Nursing: Still a Great Career

By Roberta Heale,  EBN Associate Editor @robertaheale @EBNursingBMJ

I knew I was scheduled to post the blog this week, but I struggled with what to write.  I scanned EBNursing website and Twitter account @EBNursingBMJ as well as other nursing related stories and research articles.  There were so many potential topics that soon my head was spinning.  Then it occurred to me that this is the story: Nursing’s diversity and the amazing career opportunities.

A few decades ago, when I was contemplating what to do with my life, I started to focus on nursing.  My Mom is a nurse and to my teenage sensibilities her job seemed to be really tough, but also really interesting and a little disgusting.  However, I realized that her work gave her fulfillment.  At the same time, she could support herself financially if need be.  She moved from a medical nursing floor, to a long-term care facility to management.  I figured that if I went into nursing, I could work anywhere in the world, in hospital or community, in management, research, education or more.  So, with the protests of my friends and some of my teachers ringing in my ears, I applied to take a BScN program.  That was 31 years ago and, you know what?  I was right.

Soon after I graduated from my undergrad degree, I started work on a medical floor in a hospital in downtown Toronto, Canada.  It was one of the most difficult positions I’ve ever had. The physical care was difficult (heavy lifting, etc), the patients complex and HIV/AIDs was still new on the healthcare map.  Usual care was complicated by a bit of fear, mixed with compassion and helplessness for many of the patients. In comparison, I have a friend who had graduated the same year as me with a BA and her first job was in a back office of a government building.   I met her to go for lunch one day and found her asleep at her desk.  She told me that she couldn’t believe how boring her job was.  In all my years in nursing ‘boring’ has never been a word I’ve used to describe my work.

We hear so many negative things about nursing; long hours, stress, lack of recognition and appropriate remuneration.  Unfortunately, these situations continue to exist in most countries.  However, nursing remains an incredibly dynamic, flexible and exciting profession with so many opportunities, it’s mind boggling. I would happily encourage anyone to become a nurse.   If you think I’m wrong, just Google ‘nursing jobs’ and see what you find. Maybe the next step in my career will be the nurse on a cruise ship!

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