Tricked into Nursing

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Hi. The campaigns that began maybe four years ago stating that nurses would soon be in very short supply were impressive. They were launched or supported by J & J, state health departments, hospitals, and schools. And I believed them.

After two solid years, from prerequisites all the way to Med/Surg 1, I have seen and heard enough to realize that what they said is not true. I've had many a frank, hushed conversation with RNs, LPNs, resp. therpists, etc. There are lots and lots of nurses but many have LEFT hospitals or nursing altogether. The working conditions in hospitals are inhumane, totally absurd, and unfair as heck. :o

I don't know what to do now. I know I will not become a RN but wish to stay in the healthcare field. Serving the underserved is what I will do, somehow. I am 45 and have alot to give.

Do you have any suggestions? Is anybody else in this situation?

Imafloat, BSN, RN

1 Article; 1,289 Posts

I don't know where you are, but it isn't like that where I am. I am sorry to hear what you are saying, how sad. I don't know what to tell you except good luck. Maybe you should give it a try for yourself and see exactly how YOU feel. People who spread negativity are usually negative people, maybe you aren't getting an accurate picture from those hushed conversations.

HopefulRN2006

40 Posts

I don't know where you are, but it isn't like that where I am. I am sorry to hear what you are saying, how sad. I don't know what to tell you except good luck. Maybe you should give it a try for yourself and see exactly how YOU feel. People who spread negativity are usually negative people, maybe you aren't getting an accurate picture from those hushed conversations.

My thoughts, exactly, MyBSNin06..... :rolleyes:

Mulan

2,228 Posts

Hi. The campaigns that began maybe four years ago stating that nurses would soon be in very short supply were impressive. They were launched or supported by J & J, state health departments, hospitals, and schools. And I believed them.

After two solid years, from prerequisites all the way to Med/Surg 1, I have seen and heard enough to realize that what they said is not true. I've had many a frank, hushed conversation with RNs, LPNs, resp. therpists, etc. There are lots and lots of nurses but many have LEFT hospitals or nursing altogether. The working conditions in hospitals are inhumane, totally absurd, and unfair as heck. :o

I don't know what to do now. I know I will not become a RN but wish to stay in the healthcare field. Serving the underserved is what I will do, somehow. I am 45 and have alot to give.

Do you have any suggestions? Is anybody else in this situation?

What you have seen and heard is very true.

I have heard that ultrasound tech is a good job, and you only have to worry about dealing with one patient at a time, not taking care of and being responsible (and liable) for 8, 9, or more.

I think I would do ultrasound tech or xray tech if I were to start over.

Good luck.

elkpark

14,633 Posts

I've been an RN for about 20 years now, and have lived through several of the media campaigns to recruit people into nursing. Actually, it isn't just "spreading negativity;" there has been a legitimate (but hushed) debate for a long time in nursing about whether there is really a shortage of nurses, or just a shortage of nurses who are willing to put up with the crummy work conditions (there are old threads on that topic on this BB). Lots and lots of nurses get burned out or fed up and leave the field (or, at least, leave hospital nursing), so employers need a constant supply of "fresh meat" to replace the people who are leaving.

For some reason(s) I don't understand, state and Federal legislators are always willing to pass bills to make it easier or provide funding for people to go to nursing school, and potential employers are always coming up with programs to help make it easier for people to enter nursing, but no one seems to have any real interest in figuring out what would be needed to keep experienced nurses in nursing. Go figure ...

DUCKGIRL

25 Posts

Well said....

I've been an RN for about 20 years now, and have lived through several of the media campaigns to recruit people into nursing. Actually, it isn't just "spreading negativity;" there has been a legitimate (but hushed) debate for a long time in nursing about whether there is really a shortage of nurses, or just a shortage of nurses who are willing to put up with the crummy work conditions (there are old threads on that topic on this BB). Lots and lots of nurses get burned out or fed up and leave the field (or, at least, leave hospital nursing), so employers need a constant supply of "fresh meat" to replace the people who are leaving.

For some reason(s) I don't understand, state and Federal legislators are always willing to pass bills to make it easier or provide funding for people to go to nursing school, and potential employers are always coming up with programs to help make it easier for people to enter nursing, but no one seems to have any real interest in figuring out what would be needed to keep experienced nurses in nursing. Go figure ...

lady_jezebel

548 Posts

I work in a Seattle university hospital with excellent working conditions, but I have seen horrible problems (ex. understaffing of nurses) in other hospitals..

Hi. The campaigns that began maybe four years ago stating that nurses would soon be in very short supply were impressive. They were launched or supported by J & J, state health departments, hospitals, and schools. And I believed them.

After two solid years, from prerequisites all the way to Med/Surg 1, I have seen and heard enough to realize that what they said is not true. I've had many a frank, hushed conversation with RNs, LPNs, resp. therpists, etc. There are lots and lots of nurses but many have LEFT hospitals or nursing altogether. The working conditions in hospitals are inhumane, totally absurd, and unfair as heck. :o

I don't know what to do now. I know I will not become a RN but wish to stay in the healthcare field. Serving the underserved is what I will do, somehow. I am 45 and have alot to give.

Ive been a nurse for about 4 yrs and although I thouhgt I'd be sitting at the desk eating bon-bons...it's not so bad. We work our tushes off and it's rewarding to know that you made a diffrence in someones life.

We need more nurses and i can truly understand your want to change professions. The working conditions in most hospitals aren't inhumane but I do agrre that assignments can be unfair at times.

The baby boomers are retiring, the pay isn't nearly enough, no real retirements plans like the plant, and on top of all that it's a big fat liability.

Who knows, something will give. If you truly want to be a nurse, go for it. Nursing is not about the above mentioned inqualities, it's truly about giving a helping hand and knowing in the end that YOU made a diffrence. :nurse: :yelclap: :yeah: :icon_hug: :bow: :icon_hug:

Sheri257

3,905 Posts

I think it depends on where you live, where you work ... and many other factors.

In California the ratio law not only dramatically improved working conditions but it literally doubled the demand for nurses overnight. Definitely a real shortage here where thousands of nurses have moved to this state because of the new law but, I wouldn't be surprized if working conditions are lousy elsewhere.

There actually is a shortage but it's hard to tell how much of it is due to lousy working conditions versus other factors. It's a very complicated issue. 130,000 nurses nationwide returned to work in 2001-2003 so, there's not quite so many nurses not working the field as there once was.

Just as I wouldn't assume there's a huge shortage, I wouldn't go to the other extreme and assume there's no shortage at all. Aging baby boomers, for example, are also contributing to the need for nurses.

:coollook:

smk1, LPN

2,195 Posts

What you have seen and heard is very true.

I have heard that ultrasound tech is a good job, and you only have to worry about dealing with one patient at a time, not taking care of and being responsible (and liable) for 8, 9, or more.

I think I would do ultrasound tech or xray tech if I were to start over.

Good luck.

if you decide that nursing is not for you how about pharmacy? I hear they are in the midst of a growing shortage, and some accelerated programs are opening up. Great pay and still in the healthcare arena, also maybe paramedic or rad tech, dental hygiene, (just trying to think of some careers where you might already have all or most of the prereqs covered from nursing. Registered Dietician is also a field that could be interesting, optometry, ultrasound tech. Good luck and don't give up on nursing without thinking long and hard about it because you can do a lot with that degree.

llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development.
I think it depends on where you live, where you work ... and many other factors.

..... CUT .....

There actually is a shortage but it's hard to tell how much of it is due to lousy working conditions versus other factors. It's a very complicated issue. 130,000 nurses nationwide returned to work in 2001-2003 so, there's not quite so many nurses not working the field as there once was.

Just as I wouldn't assume there's a huge shortage, I wouldn't go to the other extreme and assume there's no shortage at all. Aging baby boomers, for example, are also contributing to the need for nurses.

:coollook:

You and I have participated in these threads before, lizz. Much of the time, I have agreed with you. Sometimes, I have not -- but I definitely agree with the post quoted above. It's a middle ground on which we should all agree and which can be used to move the discussion forward towards finding some real solutions.

As someone whose job it is to monitor and respond to the shortage, my opinion of the issues have evolved over the last couple of years. I have come to see the nursing shortage issue as very complex and caused by a variety of factors. It's not as "black and white" as some people seem to think it is. However, for political purposes, many people would like to see the problem as being ONLY a shortage due to demographics etc. while other people want to see it as a problem ONLY of working conditions. Both extreme positions that fail to acknowledge the legitimacy of the other is too simplisitc to be helpful.

Yes ... there is an underlying demographic problem that sets up the conditions for a severe shortage. Advances in health care and the overall aging of the population requires that there be more nurses and more highly-educated nurses per 1 million in population that ever before in history. Aging baby-boomers are retiring and/or don't want to work full time ... women have more diverse opportunities for careers than ever before, etc. To deny these facts is silly and to deny that they have laid the foundation for a nursing shortage is also silly. These demographic/sociological factors will put pressure on the nursing profession for decades to come. Period.

However ... it's also can't be denied that nurses have not always been treated well in the past (understatement) and that working conditions have deteriorated dramatically in recent years as the demographic and sociological factors mentioned above have added pressure to the system. Many employers need to make some significant changes in how they view and treat nurses if they want to maintain a sufficient nursing staff. The whole health care system needs to make some adjustments.

As to the original poster's "What should I do now?" question ... I'll say what I have always said to similar questions.

If you entered the nursing profession ONLY because you thought it would give you the security of a steady paycheck -- then you may have made a poor choice. It can give you the steady paycheck, but it is a tough career. The problems are hard to tolerate if your heart is not in it.

If the actual work of nursing touches your heart and fulfills your goals for your life, then the intrinsic rewards can give you the strength to bear -- or preferably overcome -- the profession's current difficulties.

It's going to take a lot of us who love nursing to work very hard for a long time to solve the problems. We need to be realistic about that. There will be many starts and stops ... small successes and big failures ... etc. along the way. But as long as we steadily move forward, we will eventually make palpable collective progress.

For individuals, we each need to find the "right place to be" -- a place that works for us where the rewards (intrinsic, financial, life-style, etc.) outweigh the difficulties. Each person has to decide where that place is for himself / herself.

Sorry ... this got longer than I intended.

llg

Altra, BSN, RN

6,255 Posts

Specializes in Emergency & Trauma/Adult ICU.
Hi. The campaigns that began maybe four years ago stating that nurses would soon be in very short supply were impressive. They were launched or supported by J & J, state health departments, hospitals, and schools. And I believed them.

After two solid years, from prerequisites all the way to Med/Surg 1, I have seen and heard enough to realize that what they said is not true. I've had many a frank, hushed conversation with RNs, LPNs, resp. therpists, etc. There are lots and lots of nurses but many have LEFT hospitals or nursing altogether. The working conditions in hospitals are inhumane, totally absurd, and unfair as heck. :o

I don't know what to do now. I know I will not become a RN but wish to stay in the healthcare field. Serving the underserved is what I will do, somehow. I am 45 and have alot to give.

Do you have any suggestions? Is anybody else in this situation?

I can gather that your clinical experiences have not been to your liking. The one upside to this is that those clinical experiences clued you in to the fact that nursing was not for you before you completed your education -- many people finish degrees and pursue careers in various fields and THEN realize it's not for them.

You stated you want to "serve the underserved" -- have you considered social work, or a position in any one of various social service agencies or advocacy/fundraising organizations?

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