Choosing Nursing – a Nurses Week Special

by Jeremy Winograd on May 5, 2017

nurses week choosing nursingHappy National Nurses Week! While the public’s understanding of just how difficult and important nurses’ jobs can be—along with their trust in nurses—has deepened in recent years and decades, some misconceptions and stereotypes remain. Sadly, there are still those who look down on nurses as aspiring doctors who simply weren’t smart enough to get into med school. This pernicious idea should have died long ago, as it is directly contradicted by the fact that the nursing profession is populated mostly by medically brilliant folks who deliberately chose to become nurses instead of doctors strictly because they decided it was the best field for them. There are any number of reasons why they might make this decision (no, “to meet a nice doctor to marry” is absolutely not one of them – get outta here with your ‘50s patriarchal nonsense). Here are a few common ones.

Soft skills

Nursing and doctoring simply involve different skill sets. Neither is more inherently valuable than the other, and some people are simply more adept at one rather than the other. While both professionals require extensive medical knowledge and intense patient commitment, doctors often need to depend on more technical skills, while nurses are more reliant on soft skills—communication, attention to detail, compassion, teamwork, etc.—to get their jobs done. As in any workplace, both types of skill sets are necessary to keep everything running smoothly. Sometimes, a nurse doing something to make a patient more comfortable or relaxed can be just as valuable to their care and recovery as a doctor deciding which course of treatment to take.

Flexibility

Most nurses are just as thirsty for knowledge and new technical skills as doctors, if not more so. But the reality of the training and day-to-day immersion that goes into being a doctor can often lock one into a particular specialization with little time or opportunity to explore other areas of interest. By contrast, nurses are constantly exposed to all corners of the medical field, and in fact need to have least some level of knowledge about all of them in order to do their jobs properly, offering ample time to expand their expertise on a daily basis.

Time and money

Let’s be honest: being a doctor requires an almost superhuman commitment of time, resources, and energy, both mental and physical. Starting with the four-year time suck and financial drain that is medical school, continuing with 786-hour work weeks (seemingly physically impossible, but some find a way) when you don’t sleep or see your family for days on end, and culminating in eventual burnout and long overdue retirement to Florida, it’s an absurdly taxing job. Many nurses are unquestionably capable of taking that leap, but just have different priorities. While nurses work long hours and undergo extensive training too, nursing offers greater scheduling flexibility that leaves more time for things like family, hobbies, and even additional medical training. That doesn’t make nurses any less committed to medicine or their patients than doctors are; it just means that they wisely prioritize work/life balance.

Direct patient interaction

When it comes down to it, in medicine, nurses are the ones who interact with patients on the closest and most consistent basis. Essentially, nurses are the friendly face of the medical industry. For some, that is the ultimate reward for working in medicine: fostering meaningful connections with patients and being able to witness, up close, the magnitude of the impact you have on them.

 

Why did you choose to become a nurse? Share your reason in the comments below or on our Facebook page by Friday, May 13, to be automatically entered to win a $100 Visa gift card.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Syda Bante Nisah 05.06.17 at 2:35 pm

My grand mother sik having asthma she was hospilezed most of the time i m alwys eith her when i saw doctor comes and chekrd thr patients and go aaway but nursrs listen all the problems of patients & care them when i aagked my grand mother what i want to do mursing or doctot she said nuraing
But my bro not agry with this discion but know i m a nurse and mt bro says u r ryt… i m happy with my profasion

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Rita Battista-Stremcha 05.06.17 at 2:38 pm

Hello Everyone, Nurses and all staff of the Health Care Industry.
The reasons why I chose to be a nurse are many.
I was working in CETA youth program in the early 70’s, in Charlton Memorial Hospital, which is now Ynion Hospital in a Family Planning Clinic setting. I remember working with some excellent nurses, and medical staff who shared their love for nursing with me, and as I got more involved with my job, and care of patients, I grew a strong interest in the nursing field. During that time I was in a car accident, and I had some of the best care by a male nurse who flooded me through my transitions. He was wonderful, and the other nurses who also took care of me were wonderful. My love for nursing widened, and as I grew older, and had a son at a young age the only rjing I could afford was a CNA class. I had to wait to afford that so it was after my dear beloved mother passed away in a traumatic motor vehicle accident, hit and killed by a drunk driver that I knew I was suppose to be a nurse, mom always told me to go after my dream and follow it no matter what it cost. I decided to go to Bristol Community Colkege for my CNA, and after graduating at the top of my class, and with input from my instructors, I knew I was suppose to be a nurse. As a child I use to triage my Barbie Dolls, mom would look for the missing bandaids and ace wraps, they of course were on my Barbie Dolls. I always enjoyed helping others no matter what age I was. I knew by helping my Dolls fix their wounds I could help others fix theirs. My first attempt to be a nurse in 1983, was not successful, the Academic advisor told me I wasn’t smart enough to be a nurse. So I knew them I had to prove it to her. My next question to myself was how am I going to prove it to this person that I can be what I knuwvI was born to be. Well that was going to take lots of learned discipline. I didn’t have that during my childhood years, you see mom and dad got divorced when we were very small children and mom had to work three jobs to raise us making sure we had everything we needed. The only other option for me was to join the military. I did that and in my years of service I obtained my Combat Medic status, LPN, and RN, my grades were awesome, I love taking care of patients in any capacity, I feel privakedged to be a BSN, RN knowing that it was that person that helped me kick it into gear, get my act together and do what I was born to do.
Nursing to me is more than a degree, more than a time clock, more than a uniform, more than putting in hours, it is an Honor to be a nurse. Every time I take care of a patient I feel as though God has Blessed me with more than an occupation. Nothing can ever replace the memories of my patients, and residents.

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barbara hall 05.06.17 at 3:39 pm

My grandmother was a nurse so I thought I should be a nurse ! 😀

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Kelly Hobbs 05.06.17 at 3:53 pm

Nursing is more than a profession, it’s a calling. I never had an ah-ha moment that locked me in. I just always knew I was going to be a nurse. Even as a young kid, playing war with the kids in the neighborhood…I was the nurse. I dressed up as a nurse for Halloween in fourth grade. I would babysit for a man that was in nursing school. As the kids slept, I would read his nursing textbooks. In high school, I took anatomy as an elective. I was always fascinated with the human body & how it worked. I knew I wanted to help people too. In nursing school, I always read more & studied way more than I had to. I never just wanted to know the answers for my tests. I always imagined my patient’s, or their family members, asking me questions. I wanted to be able to know enough to give them proper information. Nursing was always going to be my profession. It was a part of me before I even really knew what it was. It’s a calling that I am so blessed to be a part of.

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Cortessia Badie 05.06.17 at 3:55 pm

Hi Everyone,

I didn’t choose to become a nurse, nursing chose me. I say that because I believe great nurses are called to the profession. I believe the best nurses encounter some type of life changing event that causes them to choose the field of nursing. Many of us lose family members and close friends to medical illnesses that cause us to go into the profession and do all we can to assist with improving the lives of the sick.
Therefore, to be a nurse is to be an advocate and as an advocate you may take on several roles to ensure the best outcome for the patient. So, being a nurse means that I get to encounter someone and something new each and every day. The satisfaction gained from helping those who cannot help themselves is indescribable.

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Heather Haile 05.06.17 at 7:59 pm

I chose nursing because my father had testicular cancer when I was 12 years old. He is still alive and doing well today but underwent radiation treatment and was sick for a few months. I remember being scared but every nurse that we came across was very caring and helpful. I knew that I wanted to be that person is someone’s day that helped them in some way. I have now been a nurse for 22 years and I have not regretted the decision to be a nurse.

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Kathy Pirsch 05.06.17 at 9:38 pm

In May I will,celebrate 40 years of nursing. I cannot believe how time flies and I am still in love with my profession. I have worked many areas in nursing from Alzheimer’s to Critical care, Dialysis, Nursing Agency, Homecare and currrently Peri-Op nursing. Just being able to change specialties in one Profession is what keeps nursing so interesting and challenging. You can become proficient in one area and move on and become proficient in another area. After several years you have a wealth of knowledge, many skills and many more memories of accomplishments and wonderful coworkers and patients that have touched my life.
Nursing has also given me flexibility with family/work balance, opportunities to work extra for that special trip, boat, car, or special items for the kids . In other words it is a stable profession with great benefits and opportunities to increase your income with extra work or extra education.
The opportunities that are available to Nurses today are so exciting! If only we had those during my career. But, I have no regrets, have loved giving quality, professional compassionate care and feel full with what I have gotten in return.
There are lots of sacrifices along the way, shift work, short staffing, difficult patients, but in the end, I am full, fulfilled and wouldn’t change what Inhave been doing for 40 years. I am still not ready to retire, so I am looking forward to a few more great years of practicing what I love…… Nursing!

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Vivian Rios 05.07.17 at 12:57 am

Hi! To be honest, I never planned to be a Nurse, but life took me step by step. First I studied, Cardiovascular Technician, never could practice the profession because the excuse was that I had no experience when I knocked doors for job. Then I decided to stay in the Health field, so I decided to become a RN Nurse with BSN. Although, it hasn’t been easy for me to practice my profession in my country because for I’ve been suffering discrimination, I’ve always felt it is a profession where God can use you as his instrument to help people. And as a RN Nurse, working with a doctor specialized in Acupunture and Natural Medicine, it is more comforting knowing that your transmitting health and benefits in the best way we can. Although, my own people has made way kind of frustrating, but God has been with me by my side all the way and I love being a Nurse!

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Alia Alexander 05.09.17 at 4:04 am

I never thought I would grow up to be a nurse, like my mother, when I was a child… I dreamed of being an artist instead! However, while I was in college, I got my CNA certification because I thought it would be more interesting than working in retail or food service like many of my peers.
I started work as a CNA and it was a “baptism by fire” experience for my first several weeks, yet I found I loved it more than anything else I had ever done. I loved feeling like I was making a difference in peoples lives, making them that much more comfortable or at ease just by asking how I could help them or listening to the triumphs and troubles of their lives. I went away to art school in Chicago and I felt empty. I looked forward to the weekends that I would work!
I changed my major to nursing and graduated in 2013. I am now working in the NICU and I feel so lucky and honored to play a part in the healing and development of critically ill babies! The nursing profession truly feels like a “calling” to me and I still enjoy my hobbies, but I can’t imagine wanting any other career!

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Diana DeForest 05.11.17 at 7:35 am

My brother was badly burned while my mom was pregnant for me. We spent the next 16 years of my life and over 60 surgeries watching the nurses who were Nuns take care of him and us. I knew very young that I wanted to be like them. But I didn’t think the Nun life was for me. So nurse it was! Thought I would be a burn nurse. But sadly too much sadness. CVOR is where I landed 40 years after making the decision to become a nurse at age 8.

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Esther Ndugire 05.12.17 at 5:05 am

After my O levels back here in Africa Kenya my mum pushed me to accounting did CPA one and two bur my heart was not there… I had never imagined myself seated behind a desk balancing sheets and doing calculations for a company..My uncle had a small mobile clinic mainly it was to reach out to infants in interior parts of the town for immunisation..I had volunteered a couple of times i really enjoyed to serve and help those poor babies I enjoyed touching lives of people there an then i knew am in the wrong career choice i quit accounting and joined a nursing school

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