Sunday, November 26, 2006

Misuse of Resources

I was always told I could do anything I dreamed. I tested out as a gifted student at an early age and have generally kept the company of "brainy" students my entire life. Many of my classmates and friends have already moved on to graduate study in their various fields, some even to medical school or law school. I am somewhat behind them, and will be completing my undergraduate degree after 11 semesters of study instead of the typical 8. (This is due to a combination nontransferable credits and some initial meandering through majors). Yet I am anticipating my graduation next August with great enthusiasm. I feel like becoming a nurse will be a real accomplishment. Though I'm still somewhat surprised to realize it, it is one of my dreams.

I often speak passionately to others about my calling. But this weekend, while I was visiting extended family and friends, I was somewhat deflated by their questions about my career. "Why aren't you going to medical school?" they'd ask.

I made a bunch of standard arguments, mostly centered around the saying "Doctors cure but nurses care". I explained that my desire is to work with people holistically and individually. I want to be present. And I am far more interested in the human elements of health care than the scientific ones. While doctors can do those things, nursing just feels like the best fit.

But none of these arguments seemed to phase them. They couldn't grasp why I'd become a nurse instead of a doctor when I was obviously bright enough to be the latter. They cited a myriad of reasons it would be better for me--most of which boiled down to a supposedly "superior lifestyle". But the one thing that really stuck with me was the phrase "Just wait, you will always be subject to people who are less than you."

I can't help but be upset by the entire perspective. It feels wrong on so many levels.

For one, I don't think a "smart person" going into nursing should be seen as a waste! If I succeed--and I plan to--it will only do credit to the profession, not discredit me. For another, I don't think money is a good reason to choose any career. And perhaps I am naive, but I haven't exactly found nurses to be totally subject to doctors. Nurses seek to be collaborators in patient care; this is the meaning of professionalism. True, some physicians still try to walk all over supportive staff. But people who work in hospitals know it's far less challenging to work with doctors than it is to work with patients! "Subject to those less than you"? Obviously! (Just not how you'd think!)

It's very discouraging to be told that you are, in essence, misapplying your potential. But the thing I think others are overlooking is the fact that my gifts aren't limited to the deduction logical puzzles or the intuitive grasp of certain subjects. So what if I took a test when I was a child that indicated I had some above-average abilities? I have developed others as an adult that are far more important to a meaningful life. They're the more immeasurable qualities of the heart... they compel me to extend my hand to strangers and to listen with compassion. I may not always succeed, but I am a person who is not only able, but willing!

Surely that means more than the money I could have made or the power I could have held. It's not a lack of ambition that set me on this path. It's because I feel like if I place more value on relationships than the other factors, I can't really go wrong. I will have enough money and responsibility. But I will have an abundance of friendship and respect.

Again, it is totally possible for doctors to be and do all the things I describe in addition to their regular jobs. But for nurses, that thing is their job. I watch them while I work. I see what each professional does. And I don't regret my choice, not even a little. Because I know who and what I am.

35 Comments:

And plus, we couldn't come up to you and say "Hellooooooo Nurse!"

By Blogger Blue, at Monday, November 27, 2006 at 3:09:00 AM PST  

Woot! Luckily, my family has always affirmed my decision to go for the RN over the MD (mom's an RN herself). However, I've still had the comment from advisors and random others. We can help shift this mindset by advocating for our chosen profession through local and nat. nursing organizations, participating in the political process, and by setting stellar examples for others in the workplace. Good luck!
-- Mass. BSN student, Class of '07.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Monday, November 27, 2006 at 10:59:00 AM PST  

I am sorry to hear that the people in your life can't be happy for you when you've found the thing you want to do. It sounds like you have the confidence to persist even with the questioning of your decisions that you might receieve.

I am also a former "smart kid" who did not grow up to be a lawyer or a doctor or a PhD in anything... but I am now enrolled in an RN program and am happier than I've ever been. I'm doing what I feel is right for me. And I have to wonder, are my high school classmates who are MDs or JDs or PhDs really any happier than I am? It's not like money or a prestigious title guarantees fulfillment.

Good luck to you.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Monday, November 27, 2006 at 1:52:00 PM PST  

Nursing (as a profession) is so misunderstood. I got the same question (why not become a doctor?) when I announced my intention to go to nursing school.

Honestly, it's a question I had to ask of myself too. But that's another story.

Every profession needs smart and strong people. Sure there are physicians out there that aren't too sharp. On the other hand, there are brilliant men and women who have done much to advance medicine. The same goes for nursing. There are average (and below average) nurses out there going to work every day and maintain the status quo. There are also brilliant and inspired individuals who improve nursing care on local and global levels. It's the people (like you) who CAN do other things but are passionate about nursing that will make nursing better.

It's a tall order, but I get the impression that you knew that already.

-DK

PS I just started nursing school this semester. So I'm on the other end of this education thingy.

By Blogger DK, at Tuesday, November 28, 2006 at 7:55:00 PM PST  

Hi, I just discovered your blog. I have a J.D. (I even made it onto law review) and a master's degree and have been working as an academic for ten years. But GUESS WHAT? I'm applying to start an accelerated nursing degree program next fall!

More than a few people have questioned my decision. They act as if I've decided to chuck all my education and go break rocks for a living. Where do these negative images of the nursing profession originate? I guess I used to subscribe to them myself, as I never would have considered nursing back when I was in college. But now I know better!

If it's any consolation, I think almost every profession has to deal with widespread ignorance (about that profession) in one way or another. Take all the lawyer jokes, for example. I've encountered very, very few lawyers who fit the negative stereotypes.

Hang in there and just tell yourself that YOU know better. You're the only one who has to live your life, so do what you know is right for you.
-Liz

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thursday, November 30, 2006 at 11:31:00 AM PST  

I'm a second career nursing student in an ADN program. I already have a BA and people are always asking with judgement, "why nursing?" like I have taken a step backwards. I try not to put too much energy into their lack of understanding. I know in my heart I am where I need to be.

Good for you.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Friday, December 1, 2006 at 4:37:00 AM PST  

My humble apologies.

Auntie

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Monday, December 4, 2006 at 7:03:00 PM PST  

Right on... I'm glad I found your blog, I love the way you said this. I get this question a lot - I go to Harvard, and I think I could count all the non-MD health profession alumni, ever, on my fingers and toes, so it confuses people when I say I'm applying to nursing schools, as if I'm breaking some unspoken law or something. But, it's a good opportunity to get the word out about what nurses do, and why holistic health care matters, and why our system of delivering health care is the most expensive in the world... :)

And I'm glad you feel you made the right choice, too.

By Blogger grateful doula, at Saturday, December 9, 2006 at 6:31:00 PM PST  

I get that all the time. In fact, I just got it from some of my family on Christmas Eve. Nevermind them. Although, it is still irritating!

By the way, I just ran into your blog and read all of your entries. It is always nice to hear about other nursing student's experience and how it is different or similar to my own. I can just picture that entire roll of paper outlining, what was it, Pharm? WOW! Anyway, take care!

--Kristin
BSN student, Calif.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Saturday, December 30, 2006 at 2:23:00 PM PST  

My husband nearly died from a nurses mistake last year. It's a long story. We need good nurses that CARE. They save lives. He was transfered to another hospital after the mistake and the nurses there were wonderful. What you will do for patients is important.
Thank you,
Kim

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Monday, January 8, 2007 at 6:10:00 PM PST  

I too have copped my fair share of "why nursing" and "you will hate it" and "thats the worst job I ever had!" and a fair amount of the negativity came from nurses! Even when I started going out on clinical!!!!

Then as I started to progress though my bachelor of nursing and started topping the class I kept getting the are you going to med school when you are finished? I actually entertained this thought for a few seconds but firmly made up my mind in the negative when my son was in hospital and I got to deal with lots of Dr's and lots of Nurses, when I thought about it I knew my heart was firmly in nursing.

Now I don't even hear the negativity (my family has always been wonderful, and luckily for me I have exceeded thier expectations rather than not fulfilled them) but if people are still actually saying "why nursing" I'm not hearing them. I no longer feel like I have to justify my decision, I feel grateful for what I have learnt, I have the upmost respect nursing and I intend to be the best nurse I can be.

Each and every nurse can make a difference, and patients who have been taken care of by a good nurse would attest to this.

Best of luck, I love your blog so will drop in often.

Emma RN (class of 06)

By Blogger Unimum209, at Wednesday, January 10, 2007 at 2:28:00 PM PST  

Bravo!!! I had to endure the same questions from my family, mostly my Dad. Now that I've been a nurse for about 15 years, I'm now introduced as the "nurse", as opposed to my sister (who makes 6 figures)as "my other daughter". I am half way finished with my MSN in Adult advanced practice, and again some of the old comments/questions come up. Wait till I try to explain why I'll pursue my DNP. Good luck, stay true to your heart, and find some really excellent clinicians and learn all that you can!!!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Monday, February 5, 2007 at 6:45:00 PM PST  

Reading this blog has really helped me to pin point why I love nursing so much. Thank you for sharing your feelings. I wish our fellow nurses and others in the health care profession could all see nursing in this way.
--SLUSON

By Blogger Lauren, at Wednesday, February 7, 2007 at 1:00:00 PM PST  

"I often speak passionately to others about my calling. But this weekend, while I was visiting extended family and friends, I was somewhat deflated by their questions about my career. "Why aren't you going to medical school?" they'd ask."

I had the same questions for years after becoming a paramedic. Stick to your guns and do what you love doing.

If there is one thing I've learned over the years, it's that talent rises to it's own level, and other professionals recognize talent. If you're a talented nurse, you won't often be "subject to the orders of people who are less than you."

The good doctors will regard you as a peer and a colleague, and the bad doctors won't change their behavior no matter how many initials you have after your name. The same goes for your nursing colleagues.

By Blogger Ambulance Driver, at Thursday, February 15, 2007 at 6:20:00 PM PST  

Good for you. Doctors are extremely useful, but their training sometimes leads to a pretty narrow approach to medicine. I frankly wouldn't want to be nursed by an MD, or to have an MD be the only person I ever consulted, leaving out Nurse Practitioners and chiropractors.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tuesday, February 20, 2007 at 8:39:00 AM PST  

Getting the saaame questions. I'm glad I found your blog :) I'll be back for sure!

By Blogger SSFB, at Thursday, April 12, 2007 at 10:54:00 AM PDT  

Hi there!
i've seen alot of positive comments about nursing itself all the way in this blog, but i'de like to share with you a particular uncomfortable view over this profession.

As a man who stands for the best in personal care, i'm very disapointed by perceiving that 90% of the nurse comunity are Females!
I truly blame this!!
Why?? It is simple. i never had thought about how would i feel if i had to listen to my girlfriends work "routine"! Yes, she is becoming a nurse and for me that turned out to be a serious threat on our relationship.
I really cant accept the fact that FEMALE nurses actualy have to provide intimate care procedures on MALE pacients, specialy when i found out that very often MALE nurses dont have the same task on FEMALE patients!!! Why is this happening?? Is there an answer??
I truly hate the fact that female nurses have to go trhough this couse in my opinion it ain't easy for their boyfriends or husbands to hear something like this "...today your friend Steven went to the hospital...i had to hold his penis for 5 minutes...so then i inserted a foley catheter into his urethra..."
Now imagine going one day into their jobs site and see that scenario!!! Spooked??
Basicly i cant accept having a Woman or Man, determined to work in contact, involving some oposite patient intimate (sexual organs)care.
Anyway, to me thats a real pain in the ass!
I would just like you to know that this JOB MIGHT NOT BE EASY FOR YOU but IT IS HARDER for those who want to have a important role on your emotional life. And i know that all you nursing staff say is that, these are tasks that must be seen as in a professional context, but do YOU STOP TO THINK ABOUT what effect this could have on your non-nurse emotional partners health??

Thanks for your nice blog!

By Anonymous Richard, at Thursday, June 7, 2007 at 5:08:00 AM PDT  

Richard, I'm somewhat bewildered by your comment. You state "I would just like you to know that this JOB MIGHT NOT BE EASY FOR YOU but IT IS HARDER for those who want to have a important role on your emotional life." It sounds like you are having some personal issues with your girlfriend's career choice. I suggest you express these feelings with her.

In truth, you view the human body much less sexually when you work in an environment where nudity is commonplace and clinical. I wrote something silly in first level about how awkward it was to put in a Foley catheter... but my views have changed. Nudity is nothing. The human body has no inherently secret or evil places. It is what it is.

By Blogger esunasoul, at Thursday, June 7, 2007 at 4:09:00 PM PDT  

Dear Esunasoul, yes i've found out i have a BIG problem and yes i've expressed it to her more often then i would ever like!!!

Anyway, as a person who is an outsider, but as a female nurse boyfriend, I'm sorry i "dived" into her professional "world" far to late to realise how awkward
it is to me!

OBJECTIVELY I think This is all about not wanting to know that my girlfriend "is at this very moment" dealing or touching (as you wanna call it) other males intimal body parts! And on top of it, talking to them and worrying about them!!
(its a wilde scenario to me...like watching a tigger eating is cub not to die from starvation)
Anyway. Have you ever stoped to think there are issues or experiences at your job that u feel you must-nt share with your lover??? Because you know he feels mad about it?? well thats pretty much the situation.
I know the only way out for me, would be steping away from her, but wouldn't it still be an endless drama for us??
Dont take it personally but if there is an answer for this issue, i'd pay to see it!!!

thanks

By Anonymous Richard, at Friday, June 8, 2007 at 4:24:00 AM PDT  

Just one more thing.

I'de also like to hear about other people, not with the same problems necesserly but dating someone who provides intimal care to the opposite sex!

Again thanks

By Anonymous richard, at Friday, June 8, 2007 at 4:45:00 AM PDT  

Richard, you asked "Have you ever stoped to think there are issues or experiences at your job that u feel you must-nt share with your lover??? Because you know he feels mad about it??"

My response is no, there is nothing that happens in my workplace that I would be uncomfortable telling my boyfriend (except HIPPA-protected information, I suppose). Everything I do is strictly professional. My boyfriend knows the gritty details of my work, and has the maturity not to be jealous about such things.

If I handled a male's genitals, I wouldn't feel weird about it. It would be solely to improve the health of my patient. I don't flaunt those aspects of my job in an effort to tease my boyfriend, and he doesn't attempt to control my work life.

I believe this is essential to a healthy relationship, and can't imagine two people fighting over something as silly as placing a catheter in someone's bladder.

I mean... think about it... even in the unlikely case where a patient was pleased that a nurse touched him "down there", he'd quickly become VERY unhappy with her when she shoved that tube in his urethra.

By Blogger esunasoul, at Friday, June 8, 2007 at 2:27:00 PM PDT  

Well its not only urethral catheterization issue that bothers me.
But i’de like you to know:
In first place, i'm not a jealous person kind, not even close to that at all! Amazed?!!
2nd, I'm a 25 years old guy, matured enough for you.
3th, I dont fight with her over this. I fight against myself instead.
4th, my girlfriend wouldn’t tease me with those aspects of your job.
5th, I don’t try to control her job either, as i stated on the first line.
6th, “Placing a catheter in someone's bladder” is silly enough if done to the opposite sex, in my opinion! I WOULD NEVER ADMIT SUCH THING, IF WITH ME.
...I could go on down here but i’m a litle tired, so...

Well I think you missed the point here.
You know what? I don't really care about the patient reactions. Its my girlfriend in touch with other guys sexual intimacy that bothers me! Period.
Now come'on dont bring up the "PATIENT IN PAIN" scenario cause, as you and I well know, nurses have alot of others, concerning intimal care!
Ex:
What about the guy with is arms injuried, not able to bathe himself....?? or the preoperatory genital shaving...what if he is one of your boyfrined’s friend??? what i nice site for him haaa!!!...
Ok. some are very unlikely to take place, but still are anoying!
You dont want me to discribe them all do you?

So since you are NOT so different from all the others, and you also have “sexual fantasies” like everyone else, and you know that not all of your patients are properly “NERDS”, and few of them can easily “TURN YOU ON” somehow.
Then I have some questions:
Does your boyfriend know this?
For exemple: Don’t you get uncomfortable when you walk on the beach with your boyfriend, surrounded by topless girls( which is far less a big deal to me, then your “gritty work details”) and you are exposed to that fact.
Don’t you feel a little disconfort by percieving that he is JUST “LOOKING” to them and you have no idea what its going on is mind??
We all look at naked people, its true and yes we’re all equally “equipped”! LOLLL
But why have to go through this?? Arn’t there enough male nurses to do these procedures on males???

Let me just remind you that opposite sexual care its not a normal delegated practice in some countries. Unfortunately mine is not one of them... 
I'd also like to say i find this quote of yours very interesting "Everything I do is strictly professional."
Honestly, i've heard that a lot times, mostly from strippers and hookers! (dont take it personal)

Anyway you’ve got to admit there are situations in your job, people just hate to talk about and so they prefer to silent their own feelings thoughts.

Thanks again

By Anonymous richard, at Friday, June 8, 2007 at 8:01:00 PM PDT  

Let me just cut all the bullshit and go straight to the point!

Why don't you female nurses ask your boyfriends or husbands to be present on a intimate male care proceedure performed by yourselfs?! Just to watch their faces...
Well I haven't been through that but i'm pretty aware to know i would not tolerate that act at all!!!
Honestly you shouldn't do that Esunasoul but, if your boyfriend is as mature as you say, why don't you try?!

By Anonymous Richard, at Friday, June 8, 2007 at 9:00:00 PM PDT  

OK let's just cut with the bullshit and go straight up to the point!

Why don't you female nurses ask your boyfriends to be present in one of your genital male care proceedures?? just to see their faces!!!
I've never been through that cause i can clearly imagine it and i'm pretty much aware, i would not tolerate the act.

But you Esunasoul? if you think your boyfriend is mature enough for that as you say...why not try him?

PS: honestly, don't do it;)

By Anonymous Richard, at Friday, June 8, 2007 at 9:11:00 PM PDT  

OK let's just cut with the bullshit and go straight up to the point!

Why don't you female nurses ask your boyfriends to be present in one of your genital male care proceedures?? just to see their faces!!!
I've never been through that cause i can clearly imagine it and i'm pretty much aware, i would not tolerate the act.

But you Esunasoul? if you think your boyfriend is mature enough for that as you say...why not try him?

PS: honestly, don't do it;)

By Anonymous Richard, at Friday, June 8, 2007 at 9:12:00 PM PDT  

Your posts were hard to read to begin with, but they're becoming more and more nonsensical as I read them.

I'm sorry you're in this situation, but since I am having a hard time understanding your words (much less your strange ideas), I will no longer respond to this ridiculous line of conversation.

By Blogger esunasoul, at Friday, June 8, 2007 at 9:17:00 PM PDT  

I agree!

Some nursing proceedures are so "ridiculous" when mentioned outside the job!

I feel sorry for that...

By Anonymous Richard, at Saturday, June 9, 2007 at 4:30:00 AM PDT  

Hey, Richard. I see where you're coming from. My husband is a male nurse who works in an ER, and some of the procedures he does makes me very upset when I think about it. I hate that he frequently sees nudity in its various forms. I have to force the thoughts way down deep most of the time. But it does bother me very much to think that he's catherizing a woman or giving her an EKG (no shirt allowed) or rectal exam.

In fact, I've been trying to find information on this subject, which is how I stumbled across this blog.

I too often wonder if there's ever arousal for my husband or a reason for me to be jealous--but then again, my husband is also a sexual addict, so, I suppose my situation is not quite the norm.

Honest to God, I don't see why they can't have a male nurse handle male patients and have a female nurse do these procedures on females--unless, of course, it's an emergency.

Myself, I'd insist on a female. :-)


Betty

By Blogger BrokenHeart, at Saturday, July 14, 2007 at 3:50:00 AM PDT  

I there betty!

In first place, thanks for posting!
We all know what the nursing books say about this issue, that this procedures should be done by people of same sex! But still, we don't see it in practice:/
As you know, i'm a victim of this problem.
I'm dating her for two years, and we are so in love, its our will to be forever!
She is a student nurse who just finished her studies and is now looking for a job.
I know she is poor...so she really needs to start working, as her scholarship is over:(
Today, she moved back home so i helped her out with the task.
As i was putting some of her curriculums together i started making some questions based on the moment.
So i asked her, what where her chances of having a nurse job, that didn't involve intimate contact with male patients!
but...what the hell was i thinking?? i was making questions, to get answers i already know!!!! you see?
...i just kept on with that, and ruined our last day here.
Then i had one of the most terrible feelings, when asked her if her first intimate contact with a male, was on her internship (just for record, i'm her first boyfriend) obviusly the answer was a shy ...yes:/
After this my heart "stoped" and i felt like going nuts!!!
How come this happens?????
i went so mental when i drived her home, that i had to stop for a couple of times as anger took the wheel...
Now i'm having the worst feeling
you can possibly have:
loving someone that helps other people but ruins your life in the process:(
After we got there, i was about to leave and, she asked me in tears and convulsions, if that was it...if we were breaking up.
i didn' answer but instead i said, that all those questions shouldn't've been made in first place.
i've handled too much so far still have no clue about what else can be done to save us. But as time goes by, i see no other way out apart from breaking up:(

By Anonymous Richard, at Sunday, July 22, 2007 at 7:03:00 PM PDT  

Nursing is the SHIT!! LOL. I have been asked the same question. Not only by random people but also by doctors."Oh you are so smart, you should go to med school" they say. Uh, hello, it takes a smart person to "suggest" to a doc to write orders for interventions we have been doing anyway AND still make them think it was their idea. I thought that nursing may not have been the best profession b/c all of the people i know are PAs and are making 70K/year and have gone to school the same amount of time I did. BUT, nursing was the best choice. We are the heart of the hospital and of patient care. What we do is the major factor of a patient's outcome.

By genetic predisposition, I am an asshole...so, the next time people say "why didn't you go to med school?" Look them square in the eye and ask "What are you doing with your life. Oh, you work at walmart. How can you possibly know what is a good decision?" I know its mean, but its meaner when people down your choices!

See ya at graduation Miss Keys

By Anonymous B.Armstrong, at Monday, July 30, 2007 at 6:48:00 PM PDT  

I feel your pain. I've received the same sort of misinformed comments from people I know, (mostly from my current job peers) but thankfully, my family has been more than supportive in my choices. Hang in there!

By Blogger Robb Hindle, at Wednesday, December 26, 2007 at 7:34:00 AM PST  

As a BSN honors grad and now former nurse I can tell you that one thing nursing isn't is a profession. Sadly it never will be. Why? Because nurses as a group cannot or will not focus and agree on the requirements to be a profession. As such it is nothing more than another vocation. Before you get all bent out of shape, contrast it to the prominent professions and also realize that the only profession that is recognized without requisite graduate education ( much less an assoccites degree or diploma) is engineering. Beyond these shortcomings, hospital administrators are not stupid and they will use nurses against each other to prevent nursing from reaching professional status because it saves them money. Nurse directors are either guilible or uncaring enough to see these plans to fruition, and finally nurses who surive long are jaded, uncaring, fake, or spend so much time covering ther ass that actually providing good care to the pateint is impossible. This is why I left the field after a year. Why work terrible hours, never see your family, and be abused by the system, patients and backstabbing fellow nurses to make a pitiful salary and be over worked? The saddest part is that most of the nurses I worked with would rather gossip about you behind your back or report you for making a procedural error instead of helping you or teaching you. Eating their young is still a very applicable analogy for nursing

By Anonymous Saw the light......you will too!, at Thursday, January 10, 2008 at 9:13:00 PM PST  

Saw The Light,

I have only been in nursing school for two weeks, and one of my classmates is acting like these nurses you describe. Our professors told us about this horizontal nurse-on-nurse violence, so I guess she's giving me a taste of it now. Thankfully the rest of my classmates are nice, well adjusted people, so I remain hopeful that I will work with nice people once I graduate. I hope you enjoy your new profession.

Heather,

You sound like a delightful young woman. Your compassion for the mentally ill is heart warming. Good luck with your nursing endeavors.

Kate

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Monday, October 20, 2008 at 1:50:00 PM PDT  

i agree with this post! i feel for you! =)

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 1:43:00 PM PDT  

I have just now, in 2011, found your blog. And I love it. You are well-spoken and have an excellent perspective of the profession (I am in my 2nd year of nursing).

Kudos! I hope you will write more!

By Blogger Pammi, at Monday, January 10, 2011 at 8:49:00 PM PST  

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