Tell me about being a nurse...(and also my issues...beware)

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I've got a bachelor's in a business-type discipline, but I'm getting sick and worried about having to depend on office jobs and how I look to the guys who work there for my livlihood. I feel I'll be going from one bottom of the barrell pay, dead-end job to another, having to interview face-to-face with people who are rating me partially on my looks forever...What will I do when I'm older? It is hard if you get laid off or something when you are an older woman...especially when you weren't a babe when you were 25. Being single basically means that you'd be out on the street...or work two crap jobs alongside 20 year olds to make ends meet. That's why I want to go to CC to be a LPN.

I know that a lot of nurses are pretty and patients want to have pretty nurses work on them, but I could work with old people or retarded people or something. I'd always be able to find a job, no matter what age I was, and I could work longer hours if I wanted to make extra money. I might even work three 12 hour nights in a row or something...that would be good for me. Cleaning up poo and being treated like a second-class citizen by my co-workers would be bad, but at least I would have a pretty secure job with a livable wage. I wouldn't have to worry about not having enough money to save for retirement, or being out of work when I'm older because I'm not hot. Plus, I'd be doing something MEANINGFUL (which should be most important). I'm nice and care about people...and I'm good with the elderly and such.

Do I have it right? Is nursing really what I think it is? Please tell me all you can about it...good and bad...every little detail. I know it would be difficult waiting 4 years and studying after working a full-time job somewhere else, but I think it would be worth it. Then, I would try to get a BSN...maybe.

I really need a plan to have some stability in my life.
Well...I'm confused. Are you saying that nurses are poop-cleaning second-class citizens, but you wouldn't mind doing it because of the job security?

There are ugly and pretty people in all professions. I really don't see what looks has to do with anything. You should go into nursing because that's what you want to do, not because you're worried about losing your looks and supporting yourself in your old age.

An LPN (also called LVN in some states) generally only takes a year, not 4 years. You can get an RN with an AS degree in 2 years, and a BSN in 4 years. LPN's earn a lot less, and a lot of hospitals don't even hire LPN's, so it's more of a nursing home/doctor's office type of nursing. There are so many areas and specialties of nursing, so you'd really need to narrow it down if you want such minute details.
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ETA: I think what is called a LPN in your state is a CNA here. A RN, I thought, is someone who has a 4 year degree.

I'm saying 4 years b/c that is what the local CC says it will take if I go to school at night. I'm thinking that it would take me a little less because I have the liberal arts stuff done with my BS?

LPNs don't make as much as RNs, but the average here makes 10k more than I make now. I doubt if I'll make 10k more in 3 years. It might not be a lot of money, but it is a guaranteed living wage, which I don't make now. I don't even know if I'll EVER get a job paying 30k, seeing how things are going. Plus, I plan on keeping my PT job, and going on to the RN fairly quickly.

Career paths in offices all tend to go towards something that has to do with dealing with a lot of people and convincing them of things...which takes good looks. Ugly people don't tend to advance in office jobs...unless they're brilliant or have specialized skills...I'd need to advance a bit in an office job to get what even an LPN makes.

Oh...and when you are female, single, coming from a not so rich family, and not good-looking, you absolutely have to worry about $$$. What you WANT to do is out the window. I can make myself want to do it.

About the second class citizen thing...others have said this about being a nurse. I have that everywhere, so it doesn't make a difference to me.

I have to be specialized to get a job as an LPN? I thought it would be fairly easy.
Wow...
I think you really need to find out what a nurse does. Also, there are different types of nurses. Surgical nurses, critical care nurses.
They all don't go around cleaning crap up.
Some even have to save a person.
My sister has her BSN.
I really think patients and the family of patients want a nurse that knows what the hell they are doing rather that what he or she looks like.
It makes no sense that it takes 4 years to get an LPN. I think you're confused. CC's generally don't even offer LPN. They offer 2 year RN with associate's degrees. Technical schools are where most LPN's train. Tech schools are sometimes part of CC's though. Some CC's offer LPN to RN ladder programs.

If I were looking at becoming a nurse, I'd go right for the RN, rather than doing the extra work of becoming an LPN first.
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Wow...
I think you reallyneed to find out what a nurse does. Also, there are different types of nurses. Surgical nurses, critical care nurses.
They all don't go around cleaning crap up.
Some even have to save a person.
My sister has her BSN.
[/b]I really think patients and the family of patients want a nurse that knows what the hell they are doing rather that what he or she looks like.[/b]
Originally Posted by curlylew66
What is bolded is why I think I should be a nurse. I am book and school-smart, and that doesn't get me anywhere in the business world. I think that my social abilities would come out more in an atmosphere of care as well.

I know a lot of nurses are burned out and call themselves butt-wipers. I'm gearing myself up for a lot of nay-sayers here.

Of course I know nurses have a wonderful, important responsibility. I kinda want to be a RN who works in research eventually. I know that there are the ER ones, and the recovery room ones, and the surgical assistant ones...
ETA: I think what is called a LPN in your state is a CNA here. A RN, I thought, is someone who has a 4 year degree.

No. LPN/LVN is a nursing classification in every state. A CNA is an assistant. They don't have licenses like nurses do, they just have certificates. You can become a CNA in as little as 4-6 weeks in some places.

An RN can be obtained in 2 years of full-time school, which usually comes with an associate's degree. You can practice as an RN without having a 4 year BSN degree.

I think you need to go back to the CC and get more info, because you are confused.

I never felt like a second-class person when practicing my nursing. Not even when I was cleaning up crap. Frankly, I only cleaned up crap while in school, not as a practicing RN.
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ETA: I think what is called a LPN in your state is a CNA here. A RN, I thought, is someone who has a 4 year degree.

No. LPN/LVN is a nursing classification in every state. A CNA is an assistant. They don't have licenses like nurses do, they just have certificates. You can become a CNA in as little as 4-6 weeks in some places.

An RN can be obtained in 2 years of full-time school, which usually comes with an associate's degree. You can practice as an RN without having a 4 year BSN degree.

I think you need to go back to the CC and get more info, because you are confused.

I never felt like a second-class person when practicing my nursing. Not even when I was cleaning up crap. Frankly, I only cleaned up crap while in school, not as a practicing RN.
Originally Posted by RedCatWaves
I just looked again. It says advanced placement is available for LPNs. It says you can sit for the registered nurse exam after all of the courses listed...so I was confused. What is the difference between an RN and a BSN then? Also, if I can be an LPN in a year and make 10K more...

You're a more positive person than a lot of the nurses I've heard of. So many complain and act like it is like being in the pits of hell. I just don't people to think that I think it is all sunshine and rainbows.

I didn't mean I have no social skills at work...it is just that no one cares there.

Being a nurse was the last thing I wanted to do growing up. I thought it was like being a doctor's slave. Now, I see how respectable it is. I don't like the prospect of meaningless, sit in a cube, office work for the rest of my life. I don't want to feel totally useless to society.
My friend LOVES being a nurse. She went through a few different hospitals though before she foudn one she liked. It was really easy for her to find jobs though b/c nursing is in such demand. She had to clean up poop at first, but now she is more in charge of some other nurses. She enjoys helping people adn has enjoyed the good money! The downside is that it can be a heartbreaking job. People die, you see terrible things,etc.
A closed mind is a wonderful thing to lose.

"...you could have a turd on your head and no one would notice."~Subbrock

"I had an imaginary puppy, but my grandpa ate him."~Bailey
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And also...do people kill people by accident a lot? Or more likely, do people not keep people alive that could have been? Is it easy to make a bad mistake, or are there procedures in place that pretty much prevent that?

Can you buy your own scrubs? Do you have to wear your hair a certain way? What do you use on your hands so they don't get chapped?

You can tell me anything you want, from the serious to the superficial. Any input is appreciated. I like to have a full picture in my mind before I do anything.
Being a nurse was the last thing I wanted to do growing up. I thought it was like being a doctor's slave. Now, I see how respectable it is. I don't like the prospect of meaningless, sit in a cube, office work for the rest of my life. I don't want to feel totally useless to society.

That's the reason I became a nurse...after 12 years of pushing paper in the soul-less pharmaceutical industry, I wanted to do something meaningful. Nursing is meaningful.

I don't have either an ASN or a BSN degree. I went to a diploma program and have just an RN and a diploma. There aren't a lot of diploma programs around anymore though. My RN license is the same as someone who has a degree. A BSN program has more emphasis on management and community education. Any RN can work as a staff nurse and the pay is the same. If you want to do nursing management, you'd need a BSN. Many nursing specialties require certifications that you generally acquire after nursing school, either on-the-job or through additional training. Nursing school only gives you the basics.

Do nurses kill people? Generally not on purpose, but it does happen. Mistakes happen. There are policies and procedures in place to try to prevent errors, but ultimately, it's the RN's responsibilty to practice safely. It's a huge responsibility, not to be taken lightly.

Uniforms and scrubs vary widely by institution. Hair should be back and out of the way. Jewelry should be kept to a minimum. This is for everyone's safety...the nurse as well as the patient. The only thing that ever bothered my hands was latex. Latex allergies affect many healthcare workers, so the medical industry has tried to minimize latex in recent years.

Nursing is a respected profession in it's own right. They aren't doctor's handmaidens anymore.
Nursing is one of those professions that is incredibly misportrayed or misunderstood, but I will add my two cents...

I think most patients would agree that above anything they would want a nurse that is skilled, competent, and able to communicate to their needs, regardless of how they look or what age they are.

The discipline of nursing is not beneath the discipline of medicine. They are co-disciplines. Nursing is meeting someone's needs until they or someone else can care for them. You are the patient advocate. It can be stressful and you may have to deal with people (including co-workers) who think they can treat you a certain way, but that may be true in any profession. It can be annoying when patients think you are just there to answer call bells or you are short-staffed. And there are nurses who complain. That just brings up another point: Nursing is stressful, true, but it can be awesome, and awesome for the people who find it as a good match for them.
There are also different opportunities. You could hate one area and love another. Right now I am interviewing with some great research jobs, but I know I could do bedside even occasionally if I miss it too much.

I have never felt like a second-class citizen. I went to a top university, now have my masters (not to toot my horn, but just showing options), and coordinate care for neonatal patients everyday. That means bagging them, blood work, IVs, constant assessment, education--I am at their bedside all day using critical thinking skills and often when our families come back to visit it's the nurses they ask to see. And guess what, sometimes bathing and wiping are very valuable assessment times! (I may be biased b/c it's easier with the little ones ...I think you should not go into whatever career you are thinking like you are "second class"; otherwise pple may pick up on those cues also.

I would recommend if you start classes seeing if you can "shadow" a nurse for a day and see what it's like. Also, be aware that while you would have a steady salary, sometimes other benefits like retirement are not that great, depending on the hospital. Good luck.t.
If you kill people by accident?
Slinky1 are you really asking this seriously?
You will lose your job. Never work again and probably end up in jail.

Nurses care for patients, nurses SAVE lives or try to make the patient as comfortable as possible.
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If you kill people by accident?
Slinky1 are you really asking this seriously?
You will lose your job. Never work again and probably end up in jail.

Nurses care for patients, nurses SAVE lives or try to make the patient as comfortable as possible.
Originally Posted by curlylew66
Re-read my post. I said not keep someone alive that really could have been. I meant pushed someone over who was on the fence between living or dying...when they could have been pushed the other way if you were more careful...and everyone you work with knows it but they keep quiet about it because it happens a lot...But, it still eats at you.

Thanks for all of the good info. I am a little scared to do this...It is a huge responsibility, and you have to be alert after you are tired and worn out. That's not including the night school and late-night clinical work during regular job stresses. I feel like it could be my best option, though.

If I just go to CC to get my RN, will I feel like I have a glass ceiling? Will having a BS in business...and taking some management courses keep me from staying on the same level?

It seems like I've seen nurses with their hair down.
Re-read my post. I said not keep someone alive that really could have been. I meant pushed someone over who was on the fence between living or dying...when they could have been pushed the other way if you were more careful...and everyone you work with knows it but they keep quiet about it because it happens a lot...But, it still eats at you.

No, not that I've ever seen. If anything, the medical industry overtreats and keeps people alive longer than reasonable, rather than undertreats.
You would do everything to keep a patient alive unless there was a
Do Not Resuscitate Order.
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Well, they say that the elderly don't get the same treatment as younger patients with the same ailments.

My grandma had cancer and got all this blood from the hospital...and after a while she was cancer free. But then, she got leukemia and died a quick nasty death...Was it from all the blood she was given...or from the original cancer? Of course, it isn't like the hospital blood is labeled "blood" and "better blood"...
I just graduated from nursing school last spring. I went for 2 years and have my RN/Registered Nurse.

RN - registered nurse takes two years of schooling. From here you can continue on and get your BSN if so desired. However, a BSN is not requred to practice as a registered nurse and the pay is usually the same.

LPN- licensed practical nurses are in low demand. Most hospitals/clinics would just soon hire an RN.

CNA- certified nursing assistant. No college required...just a course in basic nursing cares.

I love nursing. I also have a bachelors degree in education and then decided to return to nursing school. I work on a pediatrics unit. I don't feel like I'm treated as a second class citizen, in fact I get nothing but respect from people when I tell them what I do. Most docs are ok to work with and respect my opinion and care for the patient. And I get to help the medical students/residents who are clueless!!! :P

I cleaned up poop when I was a nursing assistant (CNA) in a nursing home back in high school...which is why I went to college and got a degree and pediatric position.

Nursing is challenging. Very difficult emotionally, physically, and mentally. It takes a very sharp, intelligent, and mentally strong person to do the job (tooting my own horn ). I work 12 hour shifts and have drove home crying on many occasions because I'm just plain wiped out at the end of my day.

You are ultimately in charge for everything in your patient's care...basic cares, medications, reading doctors orders, carrying out doc's orders, calling docs when you have questions at all hours, scheduling appointments/procedures, giving blood, inserting cathetars, inserting IV's, assessing your patient continuously, dealing with family members, knowing how meds react with one another, G-tubes, nasogastric tubes, enemas, emptying urine from a urinal, cleaning up vomit, and in the midst of everything taking phone calls about your patients. And usually you're trying to do all this at once. Multi-tasking and being able to prioritize and delegate are so important!

It's fun. It's crazy. I'd love nursing even more if the patient to nurse ratios were lower.
I won't do floor nursing forever because it's just plain hard work and I can't see myself able to do it physically when I'm old. But there are plenty of other opportunities for nurses out there.

Nursing school is tough. Basically give everything up for a couple years to get thru it and then you have to pass boards when you're finished in order to practice.
I have a BSN. Worked as a nurse for a bunch of years, now I have left the area. Not sure what else to say in this thread... My experience of nursing doesn't quite match the questions...Kinda.
I have worked in many different fields: psychiatry (depression, psychosis and ER unit) , spinal cord injuries, Heart intensive care, internal medicine. All different. You got to pick what fits you. It is hard work, lots of responsibility. Stress.
Some love it others can't wait to do something else.

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Nursing is challenging. Very difficult emotionally, physically, and mentally. It takes a very sharp, intelligent, and mentally strong person to do the job (tooting my own horn ). I work 12 hour shifts and have drove home crying on many occasions because I'm just plain wiped out at the end of my day.

I won't do floor nursing forever because it's just plain hard work and I can't see myself able to do it physically when I'm old. But there are plenty of other opportunities for nurses out there.

Nursing school is tough. Basically give everything up for a couple years to get thru it and then you have to pass boards when you're finished in order to practice.
Originally Posted by Krazyblondegurl
That really clears things up.

I'm worried that I'm too mentally slow to do it. It might take me an extra minute or so to do things...and that might be my downfall.

I like the physical aspect of it for right now...but I see your point.

So, I guess I should consider not working while I go to school...Even if I just do the one or two courses they suggest for night school...That would be an income loss.

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