Advice from Nurses/Nursing Students

posted 2 years ago in Career
Post # 16
2670 posts
Sugar bee

futuremrspk :  Hospice nurse here! 

I started out as a nursing assistant 9 years ago…worked in a nursing home for 1.5 years, then in a hospital while going to nursing school and after still casual as a nursing assistant. I’ve been an LPN (will eventually go back to school for RN) for 6 years now, 1.5 in hospital, and 4.5 in hospice facility. 

I’m going to be quite honest with you… is a VERY difficult field and weighs on you emotionally and physically – and I’m not just talking about hospice. It is a gross career in terms of germs and bodily fluids. It is a field in which you need to have thick skin and be able to analyze everything. Nursing is a dedication of yourself, filled with loads of compassion and empathy. Nursing is not what they portray it to be in the movies….it is hard, patience testing…full of laughs, frustrations, cries…etc. You are not just “dealing with people”, you are caring for them in their most vulnerable times, no matter what department you get into.

I’ve worked in a nursing home, geriatric psych unit, oncology unit, renal unit and now hospice. I have LOVED hospice since the second I stepped onto the oncology unit as a nursing assistant. It is heart breaking, stressfull and rewarding. But I love what I do. Some days my body hates me, and that’s okay. Some days I am so mentally drained I don’t leave the house, don’t talk to almost anyone and stay home just to recharge my batteries. Some days I want to be around people and laugh because that is what I need.

That being said, nursing is not for everyone. Make sure it is something you are passionate about before jumping in. Nursing school is difficult. Being a nurse is even more difficult sometimes, but I have no regrets. I’ve always wanted to be a nurse since I was a little girl. If I couldn’t be a nurse anymore, I have NO clue what I would choose as a career….I would be lost. But it’s not for everyone.

Post # 17
2670 posts
Sugar bee

futuremrspk :  I’m also quite an introvert if you can’t tell lol – the recharging batteries etc. 

I just wanted to also add that hospice isn’t what they portray in the movies either, since you mentioned that you were thinking of that field. They’re not just sleeping…..there is so much that happens to the body/patient in their last hours, days, weeks and months. It’s a lot of educating to the families and patients, getting them to come to terms with their decline, helping them get comfortable, controlling the terminal agitation or pain or nausea, etc. It’s hard. It’s rewarding. It’s my niche. 

Post # 18
74 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

Fairly new nurse here, been in the field for a year and a half. I was in an office job at a prestigious company and hated every second of it. I felt souless and trapped in a godawful cubicle. Circumstance led me to nursing, and I cannot be happier with my decision to pursue it.

Nursing school is hard. Prepare to pour all of your time and effort into it. It is non-stop studying, practicing, and more studying. Skills testing is terrifying (I don’t know if the US has these- you demonstrate a skill & associated teaching, and if you fail the test you fail the course). It put me through the ringer, but prepared me to be a nurse.

The nursing profession is tough. I work on a Neuro ICU unit that challenges me every day. There are some days I leave work feeling absolutely great, there are other days I leave with dread. You see a lot of sh*tty things as a nurse. Some days, it’s easy to leave everything at work, others, it’s hard not to bring it home with you. You mentioned wanting to be a hospice nurse- I think that’s a really great area, but also emotionally and physically demanding. We do get a fair amount of patients on our unit we have to level and don’t have the time to go to a hospice, so they pass on our unit. And to be honest, being there when someone passes is a tremendous honor and experience to have. Helping someone pass with dignity and ensuring their comfort to the end is one of the most rewarding parts of my career, in my opinion.

I would definitely look into the opportunity to shadow a hospice nurse for a day. I know here that you have to be enrolled in nursing school and fill out a ton of confidentiality forms to be able to shadow, but I think it’s totally worth it. I shadowed on a few units when I was in school and it really opened my eyes. I’m actually having a student shadow me next week. It might be a good opportunity to get an idea of what works for you.

Best of luck to you. Nursing is an incredible career, and as long as you don’t base it off Grey’s Anatomy (3 doctors ambulating a patient? LOL) and do your research, you’ll be fine 🙂


Post # 19
126 posts
Blushing bee

It is hard. 

There are some days when you want to walk out and never come back.

Working nights, weekends and holidays can be tough when you also want a social and family life.

Having said that it is a very rewarding job.

If you’re meant to be a nurse then you will stick it through but dontd choose it just because it is a good career move (I mean it is because the options are endless as to what you can do)

It takes a special kind of person to sit and care for people physically and emotionally as they deteriorate and eventually pass.

The other day my friend had a baby come into resus that they couldnt save. Thats heartbreaking.

I dont know what training is like in USA but here you have to experience all different shift patterns, missing social events, working days and nights in the same week, horrible mentors, basically everything a real nurse goes through but on no pay and doing essays and exams at the same time. It’s tough.

That’s why it is seen as a vocation not a career. And why only half my year passed. 

Post # 20
73 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2019

futuremrspk :  Ive been an RN for almost 3 years (my nursiversary is in May 🙂). Nursing school isn’t really something I care to do ever again but it wasn’t awful either. I worked 24-32 hours per week and maintained a social life while doing well in my program so it doesn’t have to be all consuming as some will have you believe. I got my ADN then finished my BSN while working full time my first year as an RN (again, annoying, but doable if you’re working 12’s, might suck more if you work more than 3 days per week). So for example I would work sun/mon/tues nights, sleep and do homework Wednesday then go to class for 6-8 hours on Thursday. Most hospitals in my area are requiring a BSN within 5 years of hire but this varies by region. 

I got ridiculously lucky in terms of finding a position. I graduated in late March, passed NCLEX mid April and was working on the floor by early May. I’ve stayed on the same unit so far and work as an L&D RN. I also care for high risk antepartum, post partum and gyn surgery patients (my least favorite, I love babies and the adrenaline rushes that come with labor and delivery). My cohort of 24 was fully employed by 6 months from graduation (and some had to retake boards, most had jobs earlier) so the markets not as barren as you might hear for new grads. I highly recommend nursing residencies! 

In terms of the career in general, I love it about 80% of the time. Sometimes the long hours get to you (I work 12 hour nights). Sometimes the unit is busy for weeks on end and we are all pulling overtime and not getting breaks since nobody in the hospital is cross trained to our unit that I just want to wave my white flag. But other times we go a whole week with a low census and I spend half a shift researching caterers while getting paid good money just to be there if they need me so it balances out. Doctors can be grumpy assholes, especially when they take call after a full day of work, but you learn to not take it personally and patients can be ungrateful and rude at times. But when somebody looks you in the eye and thanks you sincerely for how well you cared for them, it’s worth it. When you save a life, it’s  worth it.

my biggest gripe is vacations/holidays as another poster mentioned. I had to work Christmas Eve and Christmas this year which sucked. But you adapt, we did Christmas the 23rd. It is hard to get time off in the summer but its getting easier as I climb on seniority (my hospital does prime summer and winter time off by seniority). It Honestly has bothered me more than I thought it would but it’s not a deal breaker. I have contemplated leaving the bedside at some point in the distant future though, I don’t know if career long bedside nursing will be for me or not yet.

My primary recommendation for what you can do now is to get some form of healthcare experience! Volunteer, consider getting your CNA license. I worked as a CNA and it really improved my confidence and patient care skills in the clinical environment which made learning the nursing skills easier. 


Sorry this got so long, good luck bee! 

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