Would You Ever Discourage Someone From Becoming A Nurse?

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

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I love the profession of nursing. I genuinely believe that nursing is one of THE greatest professions out there. Period.

We have such a diverse number of career path choices, and have few limitations when considering a lateral career change. We can move to different aspects of our profession without great burden.

But as much as I want to express my unwavering fervor for everything nursing, there are aspects of this profession that give me pause.

Would I ever discourage someone from being a nurse?

I think the answer would be a resounding “no,” but I would follow or even preface my answer with some warnings about certain aspects of our profession.

These aspects are not unique or entirely different from those of most other careers out there. The red tape you have to walk along and the bureaucratic hoops you have to jump through are just as exhausting. We spend a great deal of time defining and defending our jobs, instead of actually doing our jobs.

If I had to issue a list of warnings, these would be the things to think about before you take the head-first plunge into nursing:

  • You better grow thick skin, because the browbeating is endless, from all walks of life.
  • Our profession IS mostly women (it’s a fact, not an opinion). Like it or not, there IS a cattiness to the atmosphere. Not all nurses can be trusted. There is always drama.
  • The hospital environment is like a soap opera. “These are the days of our lives” is a surreal joke. Some people never actually leave high school.
  • Your job does become your life. Figure out a way to keep them separate.
  • You impact lives. Real human beings and their well-being is at stake. Calling off, not caring and shortcutting affects lives. If you can’t accept that heavy responsibility, do not become a nurse.
  • Whatever you do, don’t dare think Hollywood’s definition of a nurse is accurate in any way, shape or form.
  • Don’t do this for the money. You’ll waste everyone’s time, and you’ll end up putting someone at risk for injury.
  • Contrary to what you may think, not everyone can actually DO this job. It’s not all pills, poop and plungers.

It’s a short list, but an important one. Would you every discourage someone from becoming a nurse? I’d love to hear why.


This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

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15 COMMENTS

  1. Excellent remarks. I wish someone would have discouraged me from obtaining my BSN. I never realized what I eas hetting into!
    I would tather stick to my profession as an LMT, then be a nurse anyday!
    I will say I did enjoy working in psych corrections. Empathy is a must have in that particular environment.
    It truly was a great experience.
    My dream was to obtain my DPT, but got to old to fast and the cost!!
    Thanks for listening! Xo

  2. Nursing has gone to the dogs and I came from a patient technician to LPN to associate RN and then my BSN. Yes you have to have a thick skin being a nurse or else you will get walked over by the patient’s your peers and the doctors. I love being a nurse but at times it is challenging and hectic.

  3. It makes me sad to read that Diploma RNs are somehow better trained than BSNs. I worked as a Nurse extern while going through school which helped me to be prepared for the workforce. And, yes I do feel that I received very good training in my BSN program. I wanted to be a nurse and was encouraged by a nurse with a Diploma/ADN to go for my BSN right off the bat as she felt that was the way of the future. Now more than 30 years later, I am seeing that this was a true statement. I think the calling to be a nurse is just that a calling. NO mater what the training/degree is you have to want the career. I agree that starting out as an aide or even a volunteer like a candy striper might give one an idea of what a nurse does on a day to day basis. I encourage anyone interested in becoming a nurse to start this way to see if this is for them.

  4. I believe that if you want to be a nurse you need to put in the time in the classroom and earn your degree. Now with all the for profit schools out there the nursing profession is not the honorable and valuable career it used to be. Nursing is not easy be any means and if you don’t have the necessary nursing judgment significant errors are made. I have been asked many times, if nursing pays well. My answer is, “it pays what you are worth. It pays what you are willing to put into it. It pays you at the end of the day when you go home and you can rest your head and say “I did my job today. It pays you when you can hold someone’s hand and comfort them.” If anyone is thinking about going into nursing for the pay, don’t do it. You will be miserable.

  5. It hurts me to read the above comments.i recently retired after 45 years in bedside nursing.You do need a tough skin and yes times have changed immensely.I have never regretted being a nurse.That said,I would tell the person interested in nursing the truth about the long hours and bullying by patients,doctors and other nurses.The compassion has gone in this profession.It is different in this “ me “ society.

  6. god yes I hate nursing the patients have changed since I started nursing they are disrespectful when you are trying to help them so many drug addicts that blame you when you had nothing to do with there choices
    it just sucks being a nurse wish I had picked a different choice of careers

    • Ann,there are so many things you can do in nursing these days.It really sounds like you need to look in to a different nursing job that isn’t direct patient care.Please do this because if you aren’t happy you are doing your patients no good.

    • Yes you are so right the patients today are very disrespful and also the doctors. If I had a daughter i would discourage her from being a nurse.

  7. I discourage a lot of people from becoming a nurse. Constant stress and lack of help, people yelling at you all the time your late or not doing enough and lack of government support are a few reasons. Working weekends and holidays when everyone else has paid holidays off and weekends off. Going all day without food trying to finish a med pass and treatments. It does a job on your health over time and nobody cares. A few patients and families appreciate your efforts which help but the nursing world is going down.

  8. Yes. I have told a friend that I know very well to never be a nurse. She would not be able to handle the levels of responsibility and pressure in the job. That said, I so, so agree with the comment by Amy above. Being a CNA is what drew me to the profession.

    • My God ,woman, bless you. We need more hands on nurses. A CNA is worth her weight in gold if she does her job right. The trouble is so many become discouraged and are made to feel less than. Give me a couple good CNAs and I can rule the floor. I wish though they would pay more. Hands on care is so important.

  9. I’m not a nurse but I work in Radiology and this article summed up Radiology as well. Radiology , especially MRI is a very stressful career. I get asked all of the time if I like my career and a lot of 18-21 year olds asking me and people who want to start a second career. I always tell them don’t do it. Having thick skin is such a tiny component in Radiology. I wish someone told me not to do it and why. Now I’m back in school for a second career.

  10. I am a Diploma graduate, a Registered Nurse, I am saddened by what I have seen, what happened to head to toe assessments on patients ? The personal touch and educating the patient seems to be lacking. As a patient I had to ask if my intake and output was being noted as I had a severe kidney infection, my fever broke, and I had to ask and wait for fresh linen as mine was soaked. And I had to change it myself. The nurse came in and asked me questions and put it into the computer, never touched me, or what if I was confused ? I don’t know, but, when I was working, educating the patient was part of our duties, and taking care of the whole patient, not just what they were admitted for. I felt like I was being taken care of by robotic machines, sorry, just my opinion. I would square off with a Bachelor’s degree anyday and still feel the Diploma nurses are the best.

  11. I would not discourage anyone from becoming a nurse with this one caveat: I think anyone who wants to go to nursing school should have to get a CNA license and work as an aide for 6 months prior to applying to nursing school. If a person can’t hack it as an aide, they won’t be able to manage as a nurse and they might as well learn right away that’s it’s hard work.

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