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Pre nursing student has a question for current RNs

Nurses   (2,286 Views 34 Comments)
by HotSauce77 HotSauce77 (Member) Member

587 Profile Views; 40 Posts

Hi all... I am completing the prerequisites for nursing school currently, and I have a question for you.  I hear so much about the reasons one becomes a nurse...they go into nursing because it's their calling, they want to help people, make a difference, etc.

My reasons for wanting to become a nurse aren't really because I have a huge drive to get out there and to help people. Of course, I gladly help people in everyday life and it's an enjoyable thing, but this is not my "drive" in life.

I want to become a nurse because I love science and anatomy and I can see myself enjoying learning about the body, talking to people, figuring things out, and seeing tangible results of my actions. I have been drawn to specializing in OR nursing, or maybe psych nursing, because nothing really phases me. I am not trying to sound arrogant when I say that, it's just that I have a high tolerance for crazy.ūüėÄ

I also don't mind being on my feet most of the day and tend to have a good amount or energy and stress control - I grew up the oldest of 7 kids in a very wacky family so maybe the chaos that was my every day life has contributed to that.

Anyway - what do you all think?  Is a big underlying desire to help people really required of a good nurse?

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7 Followers; 3,244 Posts; 21,619 Profile Views

Not at all. 

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RNperdiem has 14 years experience as a RN.

1 Follower; 4,212 Posts; 29,554 Profile Views

You don't need a big underlying drive to help people, but you do need some basic empathy and a sense of responsibility.

Nursing is a service-based job and we need the soft skills of communication, getting along with others and being able to work as a team to thrive.

 

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Sour Lemon has 9 years experience.

3 Followers; 4,237 Posts; 30,598 Profile Views

You don't need to be "called" or love helping people above all else.

On the other hand, you do need diplomatic people skills. As the "coordinator of care", you'll be batted around among every department in the hospital, the doctors, the families, and the patients. It's some science, but also a lot of fluff.

Edited by Sour Lemon

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40 Posts; 587 Profile Views

Awesome.  I appreciate your answers!

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Davey Do has 35 years experience and specializes in Psych, CD, HH, Admin, LTC, OR, ER, Med Surge.

15 Followers; 1 Article; 6,341 Posts; 78,738 Profile Views

8 hours ago, HotSauce77 said:

I have been drawn to specializing in OR nursing, or maybe psych nursing, because nothing really phases me. I am not trying to sound arrogant when I say that, it's just that I have a high tolerance for crazy.

  Is a big underlying desire to help people really required of a good nurse?

"Having a high tolerance for crazy" as a nurse is probably a better trait than "a big underlying desire to help people", HotSauce. 

I can identify with you, in that I don't have a big underlying desire to help people and I think I'm a pretty good nurse. And, I have a high tolerance for crazy- for psychotic patients, but not psychotic staff members.

An allnurses' member, MrChicagoRN, once said that the thing he liked the most about psych nursing was "mental chess".

"Mental chess"! What a neat concept! To be able to see several possible moves ahead of what the psych patient, the other player in this game might do, and be able to counter those moves with a systematic strategy!

Having had over 25 years of psych nursing experience in psych, I've gotten pretty good at playing mental chess with patients and most always bring the game to a therapeutic end.

I have only about a year of OR experience, but the concept of chess could also be applied to this area of nursing, as well as many other areas of nursing. To be able to be aware of, and prepared for, the variables during a surgery or any other type of nursing situation is a real rush.

Good luck, HotSauce! I feel and believe that you will do well!

 

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Emergent has 25 years experience.

7 Followers; 2 Articles; 2,833 Posts; 65,614 Profile Views

I agree @Davey Do. I don't have a burning desire to help people. Because I'm emotionally detached though, I'm tolerant of the humanity I encounter as patients. 

I'm with you on coworkers, they are more annoying...

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Davey Do has 35 years experience and specializes in Psych, CD, HH, Admin, LTC, OR, ER, Med Surge.

15 Followers; 1 Article; 6,341 Posts; 78,738 Profile Views

1 hour ago, Emergent said:

I'm with you on coworkers, they are more annoying...

The reason why  get annoyed with some coworkers is when they put their personality before principles. To be focused on one's own self when we are suppose to be there for another is the epitome of selfishness.

I once read that the only true sin is the sin of self.

Sour Lemon said it oh so well in response to a student nurse member who questioned how we nurses deal with heart-breaking situations. I don't remember Sour Lemon's exact words, but it was something along the lines of "It's not about me, it's about the patient".

To be able to consciously separate one's emotional self and act in a caring, practical manner in an otherwise emotional situation is the epitome of professionalism.

Am I selfless? Heck no! I can be a real jerk-faced creep! But I do have relatively high standards and know what my priorities and responsibilities are.

Like Richard Bach wrote, "We teach best what we most need to learn".

Okay. I'm stepping off my soapbox now...

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14 hours ago, HotSauce77 said:

Hi all... I am completing the prerequisites for nursing school currently, and I have a question for you.  I hear so much about the reasons one becomes a nurse...they go into nursing because it's their calling, they want to help people, make a difference, etc.

My reasons for wanting to become a nurse aren't really because I have a huge drive to get out there and to help people. Of course, I gladly help people in everyday life and it's an enjoyable thing, but this is not my "drive" in life.

I want to become a nurse because I love science and anatomy and I can see myself enjoying learning about the body, talking to people, figuring things out, and seeing tangible results of my actions. I have been drawn to specializing in OR nursing, or maybe psych nursing, because nothing really phases me. I am not trying to sound arrogant when I say that, it's just that I have a high tolerance for crazy.ūüėÄ

I also don't mind being on my feet most of the day and tend to have a good amount or energy and stress control - I grew up the oldest of 7 kids in a very wacky family so maybe the chaos that was my every day life has contributed to that.

Anyway - what do you all think?  Is a big underlying desire to help people really required of a good nurse?

Ooooh... excellent question! 

I do not think you have to have a desire to help people to be a good or even an excellent nurse. It's not necessary, but it helps! We all go into nursing for different reasons. It's the desire to help that makes a nurse go above and beyond and a caring nurse.

To me, a desire to help has different meanings. It means advocating for your patient, but your desire to help lets them speak with their voice, not silence them with yours. A desire to help means that you sometimes have to put on your nurse voice and say to a non-compliant patient, "Look, you need to get up out of that bed and sit in your chair for your meals. You need to start using the bathroom, not the bedside commode. You need to go to PT and OT and every other T there is because this hospital is a pit stop, not a destination, in your journey." Other times, a desire to help means you are holding a dying person's hand, singing to them, praying with them, and providing mouth care. A desire to help does not mean being a servant, it means helping others do what they cannot do for themselves.

 

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Nurse SMS has 8 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

4 Followers; 6,028 Posts; 47,810 Profile Views

Lots of nurses out there went into the field because it is a solid way to earn a living with little chance (most of the time) of being unable to find work. You don't have to have a calling to be a good one.

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Jedrnurse has 25 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in school nurse.

1,385 Posts; 12,842 Profile Views

The greater the person's self-perceived "calling", the more posts they'll end up writing about being disillusioned, burned out, etc.

It's a profession with the potential for amazing variety and experiences. You'll have good days, bad days and everything in-between. But one thing it's not is a romanticized/holy "calling".

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NightNerd has 5 years experience as a BSN, RN.

855 Posts; 16,132 Profile Views

How I wish I'd had your exact perspective when entering this profession (which originally autocorrected to "prison," humorously enough). If you can communicate effectively with patients and coworkers, work in a team as well as being somewhat self-directed, and advocate for your patients' best interest (even when they are their own worst enemy), you can survive and even thrive in this career!

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