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Not sure which career path to take? (Long!)

(12 Posts)
StoopidBint Wed 20-Jul-11 13:57:59

Wasn't sure where to put this so apologies if it would have been better somewhere else.

I have wanted to be a nurse for nearly 20 years but it has never been the right time to commit to studying/working shifts. I had planned to apply to go to uni when my youngest started secondary school.

For the past three years I have worked in a totally unrelated job that I would never have imagined myself doing. I do quite enjoy my job and have had some glowing reviews from my employer. The job fits perfectly around my family and I have a great work/life balance and I love being home at the end of each day when the DC's finish school. My employer has also just offered to partially fund a foundation degree which I could be starting this year. I have been given this fantastic opportunity that everyone (DH, family and friends) thinks I should take, and it would probably mean a payrise and possibly a promotion.

Here is my problem. Last year I started A levels (I did AS last year and should be completing A2 this year) in preparation for applying to university this year when my youngest starts secondary school. I just feel a bit gutted to be giving up on my long held dream of training to be a nurse even though I know nursing would put more pressure and demands on the rest of my family. I feel like it would be selfish to continue down the nursing route when I've been given such a fantastic opportunity to do something which suits everybody. DH can't understand why i haven't jumped at the chance to do the foundation degree and I can see his point. Although I enjoy my job (and some days I love it!) I don't feel passionate about it in the way I do nursing. But I'm not sure if this is due to rose-tinted spectacles and whether the reality of nursing and working shifts would soon put a dampner on things.

I don't want to miss out on this opportunity, but I don't want to give up my dream either, but I can't have both. I'm going around in circles trying to decide which way to go!


YakkaSkink Wed 20-Jul-11 17:50:12

What is it that appeals about nursing? I mean, in detail, what is about that would be so special/ worthwhile/ fulfilling for you? What do you imagine yourself doing as a nurse that you don't get to do now? If you could pick apart what it is about it you might be able to see more clearly whether it's rose-tinted spectacles or whether it really is the right thing.

Also, what makes you so good at your current job? And what is it, from your point of view, that's not so good about it? I don't see anything wrong with you following your dreams even if it doesn't make it quite so convenient for everyone else, it's also your life and being fulfilled matters.

pjani Wed 20-Jul-11 17:57:37

Any chance you could speak to any nurses to find out more about the reality of the job?

Overall though, you only have one life and it's important to follow your passions when you can.

StoopidBint Wed 20-Jul-11 21:15:45

Hello YakkaSkink,
Hmmm...interesting question, and one I'm struggling to answer. I like meeting people and I feel that nurses get to have a privileged insight into the personal lives of other people, which I find quite exciting. I am interested in health and sociology and I really like the idea of actually providing physical care for someone. I'm always impressed by people with medical knowledge and if I'm honest I think of nursing as being quite dramatic and fast paced blush Too many episodes of Casualty maybe!

I think I am good at my current job because I am a good communicator, I enjoy people respecting my opinions, and I like being busy. I suppose the only thing missing from my current job is the drama element blush
I have never looked at it like that but I think that's probably a big part of it. My current job is very 9-5 and my working environment and clients don't often change (if at all).

This has been quite thought provoking, thank you! I now realise I'm a bit of a drama queen! grin

Hello pjani,

I have a few nursing friends. The majority love the job, but hate the politics, and those with young children find childcare a problem.

I guess it's that age old problem of following your head (current job) or your heart (nursing). Thank you for your input.

leicestershiregirl Wed 20-Jul-11 22:37:28

Argh - just wrote a really long message and mumsnet lost it!

leicestershiregirl Wed 20-Jul-11 22:39:50

I'm a nursing assistant on a neurology ward and it's neither dramatic nor fast-paced! But it is long hours - 12 and a half hour shifts - including nights, and therefore not very family friendly (I only work part-time, I couldn't hack full-time because I have a toddler. All my colleague have older children). Some wards have 14-hour shifts!

leicestershiregirl Wed 20-Jul-11 22:44:59

However I've not worked in departments like A&E or CDU (Clinical Decisions Unit) and I've heard these are much busier. If I were you I would test my vocation through getting a job as a nursing assistant/HCA. I don't know what it's like in other NHS trusts but in my trust after you've worked as a HCA for 6 months you can 'work on the bank' i.e. temp on your days off on wards other than your own. This way you can experience working in a wide range of departments including A&E.

leicestershiregirl Wed 20-Jul-11 22:47:16

The big thing with nursing is you've got to be prepared to be hands on with the patients. Even senior nurses sometimes have to do things like washing and dressing. You need to be good with poo and wee.

leicestershiregirl Wed 20-Jul-11 22:54:23

It would be interesting to know what your current job is. It sounds like quite a cushy number. I would only close that door if you are sure nursing is a vocation. I actually started nurse training and did the first 8 months before stopping to have my little boy, but only now have I finally decided nursing is NOT my vocation. I never worked on a ward before or during my bit of training (all my placements were in community settings) and I think you need ward experience to make your mind up.

I also recommend reading nursing magazines like Nursing Standard, they give you a taste of what the job involves and can be bought in WH Smiths.

StoopidBint Thu 21-Jul-11 09:14:02

Thanks Leicestershiregirl,

I did do a short work experience placement about 5 years ago and loved it, although I obviously wasn't very hands on - it was mostly making drinks and answering buzzers. The 14 hour shifts do sound quite gruelling but I think I'd cope.

I do feel like I was born to do nursing. I know that sounds cheesy but it really is something I feel quite passionate about. I'm just not sure about trying to juggle it with family life when, like you say, I've got quite a cushy number at the moment. Getting a job as a HCA is a good idea but would mean leaving my current job so if I was going to do that I may as well go straight into nursing. I will definitely have a look at the nursing magazines though, great idea! Thank you.

leicestershiregirl Sat 23-Jul-11 23:47:38

You may also like to go on the forums on Lots of people in the process of applying.

StoopidBint Sun 24-Jul-11 09:07:47

Thanks Leicestershiregirl smile

I think I'm going to stay in my job while I finish my A levels and then make a decision about the foundation degree next year.

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