My Education: BS, Nursing
My Prior Experience: Though this is my first nursing job, I trained in many different hospitals while I was in college. Before nursing, I had a BA in Sociology and worked for eight years as an computer scientist. This seems totally unrelated, but working with people, managing time wisely and solving problems are common to both careers.
My Company: I work for a hospital that's part of a large network of hospitals.
Job/Career Overview: 1. I need to take care of 5-6 adult patients every day.
2. I need to know how sick each patient is, what treatments they are getting and what the goals are for their recovery. Will they be going home tomorrow after a simple surgery or are they being monitored carefully because they could turn worse and die at any moment?
3. I need to be the advocate and communications focal point for each patient. For example, a patient may be in the hospital because his diabetes took a bad turn, but he also has a heart problem or kidney failure and needs a number of doctors to care for him. The doctors may not all know each other. But I need to know everything.
4. I need to do what the doctors prescribe, changing dressings, inserting IVs, administering medications and checking patients often to make sure they're okay. But I also spend time explaining what's going on to them and how to take care of themselves once they get home. And I have to alert doctors if a problem occurs and schedule appointments with other departments such as X-rays and dialysis.
5. I need to work as part of a team. After twelve hours, I go home. But before I do, I make sure the nurse who follows me has all the information she will need to do her job. Also, I write down everything.
More Insights: Be proud of what you do because although some people think it's more prestigious to be a doctor than a nurse, our work gives us more time with each patient, so you really can care for the whole person. Doctors get paid more, but they earn it with very long hours and with very little time for each patient.
Being outgoing or friendly is not necessary. Quiet people listen and patients need people to listen to them.
Men make great nurses, especially when working in teams because they bring a different perspective or can be very decisive in a crisis.
I rate this career 10 out of 10.
Every nurse I talk to has different likes and dislikes. I like doing wound care. It's interesting and I love seeing the wounds healing and the patient looking better and better each day. Also I get to talk to my patients while doing that, so I can be caring and comforting. Other nurses hate it because it deals with pus, blood, staples and seeing open skin, sometimes to the bone. Also, I work only three days a week (12 hour shifts). I get 4 day weekends. Yay!
The worst part of my job is having to write everything down. I think it takes too much time and I ramble.
1. Pay attention in science and math. Nurses do a lot of that.
2. Go to community college or university because you can be an RN with either.
3. Part-time or summer jobs as nursing assistants or transporters, taking patients around the hospital in wheel chairs or stretchers, will give you a really close look at how all the team members work with each other. You may decide you don't want to be a nurse. You might want to be a case manager or radiologist. We all work together.