Nursing Is A Business: Get Used To It!


Although I've been a nurse a mere 7 years I definitely realize at least in my own experience that this beloved field is changing dramatically for good and for not so good and quite quickly and in my own honest opinion too many nurses are not prepared to let go of the ''Florence Nightingale'' image of our profession we were taught to map our careers out after. What I mean by that is that nursing is increasingly becoming a numbers game like every other industry.

Being a nurse who is both young

Also what's up with people thinking they'll get their preferred place of employment right out the gate or in a year? Or people who think just because they have RN, BSN, MSN behind there name they immediately qualify for whatever they want????.....

REALITY CHECK: unfortunately our dear profession has become a rat race and institutions want the Peron who is most suited, most qualified, easiest and cheapest to train to fill the spot. At least in my region most employers only want to hire nurses whose experience closely or perfectly matches the position, so good luck switching specialties, and good luck competing with all those other RNs with mid to top level experience.

Also like every other profession (because idk why some believe nursing is any different) you have to

work your way up. How many lawyers, physicians, teachers, business or finance majors, pharmacists, you name it find top level positions after 3 years post graduation? And even after working at the ''bedsides'' of there chosen careers how many of them land high level jobs within 3 years? Why do SOME believe is nursing any different?

Unfortunately working in certain specialties does make you less marketable, less skilled, and less competitive unless you plan on working the same unit or specialty for the next 10+ years of your career, and hopefully your employer doesnt give you the boot during that time or youll be on the unemployment line like the couple hundred of RNs in my area that lost their jobs when 4 hospitals decided to close within 24 months, leaving them to compete with each other. That's the harsh reality, but can you still find your dream job? sure just know that you are less competitive and will have to make yourself an attractive candidate somehow if you are not already. I don't know why we give new grads and newer nurses the notion that they'll have no problems switching specialties or finding their dream job??? When the industry shows us thats simply not the truth. The proof is in the pudding just ask most employers who they want to hire and why.

Also even tho its not about credentials, I've learned that employers like to see bsn, MSN, and certs even though they do not accurately reflect the quality of ones practice. Unfortunately that's also what makes you way more marketable and to be honest it simply shows you care to some extent about your profession and are not just the run of the mill sally or Joe with two letters behind your name that come a dime a dozen. That's all employers seem to see.

I work with a nurse who abhors any type of bedside nursing or mild patient care, never tried it, won't do anything but small clinic/light procedural stuff but wants to do research because it'll be ''easiest'' for her but doesn't qualify for any research positions (even one she knew someone who worked there and was willing to get her in the door all) because she has little to zero hands on patient care experience.

Its a rat race and the best man wins... whoever has the broadest, most practical, translatable experience and credentials (and connections) will most likely, of course not always get their dream position. Nurses have to equip themselves to always learn new practices, acquire new skills, and be in control of their career, too many of us treat this great profession like a job and not as a career or platform. Nursing is becoming like every other profession, slowly more corporate, tougher, and more competitive, for good and not so good.

Just my very long two cents/vent.

Has 33 years experience.

I was there when nursing turned into a business, it was not a pretty sight.

I would advise any nurse to focus on the business end/ goals and acquire all of the computer skills they can. That is survival of the fittest in nursing.


269 Posts

as for "why do new grads think they can get this or that right out of school?"...because schools lie.

Nursing school is also a business, and they don't care about you - only their application stats, putting warm butts in their classes, making $$$$ from tuition payments, and having a favorable retention/graduation rate. It's not in their best interests to be honest with potential or current nursing students - if everyone had a clear picture of what it's really like, far fewer people would apply to nursing school and far more people would drop out after realizing halfway through their first year that the field isn't for them.

So schools feed people crap about how nursing is sooooo flexible, you can practically make your own schedule, there are 23746912384 specialties to go into and it's easy as pie to transfer into another specialty, it's such a secure profession and there's a nursing shortage and people will be begging you to work for them when you graduate, there are tons of jobs in desirable practice settings, etc. New grads expect these things because for as long as they've been thinking about getting into nursing, people in positions of authority have been telling them to expect it all. And of course, one of the lies is especially tailored to people tho think nursing would be awesome because of the money and supposed prestige/job security but aren't okay with the dirty work - 'oh don't worry about that! there are tons of things you can do with a nursing degree that don't involve bedpans or bodily fluids or back-breaking work!' So they apply, go through school still being fed the same lies, graduate (at which point the school no longer gives a flying you-know-what about what happens to them), and realize they've been lied to and they're miserable.

also i don't think that 'taking care of sick people' is what makes most people want to leave the bedside. i think it's the 12-16 hour days without any food or water or bathroom breaks. the "customer service/customer is always right" mentality that sets up a master/slave relationship between out of control, overly-entitled patients and myself and leads to me feeling powerless and disrespected and less than human on a daily basis. the literally impossible-to-meet standards regarding amount of work vs. amount of time and/or assistance required to reasonably complete said tasks. the pervasive attitude/expectation that since nursing is a 'calling' you should be honored to do it and how dare you think of things like protecting your own health and compliance with labor laws. i could go on and on but you get the idea. i don't think the actual 'taking care of sick people' is what most people find objectionable about nursing.

(Personally, yes - one of the reasons I am in the process of getting out of healthcare is that I am not suited to working with sick people and I never should have gone into nursing in the first place. But for most of my colleagues who ARE well suited to nursing, it's all the various forms of abuse we take on a daily basis that are turning them off.)

CrunchRN, ADN, RN

4,484 Posts

Specializes in Clinical Research, Outpt Women's Health. Has 25 years experience.

You need to make this mandatory reading for all nursing students when they apply.

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

THIS IS A GREAT THREAD!! I am now officially a fan of All4NursingRN :up:

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

4 Articles; 20,908 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 43 years experience.

A must read for sure!


344 Posts

Has 10+ years experience.

I have to agree with ceccia. What I was told by the nursing school advisors was not the reality of nursing. Luckily my instructors were far more honest on what to expect. I think a majority of the nursing students who don't want to work at the bedside and try to avoid ill patients are the ones who don't always make it through their clinicals. The licensed nurses who don't want to work with ill patients are those that are overworked and get little to know support or appreciation from their employers..


269 Posts

^ my instructors were not realistic at all - to the point where we once had a job hunting/resume writing seminar where they spent most of the time talking about how to deal with multiple job offers because "that's the reality of your profession"! I felt like something was wrong with ME when it took me 4 months to land my first job (SNF).

In my case, I don't blame them. There were tons of red flags telling me "don't do this!", and I am to blame for ignoring them and being too fearful to get off this path and on to one that was better suited for me. Maybe that's another topic for another thread. "DON'T get into nursing if..."

joanna73, BSN, RN

1 Article; 4,767 Posts

Specializes in geriatrics.

It never ceases to amaze me how many students and recent grads hang around these forums, yet refuse to believe how competitive the job market is. While there are mixed messages throughout the media about the nursing shortage, posters are often labelled as being negative, etc when the realities of nursing are discussed, but for the last 7 years health care and just about every other profession has seen many changes.

The key to survival is flexibility and adaptation. Set your goals on that "dream job", but understand that in order to obtain your desired position, you will probably need to work in less desirable roles first. Treat every experience as a learning experience, and consider how you might be able to use your nursing skills in new and innovative ways. Hospital based jobs are disappearing, but there will be an increase in community based nursing roles.


1,198 Posts

Specializes in LTC, med/surg, hospice. Has 7 years experience.

I totally agree. Although nursing has become more business like..they still are adding in fluff to give the "caring" appearance all the while adding pointless duties to our workload.

The nurses in the awesome cushy jobs won't leave until they are old and decrepit.

I think higher education is great and I'm planning to go back to school as I want to be able to land a "better" position. I went into nursing with no expectations and I'm glad because I don't think I would have lasted otherwise.

nurseprnRN, BSN, RN

2 Articles; 5,114 Posts

The nurses in the awesome cushy jobs won't leave until they are old and decrepit.


I resemble that remark. As a matter of fact, I have to keep working (in my nonbedside job) just because I like to have a roof over my head and food on the table, and I also work for the vet bills (see my profile for some of my dependents) :)

Don't hate on me because I went to a lot of trouble to learn what I need to do to do this and I have no intention of quitting until I have to. You may find yourself in a similar position someday. Don't get me wrong-- I really like what I do and I make a decent, if not cushy, living out of it. But if I won the lottery tomorrow I would never work again.

Editorial Team / Admin

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

6 Articles; 11,442 Posts

Specializes in OR, Nursing Professional Development. Has 18 years experience.
The nurses in the awesome cushy jobs won't leave until they are old and decrepit.

And why do you think that is? Perhaps because the hospital is more concerned about making money than providing decent wages and a retirement plan to its workers? I sure as heck won't be able to retire for a long, long time unless I win the lottery. I certainly hope you aren't implying that older nurses should simply step aside for younger nurses; they have the right to continue working until they choose to stop or can no longer safely function in the role.