Saturday, October 11, 2008
Yes, Virginia, there's a new post coming...
Recently, a commenter named Virginia asked if nursing was a good profession to go into.
As long as you can get RN with an associate's degree, it remains a great bargain, as far as college goes. Two (well, more realistically three) years of school for $50,000 a year? At least in my neck of the woods. That's not too shabby. While I can see both sides of the argument for RN's having a minimum of a Bachelor's, for the time being it remains that you can make a pretty good living with not so much school.
Nursing school changed me. I learned how to prioritize, I learned how to focus my thinking. It gave me a lot of confidence. I never realized how smart I was until I went to nursing school. It also brought me out of my shell. I am pretty introverted. (Seriously, Steve, I am). In clinicals, you just have to hitch up your britches and march into the room, introduce yourself to the patient and get on with it. I learned how to make mistakes and learn from them-the first time I logrolled a real person, I pulled out their JP drain. The first time I made a medication error, I walked into my bosses office with my head down and we had a good long talk about how to avoid that in the future. I learned that I didn't know what I didn't know and that NOBODY, especially in medicine, knows everything and if someone thinks they do, don't let that person take care of you or your family. I learned that it's ok to ask questions and that the learning never ends.
I went to nursing school with someone who wanted only to go into research. She quit after the first few weeks of clinical-she just couldn't take wiping butts. It's a shame, really, because if you can make it through two years of clinicals and one year of med-surg nursing, you can really go anywhere. Get a few more years experience, some additional education and certifications and really, where can't a nurse go? There's nurse legal consultants and nurse educators and nurse lobbyists and if you really like school, you can even become Dr. Nurse. You can go into pediatrics, delivering babies, oncology, school nursing, travel nursing, dialysis, emergency room, ICU's, home health care, public health and if you get tired of patient care and don't want to look at another human being, there's infomatics.
Become a nurse and you'll always have a job. Those baby boomers aren't getting any younger. I've been reading these articles about how to recession/depression proof your job and they always have healthcare at the top of their lists of desirable positions. (My poor daughter is going into fashion, but I told her people will always need clothes, too).
You get to do really cool things as a nurse that most people just watch on TV: I've taken people off a helicopter while it was still running, I've had my hands in someone's abdomen up to the wrist ("That's his pancreas. Don't squeeze."). I've held someone's hand as they watched their mom die. I've put band-aids on boo-boos. I've handed out a lot of tissues. And yes, I have wiped a LOT of butts.
Nursing is flexible. You can work full time, part time, per diem, just weekends.
You can go to work in your pajamas. Or scrubs, which is almost the same thing.
Oh, yeah, and you get to help people in a really rewarding way and make a difference in their lives.
And one last thing. If you run into anyone who pooh-poohs this and says, "Nursing sucks! Don't be a nurse!" Please tell that person to get the heck out of the field, because their sorry ass attitude isn't helping anyone.