Today’s Career Profile is from another nurse! There are so many options available in the nursing field and it is so helpful to see different settings and experiences. Some settings may not be for you, others may be right up your alley. Thanks for another inside look at the nursing world Jordan!
What is your job title? Registered Nurse
What is your general job description? I am an RN on the Mother Baby Unit at the University Hospital in New Mexico. On this unit, I care for newborns and their parents in the postpartum phase. I say I care for their parents, not just mom and baby, because there is a ton of teaching involved! I teach moms, dads, and any other support system that the parents may have how to care for their newborn. From baths and diapering, to health screens and breastfeeding – I provide teaching on all things mom and baby. I love caring for the infants who are so fresh and new, and also being a resource and helping hand for moms. It truly is rewarding to be present in the first few hours of a new life.
What did you study in college? I studied nursing and psychology in nursing. I started out in college always knowing I wanted to be a nurse. Along the way, I took up an interest in psychology, specifically developmental, and ended up with a dual degree in nursing and psych.
Why did you decide to pursue that degree? I decided to pursue nursing after seeing my youngest brother in the NICU. I loved how the nurses cared for him and our family. I loved the compassion that the nurses had and I knew I wanted to make an impact on the lives of others, just like the made the impact on my family’s life.
Was there anything about your education that surprised you? I was not prepared for how hard getting into, staying in, and getting through nursing school actually was. I knew it was demanding and rigorous, but I didn’t know it would consume every.waking.second of my life.
How does your education relate to what you do at work? If it doesn’t, how did you end up in this position? My education relates 100%. Without my nursing degree, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do on a daily basis.
What specific aspects of your education prepared you for your career? The clinical experiences and the education on using our judgment really prepared me for a career in nursing. Hands-on patient contact and clinical judgment make up the bulk of preparation for being a nurse and I couldn’t be more thankful to have been educated on both.
Was your degree the only path to get this job? What other degrees do your coworkers have that lead to this position? In the past, becoming a LPN was enough for the hospitals. Now, being an RN is practically the only way to get these types of positions.
What are your plans for continuing in your profession? I am currently in the process of completing my Bachelors in nursing, which I’m hoping to be done with in May or June. After that, I plan on enrolling in an accelerated MBA program. I ultimately want to be in nursing administration and away from the bedside. Bedside nursing has been amazing, but as I get older and have the desire to expand our family, I realize those 12-hour shifts are just not so mommy-friendly.
What are some of the challenges of your job? The biggest challenge I face in my job right now is working the night shift and being away from my family. My husband and I have been together for 10 years and had only ever spent one night apart prior to me starting this job. Not being home with my son and husband at night has been the biggest challenge I face with this job. The scheduling is incredibly demanding and tiring. Although the shifts are always long and draining, they are constantly rewarding!
What is rewarding about your job? What excites you about your career? The most rewarding thing about my job is spending those precious few moments with a brand new family and having the honor of caring for moms and babies. I absolutely love the joy and pride that parents have for their new babies! It is so cool to be able to participate in that joy!
Are there any stereotypes in your field that you have to deal with? How do you deal with those? There are so many stereotypes when it comes to a nurse! Sexy nurse? No such thing! I’m lucky if I don’t look like The Creature From the Black Lagoon by the end of my shift! Poop, pee, and vomit?? Sooooo sexy. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve been asked why I didn’t go to medical school. “Was it just too hard to get into medical school so you chose nursing instead?” No, I ‘just chose nursing’ because it was what I felt compelled to do, thank you very much. My absolute favorite – “Oh, so you became a nurse so you could marry the doctor?” Oh, yeah, this is totally like Grey’s Anatomy *insert eye roll*
How do you balance work with your other life obligations and goals? Balancing my career with my other obligations and goals is seriously no easy task! I feel like I miss out on a lot, simply because I work such strange hours. If I’m not at work, I’m at home trying to get sleep so I can go to work. It’s not easy, but it’s what has to be done to support my family for the time being. I’ll be honest; I suck at being a friend right now. I suck at being a good wife right now. All of my time has gone to work and taking care of my son. Those two things take all of my energy right now. Working a full-time night job and being a mom, wife, and student is not easy, but it’s worth it knowing you’re working hard to provide your family with the life you always wished you’d had as a kid.
Do you feel like your career is very conducive to balancing those other things? At the moment, no. This job takes everything I have, and on the nights I work, I have nothing left to give to my family. It’s so difficult to come home after a night at work and be the energized, totally awake mom that my son needs. The scheduling is what kicks our butts and in good time it’ll get better.
What do you think needs to change in your field in order to make that more possible? In order to be able to be the mom, wife, student, friend, sister, and daughter that I know I can be, the scheduling would definitely need to change. Working three days a week is amazing! But, working 12-hour night shifts is killer. I’m a zombie 99% of the time. Some people are night owls, some are early birds. Me? I’m more of a permanently exhausted pigeon… Shift work, especially nights, is not my thing!
What benefits does your work offer in regards to maternity leave or family needs? As far as I know, in New Mexico, you have to be employed with a company for a year before you are entitled to maternity leave. And, even then, you use whatever leave you have earned and saved up. Not so great for working women who already have kids. Someday moms will get the leave they deserve!
What advice do you have for other women who are pursuing this field? My advice is to find the area of nursing that you like. Don’t stay in a job just because you feel like you have to! If you don’t like it, move on! Find your niche, otherwise you’ll get burnt out fast! If you’re a mom considering becoming a nurse, it’s tough to be away from your babies for as long as you are. But, in the end, it’s so rewarding!