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Would you become a nurse today if you could do it over again?


Two career-advice questions (at end of this message)... Candid answers would be very welcome.

BACKGROUND: I am a first-year nursing student in an RN ADN program. I have a master's degree in public health and some years of work experience under my belt. I am doing well in my courses and don't find the book stuff terribly difficult, and find the things I'm learning really, really useful.

But... I am worried about the things I am hearing, from various sources (different Web site forums, published articles, the news, ex-nurses, etc.) about the real world of nursing - the horrible staffing levels, the frequent disrespect, the excessive charting, hospitals being advertised similar to hotels but really so understaffed that truly adequate patient care is impossible. In short, it's dawning on me that the nursing shortage is an ominous sign that few people, no matter how well-intentioned, want to be a nurse or continue to be one anymore, and for good reason.

So, my two questions:

1) If you had to do it over again, would you become a nurse, given today's nursing working conditions?

2) Would you recommend I just get a job using my MPH and prior work experience and not become an RN?

1) no

2) yes

1) I would do it over again. But I would've picked a different ward to work in when I finished. Yes most wards in UK are short staffed and you're rushed and stressed but I've not worked everywhere, so I cant comment on different wards/clinics, etc. I'm sure there are places where it isn't so short staffed and stressed. I like being a nurse but just need to find a work place I enjoy.

2) You'll know yourself what is right for you, go with your instinct. You obviously wanted to be a nurse and help people and that's why you started the course. I think you should finish your course and become a nurse. At least then you'll have the qualification and can pick where you want to work and where you are happy.

Good luck. Everything will sort itself out!

If I were 18 today I would not do it. There are just too many other options. However, 40 years ago women had few career choices. It you sent me back in time I would most likely do it all over again.

NO! I would claim a street corner. Better benefits, protected by pimp (not so by hosp admins). Probably not as much exposure to as many diseases on a standing street corner.

No I would not do it over again. Most of what you hear is pretty accurate of the realities of health care.


GadgetRN71, ASN, RN

Specializes in Operating Room. Has 15 years experience.

I'll answer but be aware I've only been a nurse for about a year and a half! I felt I should put that disclaimer in there.;)

1) yes..but I would have done it sooner(college age) and I would have gotten my BSN

2) I say that you seem to be enjoying the course work and such, so nursing is probably the right fit. I would just be aware that there are many specialties available to you these days so don't feel that you have to go to the floors right out of school. I have tremendous respect for floor nurses but that is where the understaffing and lack of respect seem to run rampant(also LTC). In any profession(even Doctors) there are always people ready to shoot you down-you just have to have a strong enough sense of self to let it roll off of you.

The thing about nursing is, it's so versatile. If you don't like the specialty you're in, you can switch. You can pursue further education and become a NP, Midwife, RNFA, CRNA etc etc etc. Heck, you don't even have to work in an acute care setting! Or travel, which is pretty neat. You make pretty good money doing that.

I was a tech(OR) for many years and loved my work-but I was stuck if I decided I didn't want to work in the OR any more. I wanted more choices and better pay. Good luck whatever you decide.:balloons: Ps..Yes, there are downsides. Administration, the all mighty dollar which rears its ugly head more and more, and obnoxious families and patients. But, you get these factors in ANY job you choose. Just insert BOSS for hospital administrator, and CUSTOMER for patient(which many hospitals seem to be doing lately!) and you'll see what I mean.

PeachyERNurse, BSN, RN

Has 13 years experience.

1) nope, and I'm just a nursing student (26 days till graduation THANK GOD!!!!!)

2) yeah, cuz I'm sure you'll find more enjoyable employment with your MPH then you will as an RN...but that's just the opinion of someone who's not even a nurse yet

GrumpyRN63, ADN, RN

Specializes in Gyn Onc, OB, L&D, HH/Hospice/Palliative.

!) NO 2)Not necessarily, you are 100% correct in your summarization, but I think that has alot to do with hospital nursing. I see nurses that aren't 'floor' nurses getting treated like human beings, go public health nurse I'm sure it would be fulfilling

Depends, I have worked out of the hospital and I can say that it is just as dog eat dog and $$ driven if not more so than the hospital. It is simply the same old thing in a different pair of shoes so to speak.

Aimee03, BSN, RN

Specializes in Peds. Has 2 years experience.

1. no, It is not for me

2. you have to decide what you wanna do.

Multicollinearity, BSN, RN

Specializes in Acute Care Psych, DNP Student. Has 4 years experience.

I'm a student, so this is not advice from a nurse. Perhaps you could work for a year or so in a hospital, and if you find you don't like the hospital environment due to all of the reasons you listed in your OP, you would be well-qualified for some really good jobs in public health with that RN, MPH behind your name. The RN MPH is a really good combo for getting really good public health jobs.

You've got a spot in a nursing program, and you seem to like it alright. I wouldn't quit nursing school unless you are 110% positive that is the right thing to do. Just because you graduate from nursing school doesn't mean you are locked into hospital nursing and destined to be miserable and without choices. You have choices, and you'll have more with that RN (plus MPH) behind your name.

How will you feel if you quit nursing school, look for jobs in public health because of your MPH, and see how much more broad your career opportunities would have been with that RN you were so close to? Good luck.

eta: I just happened across this thread where the RN-MPH is being discussed.



Specializes in Oncology, Research. Has 7 years experience.

1. Yes, I would do it all over again. I did really enjoy my (short) time in the hospital setting but now I work in research so I have had some different experiences from many on this board.

2. I would finish your ADN and then utilize your MPH. You will have so many more job choices and more room to negotiate salary.

SwampCat, BSN

Specializes in Psychiatry. Has 3 years experience.

Wow, I am very disheartened to read all these replies. If you all would go back and change your choice, why are you still in the profession? Why not change careers?

Ms Kylee

Specializes in Med Surg, Hospice. Has 4 years experience.

1.) Yes, even though I'm still a student. I've finally found my niche.

2.) Only you can decide if it is right for you.

Good luck! :)

Ivanna_Nurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in CCU MICU Rapid Response. Has 18 years experience.

1. I would not do it again. I graduated in may and have a constant headache and developed an ulcer since I began my career in Icu in July :(

2. I would think that you have more options out there with a masters.


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