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10th grader forced into nursing by family

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Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist)

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

Nurse Beth - I need your help!

Please help me if you can. I'm in complete inner turmoil. I want a career that I'll both enjoy and have a comfortable salary. Fear of failure is what's primarily holding me back. Do you think nursing might be for me?

10th grader forced into nursing by family

Dear Nurse Beth,

I'm a 10th grader in high school and my school is offering a 2-year early college program. It'll allow me to graduate high school with my associate's for nursing and my mom has forced me to apply. My family who are all very educated in the nursing field has told me that I'm gonna be a nurse for as long as I can remember so that I can make money and be comfortable as well as advocate for other family members. But I personally don't have much interest in medicine. I have a bad memory, I'm bad at math and science and don't have the best social skills.

I have no particular passions but I'm pretty good at art and being creative. Should I continue with the program? I'm scared of failing and all the difficult classes I've heard about. If I fail a class in the program I'll have to repeat the high school year. Please help me if you can. I'm in complete inner turmoil. I want a career that I'll both enjoy and have a comfortable salary. Fear of failure is what's primarily holding me back. Do you think nursing might be for me? 

Dear Inner Turmoil,

Deciding a child's career in the 10th grade is about your parents' expectations, not yours. That is blunt, I know, and it's not to criticize your parents, but you are being pushed into adult decisions without being prepared, and without your input, so it's necessary to clarify the issue.

Motive

In some families/cultures, it's a generations-old, carry-over mentality that comes from wanting the child to have financial security. In the best, most well-intentioned case, the parents have dreams and hopes they believe will save the child from hardships that perhaps they experienced, and guarantee their future.

In the worst case, parents see the child as their financial security and an investment plan. They may tell the child they have a familial duty to younger cousins or siblings, perhaps even to support them through school. There may be pressure for the child to achieve middle class and upper-middle-class status in order to reflect positively on the whole family.

Pressure

In addition, of course, you dread being a disappointment to your family and don't know if you can meet their expectations. This all adds up to enormous pressure on you. I'm sorry. In matters of career choice, I personally believe parents should guide, not decide. Definitely not dictate.

In the end, you are going to be responsible for your own well being in life. Since you are asking if you should continue, I hopefully take that to mean you have some choice in the matter. I don't see any upside to unnecessarily accelerating your education and committing to a very challenging path of study and training at your young age. It's too much pressure.

High school is a time to develop socially, and take the time to understand yourself. Many, many students spend up to the first 2 years of college taking general ED classes before even deciding a major. It takes time to make such an important decision.

Support

You must find a trustworthy adult you can talk to. If there is any way possible, talk to a counselor. Is there an adult in your family you can talk to about this, who will respect and support you? Someone at your church or a teacher/counselor at school? An older sibling?

You are going to need inner strength and courage to be true to yourself. You are being called upon to do so at a young age, but you have good insight, and you reached out :). Wishing you all the very best, which means hopefully maintaining a loving and respectful relationship with your family while pursuing your own hopes and dreams.

Hi! Nice to meet you! I love helping new nurses in all my various roles. I work in a hospital in Staff Development, and am a blogger and author.

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10 Comment(s)

You are young enough that establishing a nursing license to start a career won't be that much of a glitch in the road of life if you decide you need to do something else.  Many people advise those who desire to quit nursing school to go ahead and finish and obtain the license.  That way, by maintaining a license, in at least an inactive status, you always have a backup for employment.  These days lots of people change jobs and career paths several times.  No one works for the same employer for 35 years anymore.  You can learn a lot about yourself and can train yourself to study in a certain manner by pursuing the science and nursing courses.  If nursing isn't for you, then fine.  At least you will have a perspective to look on other career options when the time comes to make that change.  That nursing license in your back pocket can provide you with the means to earn your way while you pursue your new career.  Look at the possible positives instead of dreading what lies ahead.  Just another way of looking at the situation.

Nurse Beth, MSN

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

1 hour ago, caliotter3 said:

You are young enough that establishing a nursing license to start a career won't be that much of a glitch in the road of life if you decide you need to do something else.  Many people advise those who desire to quit nursing school to go ahead and finish and obtain the license.  That way, by maintaining a license, in at least an inactive status, you always have a backup for employment.  These days lots of people change jobs and career paths several times.  No one works for the same employer for 35 years anymore.  You can learn a lot about yourself and can train yourself to study in a certain manner by pursuing the science and nursing courses.  If nursing isn't for you, then fine.  At least you will have a perspective to look on other career options when the time comes to make that change.  That nursing license in your back pocket can provide you with the means to earn your way while you pursue your new career.  Look at the possible positives instead of dreading what lies ahead.  Just another way of looking at the situation.

Thanks for another perspective caliotter

On 11/17/2020 at 10:19 AM, Nurse Beth said:

I'm in complete inner turmoil. I want a career that I'll both enjoy and have a comfortable salary. Fear of failure is what's primarily holding me back. Do you think nursing might be for me? 

From this quote, it appears that you might want to try nursing, but you are afraid of the difficulty...and possibly letting your family down?  I say go for it. Set yourself up for success by participating in study groups, meeting with your instructors regularly and staying on top of your studies. Is it hard? Absolutely. But I think you can do it if you really want it. 

Nursing is a very malleable career. It’s possible to pursue other things (arts/creative pursuits) at the same time. If you hate nursing, it’s no big deal. You can always try something else. Heck, nursing is my third career.  It’s a stable job in a crazy world, which right now, is perfect for me. 

Good luck with whatever you decide. It’s OK to not be a nurse too, by the way, but don’t let your fear dictate your decision. 

I don’t think you would end up with your associates in nursing quite yet.  You would probably complete all the prereqs and maybe a couple of additional classes that could get you an AAS upon graduation of high school.  Lots of high schools have dual credit programs with community colleges where you can obtain a degree.

You would still have to apply to the nursing program.  It might not be a bad idea to get some of college classes out of the way now.  That way no matter what field you went into, you would have those classes already completed.

You are way too young to be deciding your career choice now.  Explore your options.  You are going to grow up and change so much.  You may find in two years that you love science and may want to be a nurse.  You may decide you want to be a corporate executive.  Your family will get over it if you don’t become a nurse.  I promise.

On 11/17/2020 at 10:19 AM, Nurse Beth said:

But I personally don't have much interest in medicine. I have a bad memory, I'm bad at math and science and don't have the best social skills.

Response regarding the above quote of the person who sent the question:

Don't do it.

This profession/line of work does not lend itself very well to the idea of just having a job with little interest in the work/subject matter. It's a lot of trouble just for that. This is my opinion but I encourage you to investigate and also reach out for support as advised by Nurse Beth. Also, if you haven't had the courage to speak to your parents from the heart, I encourage you to try to open up a conversation with them. You can do it.

Your school counselor can be a great resource to the extent that they can get to know you and guide you through thinking about your own interests.

Have you ever tried any of those free career guide tests online? There are several...if you do them all you might see a pattern emerge or it might stimulate you to recognize some things that you are interested in. Keep in mind they they're just a tool to get you thinking, none of them are a prescription for what you must or should do with your future. Do a search for "career guide test" and you will find them.

You are very young to be making these kinds of decisions, though.

Another thing you could talk to your parents about is dual enrollment where your goal is to simply get general education credits out of the way.

One more thing about my opinion: I would say the same to anyone who did not have a very specific desire to become involved in nursing: Don't do it.

I wish you very well. Try not to let this get you down, just take some proactive steps to let your parents know your heart/desires/interests. You have practically your whole life ahead of you and there's every reason to be hopeful and excited. 💮👍🏽

 

2beAnurseR0

Specializes in ER, Advocate, critical care, Case management. Has 24 years experience.

DON’T DO IT!  
Nursing is emotionally and physically exhausting when your heart and soul believes 1000% in what you are doing.  

To do it for a paycheck or to get by.  You will either hate your life and your family for pushing you into it. Or, you will become cold and heartless.  


Don’t let people trick you, by saying your young do it for a bit then move on. The trick is you like money, and you need money to “move on”, but if you stop working to go back to school.... where are you going to get your money? Since RN programs are now BSN you no longer qualify for a grant because you have a Bachelor's degree.

When your family pushes you ask them one thing did they know in their heart that was the path that they were supposed to take in life. 
Because you know In your heart that it isn’t. Your heart has been given a different path. You might not know what it is yet, but you know it’s not nursing. 
 

good luck 

remember to speak your truth ♥️

Don’t do it. Your life is your own to decide who and what you want your career to be. My mom, a nurse, pushed me into nursing. I started as an art major in college and ended up a nurse. I think I would have been much happier and had a much better income as an Occupational Therapist. As a friend says, Nursing will spiritually, emotionally and physically ruin you. I only have one nurse friend (among many)that enjoys being a nurse and she’s a missionary in Africa. I’ve been a nurse for 38 years. 

Nurse Beth, MSN

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

On 11/18/2020 at 6:23 PM, JKL33 said:

Response regarding the above quote of the person who sent the question:

  • Don't do it.
  • Your school counselor can be a great resource to the extent that they can get to know you and guide you through thinking about your own interests.
  • Have you ever tried any of those free career guide tests online? 
  • You are very young to be making these kinds of decisions, though.
  • Another thing you could talk to your parents about is dual enrollment where your goal is to simply get general education credits out of the way.
  • I wish you very well. Try not to let this get you down, just take some proactive steps to let your parents know your heart/desires/interests. You have practically your whole life ahead of you and there's every reason to be hopeful and excited. 💮👍🏽

 

Several good key points. Great advice, thank you

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych. Has 20 years experience.

I vote with the previous posters who said, “Don’t do it.” You are way too young to be so stressed out over choosing a career. You have the rest of your life to decide what to do with it, and for some of us nursing is a second or even third career. 
 

You’re only in 10th grade, this is the time for you to have the high school experience. Enjoy the homecoming games, the dances, the friendships! Sure, go ahead and get your  Associate of General Studies degree when you graduate. You won’t regret it, and it sets you up nicely for whatever you decide to do next (and the credits will often be transferable to a four-year college). I wish you all the luck in the world and hope you’ll keep posting here. Viva

2beAnurseR0

Specializes in ER, Advocate, critical care, Case management. Has 24 years experience.

I wanted to say one more thing my daughter wants to become a surgeon. If she were to ask my opinion I would tell her to run the other way stay the hell away from medicine. It is what she wants so I am going to encourage her 110%. Her father who is an engineer is telling her that the medical field  is not a real science. She needs to go into engineering which is a real science. I just want her to do what her heart desires.