I started nursing before many nurses here on line were born...! I started out in (Ireland ) in the early 80's in Peds and the Nursery. (Fun field to start out in ). I nursed here in the USA from late 80's on beginning ,like many in med surg (provides a nice solid base. Here you learn organization and how to handle stress .This is challenging at 1st. It took me 6mths to get out of my own way expecting perfection of myself and annoyance that real life was not what nursing school had prepared me for ) )
While on med surg I also per diemed everywhere in the hospital . I liked the variety,getting to know everyone in the hospital and getting a glance at fields I might like to try. It also provided a way for me to be seen by other managers so that when I wanted to transfer they knew me and how I worked. I did per diems because nursing excited me, I wanted to know everything but I didn't know at the time how much it would spring board my career.
I did a spattering of research,pain management and helped get holistic care started in an era where some people thought I was a witch doing reiki. (now it's main stream ) I rotated through the ICU's and settled in CVRU for several yrs. This was higher stress, a huge learning curve, an incredible experience (like nowhere else in the hospital ) ,it provided great autonomy and after that nothing scares you. Also after working there everything was easy with the exception of the OR. I loved the inside of the body,that was pretty spectacular however standing all day, heavy aprons , little pt contact and having little say in care was not for me. ASU was one of the most fun places I worked,lighter acuity,on the whole well "walkie talkie " pts. Its a good place to go if your feeling burn out as the atmosphere is quite upbeat and stress is considerably less.
I only per diemed in psych and detox which I also thoroughly enjoyed. I worked in a homeless shelter for a yr prior to nursing so already knew that results can be very slow in the psychiatric world. For me then ,I felt I could do more in pychosocial outside of psych where I felt I might burn out there too quickly.
Now I am in cardiac rehab,I do teaching in the hospital with pts,run stress management classes ,for both pts and hospital staff, teach meditation and provide reiki .In addition I do admissions to rehab and and run tele classes. This has been the job with the most flexibilty and I get to mentor students which I absolutely love.I'd like to see us nurture more new nurses as I believe that is the only way we will change the culture of nursing.
I have learned "picking " the right boss is as valuable as the specialty you choose. (I learned this the hard way ) Today (after a 20yr wait ) I have what is for me the ideal boss ,She welcomes growth, new projects and imput. I need to feel I can grow and express myself . Rehab is hands down for me the least stressful nursing (but you do have to be able to function alone,with no back up,if a pt crashes ) We do quite alot of research here on depression.
For me now, I just finished publishing (I am only a contributor ) in a book on soul midwifery a branch of care that deals with helping the spiritual needs of dying pt . In my career where I have served the best is being there for the dying and it is where I plan to both go next and finish my career in nursing. I would like to introduce more gentle dying that address spirit /soul. Through reiki I have learned that souls too can be nursed during the stages of dying .
There is so much to do in nursing you could live a 100 yrs and not get bored.. It is work to keep learning but it also keeps the fire burning inside. I am still proud to be a nurse even amidst change. When I started I had 17 pt in my district.Now those days are gone but scrutiny is higher. Every generation has its struggle and as nurses we find a way to make it work.
No question nursing is stressful I started meditating 25yrs ago and for me thats been key. It has taught me to take life 1 second at a time, nothing is personal and if I stand back for a moment there is no crisis that can't be faced 1 moment at a time .It has not all been easy nursing has a way of exposing all your own flaws which can be challenging. The key for me has been being open to change,keep learning and develop a little dark humor.
Remember, Nursing school is purely a template,be mindful of that. Scores in nursing school are not an accurate indicator on the type of nurse you will be. Every nurse gets to decide that them self.
Without ill intent I do encourage people to examine their motives for choosing nursing. Nursing requires a lot emotionally,if you do not have an interest in service the job is doeable but may be more challenging or obtusely difficult. I have said before if anyone chooses nursing for the money they learn quickly you will work for every penny of it. Choose it if you feel it will bring you happiness.
Nurses are not unlike their pts if everything is great you seldom hear it but if its a complaint.....then...there is a lot to say.Goodluck . Hope this is helpful.Goodluck