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Nursing, is it really that horrible of a job?


Hi everyone, I'm new here. I'm not a nurse, but I'm thinking about going to school to become one. I'm pretty concerned about all of the nursing-hate I'm finding online though. Like, the site, aboutmyjob for example. It lists story after story about people, usually nurses, that absolutely hate their job. All I hear about on that site mostly is about how terrible it is, how the work loads are astronomical, how you get blamed for everything, how nasty co-workers are...

Is this really the general opinion of the nursing field as a whole? That nursing is a horrible horrible profession to be avoided at all costs? Some of the people on that site make it out to be like their life's greatest mistake. I'm really hoping that there's some jobs out there that aren't total nightmares. I'm not talking about low stress or not dealing with problems. I just mean, I would like to know if there's jobs out there that are tolerable, and give at least a little back in terms of feeling like you're helping people. :confused: Thanks for any comments! I'm honestly hoping most of the people on that first site were just having a really crappy day and decided to rant, and that their careers aren't really horrible 24/7.

It has it's bad moments....more often than not. A lot of what you see online is venting. It seems as though we spend so much of our time taking care of others and keeping others alive that we do nothing for ourselves and burn ourselves out physically, emotionally, and psychologically.


Specializes in Pulmonary, MICU. Has 5 years experience.

You will read a lot more bad than you will good, because bad is more newsworthy. I generally like it. I help people, it pays decent, I work only 3 days a week. It does have it's dark sides. It's up to the individual. For me, the schedule alone is worth it...I have more days off per week than I work. And I can pay my bills.

Now, will I be a nurse forever? No way. But I don't think I would be any one thing forever..I'm just not that kind of person.

nerdtonurse?, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU, Telemetry.

What do you see in the newspaper? Plane crashes, mass murder, rape and sudden death. You don't see articles that say, "and once again, Mr. Jones safely made it to work, had an uneventful day, and came home."

A lot of us who vent are like that. We don't write about the nights where everything went okay. We don't need to. But we do need to vent about the horrible things we do see to folks who understand what means when you read, "and then we put a PEG in a 102 year old."

I spent 20 years in computers. I had days where I wanted to pick up my purse and bolt to the nearest Amish community where I'd never have to deal with so much as a lightbulb, much less a computer. I have days in nursing where I want to leap out the first available window, or throw the patient out of it. You get sick to death of all the people who don't want help, that you can't help, that won't be helped. And about the time you're ready to tell the boss to stick it, something happens or someone comes along to give you the belief that maybe you can go do this one more day. And you do.


Specializes in Mental and Behavioral Health. Has 3 years experience.

It is what you make it. Some people think Nursing is a series of beautiful, meaningful moments. Some people hate every minute of it. I has to do with the additude of the individual. Nursing really is quite stressful, but it is a most rewarding career. If you can focus on the good in a stressful situation, you'll make it. If you ruminate negativity in your heart all the time, you'll be miserable all the time. You'll be miserable in the Nursing field, and miserable in a field of wildflowers with beautiful birds singing you beautiful songs, all because of your additude. It's all about additude. How is your's?


Has 8 years experience.

I have days in nursing where I want to leap out the first available window, or throw the patient out of it...

For me it's usually the family I'd like to throw..LOL. But otherwise ITA. I don't really come on and write about the days when things are mellow. Come to think of it, someday I'm just going to come home from work and start a thread that goes.."Today, Everything Went Perfectly..".

Heh. I can dream..

Nursing has a way of refining a human beings character. The true nature is seen when pressed on all sides. People are leaving the bedside due to the things you mentioned. The reasons written about the shortage are not the reasons people leave daily and unfortunately......nothing is being done to change the working environment. One huge source of oppression is the unrealistic nature of workflow processes. No human being can implement the policies as written. Many try to follow institutional procedures but then the care of the patient is compromised. It is becoming more difficult daily to serve the patient first. That is the core of much of the frustration and behavioral symptoms you read about.


Specializes in oncology, med/surg (all kinds).

i can say this because i had a most excellent day at work today! i had 2 situations where i was able to calm fears, reduce pain, educate family and pt., and help a recent mastectomy pt. stand tall (i found a leftover prosthetic that happened to fit!).

as the others have said--how much of these boards would you read if it were all dreamy love-my-job posts. *GAG*. we come in here to ***** and vent and throw temper tantrums in a safe environment.

if you see what the rants are about, it is very rarely about nursing itself. most of us love nursing. and that love of nursing makes the aggravation that much more painful. the things that **** us off are the inconsistencies with expectations. " take 2 more patients than is safe for you to and while you are at it, round every hour to see to their needs." because the hospital culture has gone from patient gets taken care of by medical professionals to paying customer gets good service by all the hired help. and the customers know that those surveys are coming. look at the post from today about strange things family members have done. in the middle of a code blue, another pt has a comfort requests and demands it be addressed. and the staff will be reprimanded for doing the code while not making sure everyone's pillows are the right amount of fluff and their juice has just the right amount of ice. we are routinely set up to fail. we are often disrespected by patients, families, doctors, but worst by fellow nurses and administration.

it is hard because we know things can be better. we know things can be good. we just want to be able to NURSE. give us enough staff, enough equipment and let us prioritize safety and healing over customer satisfaction scores. let us set boundaries so that when a pt or family or MD is out of line we are allowed to stand up for not only our self respect, but the collective respect of nurses as PROFESSIONALS.

it is hard, sometimes impossible to overlook the crap---there is so much of it. but today i got to be a nurse. 2 patients walked out of my chemo clinic feeling 10000% better when they came in because of what i did. i had a rare opportunity to do my job exactly how it should be done.

I MADE THESE PATIENTS AND THEIR FAMILIES FEEL BETTER--PHYSICALLY, PSYCHOLOGICALLY--I EMPOWERED THEM--AND YES, when it was all done--i got to hug them. i got to use my skills when i didn't hurt my nervous patient accessing her port. i got to teach about how we read your lab results (what is an ANC, why do we make decisions based on it). in outpatient oncology---they know the nurses are the shi*. they love their docs, but when there is a problem--they want their nurse.

sorry to be my typical long winded self....the answer to our question is: NO nursing isn't that bad--if you find your niche--but the health care & hospital system--they are dragging us down like the titanic. i hope i have the strength to weather it, because some day i am the one venting about crappy nursing! also--any job that is predominately women is going to be tough. sorry, but it is. we NEED a little more testosterone in our field to mellow out the cattiness. good luck in your decision.

Thank you all for taking the time to write to me! The insight that it could be a lot of venting helped my perspective a lot. I certainly have experience with venting. It's hard when you come from no nursing background, so what could be venting, I take as meaning everyday occurrences.

Sometimes I worry that I don't have the stress tolerance to do something like this profession. But other times I surprise myself by taking command of projects for my capstone course at school, or sticking around for eight hours to get a project done for that same class. I have a very high perseverance limit, I'm just not sure how well I do with high stress situations.

my attitude? I used to think I complained a lot. But in high school I was nominated for the Optimist's Club... so maybe my perception of myself wasn't right. lol. I do get annoyed with things at times, but overall I always try to find the best in a situation, or a person, whatever.

Sometimes I worry that I'll be too emotional for this field. I get invested emotionally with people easily, which I think could lean to burn out in this field. But, I'm 25 - so I have some room to grow. At least, I hope I do. :)

I'm thinking of volunteering at a hospital near my house. Do you guys think this would be a good way to get a feel for an environment nurses work in, or is it a totally different type of thing? Thanks again for all your insight!

mykidzmom, your post really struck a chord with me. Thanks so much for sharing. I think that could be one of the problems I'm worried about - I tend to care so much about people, even those that I don't know personally. Sometimes I wonder if I wouldn't be better suited as a counselor. I notice that I am greatly affected by anyone that is emotionally upset, which makes me wonder if I'd be able to deal with the emotional tides of nursing. But I do know that when I'm able to help someone, in anyway, it gives me the most amazing feeling.


Specializes in ICU stepdown/ICU. Has 4 years experience.

I really hated my job for the first 2 years! For some reason the 3rd year has been so much easier. I used to be so task focused that I didn't have much job satisfaction. Now that my time-management skills are so much better I am able to spend more time with the patients. Now I like what I do, I know I do a good job and the patients appreciate my help. Don't get me wrong, I have bad days, but who doesn't. Before I became a nurse I had no idea how hard nursing is- no one can prepare you for the physical, emotional and intellectual drain of being a new nurse. In my experience though, once you have been doing it for a while, it can be very rewarding.


Specializes in oncology, med/surg (all kinds).

you will have a lot of aggravation if you choose nursing, but your perceived flaw of caring so much is an asset. nurses who do it for the hours or the money--they can be good nurses and they might be more likely to let the crap roll off the shoulders. people who care--and have the brains to be able to be a nurse--maybe our hurts are worse, but maybe our joys are more joyful. i think even if you became an accountant, you would still care a lot about how the refund or penalty effected that person. i would rather care too much and cry and get ****** off than to be comfortably numb. on most days. ask me that tomorrow.

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