/ Nursing as a career

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
Supersonic - on 23 Jul 2014

Hi all,

I have recently lost a job that I thought I would have been happy in for the rest of my working life, and am at a slight loss as to what to do next.

Before I got this job I had just graduated with a 2:2 in Environmental Conservation, something that I find interesting, but it is not something I wish to pursue as a career. I was working crappy jobs in supermarkets earning enough to eat and climb, wondering what to do with my life.

I was considering going into nursing as people say I'm nice, which apart from being very flattering, I think may ring true?

In losing my current job however, I am now very aware that you must play to your strengths to get the most out of a given job for both you and your employer.

The things I am looking for in a job would be;

Something interesting and dynamic

I'd like to have a rewarding job if possible

But being a passionate climber I am certainly looking for a job that would allow me time to pursue this - just 4 weeks of holiday fills me with dread. I enjoy climbing mid-week but also at weekends. (obviously dont expect to be able to do both in one week)

I would like the possibilty to progress, plus I guess at some point I need to think about pensions and that sort of thing.

I really loved living in North Wales and would like to be able to live there once again if I so wished.

I'd be really interested in hearing any opinions, thoughts, experiences from any nurses that use the site. I'm most interested in A+E nursing I think.

Is it something you'd recommend as a climber?

Is it something you'd recommend full stop?

Any tips?

Basically any thoughts welcome.

Cheers, D
Post edited at 16:38
halfwaythere - on 23 Jul 2014
In reply to Supersonic:

yes i would give it serious thought. I have worked as a nurse for most of my working life and have climbed for the last ten years. Give the ODP role some thought as well although that is operating theatre centered. If you can get trained and get some experience then get agency work you can work when you want to. That would all take about five years though. The thing is to live somewhere near climbing while you are training. The thing is to work out finances for the training so you know you can afford to get away for a weekend every so often. They are both hard work. The A and E job is likely to be busy and demand a lot each shift. Theatre work; you have a bit more time between jobs unless you go for Day Surgery! Either one is indoors so if you like the outdoors you may wish to think again about for example Paramedic training. Nursing maybe offers a wider spectrum of careers post-grad; including overseas. I went on to join the TA where I first went climbing. Good luck; anyway; let me know if you have any questions about the details. I am not up to date with the training as I don't have to do with that side of nursing. But it is alternate uni and hospital placements; you get a very general nursing education until you qualify and specialise.
abr1966 - on 23 Jul 2014
In reply to Supersonic:

Im not a nurse but do work in a team where nurses are the larger part of it. My daughter is currently looking to train as a nurse aftet a gap year. Have a look at what's on offer; general, paeds, mental health etc as each is quite different. I work with mostly mental health staff but also spend time in a&e and on paeds wards....i dont want to sound stereotypical....but, as groups of people they do tend to differ a fair deal. Most hospital trusts would allow you to get some voluntary experience if you make the right approaches. My daughter has some things lined up in paeds and mental health over the next year yo help her choose which path to go down...
Good luck
Deleted bagger - on 23 Jul 2014
In reply to Supersonic:

I retrained 20 years ago to become a paediatric nurse. Mostly I've worked with premature babies and critically sick children.

Yes, it's a rewarding job but don't underestimate the emotional hammering you can get when faced with very real human need. Long shifts, commonly 11.5 hours, are the norm in the acute sector. Rotation onto night shifts are mandatory, roughly 12 weeks from 52.

I've worked 23 hours a week for several years now. Mostly I work my shifts together. It's common if I work the beginning of one week followed by the end the next week I often get 7-10 days between shifts. That's plenty of time get away to the hills. There's no shortage of extra shifts available.

In my experience of mentoring Student Nurses from Huddersfield University I have to say that they are well motivated and prepared for the placements on the wards. I'd recommend it as a place to train.

Hope this is useful.
Ann S on 23 Jul 2014
In reply to Supersonic:

I trained as a Staff Nurse back in the mid 80's and after qualifying worked nights on the Care of the Elderly wards. Some of my best memories come from my few years nursing. I can think of 3 memories in particular, one happy, one sad and one screamingly funny, all of which involved copious amounts of shit.

If you have the eyes of a hawk, the hearing of a bat, and a superb sense of smell then you qualify for training. Add to that the ability to look at a patient and at least wonder what it feels like to be in their shoes/slippers; are they in pain, scared to death, too independent to ask for help, then you're ready to collect your certificate. And every day there will be more shit than you can shake a stick at.

Good luck.
Dave Ferguson - on 23 Jul 2014
In reply to Supersonic:

I've been doing it for 20 years after realising that working in the outdoors didn't pay the mortgage. I've no regrets at all. Most of my friends went into teaching and are now frantically trying to get out.

The great thing about nursing is the variety, you can work on the acute side, or the community and you can get a job pretty much where you want to live. I trained in Bangor and now live in Cumbria.

Don't worry about the holiday, its pretty good when you're qualified for a bit and the shift work means you get plenty of time off. I used to work long shifts on a CCU, 3 on 4 off so if you did 6 on the bounce you could organise 8 days off without taking any holiday.

Being 'nice' or 'caring' is not a prerequesite either, I'm neither of those things, but I am a good nurse, if you're too nice you'll be taken advantage of and won't last the pace. I've always found a good dose of honesty is the most useful attribute, patients, carers and colleagues value that more than a 'caring' attitude.

In short go for it, don't specialise too soon, and if you're a cup half full person you will love it.

If you think I'm being a bit too positive there is an awful lot of poo and as a student you'll see more than your fair share!
Hopevalleypaul - on 24 Jul 2014
In reply to Supersonic:

Go for it, like any job it's not perfect. The work can be interesting and challenging but also incredibly frustrating. I work in intensive care in sheffield and I can highly recommend it as a speciality.

I Have 7 weeks annual leave a year. It's quite easy to turn 1 week into 2-3 weeks off if you tinker with your off duty and do a few long runs of shifts. But it can be quite hard to organise regular evenings off, I get to request 6 shifts (on or off) in a four week period.

One down side is that unless you have climbing partners who work shifts you may end up with long periods with no one to play with. Or maybe that's because of my poor social skills.

Dauphin on 26 Jul 2014
In reply to Supersonic:

Do some voluntary work or get an assistant position in an A&E dept and after a year if you still want to do it then apply - fast track. Go critical care as soon as possible. A&E after a couple of years of intensive care with a critical care qualification under your belt. At least you can easily go back to ITU if you don't like A&E (horrific workload, under resourced etc etc, over 50% of trainee emergency medics voting with there feet) plus most of the nursing work in A&E is very routine. On the other hand there are plenty of opportunities for nurse practitioner roles in emergency departments.

Ask yourself do you want to be working 12 hour shifts on nights and weekends into your fifty's and sixty's and make career choices appropriately. You'll be lucky to live a couple of years after retirement to enjoy that Phat NHS pension.

SAF - on 26 Jul 2014
In reply to Supersonic:

The NHS in North Wales has many problems, is underfunded, is not very pro-change, backwards compared to much of England and is consistently frustrating.

So long as you are prepared to work in that kind of environment every day and not expecting more, then go for it.
Blue Straggler - on 27 Jul 2014
In reply to Supersonic:

I am keenly aware that this does not address the main question but I think it's quite important.

What is the job that you lost? It's not totally clear from the OP

We have

" a job that I thought I would have been happy in for the rest of my working life"

" I was working crappy jobs in supermarkets"

Neither of which (alongside your degree) particularly inform anyone as to whether nursing is the thing for you.
In reply to Supersonic:

> Hi all,

> I was considering going into nursing as people say I'm nice, which apart from being very flattering, I think may ring true?

"Being nice" is not a major factor.

Are you hard working, caring, able to do the most menial tasks without complaint, able to put up with blood, pus, sh!t without showing disgust, willing to be abused by patients and relatives for doing your job, work long hours and all hours of the day for low wages to start, (and not much better once you've been in the job for years,) able to put up with the most infuriating beurocracy which detracts you from your work, able to look a dying person in the face without showing pity or remorse....

I could go on.

Nursing is a great great career, and some of the finest people I know and work with are dedicated nurses, but it’s not all about "being nice."

As was stated above, get some voluntary work in first, try your local aged care facility or hospice, then you'll have a better picture.
Post edited at 00:52
BicycleBradley - on 27 Jul 2014
In reply to Supersonic:


I'm a 22 year old nurse, i get out climbing usually 3 times a week and because the NHS is everywhere in the UK, paying the same regardless (unless you live in london) I am pretty happy with my work life balance.

However I am not your stereotypical nurse. I work within what they call the Recovery Service, one known as the community mental health team. I work 9-5 monday to friday and I have an office, visiting all my clients on my bicycle.

Hope this helps

JayPee630 - on 27 Jul 2014
In reply to stroppygob:

Well put.

Not a nurse but know a few and work in the medical field some come into contact with them.

Don't even think about 'being nice' as a pre-requisite. Think of the ability to work hard, long hours, with ill and difficult patients, and for the first few years of study and work getting treated badly and doing all the very boring jobs that no-one else wants to do.

It's an amazing job, and nurses are like some super-species of human IMO, and it does offer variety, good time off, and the ability to move about the country and world and get work anywhere.
Got a job rob - on 27 Jul 2014
In reply to Supersonic:

Holly cow! Are you me from 7 years ago? I did environmental Biology and I am now and A+E nurse. Its great but its ducking hard work. I went and worked in a nursing home first to see if i could handle the poo. I worked on the bank while i did my training as a HCA. You could get into the graduate entry and only have to do two years training. Work in an MAU for a year and then look for a+e jobs. Google nurse bank and MAU
icnoble on 27 Jul 2014
In reply to Supersonic:

Teaching is also a very rewarding career, it is well paid with a great pension scheme, and of course those long paid holidays.
Dauphin on 27 Jul 2014
In reply to icnoble:

Methinks you are not a teacher.

Similar attrition rates at 5 years and current practitioners telling you to rethink your plans to train I would think.

So here goes.

Are you crazy? Go and make all the money you can, retire at 45 and then do some charity work if you still feel the need to be 'nice' or 'make a difference'.


This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.