By Glenn Fredenburg, September 2015
I remember stepping on campus the first day of my (RN) nursing classes; full of excitement and hope, surrounded by other eager faces filing into the lecture hall, wondering who was going to be first to drop out. The college traditionally started about 80 people first-year and graduated about 20 or 30; 70 was passing, and the instructors held the line.
The first question the instructors asked the group was “Who among you came to nursing to make big money for relatively easy work?” Those who raised their hands were encouraged to head for the door now and change majors, as the work would be dirty, back-breaking, thank-less and some days utterly tear-jerking.
They were right. The classes were tough, the clinicals were challenging and the instructors and clinical instructors rode us hard and asked tough questions. I thank them every day for making me learn both brand and generic names for common medications and why they do what they do; to teach the patient about the procedure and what to expect as I do the skill and most importantly to treat every family with courtesy and respect.
Not all superheroes wear capes.
Your experiences in nursing may vary but I can guarantee you will do incredible things on wonderful people as they transition from sickness to wellness. You will have the chance to see people at their worst and let them vent their frustrations; care for the angry person who came to the hospital ambulatory and became wheelchair-bound from one false slip of a scalpel; you will help birth babies and not all will live, but the family and mother still need every ounce of caring and compassion you can find; you will see people die suddenly, and some from lingering illnesses and some days you will question your decision to become a nurse…then you get the thank-you card from the family thanking you for everything you did or the crayon-scribbled picture from the kid in the waiting room of a nurse in a cape.
The BSN opens doors to many potential Nursing careers
Your career can span any area of the hospital from the ER to the administration office, from scrubs to suits. As a nurse the world is your oyster. With your Masters or Doctorate you can become an advanced-practice nurse or a teacher; you can work in Informatics bringing workable computer systems to your fellow nurses; you can become a travel nurse and see the world 12 weeks at a time or find a hospital that suits you and hang around; you can bring people into the world in labor/delivery or help them leave with dignity as a palliative care nurse.
Don’t like hospitals? Home Health nursing in your community to help guarantee your senior neighbors stay healthy? Health Department giving shots to schoolkids and educating young mothers? Geriatric nursing in senior housing sound appealing? How about nursing on a cruise ship, seeing the world one sunburn at a time? Institutional nursing in a Vegas casino, caring for staff and visitors?
The options are limited only by your imagination. As the population ages and requires care you can safely consider working part-time after retirement instead of needing to find work at a chain store. The wonderful thing is…whatever you do, you will always be seen by your patients as a Miracle Worker, an Angel, the Voice of Experience and the person who cares for their pain and family with courtesy and dignity.
About the Author
Glenn Fredenburg has been a Registered Nurse for over 13 years, coming to the profession after a career in sales. His experience in nursing has been primarily in the critical care setting, with over ten years in the emergency room and intensive care areas. His mother is a retired nurse and urged him early in life to "become a nurse" because it's rewarding helping others heal and using your complete "toolbox" of skills to aid in the recovery of body and mind. In hindsight, his mother was right. Don't tell her.