Sunday, March 27, 2011

Nursing School..... Anyone?

Lately, I have run into so many people that are trying to get into nursing school. The direction that healthcare is going AND the fact that we need more nurses, makes the career choice very promising and safe... job security. However, nursing schools are really competitive. I have heard multiple reasons, but from my experience, it takes a lot of time to train someone and there are not enough professors and clinical faculty out there to train everyone who wants to be a nurse. Also, because the career is so popular right now. there are TONS of people trying to all apply right NOW. Hospitals need to have room to have schools bring their students in. You cannot flood a unit with nursing school students and overwhelm the nursing staff caring for patients that day.

How in the world did I end up in nursing school? To be honest, I knew I wanted to go into healthcare, but I did not know what I wanted to do. I KNEW I did not want to be a doctor. I was an exercise science major, a pre-med major, a physical therapy major, athletic training major, AND I took finance, ballet, swimming, weight lifting, accounting, architecture 101, and physics..... Did I mention I have a minor in physics? I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life. Serve God. Get married. Have babies.... That is what good, Christian women do, right?

I applied to nursing school because I figured, I only needed one more class to get in, and it was health/medical. I also liked the idea of being a nurse practitioner because I saw one at CVS one time..... yeah, really well thought out, right? I also wanted a job that I could feel like I was really helping people..... SCORE.

I attended the University of South Florida all 5.5 years of my bachelor degree experience =) I LOVED IT. Nursing school however, sucked. Do not get me wrong. I loved what I was learning, but it was HAAAAARRRRD. I was not expecting it to be that hard, so I think that is what my problem was. Not only were the subjects hard, but the GIRLS WERE CRAAAZZZZYYYYY. Seriously, that many women in one class room is dangerous. People would freak out about test scores. Girls would argue with the teachers about why they thought an answer should have been right on their test (you know, in their professional opinion). After tests, I would RUN to my car to get away from the anxiety that was suffocating the LIFE out of me. I had to quit my job and move back home because I could not work enough hours to live on my own....only thirty minutes from my parents' house. However, I was determined to still have a life. I trained and ran a marathon. I got engaged, planned a wedding, and got married. I was involved in my church. I slept at least 6 hrs a night.... Unless there was a test the next day. I am certainly not superwoman....and there were girls that got better grades than I did....AND could recite the entire text book. But I ended up doing well and LOVING my education.

My main two points are this: If you want to get into nursing school, you have to keep your grades up because it is competitive. You may not be able to have extra spending money for that pair of shoes. You may be the only one of your friends that actually has to study....BUT DO IT. Make that harder choice and study your butt off. However, if you just want a job, and you are not ready to wipe bodily fluids from unspeakable places, please change your major and make room for someone who really wants in. This is the type of job that people will be able to tell if you are passionate about it or not. Your patients will go home and talk about their GREAT nurse, or their AWFUL nurse. Not very many people remember their physicians in the hospital.... but they remember their nurse.

Warning: When you become a nurse, you over analyze everything. For example, when I was running yesterday, my friend and I were talking about whether or not we were forming collateral circulation while we were running. I worry when Clay drinks liquid diabetes Coke. I cringe when someone coughs without covering their mouth when they cough.......

Any nurses out there have anything to share to people wanting to go to nursing school?


  1. My friend posted this on my FB page:
    As hard as my nights (yes I am one of those night-shifters) are sometimes due to low staffing and high patient census, and I am dying for more nurses to come and help relieve the burden, please please please(!) WANT to be a nurse. As mentioned above, job security is great in this field. But burn out and turnover is huge too. This is a service job, requiring compassion and tons of patience. If your motive is to get a nice, well-paying job that will travel with you and has a semi-flexible schedule, you might be happy for a while but more than likely, that wont last. If you really have a desire to care for people, to be loving even when its hard- you are the kind of nurse I would love to have working along side me. I absolutely adore my job- it is my calling and I couldn't be happier as a nurse- but it is hard. Very hard sometimes. If you can't love this job, I am afraid it will quickly become too much of a burden. Just be sure that you can commit yourselves to taking care of others needs first for 36-40 hours a week (even more if you have your own family) before you take this leap. If this is you, I wish you success and can't wait to have another fellow nurse to share my shifts with. Good luck!

  2. Another tip:

    Don't give up. Ultimately, you really should get your BSN. I worked as an occupational nurse for 1.5 years then onto traditional nursing in CCU/CSU and pre and post heart caths. I have been working in clinical trials for the past 12 years and LOVE it. With a bachelor's degree in nursing, you can do just about anything you want.

  3. Sooooo my post is too long to fit into one comment... which means I went way further into this than necessary and should probably just scrap the post altogether, but instead I'll just try to post it in two seperate comments :)

    Part 1:

    Aww Yay I feel so special being a (pictured) part of this post :)

    The first post really said most of anything I would say. Nursing is something you need to LOVE, not just like or deal with. It can be really, really tough - and it is very thankless. You do so much for so many people, and you need to be able to know inside that you're doing something good without having to hear someone thank you for it. In fact, sometimes it's the opposite - you can bend over backwards for someone, neglect all of your patients in order to help one pain-in-the-butt patient... only for them to tell you that you're a bad nurse (or something similiar). You've got to be able to know inside that you're doing the job to the best of your ability and that not everyone is going to be happy or thankful for what you do. And even sometimes your patients/clients may be thankful, but they don't tell you. Being a nurse really requires a lot of self-motivation.

    That being said... I love my job. Not every day, and there have been days where I felt so hopeless that it seemed like just walking out of the hospital at that moment and running away to Canada would be the only way to get out of the mess I was in. But in the end, as long as you do the best job that you can do - it works out. And there are plenty of times where I am so glad I chose this as profession and couldn't imagine doing anything else in the world. I get to have a huge, direct impact on multiple people's lives every single day that I work. It's not always glamorous - it's dirty, tiring, frustrating, and constantly pushes my patience to levels I never though it could reach. It's also extremely physically demanding, and it's pretty easy to cause long-term damage to your body if you're not careful. I already have new varicose veins in my legs and I've only been doing it for a year!

  4. Part 2:

    Alright I'll stop blabbing... I'm in the middle of a very slow night shift (after months of very high census and turnaround... much needed). Bottom line, make sure nursing is something you feel you can LOVE, no matter how hard it gets. Know in your heart that it's something you want to do and be prepared to give 100% to the profession and your patients. Going into nursing is not a decision to be made lightly - even applying to and making it through nursing school is extremely difficult to do, and it'll be a million times harder if your heart isn't in it (and that's just the beginning of your nursing career). Of course you don't know exactly what's coming until you're actually there, and every single nurse's/nursing student's experience varies greatly - but you can be sure that wherever you end up it will involve you putting others completely before yourself, doing things you don't particularly want to do, and occasionally finding yourself in situations that seem like they have no solution. But all nurses go through it, there will always be a shoulder to cry on and someone who can relate to what you're going through, and through the clouds there will be the ray of light that reminds you of what a wonderful profession you are part of and that what you're doing is very, very important :).

    A little note about the stress of nursing school... There is a culture of stress among nursing students, it's almost like a competition of who can be the most stressed - who has had the least sleep, who has neglected themselves/their families the most, who is the most ferociously dedicated to being miserable while being a nursing student. It's really ridiculous, really negative, and really something you shouldn't let yourself get sucked into. Yes, you will definitely get stressed, but don't allow yourself to become stressed just because everyone else is telling you about how stressed they are. It's easy to walk into class feeling positive and leave a miserable wreck - you start to feel like if you're not feeling stressed that you're doing something wrong, which is silly. Millions of people have made it successfully through nursing school - you can too :)

    So I think that was longer than your blog post even was... Sorrrryyy - and thanks for giving me a place to vent :)

  5. Thanks Corrianne!!! You are so right about the "culture" of nursing school. You summarized that perfectly! I miss you!

  6. I definitely agree about the overanalyzing! Nursing has made me germ-obsessed. I Lysol like a fiend and refuse to sit down at my house until I've showered and taken off my scrubs.. I also keep my scrubs separate from my other clothes. :) I also overanalyze on my charting.. everything I type I think "What if they pull this up in court??" so I make it SO detailed! I think every job will be different from how you picture it, but nursing is definitely worth it. :) I love hearing patients tell me "Thank You" and the good feelings I get from helping others! Great post Bethany!!