Are there right and wrong reasons to become a nurse? I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why I became a nurse, and why I STAY a nurse, and have noticed a change in how I view nursing and it’s rewards.
The whole idea perpetuated by the media is that of a “nurse-angel” who is completely altruistic and who nurses in order to “save the world.” That’s just not reality. In school, I met all kinds of personalities who went into nursing for a myriad of reasons. Many nurses go into our profession for job security, for the love of science, for management instead of bedside care, for technology, etc. And yeah, I know lots of nurses who do it for the green: Money.
Being a nurse does mean that “people” are our business. I guess I always thought you have to “love people” and be extroverted to be a successful nurse, but over and over I am proven wrong. Co-workers who are introverts and not “people” people have made up the teams I’ve worked on—and many of them are stellar nurses. Then there are the extroverts who love people but hate nursing. It’s really is a mix—and ultimately all about how you see rewards.
Becoming a nurse because I fell in love with obstetrics as a doula, I then found that I could actually help support my family by having a job in healthcare. I am extroverted, I do love people, and I like helping people—but I am a nurse who at the end of the day likes my paycheck. Rewarding to me means that as a nurse, I get paid to help others.
I used to say I would nurse even without pay–not anymore. I was effervescent in my enthusiasm during nursing school—but reality has killed all that bubbly optimism. Right now, I need a job that pays, and nursing is my perfect job!
While once I was judgemental of nurses who are all about the money, I can now see both sides. Really, I think you CAN be a “good nurse” no matter what the impetus. Heck, we all work hard for the money—and many of us see money as yet another great reward of this profession.
That said, money is not the end-all be-all of this profession. Giving great care no matter why you are a nurse is what makes us truly successful in our field. Can’t keep our paying-jobs otherwise!