Hate nursing school, hate bedside, will I like public health better?

  1. Gosh I hope so, because right now I'm strongly considering quitting and just pursuing public health (non-nursing) or OT or anything else.

    I hate the paperwork, but I guess any job will have that.
    I hate the incredible amount of anxiety I have every single day. I hate feeling like I'm going to kill someone by making a mistake, or they will code and I won't know what to do.
    I hate care plans (who doesn't?)

    I like being able to help people.
    I like making a positive difference, and when my patients thank me and compliment me, it makes me feel good.
    I like having a medical knowledge base that could help my family in an emergency-type of situation.
    I like having contact with people of diverse backgrounds.

    I guess I'm wondering will I like public health nursing any better, or do I need to try something else? Because even the thought of working bedside to get a few years of experience makes me sick. This is only my first semester and I feel like I'm going to have a nervous breakdown.

    Any feedback is appreciated, because I need to make a decision really soon.
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    About SaraFL

    Joined: Aug '09; Posts: 182; Likes: 38
    from US


  3. by   SaraFL
    Just wanted to add, my grades are good, so that's not a problem.

    I read things about immunization clinics, breastfeeding support, WIC, education, disease prevention, and those things appeal to me. Can I work in those areas without a nursing degree? One of the universities near me offers a BS in community health with a minor in health education. Would that be helpful in a field like public health? That BS in comm health leads into a MPH.
  4. by   MissIt
    I think you need to investigate volunteering in the public health arena. When I was in nursing school, I volunteered at a student staffed free clinic. It was a wonderful experience and it definitely helped me realize that there are opportunities in nursing beside bedside nursing.
  5. by   MissIt
    One other thing. I think that you're going to find that it is easier to get a job in public health with a BSN. And, it will be more flexible if you decide not to do public health. When do you get to do a public health rotation? For me, that was a turning point in nursing school!
  6. by   SaraFL
    I think that would be in approx 2-3 years from now MissIt, LOL. I have to finish my ASN, then transfer to the uni for the BSN, then it's like the 3rd or 4th semester I think. I don't know if I can hold out that long. Thanks for your replies, I appreciate it.
  7. by   MissIt
    Okay, so definitely don't wait for that rotation, then! I think you should contact your local health department (or the public health professor at the nursing school) and find a volunteer position ASAP. You're not going to make it another 3 years without some positive reinforcement!
  8. by   HeartsOpenWide
    Depending on what state you are in a BSN is required for public health. If you hate the paperwork you might not like public health; it is a LOT of paperwork.
  9. by   AnneCurrey
    Leave the field now and use any means possible. It takes a real different sort of person to enjoy cleaning up body waste, being on one's feet all day and not even getting lunch breaks on a regular basis.
    You already have your answer. You don't like it so get out now.
  10. by   laughing weasel
    If you do not like the anxiety you will fry the first time you lose a patient or something does go horribly wrong. It will get easier but no matter how good you get some patients will not make it.
    It really helps in this field to be a little OCD but it also makes it harder to let go and realize that you can not save every one nor be perfect every day. There is no better feeling than knowing you are truly making a difference in some patient's life.
    There is no reasonable paying job these days that does not have paperwork. It will always be our bane. If you like patient care and are not grossed out when patient poops/vomits all over and just wash off and move out this field will treat you well.
    The people who I have seen burn out the fastest are those people who let other nurses meanness or the stress of the job get to them.
    This job is and gets very stressful at times. I agree with volunteering before you spend several years prepping for a job you will hate.
  11. by   MandaRN94
    I was in the same boat as you when I was in BSN Nursing school. In school -hated Med/Surg, spinal cord rehab (suctioning trachs -yuck), pedi, SNF. I thought I was in the wrong major but OB/GYN and public health changed my opinion. I work in a Gyn/family planning clinic and love it. Low stress (no codes), NO care plans, weekends and holidays off and the most important part I love the patients and my job! I do lots of counseling and education -which I love. I am going back to school to get my MSN WHNP. My advice is to find what you love -there are so many different nursing jobs to choose from. Good luck!
  12. by   katkonk
    What I hear is that you are someone who wants to please, and likes helping people. You also say that you like being a resource to other people. But, where did you get the idea that they will put you in a position, especially so early, where your one mistake could kill someone? Learn to listen to yourself and recognize the absurdity of some of your "self-talk". (A technique used in psych - see Albert Ellis and his 11 irrational ideas, a basis for cognitive psychology). It can be quite helpful to poke fun at yourself when you realize what you are telling yourself, i.e....that you have to be perfect. First, no one is going to throw you in a room alone with someone that is in critical condition and expect you to save the patient when they are circling the drain. That is what nursing school does, it takes you baby step by baby step and teaches you what you need to know. Learn some anxiety control methods...your school's counselors can help with that. Normally you are eligible to use school counselors by virtue of being a student. If you can't stand the blood and the guts, the pee, puking, and poop of it all, then you should consider getting out. Nursing is not for everyone. But if you have the stomach for it, realize MANY nurses go into a primary care role right out of school and stay there for the rest of their career. They are great primary care nurses, and valuable assets to any team. Primary care is much different than acute care. OR..... you could possibly consider something like OR nursing. It is highly techinical-what sutures does the doctor need, positioning of the patient, instruments, fluids, irrigation, both scrubbing in and circulating. Not bedside care in the least, as it is usually defined. Give it more than one semester, but if you are hating it by mid semester of the 2nd semester, get out and don't waste any more time in nursing school. And as another posting stated...it is ALLLLLLLL about paperwork, whether you are OT, PT, RN, Social Worker, nutritionist, etc. etc. Get used to it. And you are right....care plans suck. But, the extra books in the nursing book store will make that much easier. Good luck on figuring it all out.