View Full Version : Question about nursing field?
February 27th, 2006, 09:46 AM
Hey all. I did a search on this subject but couldn't find anything related. This question is for anyone here who is a nurse and might have some insight or advice for me.
I've wanted to become a nurse for quite a long time. Its been a dream of mine that I didn't think I could achieve when I was younger. I'm 30 now and with two little ones so I've put everything on hold. But it still eats at me that its something that I think I really want to do and that I would be good at.
How do I know that nursing is right for me? I know that there are many different areas of nursing which is nice because it means I am not limited to lets say, geriatrics or something I may not be real thrilled doing. I can see myself working as a surgical nurse, emergency dept., cardiac, anything like that. I don't have a problem working with the elderly, I just would prefer not to work in a nursing home facility. I worked as an aid for awhile and it was very upsetting to me, and actually made me question my desire to be a nurse. Changing diapers, and walking in on dead patients scared the heck out of me. Can I hack it? Can I pass the math? Will I burn out or be sorry I went into the field?
Would you say that you enjoy being a nurse and that if you had the choice, you'd do it all over again? What advice can you give a person like me who wants to help out makind, and still have time for my children? Oh, and I have no problem working third shifts, I am an extreme night owl. I like the excitement/adrenaline. I even thought of going into EMS, but in my area, they are all having to wear bullet proof vests, and I don't want to put my life in jeopardy for my kids sake. My dad is a retired NYFD and I know the toll it takes on the family- the late hours, the stress, so I am trying to see things from both sides. Of course his job was quite a bit more dangerous .Thanks for any input you can give. Maybe you can help me sort out my feelings and fears. Thanks in advance.
February 27th, 2006, 11:29 AM
I began nursing school at age 29. There were women in their 50's in my graduating class, and most said the same thing you (and I) have...they'd always wanted to be a nurse. :)
To me, there is simply nothing as rewarding as nursing, if your heart is in it.
I left an established career as a bookkeeper, and worked as a CNA for experience while I went through school. I had an 8 year old at the time, and we did our homework together. She thought it was cool that Mom was in school, too, and I had plenty of time for her. The education is challenging, but in my experience you bond with your classmates and help one another through.
I must say that nursing is not all sweetness and light...you will definitely be exposed to the things you mentioned disliking. Feces and death are unpleasant, but are a part of most nursing careers.
There are many different nursing careers that don't include such close patient contact...but for most, you will need to start out working med-surg in a hospital. That is where the feces and death might come in. ;)
If you want it, you can definitely do it. And you are needed, the nursing shortage is getting truly scary.
February 27th, 2006, 12:45 PM
Hi there I felt like I waited a long time to go into nursing but I just didnt have the money. I started at 26 I got my CNA when I was 16 and have been in and out of nursing. I like nursing and I love baking and cooking so I go from one to the other havent made up my mind what one I like better. Anyhow when you take nursing you do a lot of clinicals and if you are in a good school you will do a clinical in just about every part of nursing there is. I have been in nursing homes, elementry schools, OR,ER , maternity, doctor offices, cardiac, chemotherapy, hospice,wound care, teaching,pediatrics, Dialysis ;; you see where this is going. IF you are super interested in OR and want to be right beside the doctor most of thoes nurses are LPN. The RN monitor in the OR. LPN is much faster and cheaper to get and a lot of schools have the LPN to RN bridge . You may want to get your LPN and then see where you want to go. With a RN you can go into just about any type of field the LPN is a little more limited.
I have 2 small ones and I'm taking classes to get my BSN its not easy but I just take my time if I dont get it as fast as everyone else that is ok. I think the only thing you will regret is not going through it if you dont like it at least you did something and most people find a field of nursing they like.
February 27th, 2006, 06:16 PM
Thank you both so much for your input. You both make a lot of sense. Its not the feces/blood etc that bothered me. In the nursing home, it was that this was a real person, or what I would describe as a "hollowed person ", a mere skin of what used to be a person. You would see their pictures of family, maybe a deceased spouse, and even pics of themselves on their end table and it was really sad. I want to be someone who helps people get better, not just delaying the inevitable or fighting a losing battle. Does that make sense? Not that changing diapers or giving showers etc is pleasant but I just felt so bad for them. And it also reminds you or your own mortality which is a bit scary.
I've worked in childcare as well, for the last 6 years and have been exposed to just about everything that kids carry and can throw up. :lol: I'm not squeamish. I think I just fear getting close to the patients I would have, and then losing them. But like you said, it is a part of nursing. When I started in childcare, I had to become certified in First Aid, Communicable Disease, Child Abuse (that was a rough couple classes), and of course Community CPR. The RN instructing the CPR class said to me, " You'd make a great nurse!". It just fueled my desire even more. While my fellow class mates were complaining about taking classes, I was asking what else I could take, and wanted desperately to learn the Automatic Defibrilator. But it wasn't covered in my class.
As kooky as this might sound, and maybe it comes from being a firefighter's daughter, every time I see or hear an ambulance, I feel this insatiable need to pull over and jump into the action and help somehow. Of course, I don't, because I would be in the way. But every time I'm in a public place and I hear someone cough, I hesitate and listen incase they are choking. My DH calls me Dr. Gin (short for Ginny) because I research everything health related. :silly:
I do have an LPN school locally that has a bridge program and it sounded to me like my best option too, because of cost, and the fact that I need to go part time. My kids come first. And once they are older, I had hoped to go to the University to get my RN. Thank you both for mentioning your ages when you started. I know that 30 isn't old but compared to someone just out of high school, I feel like an old goat. After having kids, being married etc, you just see things so differently.
You both have made me feel much more confident about my desire to become a nurse. My mother in law at one point tried to discourage me by saying, " you know there's a lot of math involved." And some other choice words. But recently, my DH mentioned how she had wanted to be a nurse, and had dropped out of a program. So maybe she felt a bit threatened, I don't know. At the time, it annoyed me. My math isn't bad, its just that its been a long time since I've done a lot of that. I need to get back into the books for prepping for the entrance exams. Do you have any tips on entrance exam prep or the initial interview with the school? Thanks again, in advance.
February 27th, 2006, 07:20 PM
Hairfitness101, I just want to encourage you to go for your dream. I have worked in the healthcare field most of my adult life. Yes, it is very sad when you get attached to a person and they pass on. When that happens, you have to take solace in the fact that you did the most you could to help them in the last stages of there life. My Dad is in the hospital as we speak, and I thank God for the wonderful nurses on staff where is hospitalized. I can guarantee you that patients won't always be kind or easy to deal with, but the great majority will remember the smallest acts of kindness and be greatful for them. They may not remember your name, but they will remember the care and comfort you provided for them or a loved one. It takes a special person to do this job and if you feel you are called to this vocation, by all means, explore your options!:thumbsup:
PS-As far as the math goes, there a 4 basic math operations(- + / x) if have a good grasp of the basics, you can apply them to any application you need! Plus lets not forget cheat sheets of commonly used formulas and a pocket calculator:jestor:
February 27th, 2006, 07:47 PM
Don't worry too much about the math...I am math challenged, and did just fine. The entrance exam wasn't too frightening, either. Relax and do your best.
Especially considering the nursing shortage, you would probably have to flub it up pretty badly to be rejected. I don't doubt for a moment that you will get right in.
I did clinicals in nursing homes, as well as my CNA experience. It is sad to say, but you will toughen up over time. It does hurt when people die, but I came to realize that it is part of life. Easing the transition for someone during that time, is an honor and priviledge.
I remember one girl in my class, during clinicals, would run to the sink and vomit every time she saw a wound or blood (which was obviously ALL all the time). She eventually worked through that, and became an effective nurse.
Many people worked through all sorts of problems and feelings during clinicals, whether problems like the classmate I mentioned, or fear of their own mortality when faced with death. You have it in you to help a lot of people. :flowers:
February 27th, 2006, 08:49 PM
I wouldn't worry about the math too much. I'm in an undergraduate pre-health track right now and most health careers require "college level math" which is usually advanced algebra, trig, and some statistics thrown in. Very few med schools require heavy math like Calculus, so you're safe from that! :twisted:
And, you're never too old. In ten years you'll be 40 anyway, with our without the nursing career of your dreams. Go for it! :smile:
February 28th, 2006, 02:58 AM
CopperCurls, Sending "virtual" :flowers: to your Dad and wishing a quick recovery.
Thank you all so much for your inspirational views. I do feel called to do this. I wish I had gone to school when I was younger- mainly before kids but I lacked the confidence and discipline to go for it. And had no one behind me to say, go for it. I wanted it and went to beauty school instead which although I learned a lot, I cannot see myself doing professionally for any length of time. Even then, when we had to learn all the chemistry and nerves/arteries, I aced the tests while others were failing, and one of the girls said to me, "you should be going to med school."
Snarkylyn, thank you for mentioning about your previous career. My husband supports my desire to be a nurse but he always brings up the fact that I already went to beauty school, and that if I don't do something with that, that its a waste. I always reply with, " well look at all the money we save on haircuts etc. for the 4 of us. " It is my dream and I shouldn't let comments like that one of the mother in law mentioned, stop me. When I told my Dad what I wanted to do, he was all for it, and said, " You're going to look so nice in your white uniform." :silly:
Of course, I'm no mathemetician but I can definitely do basic math. Algebra and fractions are fine. I just can't do the stuff in my head. If I have paper and a pen, I'm fine. Sometimes it takes me a little longer to "get it" as one of you mentioned earlier but once I do, I'm fine. I'm a little worried about ratios because I couldn't understand how to set them up. The math function is easy, its just knowing what to put where. My DH tried to show me and I got frustrated. Is there an easy method to this? Oh, and I have one of those books from Borders for test prep for RN and LPN and some of those word problems were quite challenging. I hope the entrance isn't all word problems? They are quite confusing.
Dianyla, thanks for putting my age in perspective for me. :silly: You made me laugh when I read that. You are sooooo right! Alteast by 40, I would have liked to accomplish one of my dreams!
March 2nd, 2006, 04:39 PM
Okay ya'll. I have another couple questions for you. I did some more research and my local Practical Nursing School, did away with their evening classes. And I just found out that the deadline for application was March. So in essence, I have to wait till next July/August before I could even apply but worse than that, I can't go days because I have a three year old and a son who doesn't get bussing for school.
So this made me think... If I do this at all, maybe I should look into getting my STNA/CNA, and work in the meantime. It will be 3-4 years before my daughter can go to school full time. This way I can get necessary experience, a better pay than the position I had previously. It wasn't actually an aid, it was what they called, a companion. But you never got time to really talk or do anything with the patients. We did laundry,showers, changing, and dining hall duties. Even washing pots and pans. For $7 an hour. I really killed myself and the hours were rough. Every weekend, 12 hour night shifts.
If I can get a decent evening part time position as an STNA, then in a few years, I can think about going for my RN at the University because then I can go days, and do the clinicals etc. Okay, with all that said, my question(s) are:
What is the difference between a nurses assistant and an STNA? Is it just the pay and the testing or do you get better jobs as an STNA? The reason I ask is because my local hospital offers nurses assistant jobs with their own orientation and certification- but its not the state test. Its just to work there. A nursing home localy has a nurses aid program for two weeks for $425, they don't offer the test. I have to find out where to take that and how much it is. Is it better for me to do the one at the nursing home, or try to get into the hospital. I assume that I should do the nursing home because atleast I can guarantee I am a nurses aid/assistant, where there is no guarantee that I will get into the hospital. Competition is fierce. And I want to have some sort of certificate that makes me as marketable as possible. What do you think? Thanks in advance.
March 3rd, 2006, 12:40 PM
I'm not sure I have heard of a STNA I have heard of a CNA and a NA I guess a sitter is like a NA. If You are wanting to get into a hospital I would say go there. That way you have your foot in the door. Where ever you go try and get the state test I know in Virginia it is like 80.00 most places around here will pay for your test but even if they do not it is worth it for the certificate. The CNA test is super easy.
That is a pity the LPN program did away with there evening classes. When I took my LPN we were the first evening program and they are going on very strong now.
March 3rd, 2006, 02:09 PM
STNA is state tested nurses aid. The course is for nursing assistant/aid. Then I have to take the test somewhere else. I have not seen courses for the CNA in a long time. Jobs are really scarce here.
Thanks for the info. I've applied at the hospital before and never heard from them so I'm not real optimistic. I'm also concerned because they need full time, and I can only work part-time. Maybe that's why they never call me back.
March 10th, 2006, 03:02 AM
I just wanted to make a quick update for anyone interested. The instructor from the nursing home finally returned my call. She's in the midst of doing classes so she is hard to get a hold of.
Anyway, the test (after I complete the course), is given about 35 minutes from here a few times a year. It costs $88. I don't know what is on the test, if its all written or part clinical. I'm sure I wouldn't have any problem with it. I really want to take the nurses aid course, I just have to come up with the cash which is proving to be quite a challenge.
Of course its not LPN or RN, which is ultimately what I want, but everything in its time. My kids need me first right now. And I know I can't work and go to school, and take care of them (because of their young ages) right now. I want to do this right, not half a**ed.
As far as employment at the hospitals, I misunderstood the woman I spoke with. You must be a nurses aid before you apply, so either way, I would have to pay for this course. I plan on applying at quite a few locations once this works out. The evening session is in April so hopefully I can come up with the money before it fills up.
There is a really "nice" nursing home down the street from me. They only hire people who are state tested. We go down every year for their Halloween party. The patients give out candy to the children. The ones that aren't able, still go down to the lobby and have an aid help them out. I think its a great program.
The instuctor also informed me that I don't have to be CPR certified before hand. I was at one time, now I just have Basic- for my current job. But apparently in this state, you don't have to have CPR to work in a nursing home unless its a private outfit that requires it. I do need 4 uniforms though-actually not uniforms but scrubs, any color, for clinicals. I already own 2. I can just go to Walmart for that. And I saw a pair of white shoes at Payless that would be good. They look nice but if they get wet or "whatever", its not of too much consequence. I don't want to ruin my running shoes I have now.
I'll update when I have more info. Wish me well. And if you have any info to add, I would love to hear it. Thanks.
March 11th, 2006, 03:45 AM
Go for your dream. It doesn't matter how old you are. It isn't like the "old" days where only people fresh out of high school went on for further education. Now there are people 60 and older who are finally fulfilling their dream of higher education. You can do it. There are part time programs available most everywhere. You sound like you will be a great nurse. Nurses are great, you can then specialize in the areas that you are particularly interested in like pediatrics, or OB-GYN, surgical recovery, etc.
Also check into what kind of grants are available for you to go to nursing school. There is some money available out there for you. You just need to know where to find it.
CNA's are great. CNA's do most of the hard, dirty work. CNA's bathe, wash, feed, clothe, take vitals, and turn the patient. I've always felt that the CNA's don't get paid enough for all the hard work that they do.
March 11th, 2006, 08:02 AM
Thank you so much for the vote of confidence! I wish I had done it before children because now, I'm on such time restrictions that its become very difficult to find employment/education programs that can fit my schedule.
Our city also passed a law last year that you have to be more than two miles away to get school bussing for your children. And their "mileage" doesn't go by the way you drive to the school. They have some wierd zoning they do from the exact edge of the school property which can be any distance away from the school.
So between taking my son back and forth to school, and taking care of my 3 year old DD, and my part time morning job (which I take DD to) and after school activities, my schedule is just crazy. But if I can get through this, I know it will all be worth it.
I did end up with a change of plans. I spoke with a friend of mine who is an RN. Just by chance, the subject of part time work came up. I told her how I'd have to work part-time evenings. And she told me that CNA's and STNA's work complete shifts. It might not be 40 hours a week but its definitely full time shifts. That shoots the heck out my plans because if I work 7a-3:30p, theres no one to take son to school or pick him up. No one to take care of DD. If I work 3:30p-11:30p, there's no one to pick up son or take care of daughter till hubby gets home. If I work 11:30p-7:30a, same problem, hubby has to leave for work by 7am, and I'll be too exhausted to take care of kids. I had hoped to work a 5pm to 12a or something like that. HHA's have a better time of getting part time shifts but I really wanted to shadow a staff so I could learn. I was really down about it because even though it is dirty work, I would feel as though I was gaining valuable experience, and time in the field but I have to keep my chin up. And my RN friend told me that she does a lot of that too but atleast she gets paid for it. So....
I contacted the nursing school (PN), to get some more info on next session's classes. I think this year's application process is closed but if I can apply on time for the next one, and study in the meantime, I'll be ready. If I can manage school-assuming they re-start evenings (it was a matter of staffing), then by the time DD is in school full time, I can work shift work and get before and after care for the kids at the daycare center. Things are just really hard right now. We don't have much family around to help us out and can't afford child care. Even if I could afford it, I'm not sure I'd want DD in someone else's care at this point. She's only 3. I've worked childcare for the last 7 years and I've seen enough to be leery.
One thing about the NA training is, I haven't been able to get the cash together anyway, and then there's the $88 for the test, before even starting work somewhere. In the meantime, hubby is talking about getting a second job. Atleast until I start school. I know the entrance to the PN school is only 35$, big difference from $425. The tuition is really good too. Its through the public school system so there are grants and loans available. I think the tuition was less than 8-k with books, uniforms, etc. They don't pay for your gas mileage to the clinical sites but thats okay.
So I'm still sort of "recouperating" from this weeks turn of events but better I find out now then after I've invested money we really don' t have to spend right now.
Still, your words are an encouragement to me, to keep on-keeping on. Thank you. Sorry this is so long. Its turned into a book!