Rethinking Nursing...advice from nurses please!

Nurses General Nursing



I am new to this webiste and I have been reading ALOT on it lataly because I am a PCA in a hospital right now on a surgical unit and in nursing school and I know how busy it can get and frankly, its nice to come home and relate to people on here. Makes me think I am not the only one out there who is stressed!:-)

However...lataly Ive been reading these posts and I have been coming home from work stressed everynight. I am starting to rethink my decision as a nurse. I mean some days are great and I feel like this is what I want to do, but other times im nervous to even go into work and I get so frusterated that I cant give the best care because I have 100 other things to do. My question is do you think I should change my major while I still have the time? Do you think a career in radiotechnology or something in the health field just not nusring would be better? I read your posts and it seems like everyone has bad days all the time and that their health is suffering because of all the stress. I feel so bad for these nurses and I admire every one of you. But i dont want to go through life unhappy.

On hte other hand if i change my major i feel like Ill be so sad and defeated, i havnt even given it a try yet really. I dont know just thought id see what ya'll think!:) Thanks..


660 Posts

Specializes in ER.

Nursing is hard. There isn't any other way to slice it. However, it does get better after the first year. That's not to say that the stress goes away thought. Nursing will always be stressful. You could work in a less stressful area if that is what you want. But please know that the first year of nursing is probably one of the toughest years you will ever have.

Being a rad tech seems a bit more laid back to me. The ones I work with are always smiling, laughing, and always get their meal breaks. The pay is about the same I believe. However, jobs in my area for rad techs are much more limited than nurses, even with the current economy. Rad techs have the ability to switch up their job a bit in that they can do MRI, CT, Xray, Ultrasound, etc. Nurses have a lot more freedom though. You can work inpatient acute care, outpatient, hospice, nursing home, the possibilities are truly endless.

I think you will get some bias opinions on here since this site is for nurses. Nobody can make the decision that is right for you except yourself.


112 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg; aged care; OH&S.

I think only you know the answer to this question but I can certainly give you my experiences and thoughts.

When I started nursing school, I had this intense desire to be a nurse and nothing was going to stop me, it was just something I wanted to do and that was that.

Over the years, I've had good and bad days, good and bad jobs, have questioned nursing as a career, and have been very frustrated, annoyed, angry, and upset over my job. I've also experienced joy, happiness, made good friends and learned some very valuable life experience which has helped me grow as a person and a professional. Despite the bad days, I know I would have regretted it if I hadn't given nursing a go.

I know it's confronting to read some of the posts on here from the more experienced nurses, but you have to understand that firstly, we are venting, and it may come across as being worse than it is, or secondly, there are certain realities of nursing that are difficult to deal with, or thirdly, some people are simply fed up with being nurses.

I'm of the opinion that nobody should stay in the same job or even field their whole lives. I think people and workplaces benefit more from people changing careers every so often - this motivates people to try hard, keep learning and keep interested. When people do stay in the same job for a long time (and this could be because it isn't possible for them to drop everything and go to uni or whatever), they can suffer burn out and this does happen in nursing.

You are very young, and being young is about taking risks and taking on new challenges. If you continue in nursing, and decide, well I've had enough of it after a few years, you can always do a post grad course or another degree, or even just move into a new field - nursing is an excellent background for most occupations and nurses are thought of highly by a lot of companies and employers.

When you are having a bad day, I would advise (if you don't do this already) to make sure you talk to your tutor or other students about it - this will make you feel less alone in your concerns and will help to put things into perspective. I would also advise you try to plan your career as much as possible - think about a specialty you might want to do; the one regret I do have is staying in med/surg for as long as I did.

Good luck with it


545 Posts

What are your interests?

Have you asked to shadow other health care professionals?

I thought I wanted to be a physical therapist for the longest time until I observed one for about 4 hrs- that doesn't mean that field isn't fun- I just didn't "click" with it. I think you should ask your HR to see if you can watch others. If I had to do things over,I doubt I would do nursing again. I love the patients but hate the paperwork and the stress that comes along with it. I met a CNA who was in school for speech language pathology and thought "hmm that sounds interesting" but I never knew about it back in school. Explore your options, nothing is set in stone but you need to take an active role in deciding your future career path.

Nursing is a good field if you want to do it- why did you pick it to begin with?


637 Posts

If you think you're interested in nursing then you should give it a try, don't make life choices based on what you read on a chat board.

Also I see people on this board assuming time and again that allied health professions are an easier option to nursing. Please don't make this mistake. If you want to be a rad tech or any other kind of tech then go for it - but don't assume that it's easier. I know plenty of allied techs and bottom line is they do work very hard. Many times their work doesn't break off into neat shifts like nursing work does. The pay is lower. And as someone has already pointed out they don't have the flex that nurses do so while a nurse may tend to quit any time s/he doesn't like a job - an allied health tech often has to just suck it up and deal even under hostile workplace conditions because s/he literally has the only available job in town. My point - there are pros and cons to every occupation. Choose the one that you think you'll like - but don't try to look for the easy out because you'll only end up disappointed.


203 Posts

I agree with PAERRN20, most rad techs I have met do seem more laid back and "happier." And, though I'm sure they get stressed at times, they have MUCH less responsibility and deal with WAY less crap, literally and figuritively. I have worked as a radiology nurse for years, and if I had to do it over, I would do it as a rad tech.


658 Posts

Specializes in Medical Surgical.

I agree with the poster who said to shadow a few other professions and see what seems best for you. I worked many years as a radiologic technologist before I went into nursing. There are some of the same issues---hateful doctors, demanding patients, clueless hospital administration, etc. It was a hard job, as hard in its way as nursing. To me the big difference was that when you finish one patient, you move on to the next. You don't have to juggle and you don't get stuck for 10 or 12 hours with the same impossible family and rude patient. True, there is little bonding, but how I often long for the days when I could say, "All family must leave the xray room now" and "Hold your breath and don't talk!" to the patient.


941 Posts

For every post that mentions someone is having a bad day there are just as many people who had a good day. I love being a nurse. I wish I would have done it sooner. I am still in my first year as an RN. I worked in a hospital for 8 years now so I was very comfortable working with patients. But now I just can't say oh hey let me get your nurse he/she can help you with that. Now I am the go to person and yeah it does stress me out. But I worked Tuesday night and had 4 patient's and all 4 told me that I was very caring and was genuine about it. One even said that I don't need a day off and to come back to work tonight so I could be her nurse again. That made me realize that I can't see myself doing anything else. I work ALOT and yeah my paychecks are very nice but the money comes second. Knowing that I am making a difference with my patient's who are very ill makes me smile every day. So you just have to sit down and think can you see yourself doing anything else? I wanted to be a doctor at one point when I first went to school many moons ago and a lawyer after I returned to school and even took the LSAT and applied to law school. But nursing is my passion so if radiology is your passion then do it. I was walking to my car with a radiology tech last week and he had an extra spunk in his step and I was dog tired but he loves his job and I love mine.

Tweety, BSN, RN

34,140 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac.

You're going to go through these moments of doubt frequently, including the first few years you're a nurse. That's normal.

It's a roller coaster ride.

Follow your heart, wherever it leads.


1,007 Posts

Specializes in A myriad of specialties.

If I were in your shoes, I'd choose radiology---but that's ME. You have to choose what's best for you, what's in YOUR heart.

Specializes in ER, TRAUMA, MED-SURG.

Hello and welcome - glad you're here with us. I have been a nurse since 1991, and in that time, I have thought miore than once that I had made a mistake in either choosing the field or staying in the field for almost 20 years. Before I started in nursing, I worked in medical records for 2 years and also as a ward secretary for 1 1/2 years. Like you, I wanted to make sure that nursing was what I wanted to do.

As a ward secretary, while on a surgical unit, I was able to watch the day to day duties of the nurses and also some of the things that don't pop up every day, thank goodness, the codes, ect. You have that benefit also.

Please don't make a decision that will affect the work you will be doing (hopefully) for a long time based on some isolated incidents or something like that. I can't tell you the number of times that I got mad enough to quit. I'm glad I had enough time to cool off before going back.

I know I'm just probably rambling by now, but what I'm trying to say, if you do decide to go into nursing, please give some thought before deciding not to go into the field. I don't know what I would have done if I had gone into if I had not decided to give nursing a chance.

Even with the really crappy days, I loved every minute of it, and don't know what else I would have done. I had wanted to be a nurse since I was age 10 or 11 and my grandmother was very ill.

There are other options instead of going into nursing, just please give it some thought before making the decision. I know some of the posts, including some of mine at times, unfortunately, have sounded kind of negative. Just remember it's not all bad. We as nurses do have some really good, really enjoyable days. And, I met my hubbie while nursing. He is a nursing supervisor - so I met my best friend and sweetie at the hospital.

Good luck to you, and let us know what you decide.

Anne, RNC


5 Posts

Specializes in Uro/Gyn/Surgical.

Hello all! I have been reading all of your posts and thanks so much for you imput! I have been thinking alot about this decision lataly and I am planning on job shadowing a rad tech and know that the hospital I am workin at has a program connected to my college for rad techs so it would work out. However, I am giving nursing a chance. I am goin to work in the hospital over summer and finish clinicals and If i aboslutely hate it I will go to school again for radiology tech. I know there will still be stress and some of the same issues but at least I wont be soo nervous to go into work. I mean I am not even a nurse yet and i am nervous something bad will happen or what is going to happen when i walk into a room. and some ppl are SOOO unappreciative. Even the nurses at times. I understand their busy but I am new and i have 20 patients to help instead of 5 (even though i know i dont give meds and important things like that- but when a patient messed the bed and i have to clean and change their bed, that takes a while and sometimes i fall behind) when that happnes and then you go into the next room and someone just starts yellin at you because you were gone for so long i just want to cry. I take things way too personally I think and feel personally guilty when care isnt being done to the best. I even woke up in a sweat at 3 in the morning the other night because I suddenly remembed me and the nurse forgot to put the bed check on a patients room and I ended up calling the hospital and freaking out haha.

But yeah I love to really observe and think about things and patients and i do nooooot like being rushed. And with rad tech I feel like I can do a little bit more of that. Plus theres not so much personal things involved with it and I wont get so hurt by wat the patients say. But on the other hand I know after a few years of nursing I will catch on and get thicker skin. So we shall see. Ill keep you all update and thanks for your imput!

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