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Regrets about Nursing?


I'm not sure if I am posting in the right spot.

Growing up, I always wanted to be either a Nurse or a Dental Hygienist. My first job as a teenager was in a dentist office so that is where the interest in dental hygiene started. I have always wanted to have a job where I help people so Nursing has been a close second.

So I grew up, got a career in retail, got married and started to live happily ever after. Shortly after I got married, my hours started getting cut because I had the audacity to start asking for days off here and there, if I requested one day off, I would only get 4 hours for the whole week. So I decided it was time for a career change and pursued my CNA. Fell in love with the field and decided to pursue an RN at my local community college. I quit work to peruse my RN full time and this, along with a lot of unforeseen expenses, generally poorly managing our money, and my inability to tell my husband "no" when he wanted things we couldn't afford because I didn't feel like I had a right to... Or he wouldn't listen to me because I wasn't contributing to the household (huge marital resentment but that is besides the point)... Forced me to stop perusing my career goals.

So I dropped out of Nursing school and started using my CNA for the first time. My first job being in LTC. WORST WORK EXPERIENCE EVER!

Don't get me wrong. I love being a CNA. I love being able to help the residents do things they can't do for themselves. There is nothing about the nature of the job that bothers me.

I hate that staffing is constantly such an issue. I hate that they make someone go home half way through each shift because of labor costs, and census, while they let people work ridiculous amounts of OT at time and a half because they don't know how to schedule coverage. No joke. For example on Christmas Day, afternoon shift, there are 3 CNAs scheduled when there should be a minimum of 7 with 1 person going home halfway through the shift. This isn't an isolated incident. It happens about half the time.

Sterile Technique is nothing like I learned in nursing school.

Nurses do not watch residents take their medications.

Residents rights are a joke.

The field is nothing like I imagined it to be.... The list goes on.

I'm not sure if all nursing homes are terrible places to work at. I have heard that they are all the same.

One thing that attracts me to nursing is the flexibility, and various places a nursing license can take me.

Things that defer me from going into nursing are the high patient load, the long shifts, the shift work, and the fact that I hate working in LTC, but will probably have to start out in LTC or Med-Surge (which I hear also sucks)

So this brings me to the point of the post. I am almost to a point where I can go back to school with or without my husbands help. I could make few more sacrifices and have a career in dental hygiene (the pre reqs were pretty much all the same, but i would have to commute or move 2 hours away to peruse this) but it would be easier and more convenient to peruse the nursing career.

Does it get better? Am I looking at things as CNA when as a nurse things are way better?

*****Does anybody have regrets about choosing nursing over another field?*****

I think you'd be hard pressed to find any professional who can't list things about their jobs they dislike, or would love to change.

A career which deeply rewards and satisfies one person,

might make another person miserable.

Among our pals and relatives are other nurses, doctors, a florist, lawyers, carpenters, plumbers, a priest, some engineers of all kinds, sales people, a teacher, some business ppl at both mid range and top of the pile CEOS. a cook, a waitress, a hairdresser, all kinds of jobs. ALL of them have things they loathe about their job, all of 'em. Most of them think their job is THE most challenging of all, too, hee hee, they do. And most of them can list things they love about their field, too.

I've been a nurse for >30 years, and loved it. Can I make a long list of things i really dislike about it? Sure i can!

Can i make an even longer list of things i loved about it? Yes!

But i don't regret choosing nursing. But, frankly, after decades of it, now i'd rather be a scientist doing research at this stage of my life, but, that in no way indicates i regret having chosen nursing.

Is it hard work? yes.

Can it be frustrating? yes.

have there been times i regretted it? yes.

but overall, the answer for me, is no, no i don't regret i became a nurse, for the most part, i loved it, and felt honored to be able to do the work i had. I was never bored for even a day, ever. I got to use every bit of myself at my job, my brains, my muscles, my heart, my creativity, all of me was put to use, every shift i worked.

Among the things i felt were extra nice about being a nurse, included, that i could always get work, and all the flexibility, all the various areas i could work in, and i could move all over and always always get work. (i love to move a lot). BUT Nowadays, with the heyday of the nursing shortage over, though, things are different for today's nurses, than it was for me for the bulk of my career.

Regrets? Sure. I would go all the way to medical or vet school, given a second time around.


Specializes in LTC.

Regrets? Sure. I would go all the way to medical or vet school, given a second time around.
I'd be a pharmacist.


Specializes in Home Care.

If I knew then what I know now....

Speech therapy, occupational therapy or prosthetics/orthotics....all are great careers that really help people do better in their daily lives.

Makeup up artist! World of colors, making people beautiful and happy :)

Overland1, RN

Has 22 years experience.

Regrets? I've had a few, but then again, too few to mention... ;)

Any career will have its good and bad points, with many of them being perceived. Does Medical or Surgical Nursing always "suck"? No, but it may "suck" you into doing something you really enjoy. Every day I work with people who truly enjoy those aspects of Nursing, and would not give it up for anything. The same goes for many other areas of Nursing, and not all in the "glamorous" areas like ER, ICU, OR, etc. Be wary of the cliches that have become so pervasive in Nursing. Sure, there are places where there is insufficient staffing or substandard equipment - most any job has that.

One of the great things about a Nursing career is that, if you don't like what you are doing, you can move to another specialty. Each is a rewarding experience in learning as you help patients to recover and often return home at a better level of function. Even when a patient dies (they do that once in a while), you are there to provide support for the family. If you find that part of Nursing to be your niche, then Hopsice Nursing may be just the right choice for you - those peepz are some of the most incredible I have ever worked with.

I am not knocking the other related professions, but, if I had it to do over again, I would not have changed anything, other than maybe entering the profession a few years earlier. On the other hand, my years in a few other jobs and professions helped to make my current work better and easier. But most of all, I did it my way. :)


Specializes in NICU.

I have no regrets.

I have always wanted to be a nurse, although I didn't become one until I was about 30. In school, all the dental hygiene students took the same prerequisites that we did. We used to joke about how they had it better: day shift, Monday thru Friday (or maybe Monday thru Thursday), no bottoms to clean, no heavy patients to lift....BUT THEY HAVE TO STICK THEIR HANDS IN PEOPLE'S MOUTHS! The very idea revolted most of my nurse friends - and me as well.

I love being a nurse. The work I do is valuable: I do literally save lives. The work I do is interesting: physiology and pathophysiology facinate me. My work is also holistic: I wouldn't be a pharmacist, dietician, or therapist because I don't want to focus on only one area of my patients' needs.

Sure, I have hard days. I read complaints here on All Nurses and agree with them, but my good days outweigh my bad. Don't judge a whole occupation based on one facility in one area of practice.

If I would've based my decision to continue on in the pursuit of being a nurse on my first experience in healthcare (med/surg) I probably would've quit too! I was also told, by the manager of course, "It's like this everywhere!"

Um, no it isn't.

Med/surg and LTC are very different from each other though. You might hate the facility you're at, but love another one. You might love med/surg and never want to leave. Then again, you might find a specialty you love when going through clinical rotations during the nursing program, AND you might get a job in that specialty.

It depends on where you live and other factors whether or not you can get a job as a new grad period, or if you'll be forced to start out in med/surg. Not everyone has a hard time getting a job as a new grad though and not everyone starts out in med/surg.


Specializes in ER. Has 5 years experience.

It sounds like your major complaints revolve around staffing but you like the flexibility of 12 hour shifts. Guess what? Nothing I see in your post is going to change by coming an RN. The job description will change, the pay will change, the responsibilities will increase but understaffing? Doing too much with too little staff? Here to stay.

If I had to do it over, I would go to medical school. And I would advise anyone who will listen that OT, PT, ST, ultrasound, heck, just about anything is better than nursing in the healthcare world and you get the same flexibility.

Palliative Care, DNP

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

Wasting the time I spent to become a nurse. I would take that time and spend it pursuing a different health career...pharmacy, physician, physical therapy, anything else. I am now pursuing a DNP and by the time its all said and done I have spent 8 years to be the highest level nurse practitioner. I believe that we do not receive the respect we deserve especially as floor nurses. It is a thankless job. Unfortunately, nurse practitioners aren't taken as seriusly as they should be either. It is an issue with nursing in general. I am continuing along this path though since it is the career I have chosen. I do not recommend it for my children and tell them to become anything other than a nurse.


Specializes in ICU/PACU. Has 10 years experience.

I am starting to regret it 7 years into my career. Maybe it's burnout. I sometimes think I would have been a happier person working at a store or maybe a hair stylist. Or a desk job. Anything but what I'm doing now. My parents forced me into college and I had to pick something to major in. Nursing was it. I wish I had the time to experience some life before choosing my major. Listen to your gut is my advice. If you want it go for it.


Specializes in ICU.

Yes, I regret my decision these days. I should have become a physical therapist

Daisy_08, BSN, RN

Has 5 years experience.

Have not been a nurse long enough to regret it.

To me dental hygiene sounds BORING!!! I like that in nursing each day is a new day (thank the lord!), new pts, new challenges, new things to learn.

Maybe you would like to work in a Doctors office, if you like that environment.

brandy1017, ASN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care.

Being a dental hygienist would probably give you a better quality of life and not having to worry about under staffing a major problem in most hospitals and nursing homes in America. Nothing is going to change to improve staffing levels short of increased unionization or a national patient ratio law a la California! Also I don't understand how the current staffing levels for nursing homes count nurses in admin that do not provide direct patient care, that is just ridiculous!

When I was a secretary I never worried about the job and felt free to quit and try different jobs out. As a nurse I feel it is almost impossible to switch jobs and find sane fair staffing levels. Even if you can find such a place, without a union or patient ratio law it can change on a dime as soon as the place starts cost cutting, restructuring, new management or ownership and you have no say in working conditions, left to accept the worsening conditions or look for a decent place to move to which is truly like looking for a needle in a haystack! If you can find a place with fair staffing ratios is just the first step, then is management fair or are they capricious! Are coworkers kind or is their a hostile bullying atmosphere. It is discouraging knowing how things are getting worse and not having any real control over working conditions, yet being expected to be supernurse.

I just don't think you would be dealing with these issues if you were in another field such as dental hygienist. I don't think it could be too understaffed and bet working conditions and morale are better than you will find in the nursing/CNA healthcare setting. Why would you want to pursue nursing knowing you are risking your emotional and even physical health when you could go into another field that provides better quality of life and decent wages?

Edited by brandy1017

I agree not all nursing homes are the same. I work in a skilled nursing facility, but I work on the subacute rehab floor. So our patients come to us a few days out of the hospital stay for 1week-3months depending, and then go home. I only have 16 patients on 3-11 and about 23 on nights.

I was sick to my stomach about having to work in a skilled nursing factility at first. I had nothing but bad experiences in clinicals at SNFs. Im an LPN, just finished my RN this past semester so I didnt really have a choice at the time. However I ended up falling in love with it. I really do like my job. I enjoy working in geriatrics. Go figure. I believe it is the facility, rather than the profession or specialty area that makes the difference.

However, the jobs our CNA's do, is drastically diffrent from what I do as a nurse. Im not sure I could handle being a CNA. So keep that in mind.

joanna73, BSN, RN

Specializes in geriatrics.

I enjoy nursing. But, like others some days I wish I would have pursued OT, PT, or Speech Language Therapy. Nursing is great, but many nurses are overworked and underpaid in comparison to these other professions with A LOT more responsibility.

Music in My Heart

Specializes in being a Credible Source. Has 11 years experience.

I can think of at least three careers that I'd choose over nursing (airline pilot, orthopedic surgeon, firefighter) but my only regret with nursing is that I started at age 45 instead of at age 25.