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Old 02-10-2014, 02:27 PM
 
7 posts, read 10,496 times
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Hello. I should start by saying that I may want to become a nurse. Specifically, a pediatric oncology nurse, because I love kids and I'm, for some messed up psychological reason, drawn to families and individuals dealing with cancer.

So, regarding the title of the post, how the heck do you know if you'll be a good nurse, or even like what you're doing? I wouldn't call myself someone with a weak stomach... at all. I was a camp counselor at a camp for individuals with disabilities for six years. Needless to say, I've done my fair share of dealing with bodily fluids of all kinds. I've also seen naked bodies, been punched in the head, and experienced loss. I've had to comfort the family and friends of loved ones who lost their lives while I was trying to cope with the same loss. So, point being that I don't think I'll have to worry about any of that stuff.

I give blood as often as I can, so I don't think I'm squeamish around blood? Although, I've never had to stick someone with a needle myself. I'd say that's my biggest concern. Is that something you can get used to? I hate watching people get stabbed by anything, even in movies.

Any advice would be helpful. If you're a nurse, even better! Thanks.
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Old 02-10-2014, 02:43 PM
 
8,334 posts, read 6,639,671 times
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Do volunteer work in the Pediatric Oncology dept. Shadow a nurse, get an internship, talk to an actual oncology nurse, etc. You need exposure to the realities of the field.
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Old 02-10-2014, 02:53 PM
 
Location: Valle Luna, Phoenix, AZ
4,200 posts, read 2,845,071 times
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I know plenty of nurses and this is what they've told me are important things about nursing. Besides not being squeamish (which is fantastic) there are other factors to consider:

- Are you patient?
- Can you work for twelve hours straight standing on your feet all day? Day or night? Lifting patients too? Would you be able to possibly stay after to catch up on all the paperwork you're legally required to do (if you have to)?
- Are you good at multi-tasking? Do you think you could handle more than 12 patients at a time?
- Do you have good dexterity? Messing up on an IV and possibly killing or injuring someone could ruin your entire career. Or make it extremely difficult to find employment after.
- How well do you work under pressure? Can you keep it cool if someone almost dies on you (or does die on you)? Would your brain still be able to figure out what to do or would it shut down?
- How are your critical thinking skills? Are you a slower thinker or a fast thinker? You need to be fast to be a nurse!
- Can you handle distraught parents? Would you be able to calm them down if they are cursing you out because they are upset about their child and the cancer is getting worse?
- Would you be able to not get emotionally attached to your patient? Or are you a heart of gold? If you watched a patient die because the parents weren't able (or refused for some) to give the child proper treatment, would you ever get over that? Could you handle knowing that kid will die and not being able to do anything about it legally?

These are all I can think of at the moment. I think the stabbing will be something you'd get over quickly. You will see much worse as a nurse. If you answered "Yes" to the majority of the questions above, you could be a nurse. Here are suggestions for you:

- Get a CNA license. They get paid good money (Here in Arizona it is around $14/hr) and usually do more of the dirty work than the nurses, but the duties will be similar. This is the best way to actually test out being a nurse because in a way, you are one.
- Volunteer at a hospital. I'd do this first. If you can't handle the high pressure environment and the "odd" feeling of a hospital, you now know you cannot be a nurse.
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Old 02-10-2014, 03:00 PM
 
1,258 posts, read 1,801,159 times
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Volunteer at a hospital. I volunteered on the infectious ward, that was enough to let me know that nursing would not be for me.
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Old 02-10-2014, 04:03 PM
 
1,504 posts, read 1,897,407 times
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volunteer, then if enterprising enough go for a CNA program, that will allow you to test the waters a bit without making a huge monetary investment. And if you volunteer, ask/see if you can shadow a nurse,
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Old 02-10-2014, 07:10 PM
 
Location: in the sticks, SE Indiana
942 posts, read 1,811,984 times
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I agree with becoming a CNA and volunteering. If you did become a nurse, chances are very good that you would not get into pediatric oncology right away, you would probably work in a med-surg unit. Many nursing programs require students to be a CNA before getting into nursing. I was a CNA before I became a nurse, and it was extremely helpful.
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Old 02-10-2014, 08:37 PM
 
Location: Philly
156 posts, read 355,423 times
Reputation: 134
[quote=:-D;33412577
- Get a CNA license. They get paid good money (Here in Arizona it is around $14/hr) and usually do more of the dirty work than the nurses, but the duties will be similar. This is the best way to actually test out being a nurse because in a way, you are one.
[/quote]

+1. In case you're unfamiliar with the term, a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) or STNA (State Tested Nursing Aide) is someone who does basic patient care on the floors. They do ambulation, transfers, bathing, tolieting, vital signs, call bell screenings, etc. It takes only about four weeks of training and it's quite inexpensive -- sometimes the local Red Cross will offer them.

Plus, many hospitals have tuition reimbursement schemes. My hospital pays $6,000 a year towards a BS.

The only thing I disagree about is the money. CNAs, at least here in PA, are some of the lowest paid workers in the hospital.

If you're not interested in the CNA thing, volunteer at a hospital or ask to shadow a few nurses. While nursing is great, there are also some drawbacks. It can be very physically demanding. Twelve hour shifts, constant standing, walking, running, bending, stretching and, worst of all, lifting. If you work in a hospital, you'll probably be working nights and weekends for the rest of your career, at least on an occasional basis. Also, you'll deal with ungrateful patients, oftentimes difficult coworkers (nurses really seem to frequently stab each other in the back) and rude physicians.

Then again, you can do a lot of amazing things -- financially and otherwise -- as an RN.
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Old 02-10-2014, 09:09 PM
 
7 posts, read 10,496 times
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Oh my gosh, thank you so much! This was very helpful.

@ :-D, Wow! This opened my mind up so much.

Clearly, there's a lot to think about, but I think I will definitely look into volunteering and shadowing to begin with.

Again, thanks so much for all of this wonderful advice!
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Old 02-11-2014, 05:26 AM
 
Location: in the sticks, SE Indiana
942 posts, read 1,811,984 times
Reputation: 1291
I received my CNA training free at a local nursing home, I just had to agree to work for them for a certain amount of time. The pay isn't great, but it's not terrible either. I enjoyed my job as a CNA and the time I got to spend with the residents. I missed that when I became a nurse, there just wasn't that much time to spend with them.
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Old 02-11-2014, 06:09 AM
 
4,728 posts, read 4,514,926 times
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I work with nurses everyday in one of the worlds most respected hospitals, and have for many years. Nurses today are truly a different breed of people. Best of luck on your journey, whatever you decide.
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