There is this friend of mine who wanted to go to beauty school but decided she wanted to become a nurse instead. She and I took Chemistry and English 102 together and the other day she texted me about nursing. I asked her why she changed her fields and she told me that she wanted to be a nurse because it was a glamorous job. Uh… no it’s not, it’s actually a stressful, tough and at times very disgusting job, but I let her continue. She has this idea in her head that:
- She can go from point A (no degree in nursing) to point B (a degree in nursing) without having to ever touch a patient. (This includes IV’s, shots, cleaning up urine or feces, or deal with any bodily fluids in general.)
- She thinks that nursing is like on TV where the nurse gets to make out with a hot doctor in a linen closet
- That only the “lesser” nurses have to do the disgusting parts.
Needless to say, I shot that way of thinking down immediately.
It got me thinking. How many people think it is all glamorous and making out with hot doctor’s? So, given that this blog is about my journey towards my dream and my goal is to help out anyone along the way, I’m writing this post to explain the career of nursing. My professor actually told us this lesson, but I didn’t truly believe her until I got the text the other day.
There is no way that by going into nursing that you will never have to work with a patient. There is no way you will never have to clean up a patient with soiled linen or briefs or not put in IV’s. You will deal with urine and poo and you will learn how to treat a patient because that is your job. You have to keep the patient warm, clean, dry and as healthy as possible in their present condition and help them leave the facility better than when they came; if not in body, then in spirit depending on their condition.
I have looked into quite a few nursing school requirements and the Nursing Assistant Certification course is mandatory before going in. The NAC course is your first taste of nursing, it’s what “makes it or breaks it”. And in clinicals you will be dealing with ALL bodily fluids. I’ve taken the course, and in clinicals I dealt with all of the above (except IV’s) and it really isn’t as bad as you’re probably imagining. You enter this way of thinking, my professor called it “nurse mode”, and you get the job done because it has to be done.
Nursing is not like TV. It is far from glamorous and there is no making out in a linen closet with the Surgeon down the hall. (You can actually get fired for that and have your nursing license taken away.) Your job is to help your patients, administer IV’s, medicine, etc. Every part of nursing goes through clinicals, which is like a test after you learned the material in class and on your healthy classmates. I can guarantee you the number one thing you are dreading right now (for me it was peri-care, also known as genitalia care), you will do and find out it was nothing! In fact most of your patients can’t clean up themselves! You have to think how they must be feeling….
The biggest issue I had with my friend’s reasons weren’t the above. She would have figured out that the job was far from glamorous the minute she enrolled in the nursing program. No, the hugest issue I saw was the mentality that there is such a thing as a “lesser” nurses. There is no such thing as a “lesser” nurse. RN’s tend to see Nursing Assistants as under them but they aren’t. NAC’s are closer to the patient then any nurse and RN’s depend on NAC’s to tell them when a patient’s vitals have changed, when they notice something different, when equipment is broken or not working correctly. Sure, every nurse has more or less degrees, or training but that doesn’t make them less than anyone else! That mentality of thinking will do you more harm them good.
That’s the real truth, Nursing isn’t like TV, and it’s actually doing some good in the world and not being afraid to get your hands dirty. It’s working with others to help people without getting an ego because in the end it took the entire village (hospital, nursing home, hospice, etc.) to care for that patient and everyone had a part in it. Don’t ever think for a moment that ANYONE is better than you or you are better than them because we are all equal. My professor used to say every day at the beginning of class that “Nurses are born, not made.” I think I agree with her on that one.