great thing to be!!
  11. by   MJB
    Do you feel that nursing is a job that I could get money out of it-- simply? I don't want to be attached to a job that will hold me forever.

    I want to be a nurse so I could have the security and time to persue the arts.

    By the way, most artists need a job to survive anyways right?

    So what's wrong with being a nurse?
  12. by   Erin RN
    Well you can make a living at it but I am sure that there are easier ways if you just want a paycheck ( not to mention, higher paying) There are also much easier degrees to obtain. Nursing school is pretty intense, not necessarily difficult, just intense and time consuming. I found all of the chemistry, biology and physiology classes (pre reqs) harder than the nursing classes. When I started nursing school we had a class of 65 and when I graduated we had 37..people either dropped or didn't meet the GPA. Why not pursue a degree in the arts in something that could help you achieve your goal down the maybe or teaching?? I don't think nursing would keep you forever but if in the begining you didn't really want to pursue it, you may not make it once you get going in the classes..More than one of my friends dropped out since they thought that nursing would be an easy profession to take up..Another idea would be to volunteer. We had HS volunteers in the ER where I worked..some went on to nursing school and some I saw a couple of times and they were gone. It would be good for you to see what really goes on since the perception and the reality are two different animals!!

  13. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    Being a nurse is very difficult, very stressful, and you must put up with a lot of bad things, bad situations and awesome amounts of responsibility for the very lives of others.

    Just looking in from the outside, seeing all the want ads- there seem to be so many jobs available that pay so well....

    If anyone goes into it just for the money, they don't last.

    I recently read an article that cited a study that showed that nurses are the MOST disatisfied workers in any field.

    There are really good reasons why so many hospitals are offering sign-on bonuses, and seemingly high salaries. Many nurses have left nursing because of burn-out.

    Stats show that there is no real "nursing shortage". There are many more licensed nurses than there are jobs. Almost 300,000 licensed nurses in The U.S. are currently working in non-nursing jobs.

    IMHO, nursing is something that you must feel passionate about in order to do it. Its very rough at times.

    Just keep browsing this board, reading the threads. You'll get a good sense of Real World Nursing here.

    Best of luck to you in whatever you decide.
  14. by   Yankee in TX
    Nursing is a hard but rewarding field. There are days I feel stressed to the max. And nursing school was very taxing. But when one patient or family member says " thank you" or " you really care", it makes all the difference in the world. Those are the days that make it worthwhile. The money can be a great benefit but if you don't like what you are doing, nursing won't be the job for you.