People who think becoming a nurse is so easy

Nurses General Nursing


I received an email from a friend wanting to talk to me about nursing, because she says her husband "is considering becoming a nurse. He has talked about this for several years as something to do after he retires from XYZ company".

Really? He's just a few years from retirement, an early retirement but still, he's probably around 57-58 years old, and he thinks he can just "become a nurse". Do people really think it's that easy? That it's something to keep them from getting bored in their retirement years? I don't know why, but I'm sort of offended! I've known this friend from before I went back to school to start my 2 years of prereqs, my 2 years of ADN nursing school, my 1 year RN-BSN bridge program. Obviously they didn't realize that it took me 5 years of school. She also said he wanted to talk to me about work schedules. I haven't followed up with her yet, but I imagine it's something like "yeah, I want to just work part time while I'm retired, or PRN, just pick up a shift or two a week". They obviously have no idea that nursing takes time to gain experience before you can get hired anywhere PRN. They think it's just a little something to do in retirement, like a hobby. Nursing is actually a specialized field! How can people not know that? Makes me feel like the general public thinks of us as people who take vital signs and hand out little cups with pills in it, a semester or two of school and you're good to go!

She wasn't in any way trying to be condescending, I guess I just took it that way.

Specializes in Surgical, Home Infusions, HVU, PCU, Neuro.

Probably not what you are looking for but.. I would be offended if I was your friend and you was talking about my husband in this condescending manner.

Holy indignance, Batman! And who, exactly, are you to judge someone else's motivation for wanting to or becoming a nurse? How is it up to you to decide if someone is approaching the nursing profession with the same level of reverence that you seem to have for it? Do you even know this man? I'm perplexed at your degree of affront to this inquiry from your friend.

I get it. But few people realize what we do. Had a boyfriend that thought I slung bedpans all day.

You have the opportunity to teach someone what the deal is.

Maybe you can steer them into unlicensed caregiving instead? Maybe that's what they actually mean anyway. To the general public, a nurse is anyone who provides caregiving that isn't a doctor.

But I have never run into someone thinking nursing is "something to do" in retirement. Yikes. They obviously do not know how strenuous the job is.

Lots of people don't understand how difficult or complicated lots of jobs are. I don't see why it's a big deal. If he decides to pursue nursing, he'll figure it out pretty quickly. If it were me, I wouldn't waste any time feeling offended.

Specializes in ED, Pedi Vasc access, Paramedic serving 6 towns.

This person is not being presumptive, otherwise he wouldn't need to talk to you about nursing!!! Don't judge him, he is young and doesn't want to be bored out of his mind post retirement. He wants to continue being productive, which is good for him!

Try not to judge them, be respectful, and answer questions that he asks so he is informed before he commits to the education. It is true that he may have no idea how long the schooling is, but neither did you before you informed yourself!


Specializes in Nurse Leader specializing in Labor & Delivery.

A lot of people are surprised when I tell them that the only reason I went into nursing was that, at the time, becoming a nurse was the easiest, fastest way of becoming a lactation consultant. When I decided to go to nursing school, I had NO INTENTION of actually working as a nurse.

For all you know, the husband might even be thinking of becoming a medical assistant. Perhaps talk to him and see where the conversation goes.

You shouldn't be offended though.

Go ahead and talk to them about work schedules. The people who think it's great that "you only work 3 days a week" don't know that I get up at 4:30, catch the bus an hour before work, and basically never see my kid on the day I work. As you say there are lots of people who want to be a nurse thinking they can just work per diem or limbo for somewhere. Many part-time and PRN places now require at least 1 major holiday worked. They'll see.

hey it never hurts for him to try. Once he see the hoops you have to jump through such as waitlist and lotteries, prereq requirements and entrance exams he may have a change of heart. If he don't then this might be something that he really want to do. You will see once he starts the stressful process.

Specializes in Nursing Faculty, ER Nurse.

I went to nursing school with several "second career" adult students. In fact, I was the youngest graduate at 26. They graduated and successfully went into practice.

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