Success Stories and Potential Nursing Careers

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, teaching patients about procedures and what to expect and, most importantly, encouraging me 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 frustration. You will 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 while not all of them will live, you will still provide those families and mothers with every ounce of caring and compassion you can find. You will see people die suddenly, and on some days, you will question your decision to become a nurse. Then you will get a card from a family thanking you for everything you did, or a crayon-scribbled picture of a nurse in a cape from a kid in the waiting room.

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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 also work in Informatics, bringing workable computer systems to your fellow nurses or, 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? Consider home health nursing in your community and help guarantee that your senior neighbors stay healthy. Or, join a school health department and give shots to schoolkids—as well as educate young mothers. Does geriatric nursing in senior housing sound appealing? How about nursing on a cruise ship and seeing the world one sunburn at a time? Institutional nursing in a Vegas casino, caring for staff and visitors, is also an option.

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 that 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 10 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.