trying to figure out if nursing is for me, please help.


I signed up for this website, because my grandmother is an RN, I'm really interested in starting a career in nursing. Here's the thing, I just turned 18, I want to have a career helping people, I'm scared to try nursing I really am. My grandmother and father were so excited when I told them how I was considering being a nurse, one; because I did so bad in high school I didn't even finish, my father thought I was going no where with my life, and he kept telling me I had wasted intelligence, because I am really smart, I just didn't have the motivation to finish high school. I've been living on my own and by myself since I turned 17, not a long time, but I've been working 2 full time jobs this whole time, 80 hrs. a week, and I've been doing it long enough to know I don't want to do this my whole life. I've always thought about being a social worker but I was told they were always laid off and made very little money. Once my grandmother started telling me about her nursing days, it got me so interested, because it has great pay and great benefits and she's experienced so much doing it, I want to do a career helping people. Especially kids.

Here's the thing:

I read a few posts from a few members on here, who said how they hated their job as nurses, and how they went into the career for the same reason I want to, (because they care), and they realized that nobody else gave a $hit. And I'm so scared to go into it because it's a lot of work, (that I'm willing to take on), but I'm scared I'll fail at it. I just want some reassurance (don't think I'm stupid if I spelt that wrong) that nursing IS the right career to go into, and that I won't be dissappointed when (and if) I finally succeed.

Please help me feel a little bit better

deeDawntee, RN

1,579 Posts

Specializes in Travel Nursing, ICU, tele, etc. Has 12 years experience.

My hats are off to you, that at only 18 you know what you want. I didn't become a nurse until much later in life and I have often wondered what my life would be like if I had become a nurse when I was young, like you. I do think nursing is a calling, that you have a desire for it tells me that you could do it. Being scared is so understandable, it is so difficult to try to decide what you want to do with your life and then there is always that fear of failure. That is all normal and understandable.

I would suggest that you take one step at a time. (The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.) You probably will need your HS equivalent, right? Have you ever thought of getting your CNA certificate? A lot of places will pay for your training, like nursing homes. Personally, I think some of the best nurses are the ones who started out as nursing assistants. This will really be helpful, because you will be comfortable at the bedside before you even start nursing school.

You could start taking some of your prerequisites at a community college anytime. You don't have to actually be accepted into a program to start taking classes. That will be another step.

As you take each step towards your goal, your fear will lessen. And maybe you will discover another area that you like better. There are a lot of well paying technical jobs in health care. Medical imaging, Lab tech, etc. It is ok to change your mind.

Now, about those nurses who hate their jobs, yes that is true, but it is also true of any area of employment. The thing about nursing is that YOU are in demand and there are jobs available in many different areas. It is OK to change jobs until you find your niche. There are always times where there are very bad shifts, but most of the nurses I know are very content with their careers.

All colleges have really good admissions counselors who would meet with you and talk about what you would need to be accepted into their programs. Some community colleges may even have help with getting your HS equivalence (I forget what that is called).

I'm sure you will get more advice. Hang in there and the most important thing is to BE PATIENT with yourself. You don't have to have it all figured out right now. Take one step today, then another step tomorrow etc etc etc

Good luck to you. You can do it!!! :yeah:

TazziRN, RN

6,487 Posts

Why don't you start by taking a CNA course, or becoming a hospital volunteer? That way you can get an up-close look at nursing and get a better idea of what it's all about.

Don't let the negative posts on here scare you, every single profession on this Earth has unhappy people in it. The ones who love nursing outnumber the ones that don't. I've wanted to be a nurse since I was knee-high. I was a CNA for several years, an RN for 19, and I still love it.

Nursing is not for everyone. Some people figure that out in school, some don't figure it out until after working for a while. Many try different specialties before finding their niche. That's what's so great about nursing.....there are SO many fields within nursing that all but the absolutely unhappy can find a comfortable spot.

Daytonite, BSN, RN

4 Articles; 14,603 Posts

Specializes in med/surg, telemetry, IV therapy, mgmt. Has 40 years experience.

hi, kayb420!

i knew when i was a sophomore in high school that i wanted to be a nurse. in those days, we're talking about 40 years ago, tv programs portrayed doctors as tyrants over nurses and that scared me. so, i went into accounting instead because i liked working with numbers. after 2 years of college and 3 years of working as a bookkeeper i realized how much i disliked it and kept thinking again about nursing. it was partly for the money and partly because nurses will always be able to find work, although in those days nurses didn't make as much money as they do now, and because i wanted to be doing something to help people and make my life mean something. at some point, i think many of us who have gone into nursing just had to take that leap of faith and do it. i started by taking a night class in medical terminology. i met other students who wanted to go into nursing and that was it for me. i was hooked. i finally decided it was time to go back to school and take nursing classes. i was 23 years old at the time. it was easier in those days and i was in nursing classes to get my rn at a community college almost right away.

for me, it was the best decision of my life. i won't lie and tell you that the work is easy. working at mcdonalds is easy. but school trains you and when you go into practice you master the various skills as well as organize your time. it is people who think that their learning stops the day they graduate from school that have the most difficulty in the profession. nursing is a profession where you never stop learning. if you don't have a good work ethic (don't mind going to work every day, dealing with solving problems all the time, sometimes being constantly busy and finding it hard to fit in going to the bathroom to pee) you won't last very long as a hospital nurse, but nurses work in all kinds of places beside the hospital. at a nursing job everything needs to be done now. my description of being a nurse is "constantly stamping out small fires". my career has been a blast. and, if after training you don't like hospital nursing, there are other areas where nurses can work, or nurses can transition into other professions very easily. many other professions will take on a nurse because they know that nurses are trained to be problem solvers, thinkers and managers.

don't be discouraged by some of the posts you read on allnurses. it is a venue for people to vent their frustrations. the fact is, most nurses wouldn't be staying in the profession if it were as bad on a daily basis as some seem to imply. would you? that would be bizarre, not to mention having a screw loose in your noggin. we are taught from day one of nursing school to be non-judgmental of others which basically means to keep our mouths shut and not make comments about the goofy things we see patients and others say and do. we need an outlet to let off steam when our work shift is over, you know? it's hard to be a saint 24/7! ha! ha! and some people just can't manage it.

rns have to be independent thinkers. rns are taught to make decisions. rns are managers of patient care. they also need to know how to do direct patient care as well. the more formal education you have the more likely you are to be promoted into nursing management and supervision positions. a number of years ago when my back started getting bad and i was getting unable to do the standing required of being a hospital nurse i started doing other rn jobs like iv therapy and working in nursing homes writing care plans which didn't require a lot of physical work, just my steady hand (for iv insertion) and brain (care plan writing).

here are some websites for you to read and explore about nursing:

welcome to allnurses! :welcome:

Specializes in RN, Cardiac Step Down/Tele Unit.

Try to remember that many people come here to vent, which is perfectly normal and healthy. You can also find posts and threads full of the joys of nursing. Don't be scared off because of negative comments on a website - rather try to find out if doing this will make you happy. Volunteer (with patient contact if possible), ask to shadow a nurse, or take the CNS courses that other posters suggest.

Nursing is a wonderful field with many positive aspects (flexibility, opportunity to make a difference, $$ is not bad, etc.), but like all professions, there are negative aspects. What you have to determine is if the negatives outweigh the positives FOR YOU. At the end of the most hellatious shift I have had to date (I'm in my last semester of NS), I still would not trade this for the world.

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