Tuesday, February 07, 2006


My sister talked me into becoming a nurse.
She loved it and more importantly she loved the money. Nursing, is by no means a way to get rich but it will provide a steady, predictable income with respectable benefits until you retire or die..Whatever comes first.
I started nursing school with the eagerness only an adult learner carrying a student loan can.
I loved it. Anatomy and pathology is endlessly fascinating and in a controlled supportive atmosphere nursing seemed like a piece of cake. What I didn't know was it was all lies.
I learned this when I graduated and I was expected to be a "real" nurse on my first day.
It was the worst kind of culture shock. Like going to Turkey and forgetting about the hash in your purse.
Nursing is all about controlling the environment and controlling time. Nurses are fanatical about everything in it's place..well intensive care nurses are (which is where I ended up) because not being able to find something fucks up time and place. Then the patient dies..no I am just kidding, we usually find whatever it was before they die.
I discovered that in the US nurses are actually considered professionals and generally are well respected. In Canada our patients treat us like special needs yard help.
It is truly disheartening to save someone's life and when they wake up they curse,bitch and whine endlessly. At this point in my career I no longer hear them but for a new nurse it is painful. One more thing to consider before choosing nursing.
The other thing..no matter what service you choose, emerg,icu,dermatology you can never escape incontinent patients. You will always be cleaning someone's butt, accept and be at piece with the poo.
I have been quite lucky and have only been assaulted three times . I have been punched,kicked and bitten once.
Old people go a little bonkers in the hospital.The new drugs,new environment and overstimulation can make them violent. Take that violence/assault course..learn how to escape chokeholds and arm holds, it will come in handy at least once a year.
Once you become a nurse and find a job go to work with a plan to find a better job. More importantly keep going to school and get your degree. You do not want to be a bedside nurse at fifty five.
Nursing is at its core heavy physical labour, no back can survive twenty years of bedside nursing so get your degree, get into an ICU where your patient ratio drops to one or two and you have ten times more help. Hopefully you will move into a charge or educator role and never do direct patient care again! That is considered winning the nursing lotto.
I never got my degree and I will be that sad hunched fifty five year old with the limp at the bedside..heh..sounds downright tragic..
Nursing ain't easy. Research the hell out of it before investing your student loan money. If you must be a nurse pick a degree program only. In Canada you have no choice but if you are in the US avoid the associate degree, it's a lifetime sentence of grunt work. Get the degree and then get a specialty certificate.
Honestly,I love nursing. I love saving people. I like doing the little things that make them comfortable,it satisfies some need I have. Make sure, before you spend your money, that caring for another human being (warts and all) makes you happy.
Make sure you understand that people live and people die and that is nature. If you think that dying is an act of aggressive perversion that must be stopped at all costs? Try research.


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