So you all hate nursing?.....


...or that's what it seems.

I know that a lot of these forums offer a place for nurse to vent anonymously. That's totally cool - it's important to have a place to let some steam go. It's healthy.

But it really does scare the crap outta me. What if I go through four years of nursing school, spend all this money, have a ton of debt, only to be one of those people who posts on this forum, "Nursing is awful. I hate my job. Do NOT go into nursing. I should have never done it."

People say that they just "know" that they're cut out to be a nurse. Well, I don't *know*. Not for sure. But how can you be 100% sure on anything?

Also, how many of you are working in hospitals, and how many of you have more low-stress jobs?

See, here's the thing. I don't want to work on the floor. I don't want to be running around in a hospital. I'd much rather be a small doctor's office, or at a school, or an eating disorders clinic. I really want to go and become a mental health nurse practitioner and work with adolescents. So part of me is like, well, I'd go through nursing school, get through it, get through the whole clinical hospital thing, maybe work in a hospital and just grin and bear it, and maybe a couple years after I graduate I'll be able to settle into a nice 9-5 job at a home for troubled kids, or at an ED clinic, or maybe a s

Am I just COMPLETELY delusional? Is this NOT what happens? Am I going to become a mental health nurse practitioner and just be destined to work in the ER at nights and have a crappy manager who cuts corners and have people pooing on me all day? I mean I can deal with that for a little while - but only if I know that a different, better-suited job for me is around the corner.

Please, let me know if I'm completely naive.

Trauma Columnist

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN

153 Articles; 21,229 Posts

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 31 years experience.

I think many times here (at least recently) people are not doing their research before they enroll in nursing school. I have been a nurse for 16 years now and yes, I have certainly cleaned my share of poo, worked nights, had crappy managers, worked very short-staffed, etc.. However, I am now an APN and though I'm not short-staffed and clean poo rarely, I have much more responsibility and stress now. It is just a different type of stress.

Specializes in Orthopedic, Corrections. Has 5 years experience.

I am a 1st semester student in an ADN program, and I can't wait to be a nurse! Sure nursing school is hard, and stressful, but I have been waiting for a long time to work towards my dream of becoming a nurse. Unless you are going to go just go to school forever untill you get your MSN, you may have to work on the floor of a hospital, especially in the tough job market. If you don't think you can do it, shadow a nurse to make sure you can. Are you in nursing school now? Because when you go through clinicals you will be wiping poo, and running arround a hospital. If you can't get though clinicals you won't become a nurse. There are jobs out there like the one's that you want, and a Dr. that I worked with said that graduate nurses do get hired in Dr's offices. However, in my experience unless you are going to work for a specialist, most Dr's would rather pay a MA less, than hire a RN. The best to you!! Good luck.


336 Posts

New grad here (May 08). Personally I've found the sentiments expressed here to be ontrack. Six months in and I've thought many a time since starting my new job "I can't believe I did all this work (schooling) to end up like this! (unhappy).

This is my take on the whole situation. It's not that we hate nursing, if it were truely about nursing and the nursing process, I would love my job.

Its EVERYTHING else that TPTB throw into the relm of "nursing" that is mentally, physically, and emotionally, unrealistic.

Ask any floor nurse what her/his patient contact to PW is and I can tell you the PW wins everytime. The POLITICS involved in nursing is overwhelming considering I went into nursing thinking it was going to be a HOLISTIC endevor. What an eye opener I've had.

What I can say is that hospital experience is vital to many other avenues of nursing employment and most of us can't just bypass it altogether if we want to pursue certain nursing goals. Therefore, we grit our teeth and try to get that 1-2 year experience under our belt so that we can progress elsewhere (if we want).

That being said, you certainly CAN have a career of strictly clinic work or school nursing, etc...bypassing the hospital system. Its just that if you change your mind later at some point in life, you may need to have certain hospital experiences to move into other directions.

Nothing is absolute-and nursing certainly has a multitude of wide and varied avenues someone could persue if the chose to.

Good luck in your quest!! Don't leave the rose colored glasses on but don't let anyone deter you from your goals if this is what you want to do.


Specializes in LTC, Med/Surg, Peds, ICU, Tele. Has 15 years experience.

Just want to mention, I've heard working in a clinic is very fast-paced and stressful, for less pay. Also, if you want to work at a school you probably shouldn't be too negative about bedside nursing if you want to be an effective teacher.


21 Posts

Gotcha. I'm trying to get a good perspective on what it will *really* be like. I think that I have had a sort of rosie colored view on what it could be like, and reading these forums and others has somewhat been a rude awakening. I'm going to have to make sure that I'll be able to put up with all the "BS" and enjoy what nursing really is all about - helping patients, being compassionate, making a difference, etc. Which is exactly what I want to do. I've long since dropped the view of "oooh, nursing! cute scrubs! we'll all be like the Grey's Anatomy people! I wanna be just like Izzy! everyone will be making funny and cute quips while doing surgery!" (-snort- yeah right). So I'm not *that* naive. Just... a little bit naive.

I guess I'm just going to have to rethink this. I'm not in nursing school now, I haven't even gotten through my pre-reqs, or even applied. I just want to have as much input as possible before I begin this journey. I DO want to be a nurse, but I DONT want to put up with all the politics and red tape. And I don't know if that's really possible. =/


132 Posts

It' s the 'little things' that make you want to come back for more. It's the adrenaline, it's the brain teasers, it's the variety, the critical thinking, the constant learning.

Past the politics, paperwork, scrubs , poo and ..catheters:wink2:, there's the job satisfaction.

I like other people's venting too, I'm constatly learning. Someone coming in and complaining about a certain way of doing a thing, gets my brain into gear, is this how I do it?Is there a better method to do it?

I'm under strict embargo to discuss work at home, but the computer is MINE!


243 Posts

Have you ever had a boyfriend you were totally crazy about but he had all these annoying habits or weird friends or other things you just had to look past? Kinda dorky analogy but nursing is like that. We all love it. We couldn't have been able to put in the hard work and deal with the not so pleasant moments if we didn't. But while we love it there are certain realities about nursing and most definately nursing school that makes it a particularly stressful environment. I think it's almost impossible to explain unless you're in it. I think it will all sound really bad unless you're in it. We do complain a lot because our complaints represent our fears and our stress which are normal aspects of building any career. Nursing is unique because you get to touch lives. And that makes's everything else worth it. And everything that we complain about is just stuff we deal with and move on.

For you, I'd say I wouldn't worry about everything negative you hear on this site. When you really really want something you'll put up with almost anything to achieve it. My advice to you is continue working on your pre-reqs. They are generally pretty difficult and if you make it through those than you know you're want to be a nurse enough to work hard. Then apply to nursing school and that's another hoop to go through to test how bad you want it. Then after your first semester of nursing school I think you'll know if you don't by then whether you want to do this or not. Some decide it's not for them, or the timing isn't right, etc. and that's perfectly ok. You'll figure it out, just don't let a bunch of tired stressed out nurses and nursing students give you the wrong idea about nursing. When you are in nursing school and a nurse you'll look back and understand what these posts are about and be able to put it in (a not so scary) perspective. Good luck to you...

P.S. your ideas about what it's like to work in the hospital will probably change once you're in nursing school. I wouldn't worry about that. I would just focus on really looking at whether or not you truly want to be a nurse. My one piece of advice if you need to further explore whether or not you want to be a nurse I volunteered everywhere when I was doing my pre-reqs. The one place that most closely reflected work as a nurse was being a direct care volunteer for hospice. If you have the time and want to experience a lot of what it's like as a nurse I couldn't recommend working as a direct care volunteer for hospice enough.


337 Posts

Specializes in Gyn/STD clinic tech.

i have always 'known' that nursing was right for me.

my mom is an rn of 30+ years, and i remember being young and wanting to be just like her. back before hippa she would take me to work sometimes and show me what she did, especially on "take your daughter to work day".

i knew since i was 8 that i was going to be a nurse.

i have been a cna for 8 years, and am now in nursing school.

i love it, but it is because i know what nursing actually involves, and understand the major challenges.


337 Posts

Specializes in Gyn/STD clinic tech.

""i do want to be a nurse, but i dont want to put up with all the politics and red tape. and i don't know if that's really possible. =/""

again, i love nursing, but there is a lot of politics and red tape. you just have to be willing to navigate the waters, compromise, and get things done no matter what.


266 Posts

I think if you were reading a message board dedicated to teachers, architects, accountants or postal carriers, you would find the same thing. People get burned out from time to time. There's no hiding that nurses work VERY hard and experience a lot of stress---so the burn-out rate may be a little quicker than some professions. I personally have learned not to make my own career decisions based upon someone else's opinions/feelings. If you want to be a nurse, I say go for it! :D

ETA: There's politics and red tape in any profession---it's just part of life. Someone once said that life is 10% what happens to us, and 90% how we deal with it (Charles Swindoll, maybe?)....anyway--it's true!


225 Posts

Specializes in ICU. Has 5 years experience.

There are so many different areas to work in nursing and different personality types will thrive in each of them. That's why you'll read posts on this board about nurses finding their niche.

That said, even within the same type of nursing, some floors are managed well and are great places to work and some floors are not managed well and can be chaotic, stressful places to work. Good managers, charge nurses, support staff, supportive docs, staffing ratios, acuity, adequate supplies, etc all feed into whether a particular floor is a good place to work or not. And sometimes, even the best places to work will have crazy days where everything goes all to h*ll.

So, when you are a new nurse, you're on a search for not only the field that interests you, but also a particular floor or company that fits your personality-type.

When I was in school, I became a CNA and worked for an agency that placed me in different hospitals all over town. I saw floors that were well run and floors that seemed chaotic. I saw happy nurses and stressed out nurses. Sometimes the chaos was just from the odd bad day. Sometimes I noticed that a floor always seemed chaotic no matter what. Even within the same hospital and type of care (where there were a couple telemetry or a few stroke floors) each floor had a different feel.

In the 1.5 years that I've been an LVN, I've done home health, hospice, outpatient, and urgent care nursing, and now I'm in hospital clinicals for LVN-RN school. There are things I like and dislike about each of them. They each offer different growth and learning opportunities. Even if you try something and you don't like it, it's still valuable experience and will make you a better nurse.

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