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"The face of nursing has changed" or "Nursing is not what it used to be" are phrases I often hear from seasoned staff. I wish I knew what nursing "used to be" so I could compare! My own personal advice to anyone considering a career in nursing is to take your reason for entering the profession into account. Some go into nursing for money, some because they have always wanted to and some people go into nursing because they don’t know what else to do. |
I entered the field because it was what I had always wanted to do, I couldn’t think of doing anything else. Unfortunately I had a bad experience first time out on the floor. The saying that nurses eat their young seemed to be an understatement. My preceptor was unwilling to answer questions and annoyed when I asked for help. I stayed three hours past my shift just to finish documenting everything appropriately. I would go home crying every night. I questioned why I became a nurse if only to be treated as an incompetent being by those who were supposed to support me. I had a hard time finding the rewards I thought came with a nursing career such as helping sick people and managing their care. I felt more like a “pill pusher” rushing to get the next task done before my preceptor told me I was too slow… yet again. Fortunately, the hospital where I was working had a retention coordinator who helped me identify what I liked and disliked about my job. She suggested changing to a different unit. I transferred to the rehabilitation department and my career flourished. A change in unit is what it took to renew my faith in myself and in the nursing profession.
For those who really want to go into nursing, try working as a nursing assistant in a healthcare environment where you think you want to work. This will give you a good idea of what to expect in the healthcare field. Assess working conditions, people and the type of care the patients receive (because that ultimately is the goal of nursing). You will also learn how relationships between staff develop, i.e. how nurses treat nursing assistants, how physicians treat nurses. In fact many nursing students work as nursing assistants. This will give you a gist if working in the healthcare field is for you.
Also, be weary of sign on bonuses. Many hospitals offer up to $5,000 in bonuses and moving expenses, if you sign a contract. But if you don’t live up to the contract, you have to give it back. So if you end up on a floor that is not conducive to your career needs, you can’t leave if you have locked yourself into a contract. Of course if you are certain that you want to stay at that facility, by all means the sign on bonus could be great.
All in all, nursing is not for everyone. If you do not like the sight of blood or the smell of stool, you may want to consider other career options. There are many areas of nursing to consider, from acute nursing to long term care to home health to management. Sometimes finding your niche in nursing is what it takes to know you like nursing. On the other hand, be mindful that there is a lot of stress in nursing, whether it is dealing with upset family, a patient going “bad”, screaming physicians or staffing issues. Before you spend time and money on a career you not sure of, test the waters by shadowing nurses in different facilities, working as a nursing assistant or unit secretary and ask lots of questions to those in the career you seek.
To Be Or Not To Be, by Sharon Jones, RN, Ohio Nurses Views of The Nursing Profession:"To Be…Or Not To Be… was never the question for me. I had always been a caretaker of sorts even at a very young age. The decision to return to work was based more on a career that I could relate to and be employed at. To be it was… and I started school at a local college for a Registered Nurse program. Almost two years into school, all my pre- req. courses completed and a waiting list to get into the nursing classes (a very unbelievable thing looking back- too many students- many had to wait) forced me to change course of action that lead to LPN school."
Twenty Years of Nursing by James E. Meekins, North Carolina Nursing Views:"Thirty years ago I walked into the Navy recruiters office; laid off, without a real skill and signed up to be a Navy Hospital Corpsman (medic). I learned basic patient care---and basic first aid; and learned to work under the direction of a physician or nurse. I enjoyed what I did, the pride of being part of a team; accomplishment of a common goal, first aid in the field with Marines, or care of a patient in the hospital. . . ."
Nursing: Pros and Cons by Christy Picton, RN, BSN, Illinois Nurses' Views of The Nursing Profession:"I struggle when asked whether I would recommend the nursing profession as a career. In the end it comes to down to a weighing of the pros and cons. Let me begin by introducing you to some of my patients, my "pros" so to speak. . . . "
"One of The Lucky Ones" by Christine Cruz, Minnesota Nurses Views of The Nursing Profession:"My name is Chris. I have been an RN for ten-years. I have worked in a wide variety of nursing settings, from home care, long-term care to telephone triage, clinics and nursing management. Upon graduation from nursing school in, May, 1993, I had eagerly anticipated a new RN position at a local hospital, in one of its med-surgical units. . . ."
You Want to Be a Nurse? -- Better Leave Your Heart Behind by Pennye Diane Morgan Shaw R.N., Texas Nurses Views of the Nursing Profession:"So you're thinking about being a nurse? You probably are a person who wants to make a difference, to help others, to be a compassionate healer. Are these are the same reasons I entered the nursing profession about 9 years ago. I had been through the emotional experience of watching my father being diagnosed with colon cancer. I had been by his side though radiation therapy, and though surgery and recovery. I watched as he struggled to cope with the drastic changes to his body as he tried to return to a normal life. . . . "
My Advice for New and Potential Nurses, by Pam Lowry, Illinois Nurses Views of the Nursing Profession:"According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), "The United States is in the midst of a nursing shortage that is projected to intensify as baby boomers age and the need for health care grows." They also state enrollments in nursing colleges are at a six-year decline. According to JAMA there will be a shortage of 400,000 nurses in the U.S. by the year 2020. AACN goes on to state there are declines in nursing faculty leading to limitations on enrollment, the population of R.N.'s is the lowest it has been in 20 years, and vacancy rates at hospitals are high. . . "
An Insight Into Nursing by Leah Stockdale, R.N., B.S.N. Maryland Nurses Views of the Nursing Profession:"Although I am extremely proud of being a nurse, I will have to say that I am not sure if I would choose the profession if I could go back. At the same time, I probably would not choose any career in the health care industry. In my opinion, as far as hospital nursing is concerned, the negatives outweigh the positives. That is why I am currently in the process of applying my nursing skills and education to another field. . . "
A Letter To A Future Nurse by Kristina Rzanca, LPN, Michigan Nurses Views:"Being a Nurse is a career you can be spiritually, emotionally and financially satisfied with. In this day and age this is a unique opportunity, but it is not for everyone. A special person with qualities such as empathy, compassion, intelligence and above all patience should only apply. . . . "
To Be A Nurse Takes A Special Kind Of Person By Vicky Oliver, LPN:"As an LPN for the last ten years I believe I could give some insight on my experience as a nurse. I am the type of person who is always doing something for others instead of me. My experiences in nursing consist of Medical Surgical, Doctors' Office, Emergency Room, Surgery, GI Lab, Urology, Utilization Review, Recovery Room, and the Nursing Home. Anyone that goes into the nursing profession needs to be a very caring person, someone who wants to give to others and someone that is very dedicated. . . "
After Fourteen Years As An RN, I Am Not Sorry For My Choice By Lynn Kash, RN:"Would I recommend the nursing profession? That is a good question that requires a lot of thought. Nursing was not my first choice of careers. I studied accounting in college, and after working in the business world, decided it was not for me. I fell into a job as a nursing assistant and found patient care to my liking. I then started nursing school and the rest is history. . . .
A New York BSN's Point of View, By Melina Begun, BSN, RN, Clinical Administrative Liaison Nurse:"Nursing is suffering. Thousands of caring people enter into this profession every year only to become disillusioned by its reality. When I first started to study nursing, I immediately felt a connection with its history and our potential to be leaders in the medical community. Excited by all of the knowledge and skills I acquired in my Ivy league nursing program, I was astonished by the harsh reality of nursing in today's hospitals when I started working as a staff nurse. . .
Tips To A Good Start In The Nursing Profession by Diane Hartley:"My name is Diane and I have been in the nursing profession for 12 years. In those years I have seen very many changes with this profession. One of the first changes was in DRG's. This for those of you who do not know what they are is diagnosis related groups. . . "
Andrew's View (Nursefriendly Webmaster)
See Also: Certified Nursing Assistants, CNAs, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, Disabled Nurses, Male Nurses, Men In Nursing, Legal Nurse Consultants, Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurses (LPNs/LVNs), Registered Nurses
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