Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My Advice for New and Potential Nurses, by Pam Lowry

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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.

President George W. Bush has just signed the Nurse Reinvestment Act, which has several provisions to try and help recruit nurses, keep the ones we have and assist with higher nursing education.

Does this all sound serious or what? The nursing shortage is a reality and if you are considering entering the profession I encourage you to do so. When I decided to become a nurse I was still in grade school. It’s what I had always wanted to do and even with all the ups and downs it’s still the best decision I made. There has been a lot of negativity shed on the nursing profession and I believe it has encouraged many to avoid it like the plague. Unfortunately a lot of this negativism is coming from our own kind.

There are many different fields of nursing available to new graduates and to veteran nurses alike. If you are new you really need to start with hospital nursing to get a grasp on what it’s like in the “real world”. Yes, you will most probably work swing shifts or straight nights but the experience you gain will lay the foundation for the rest of your career. You need to have some experience in emergency and trauma, critical care and also medical/surgical. If you can squeeze pediatrics or neonatal in there it’s even better. You must learn how to become a nurse, how to deal with patients and they’re family, physicians, ancillary staff and management and it starts with the basics. This is a career not merely a job. You will continue to learn and grow as long as you’re a nurse. It’s not something you perfect overnight so don’t expect to. However, if you’re dedicated and determined it’s a wonderful life.

Once you have completed your basic training experience you will now have a good idea of the wonderful rewards of being a nurse. Your family life may suffer slightly but if you remember to spend every available minute with them, and forget the housework for now, you will find an acceptable balance. Not to mention the personal benefits you will reap now that you are truly a nurse.

Now it will be time for you to branch out and find your niche. Mine happens to be home health. I have tried ICU, a telemetry unit that was an ICU step-down, corrections, private duty, long-term care, staff relief, and home health. This has all been over a period of thirteen years and I wouldn’t trade any of that experience for anything.

The ICU I worked in was in a rural hospital and wasn’t real exciting for me. Corrections would have been the perfect job. You get physician office, lab, med-surg, emergency, pharmacy and triage experience plus independent nursing decisions to treat common ailments. It was wonderful except for the constant harassment. It will finally get you down. I worked corrections two different times for two years each and that was all I could handle but I know some nurses who have been in it for many years.

I worked an extremely busy telemetry unit. One hall was post- PTCA patients, one hall was post- CABG, or other cardiac surgery after 24 hours or less in ICU. The middle was all of our regular tele patients. They could range from any kind or cardiac med IV drip to cardioversion, which was done on our floor at the bedside, to post- cardiac cath patients. It was a whirlwind of busy nurses flying around but it was the best experience. Even after my 12 hour shift when my feet hurt and I desperately needed a shower because I had sweated all day from “running the halls”, I still reflected fondly on it all and kept going back, until a better home health position became available.

One of my best memories from my tele days was the time my 60’ish male patient stopped me in the hall and thanked me for taking the time to talk to him about his hypertension and diet. He said no one had ever taken the time to do that for him. I felt great and still do knowing I made a difference in his life that day.

This is what nursing is all about. When you have bad days, and they may be often, please remember why you have chosen this profession and the difference you will make in someone’s life today. Rather it’s holding a patient’s hand during a procedure, crying with a family who has just lost someone, helping to bring a new life into the world, being successful at CPR or having that feeling of accomplishment because you had time to do some good patient teaching, it’s all worth it. Who else will take care of your family and mine except us nurses.

I am recommending the nursing profession to all who will listen or who ask my advice on the subject. The old days of experienced nurses making it hard for the up-and-comers needs to come to an end. If you talk to a nurse who’s been around for a while and all you hear are complaints, gripes and whining then pick a different nurse to talk to. If you talk to someone who is miserable in his or her life and career you will not get a clear picture of the joys and heartaches of nursing, you will only get their biased opinion. If a seasoned nurse gives you hard time remind them they were once in your shoes and you’re quite sure they would like to retire some day so to please reconsider their position and show you how to insert that suppository.

The Shortcut URL To This Section Is: http://www.nursefriendly.com/views/

In this section, you can hear from Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses, etc, new and old on why they would or would not recommend going into Nursing as a career. Our articles are frank, uncensored and brutally honest. We hope they'll help you make your decision if you're unsure about nursing being for you.

It is not our intent to "scare you off" from Nursing, some of our reviews are quite positive. It is our intention to help you go into Nursing with "open eyes" and aware of what you can reasonably expect as students and entry-level nurses.

Do you have questions or comments about our articles? Like to express an opinion? Visit our forums and make it known!

See also:
Licensed Practical Nurses, http://www.nursefriendly.com/lpn
Registered Nurses, http://www.nursefriendly.com/rn/
To Stay In Nursing or Not: http://www.nursingdiscussions.com/stay

Nursing, Not For Everyone, Not For Most People by Andrew Lopez, RN
Nurses are Licensed Professionals who's practice is regulated by Nurse Practice Acts, and the State Board of Nursing of each State. Nursing is a ...

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The Beauty of Nursing by Rebekah Hinton, BSN, RN, Virginia Nurses Views of The Nursing Profession:"I have been a caretaker for as long as I can remember. I am the oldest of four daughters and have always been a second Mother to my siblings. Going into nursing seemed to be a logical choice for me. As a student I was eager to learn and worked very hard to get the best education possible. I entered into a Bachelor of Science in nursing program without knowing the difference between a RN program and a BSN program."

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Nursing: How Do I Find Out If It's For Me? by Angela Eichenlaub, RN, BSN:"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."

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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."

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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. . . ."

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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. . . . "

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"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. . . ."

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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. . . . "

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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. . . "

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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. . . "

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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. . . . "

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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. . . "

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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. . . .

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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. . .

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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. . . "

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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

Please choose from the following (Links will open up a new window):
Nurses Views Recommending The Profession,
Nurses views Not Recommending The Profession.

Choose Nurses Views by State: Alabama, California, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York State, North Carolina, Pennsylvania Tennessee, Texas, Virginia Male Gender Bias - Entrance to No Mans Land by Nurseman
Are you a male and thinking about entering the world of nursing? Have you ever wondered why they're so few men in nursing? If you are young, single ...

Gender Bias Against Male Nurses:
http://www.nursingdiscussions.com/gender

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    Do I want My Daughter to be a Nurse by Raye
    I am not sure why I became a nurse. I enjoy the smile on the face of someone I have helped. I worked Emergency and got quick fixes and instant ...

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    Is your life worth the BIG BUCKS? by SurgRN911
    Why are patients and families feeling they are getting less attention, and sometimes less than adequate care in a hospital setting? I wrote an ...

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    It's not all bad! by LauraRN
    Wow.. a chance to give my opinion on nursing.. here goes.. :) When I was in college, I thought I wanted to be a math teacher. As I got higher in ...

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    Requirement: Have an off-beat sense of humor by clooneyfan A review by of my favorite writers (SurgRN911) about the nursing profession prompted me to write my own review. You can read her original review at ...

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    Nursing Is In My Blood! by Dunkjam
    When I was a little girl I always thought that I would be a singer and marry Paul Anka! I thought I would live a glamorous life and travel around the ...

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    Where Are Our Leaders? by Moonflowerck
    I have been an R.N. for 28 years. My range of experience encompasses nearly all aspects of critical care and pediatrics. I am a bedside nurse; that is my forte. I give quality nursing care; I am a good teacher; I am empathetic and intuitive. However, I am not a leader. My experiences in various leadership roles during my career were neither fulfilling nor very productive.

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    Nursing: Is It A Career For You? by Bobstein
    When I was faced with choosing a career I wasn't clear exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I enjoyed the sciences and helping people, and with high unemployment rates in the mid-1970's I chose to enter the nursing profession.

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    10 CONCEPTS TO CONSIDER WHEN DECIDING IF THE NURSING PROFESSION IS FOR YOU
    by melissasrn
    Pros: The opportunity to make a difference in someone's life; decent pay; flexible schedules. Cons: Short staffing; floating requirements; little respect; dealing with bodily functions.

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    An LPN's Story of Progress by: NJNurse
    The Decision to Become A Nurse. When I was starting to decide on a career after high school I wanted to cry.

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    The Nursing Shortage: Reasons Nurses Are Leaving The Profession by Rebel5877
    All across America, There are shortages of Registered Nurses (RN's) and Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurses (LPN's/LVN's), and Nurse's Aides entering ...

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    Response to NJ's work in progress by jt1013
    There is a shortage of nurses. That is a given. I have a large amount of respect for LPN's. My sister is one in Kentucky. She has been one for 32 ...

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    My Opinion of The Nursing Profession, by emsopinion
    I have been a nurse for over twenty two years. In that time I have worked in many different fields of medicine.

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    Feast or Famine by lovepepsi
    Pros: the feeling you get when you helps someone
    Cons: short staffing, not being able to save everyone

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    See also:

    "Burnout in my 5th year...another nursing statistic", Aboutmyjob.com:"I always knew I would end up in a helping profession. Nursing seemed like the perfect choice. It combined my natural curiosity about health and science with the giving, hands on, human interactions of bedside care. I also knew that nursing offers a great deal of flexability within the profession. You can change specialties, change shifts, and work in a variety of settings. Before I decided to study nursing, I considered teaching,conservation and journalism. Prior to becoming an RN, I worked in recreation/parks, the foodservice industry, and held a factory/production type job. I graduated a few years ago with my BS in Nursing. I certainly don't regret having gone that route, but to be honest I feel disenchanted with the health care environment and nursing in general.It certainly is nothing like what I thought it would be.The hospital setting is like a pressure cooker type of environment."
    http://www.aboutmyjob.com/main.php3?action=displayarticle&artid=575

    "I am getting out of nursing to become a teacher", Aboutmyjob.com:"Hi. I made the decision to get out of the nursing profession about two years ago. I have been an RN for three years. I have floated in ER, ICU, Med/Surg and Labor and Delivery. In the back of my mind I always thought, "working conditions will get better with the more experience I have". I finally have come to the conclusion that my working conditions are not changing, in fact, are getting worse. I come home every night with knots in my shoulders from the stress that I go through. I too get physically and mentally strained from being a nurse. Families are so insultive and expect things to happen ASAP. Do they not realize that I am running around with my head cut off trying to keep up with all the requests, duties, and paper work?"
    http://www.aboutmyjob.com/main.php3?action=displayarticle&artid=601

    "Unhappy in nursing profession too....10 year RN", Aboutmyjob.com:"I have been an RN for nearly 10 years now and I must agree with many of the others who wrote their stories. I always wanted to be a nurse, because I like people and thought I would really want to work helping them. But, the reality of the job is utterly overwhelming. I've tried long-term care,home health, dialysis nursing, physician office and now in-hospital on a Rehab unit. I have yet to really find anything I loved. We are almost always short-staffed both nurses and aides. We are being pulled to other floors now due to the shortage of nurses. I was pulled to a MICU and I've never done that type of nursing ever!! I was a nervous wreck, these patients were very high aquity, on tele, multiple lines etc. I received no orientation, just here are your 8 patients...go to it. It was nerve-wracking."
    http://www.aboutmyjob.com/main.php3?action=displayarticle&artid=554

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