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Nursing School: torture, or a great thing incognito?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hi All,

Soooooo, not to sound like a total debbie downer, but I started nursing school 6 weeks ago and I am less than excited about the program. It is a 2 year RN, and has a reputation of being one of the best programs in the nation. The problem is, I am just not feeling the "bug" to be putting all this work in, and the subject matter is less than exciting. (can we say suppository insertion? TMI!)

Is this a similar experience to any other nursing students/nurses out there, or should I get out now before I'm in it too deep? I find myself fantasizing about other jobs I could do instead, and it is a real disappointment considering I've been working the last two years on prerequisites.

PS. My DS is 2.5, and just started at a preschool-- he's been home with me until now, so we're adjusting to all of this as well. He, by the way, is thriving at his new school.

All advice welcome, welcome, welcome!
post #2 of 16
Well you said you wanted any advice, so here's my story. Not sure if it will help you or not though.

I went into nursing school because we were broke, in a new state, and I wanted a "good" job. I'm also good at school, and had an interest in health (what I realize in retrospect is that my interest in health did NOT include most western medicine). I did very well in my classes and graduated with like a 3.9. But to me the classes were boring and I really wasn't interested in any of it.

Maybe because I'm anti-vax, but I swear that's all we ever talked about and I just had to sit there biting my lip and cringing all the time.

Then came clinicals and I had to forge a vax card just to finish school.

Then came working as a nurse and it was the same thing. It seemed like everyday I needed proof of this vax or that, or I was supposed to be pushing the flu vax on old people. I worked dermatology for crying out loud. All the antibiotics and crappy advice that doctors gave...it just frusterated the heck out of me honestly.

So I quit after only a few months. It's now a few years later and I am back in school studying to be a teacher (Waldorf mostly). School is a completely different experience this time around. I love it and it's interesting! I could see myself in this field for the rest of my life.

So for me, I should have dropped out of nursing school and switched gears. But at the time I thought since I had started it and come so far, that I should finish it. Big mistake and I'm paying for it now in not only student loans, but in time. I now need another few years in school studying something else.

But I can't tell you if you're going to love or hate actual nursing yk? School is different than the real thing, but maybe your gut is telling you something? Good luck deciding.
post #3 of 16
If you need the job and it is only two years it isn't a lot to put in for the security you'll have in a short while. I did nursing cause it seemed like a good thing to do- no overall passion or anything. I love my job for how it ties into family-life and no suppositories or bum-wiping required! Is this an RN program you are in? If so- the opportunities after you graduate are worth it imo. You can choose from a huge range of specialties and work environments and locations.

Edited to add: I see it is an RN program. I'd say go for it!
post #4 of 16
Nursing school isn't the most fun you'll ever have in your life. My dh and I have an agreement to stick out any new "job" for 6 months, complain all we want to each other, and then reevaluate after 6 months. I would do that. You have a huge amount of changes on your plate right now. Give it 6 months, and things will change.

FWIW, I am a RN (BSN). After nursing school, I went to work in L&D. I never took care of a man (LOL). I never gave a vaccine. I've given suppositories, but never an enema. I never assisted in any surgery except c-sections. I found L&D exciting and fun and exhilirating and exhausting and totally worth it.

There are SOOOOO many different fields in nursing. My SIL helps cardiac residents arrange their schedules and make grand rounds and all sorts of things I don't understand. And she works 4 ten hour days, with all weekends and holidays off. (She has a lot of experience, and worked cardiac ICU for a long time before this job). My stepmother works for an insurance company and pushes paper 40 hours a week, 2 of those days from home telecommuting. She talks to patients on the phone occasionally. See what I mean?

If there was a spark in you that wanted to be a nurse (beyond it's a good job that pays well), it's probably still there, nad it's well worth sticking it out for a little while longer.
post #5 of 16
there are two kinds of people. at least to my knowledge.

one who can work terrible jobs (for them) because it pays well. they can stick it out because the money gives them the opportunity to do what they want to do.

so they deal with the 9 hours at work and then do what they want to do.

then there are people like me - who just cannot stick out at a job they hate. they will compromise their lifestyle just to have some satisfaction at work and peace in their lives. i have been at jobs that i hated. i could not continue there anymore. i hated every minute of it. it left me drained and completely used up.

which camp do you belong to? that will give you the clue of which path to take.
post #6 of 16
Just chiming in! Nursing school for me was hard,tedious, but interesting and fun too(4 yr. BSN). There's a ton to learn and the workload is great. However, nursing careers are so vast and so many great opportunities! I've never worked in a hospital but have been more into community health/public health nursing. I am now working in my 11th year as a school nurse. I love it! So much time off with my kids and great benefits! You can do so much as a nurse. Whether home visits on weekends or structured around your family's schedule, to travel nursing where you can move all over the country, to hospital work, or physician's office, psych nursing etc. Once you have your degree you have many options,flexibility, benefits,and decent pay. And no matter where you are in your life or your age, there is always a need for nurses! Good luck with this hard decision!
post #7 of 16
I have my PhD in nursing, so yes, I did love it that much to keep going back to school for the same profession.

I didn't love every clinical part of my BSN program, and when I graduated I knew I never wanted to work in geriatrics or psych! But I was lucky enough to get a a job as a new grad on an OB floor of a large teaching hospital. I stayed 8 years, never gave a suppository, emptied a bed pan, gave an enema, or any other "distasteful" aspects of nursing that the patients don't enjoy either. I vaccinate so giving vaccines wasn't an issue and I see the benefit of both Western medicine and alternative therapies, so there was never any conflict of ideals.

I got my NP and eventually my PhD. I have a clinic job seeing patients and also work in academia. I could really work anywhere. Even with a BSN there were many job possibilities. In my geographical area having a BSN gave you a lot of leverage with potential employers.

For me nursing has been a great career and not just a job. I can't tell you if staying with it will make it all better or if it's just the wrong match for you. Best of luck with what you decide.
post #8 of 16
I wanted to slam my head against my desk most days in both my LVN and RN program. I spent most of my leadership class playing Nintendo DS. The minute we'd jump into hemodynamics or advanced respiratory I was game. It was pretty obvious that I was meant to be an ICU nurse and that's just where I ended up (after "paying my dues" for six months on med/surg). I've been there two and half years now.

Do I love my job all the time? No. Are there occasions where I'd like to strangle my patients family members? Yes. Are there occasions where I'd like to strangle my boss? Yes. When I think about it, I could never work on another floor. Med/surg has too high a patient ratio and they're all healthy enough to complain. Constantly. ER never knows what's coming and have to deal with much more crap than I do. L&D? No, I became a nurse to take care of the ill. Surgery? If I have to spend endless hours trapped with our surgeon, I'd punch him. Hospice? God, I wish. No openings.

Why do I stay? For the times that CPR/ACLS actually saves a patient and that patient walks off the floor. For helping people cope with death and die with dignity. For the co-workers who have my back 100%, save my sanity and have become friends outside of work. For the 12 hour shifts that result in me only having to work an average of six days a month (part-time) and keeps my son out of daycare.

You have to remember that it's not all poop slinging and bedpan detail. Most days I'm too busy with actual RN duties to a lot of ADL's. My amazing aids do it for me. What you do in RN school and what you do as an actual RN are vastly different.
post #9 of 16
I was just going to ask if you have started clinicals yet? I'm only in my second semester, but I really enjoy patient work a LOT more than book work. You have to get through the book work so that you know what you are doing on the floor, but I find it so much more fun to actually work with people and try to apply what little I know (within my scope of course!)

With that said, however, I REALLY wish the work-load wasn't so high. That is my biggest complaint. But I have really great instructors who I feel like really try to emphasize the value complementary therapies and how they can work with or even sometimes in place of western invasive medicine. So the content doesn't bug me, I just have no time to get through everything!!!
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by not now View Post

You have to remember that it's not all poop slinging and bedpan detail. Most days I'm too busy with actual RN duties to a lot of ADL's. My amazing aids do it for me. What you do in RN school and what you do as an actual RN are vastly different.
Loved this!

Ok, so thank you all for the pep talk... both in favor of sticking it out and those in favor of listening to my gut (whatever its trying to tell me). I think I have to wait for clinicals to start (in about 3 weeks) and try out actual patient care. If nothing else, it is a life test for me, and I am learning a TON! (we did injections today-- who ever knew there was so much involved?!?) Who knows, maybe after exposure to patient care I'll discover that there is a side to me I really never knew? And then next semester is L&D (which is why I got into this in the first place!), so if I can't stick it out at least until then, I'll never know if it is meant to be, right?

Thanks again!
post #11 of 16
Just remember, nursing school is only temporary! I know two years seems like a long time, especially when you are living it... but it's really just a means to an end.

Like others have said, there are so many things you can do with an RN, and even more if you continue your education. I know, probably sounds awful at this point, but going on to get a BSN, and possibly an advanced practice nursing degree might actually appeal to you in the future.

Did you take a CNA course beforehand? I just ask, b/c it's an introduction to nursing, and gives you a feel for whether or not it's truly a path you are passionate enough about to get through the hell that can be nursing school. That plus clinical experience (even if it is in a long-term care facility), gives you patient contact - which really is what nursing is about, not all the studying and terminology and lengthy lectures you have to sit through.

Best of luck finishing the semester. Just take it one day at a time, but with the goal that the end is really in sight. Hang in there - you can do it!

eta: I haven't been to nursing school, but am taking a CNA course (for the second time), and take the TEAS test in a couple months to apply for a ADN program. I chicken myself out all the time, and question whether or not it's for me, but at the end of the day, I am convinced I can and should do it - despite all the obstacles and stress.

post #12 of 16
im of two beliefs regarding my being an RN...

1. its great as a fallback. i feel empowered knowing i can support our lifestyle if my dh should ever be unable to do so.

2. i loathe the system and feel it damaged a little bit of my soul everytime I had to go against my beliefs. i would not be happy about needing to return and would only work as an RN while putting myself through some other training to get out of the hospitals.

oddly enough, I have considered going back to school to be a waldorf teacher. my dream is to get my phd in feminine anthropology....

but i wouldnt have NOT gone o nursing schools. I did a lot of good as a nurse. I was a damn good nurse. and I miss helping people and talking with families and the adrenaline rush.

i was an ICU nurse, and I always felt like i was doing the right thing there. Because western medicine makes sense in that environment.

clinicals in ob and peds?

omgoodness. daily struggles. and I was childless and 19-21... i still was opposed to so much. so much.
post #13 of 16
Nursing is so broad in it's scope, of course there will be aspects with which you will disagree.

I worked for years as a nurse at an independent birthing center. *Loved it*. Did I agree with my work duties 100% of the time? No. I didn't agree with the parents' decisions for their babies 100% of the time, either. But it didn't make me hate my job or think that I needed to get out of nursing. Respect for the autonomy of your patients is so important.

Now I work in an acute care medical floor. Again, love it. I worked for a brief time in a hospital L/D/Mother/Baby/Nursery/Peds unit...loved the peds, hated everything else so I left. Too much intervention, too disrespectful for me. Medical floor, though, is awesome.

I don't agree with the "there are two types of people" comment. I don't tend to see everything in black and white, though. I could never stay at a job that I hated; but I also can see the positive in many situations, so I'm pretty happy in most environments. I feel I can appreciate others' perspectives, and I can accept what I cannot change. I don't have a problem, for example, giving the high blood pressure meds and insulins to the patient who really just needs to stop eating so much and start exercising more. Sure, I'll give some information about diet and exercise, and encourage them to improve their behaviors. But I'll also happily provide the medicine. I cannot make this person start jogging. I *can* treat him right here, right now, and let him know how he can improve his health, should he choose to do so. It doesn't make me crazy and hate my job that I am medically treating someone who could fix most of his problems with appropriate diet and exercise. I accept that people are complex individuals and have the right to eff themselves up if they wish.

When my daughter got the chicken pox (I refused the vaccine), and then later had to go on antibiotics because she got a horrible, dangerous infection in some of her pox lesions, would it have been okay for the doc to refuse to treat her? Or to make me feel bad for having refused the vaccine? Or to have refused to care for us in the first place once I refused the vaccine? I'm sure our doc sometimes bangs her head against the wall after a visit with us, but she's always respectful when she's in the room. People like us probably make her job more difficult mentally and emotionally, but lucky for me she doesn't decide to do quit being a doc and become a cocktail waitress because of it.

Being a nurse and working with the general public means that every day you will interact with people with whose choices you are going to strongly disagree, no matter what your nursing area. I guess you have to decide if you can handle the variety and the diversity, or if you prefer to work in a homogenous environment where everyone 100% agrees with you (an environment which I believe does not exist).

However, it's true that nursing isn't for everyone, and if you cannot stand most aspects of western medicine, but wish to be in health care, perhaps another field would be better for you, be it a naturopathic program, lay midwifery, eastern medicine, etc. No use breaking your heart on a daily basis if that's what being a nurse would do for you, you know? But if it's only certain aspects of nursing, and you still really like the nursing, then stick with it. There are jobs for granola nurses, too.
post #14 of 16
I was so young when I went through nursing school, I turned 18 the week before my program started. I loved it but I had worked as a CNA previously and knew what I was getting into. I worked ortho and some peds until I had DD1 and then that was when I turned "crunchy". I got floated to OB a couple times to help out and quickly learned even then that hospital birthing was not for me. I adore birth work, just not in that setting. I would have a difficult time working certain nursing jobs now, peds was hard enough the first time, I don't think I could ever do that again. I fell into doing lactation work and have happily been doing that for a while now. I don't always agree with all aspects of what I have to do, I now work for a health dept so lots of public health. I keep my mouth shut on things that go against my crunchy nature and then enjoy the rest. I have discovered that I really enjoy the education aspect of my job was accepted to a MSN program to pursue that. Life has thrown up some road blocks for now but one of these days I will continue.
post #15 of 16
Originally Posted by lorijds View Post
Being a nurse and working with the general public means that every day you will interact with people with whose choices you are going to strongly disagree, no matter what your nursing area. I guess you have to decide if you can handle the variety and the diversity, or if you prefer to work in a homogenous environment where everyone 100% agrees with you (an environment which I believe does not exist).
I love what you are saying here. This is exactly how I see nursing to be. I know there are going to be people who don't want to live the same lifestyle as me, but I came to terms with that a long time ago. The only person who can make the *best* decisions for themselves, is that person alone.
post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 
I have learned so much just from reading all of your lovely posts, everyone. I was getting caught up in the nitty gritty of it all, and I think to get me through this I really need to focus on the big picture (pardon excessive usage of cliches

The reason why I was even drawn to nursing was to have a job that really had potential to make a difference in people's lives. When I had my son, I was so taken aback by how crucial the nurses were to the success of my delivery. I thought, THAT is EXACTLY what I need to be doing with my life. Learning the ins and outs of nursing in nursing school is only a small portion of it, isn't it?

So I'm STICKING WITH IT!!!!!!!!!! Brace yourselves for future posts, though, as I might need a lot of moral support from all of you along the way.

Thanks all for the comments.
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