Registered Nurse…hated nursing school, but enjoying the flexibility.

I am a Registered Nurse, currently working as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Geriatric Nursing. I have been a Nurse for 22 years-that in itself is amazing, because I absolutly hated Nursing School. I fainted dead away at my first clinical rotation site. My instructor told me I’d never be a Nurse. (For all Nursing students- trust your own judgement- not that of your nursing instructors) My second clinical instructor thought I was great as a Nurse. I learned not to trust the opinion of instructors.

I was so unsure of myself I joined the Military right after graduation-I figured I was theirs for three years, even if I was the worst Nurse ever! The Military did offer me a 5 month Nurse internship program, which allows the new Nurse to gradually learn the Role of a Nurse, with a supportive Mentor. The lesson here is no one is ready to be a Nurse right out of school. I did general medical surgical nursing in the military, and was sent to Flight Nurse School. That was fun!

After I left the military, I stayed in the reserves as a Flight Nurse. Lesson three: Nursing offers great job flexibility and part time opportunities! In civilian life, I worked Medical Surgical nursing in hospitals, home health nursing in the community, and did some agency nursing for extra money. Again- if you don’t like one type nursing, try another- it’s important to fit yourself to the type nursing that’s right for you. I also worked Psychiatric nursing.

Good things about nursing jobs also include good pay for “off tour” shifts- working evenings or nights- this allows you to do other things with your life, like take care of family, or go to school.

I went back to grad school, working part time evenings in a hospital-and because of the pay differential for evenings, I made as much money as if I’d been working full time days. The hospital offered me a management job when I graduated. I soon found that management wasn’t for me- at least long term-I really enjoy working with patients and thier families. Fortunately there are good paying nursing jobs that are clinical, not management.

Lesson 4-keep up. Although I’ve been a nurse for a long time- I have kept up by going to school and getting certified in a specialty. I’ve never had any trouble getting a job as a nurse. Even in the days of downsizing, it was possible to get work if you were willing to work in home health or outpatient areas. I have worked as a nurse in 5 different states-my husband is transferred a lot in his job-I work for a large government agency as a nurse, and have been able to transfer with no loss of grade. I am currently working as a Nursing instructor-helping new grads make the transition into nursing.

What makes me happy? Flexibility, the ability to transfer when we move, the pay, being able to be creative

I did quit a nursing job once- it was in a private home health agency (for profit)My boss didn’t have any ethical standards- and I felt patient care suffered-

Another down side to nursing- risks of getting a blood borne disease like HIV or hepatitis from a needlestick or blood exposure. I’ve had two friends exposed to HIV through needlesticks-both got immediate medication and never got HIV, but it really tore them up worring about it.