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Teacher turned Nurse


Specializes in Pediatrics, Geriatrics, LTC. Has 8 years experience.

Nursing and Teaching are alike, and not alike. I miss teaching. I miss summer vacation. Christmas vacation, Easter break, President's day. I miss the bell that says "go home", or the one that signals the end of a horrible class. I miss teenagers, the chatter, the hang-dog looks, the laughter, the tons of long healthy hair.

Teacher turned Nurse

Even cafeteria duty which used to be a punishment. Listening in on pre-pubescent conversations to get a hint of what the next generation is thinking. Standing in the corner looking bored so they don't know I'm taking it all in.

I miss teaching. Seeing that light bulb go on, hearing myself explain something I really know and looking into young eager eyes that want the information. Priceless. The feeling that something good and real and valuable has happened here today. Sitting quietly with a 14 year old whose friends have decided to 'hate' her today. I miss it.

And yet--nursing the elderly has it's moments too.

No doubt it's worthwhile.

I still get to intimately connect with other human beings. Only this time it feels like most of the learning is on my part. I've been a teenager, I know what they feel, how they think. But old is something yet to be for me. I can only imagine how old feels.

I love hearing the stories when they can tell one and when I have the time. The "good-old-days" when there were no TV's computers or pollution. When people connected in ways we nostalgically wonder about. When Sunday was a day of rest and that meant sitting in the parlor talking. Think about that for a minute.

Looking into old eyes I see the child, the teen, the young man or woman. The lights are still on and someone is in there. They look to me for care, understanding and sustenance. They shake their heads sadly when I just don't get it and I'm frustrated. I can ease their aches for awhile, give them the gift of my time, or a magazine, some cream on their feet. I can try to listen and empathize. They need me, well maybe not me exactly but they need the connection with a younger generation just as we all need connections with people older and younger than ourselves. We are all teachers and we are all students learning how to live how to-be.

So yes I miss teaching and school, but the world is school and learning never ends. Sometimes though I just wish the bell would ring.

Specialty: Pediatrics, geriatrics

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44 Comment(s)

HouTx, BSN, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

Thanks for your thoughtful and articulate commentary. My family (multi-generation) is rife with educators & Im the odd duck because I chose Nursing. This helps me to understand their perspective.

Purple_Scrubs, BSN, RN

Specializes in School Nursing. Has 8 years experience.

Well written and enjoyable article. Don't rule out school nursing someday...I think I have the best of both worlds!

I miss teaching as well, especially the bell, the vacations, the lightbulb moments, and getting home every day in time for Oprah!!

nurses are the crucial link between patients and doctors in our nation's health care system. depending on the circumstances, many patients spend far more time interacting with a nurse than they do with a doctor. physicians diagnose and prescribe, nurses administer. doctors may practice medicine, but it's nurses who perform medicine.

teachers play a vital role in the development of human beings. what people learn and experience can shape their views of themselves and the world, and affect later success or failure in school, work, and their personal lives.

you have picked two wonderful careers that can greatly influence people.

why not consider teaching nursing to lpn's or even rn's to bsn's

laura thompson

NamasteNurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics, Geriatrics, LTC. Has 8 years experience.

Thank you for your comments and suggestions. Laura, that's what I am thinking...but first I need some experience. I've only been nursing for 10 months. I'm 52 years old and getting ready to get my RN. I love learning, so it's not a chore for me. Thanks again! I also love writing!

I graduated with a degree in Early Childhood Education in Dec '09 and am now a certified substitute. Now I am in a Pre-nursing program. I know I will miss teaching but I am excited about starting nursing. I hope to become a pediatric oncology nurse.

JeanettePNP, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in Pediatric Pulmonology and Allergy. Has 8 years experience.

This was a great article, very well written. I'm also a teacher-turned-nurse.

I was a teacher once too and now im almost done with my nursing program... the job market is so bad, if i can't get a job at hospitals... i can't even go back to teaching (even teachers are getting laid off) ... man... sometimes i think about what if I had just stayed...


Specializes in Mental Health. Has 23 years experience.

Awww - such a good way to look at the two professions. Both frustrating - both rewarding - and in both worlds listening to stories that help by just being there.

Thank you for teaching that. Thumbs up!

:heartbeat THanks for the well composed article. But i think if you had really loved teaching you can as well bring it into nursing .Giving a health talk is part of teaching and if you even want to go into teaching full time you can sa well enroll into the proggramme of NURSING EDUCATOR.i wish you the best .

nursemarion, BSN

Has 36 years experience.

Why would you leave teaching for this madness? Do you have any idea how many nurses wish to be teachers?

This was a great piece. I will be starting my clinicals in January having switched from teaching. Teaching has its rewards as well as does nursing. I am sure that you had your great moments in teaching and you will have more in nursing. Kudus...

nursemarion, BSN

Has 36 years experience.

Well just be aware that nurses are not pampered by administration and have no powerful union to speak for them. They work weekends, holidays, shifts, seven day stretches and long days with no lunch break much of the time. There is no prep time, there are no subs to call in, no students to run errands, no down time, no pep rallies or field trips. We work every day, very hard for little reward other than that great feeling you get when you have saved a life or recognized a serious problem and prevented it. No one will ever know you have done it but you. It is a very different ballgame and I can say this because I work in a school. I am a nurse and I still work longer hours with no breaks and much more stress and responsibility than the teachers and they make about $20,000 a year more than me! It does not matter what setting you are in, nursing is always very very hard.

Thank you for your comments and suggestions. Laura, that's what I am thinking...but first I need some experience. I've only been nursing for 10 months. I'm 52 years old and getting ready to get my RN. I love learning, so it's not a chore for me. Thanks again! I also love writing!

I am glad I read your post. Can you please tell us here where you attended your Nursing course? Thank You.


Specializes in Oncology&Homecare. Has 27 years experience.

NamasteNurse you are a gifted and talented writer! I love your articles. Keep writing.:yeah:

miteacher, ADN, MSN

Specializes in ER. Has 9 years experience.

This is interesting. I am also a teacher in my third year of teaching, and will hopefully start the nursing program soon. I do not like the way education is going with all the testing, and the budget cuts, so I thought I would give nursing a try. It's interesting to hear someone else's perspective on going from teacher to nurse. One of the things I will never miss from teaching is taking my work home with me, spending my own $ on my class all the time, and coming in to work two hours early or staying late.