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Save yourself; get out of medicine.

Nurses   (1,167 Views 15 Comments)
by KalipsoRed21 KalipsoRed21 (Member)

24 Likes; 3,526 Visitors; 90 Posts

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Personal opinion.

 

I have spent 11 years as a nurse. I have had the experience of floor nursing, tele, cardiac step down, emergency, travel, infusion, and now home health. I wish I could tell you I felt my $47,000 dollars for a BSN were worth it, but I don’t. I, after 11 years as a nurse, would tell you to change your degree or take a lower paying job in any other career field job at $10 an hour to start. In the long run you probably will be happier and end up with greater income potential. In 2008 when I started as a tele floor RN, I made 20.47/hr which was a dollar an hour more than anyone who can to the position never being a nurse aid prior to their first RN

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job. I now make $29.71 an hour as a home health nurse. (I do not get mileage as they give me a car and while I spend 40 hours a week at a job that I agreed to be spending 24 a week at, I do not get to charge the additional hours because I have been told that it is expected that I can do 40 hours of work in 24 hours.) So while I would say my salary is not minimum wage, it does not even come close to covering a solid middle class income as I expected it should for as much as I paid to obtain it. And that is without calculating my ‘real wage’ which is all the hours of charting without pay. I do not ever feel like I have any time with my family. Now, because I’m charting or doing case management  during the time I should have been off to see my family, in the past, because I was exhausted for at least a day after a 12hour shift (and if I was working nights the exhaustion was longer). Not to mention the most disappointing part of medicine: realizing it is a business. If you actually care about other people and it eats at your soul to make a choice between leaving someone in their own feces for an hour or go to the side of an unresponsive patient, then nursing isn’t for you. If listening to your boss 👧 at you from across the table as to how you should have remembered to ask someone to check your other patients while you were to overwhelmed to think while dealing with an unresponsive patient, seems in reasonable, that is minor compared to the worse things you will experience with a long term career in this field.

Yes, I LOVE my patients. The thought of failing them and the crappy world of medicine I would be leaving them with is a large reason I stay. But that reason is starting to fade. The realization that the only people I can rely on is my family and I cannot continue to let my oath to my patients continue to impede that. It is not worth it. If you cannot be a salesman for medicine or think of people as dollar signs, then do not go into medicine. If you think you will make a decent living and that the school debt is worth it, it may be, but only if you start with an associates degree or plan to go into management 2 years after you get your BSN.

 I wish I could advise you differently. I wish I could tell you that all the sacrifices you made to get where you are were meaningful and will lead you to great things, but I can’t. For most of you it won’t. The idea that nursing is a ‘calling’ is a subtle way to keep us under paid and permanent scapegoat for the field of medicine, don’t be one of the dunces that fell for it like I did.

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21 Likes; 35 Visitors; 4 Posts

Don't confuse your sub-par job with the nursing profession. 

Sounds like most of your issues are job-specific related issues and not necessarily issues with the nursing profession or healthcare in general.I worked home health/home infusion for awhile myself and can tell you that agencies can vary greatly. I always was paid mileage and was even given hardship travel for certain areas or travel in the evenings. 

If you want to help people go and help people. I make well more than double your income and have a direct and measurable impact on global healthcare but it took me moving outside of my comfort zone. Nursing is not just your specific job, nursing is not just the bedside, there is a whole world that is the nursing profession. 

Look up and look out for opportunity. 

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24 Likes; 3,526 Visitors; 90 Posts

Subdermal, as stated in my post, I have worked SEVERAL positions in the nursing field. I also did travel nursing. Travel nursing is the only pay I ever got that was worthy but not when taking into account the sacrifice for dyne delays it put on me trying to have children. Can’t very well get pregnant when you aren’t near your spouse. Now I am old and can’t get pregnant due age. All other positions were poor paying with asinine expectations. My further argument would be I shouldn’t have to ‘think outside the box’ for decent compensation and reasonable job expectations. My husband is a bricklayer who was paid to apprentice for 2 years and now makes $54 an hour with all the same benefits I have plus a pension, which I don’t have. My husband is in a union and it amazes me every day how well compensated he is for his trade. They get breaks, they don’t work mandatory over time and when they do work extra they are very well compensated. And staff safety is paramount. He didn’t have to ‘think outside the box’ for this appropriate compensation, he joined a union. Every high paying nursing position I have seen is a demand to be available 24 hours a day. I never agreed to give up my life when I became a nurse and I shouldn’t have to just to get well compensated for being the well educated and experienced nurse I am.

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Sour Lemon has 9 years experience.

651 Likes; 2 Followers; 28,765 Visitors; 4,046 Posts

Serious question ...is there any reason why you don't go lay bricks?

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1,057 Likes; 7 Followers; 21,201 Visitors; 2,676 Posts

....sounds like an excellent option. Not one ounce of sarcasm intended.

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Emergent has 25 years experience and works as a Emergency Room RN.

1,184 Likes; 6 Followers; 62,455 Visitors; 2,567 Posts

I like nursing, it's interesting and entertaining. If you don't like it, do something else.

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28 Likes; 3,460 Visitors; 230 Posts

Yeah sorry.. I don't have any of the problems you've claimed to experience in any of the nursing jobs I've held. 

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martymoose works as a rn.

4 Likes; 20,735 Visitors; 1,849 Posts

Totally agree with you op.Im sorry; this profession didn't work for me  either .And this really sucks when you realize you are too old or it's too late to fix things.

Hopefully your husband's job will carry you through.

Edited by martymoose

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PhyllisMSN has 30 years experience as a MSN, RN and works as a Staff RN.

71 Likes; 2 Followers; 2 Articles; 1,568 Visitors; 52 Posts

I am sorry you have had those experiences in nursing. 

Maybe nursing is not for you? And that is ok. It does not mean that you are a failure. I absolutely love bedside nursing. I have been a bedside nurse for almost 30 years. I have an MSN in Informatics and I can't force myself to leave the bedside! 

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93 Likes; 4,066 Visitors; 326 Posts

19 hours ago, KalipsoRed21 said:

Subdermal, as stated in my post, I have worked SEVERAL positions in the nursing field. I also did travel nursing. Travel nursing is the only pay I ever got that was worthy but not when taking into account the sacrifice for dyne delays it put on me trying to have children. Can’t very well get pregnant when you aren’t near your spouse. Now I am old and can’t get pregnant due age. All other positions were poor paying with asinine expectations. 

I'm sorry, but this is ridiculous. I'm currently working as a traveler, am 8 months pregnant, AND we had to do IVF to get pregnant. It's doable if you have the will to do it. 

It does sound like nursing is not for you. I think most of us have had very different experiences. 

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lovingtheunloved has 12 years experience and works as a RN.

14 Likes; 9,651 Visitors; 918 Posts

Sorry, but your experience isn’t everyone’s experience. I love nursing. I love bedside nursing. If you need to get out, get out, but discouraging others from going into healthcare is not helpful.

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220 Likes; 382 Visitors; 147 Posts

Dear KalipsoRed21,

I appreciate your post very much and think it is extremely useful for people who think about becoming a nurse. Not necessarily to discourage them from doing so as the last poster said (the world surely needs more nurses), but to allow them to understand what the reality of some nursing jobs are like so they can go into their new profession with eyes wide open. It's heart-wrenching to me that nurses, who usually are people who want to have a good job that also allows them to help people, are too often so over-worked and underpaid. Nurses deserve a good job. Many or most nursing jobs are not good, and too often are horrific. For christ's sake, the job is hard enough in ideal conditions but then to have to work in unthinkable conditions!

That said, unless you think you'd enjoy laying bricks as someone suggested (sounds like a good job except for maybe back-breaking), I recommend hanging in there and keep searching for a better nursing job. I thought I'd quit nursing after my experience, but then lo and behold I did find a dream job. There are a lot of options out there and though you have done various things, you haven't exhausted your options to work as a nurse. I understand if you feel like you've definitely had enough and will never go back. But if you need a job and start looking, you might find that nursing is still your best option. If that happens, look every day until you find the job that has none of the most distasteful traits of your previous jobs. e.g. understaffing. 

But whether you find a nursing job you can tolerate or a non-nursing job, you'll have to accept that medicine is a business in this country and in most non-nursing jobs as well, money is always the bottom line. Whether money is valued above people or above the environment, it's the bottom line. Do we need to align our values with our laws and lifestyles? Absolutely. But do we need jobs to survive? Yes. So we need idealistic people desperately, but you also have to do what you need to in order to survive. Do the best you can in whatever job you take; care for people as best you're able; but know you can't fix all the system's problems alone. If you have it in you to channel your feelings into starting a union or otherwise fighting for better working conditions and pay, we'd praise you to do it; if not, do what you have to in order to get by, so long as you care for the patients to your best ability.

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