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Nursing degrees = pointless

service with a smile! by COD newsroom
service with a smile!
by COD newsroom

Just kidding! Nursing students have endless job options and amazing hearts

Students who receive, for example, English, theatre, or philosophy degrees may have a tough time finding a satisfying profession after graduating with a Bachelor’s degree. Sad. But, students who receive nursing degrees have options upon options for satisfying careers. They don’t even need to take extra schooling after their Bachelor’s if they don’t want to. They can just go straight into being a kick-butt nurse and live the dream.

Dr. david Gregory (yes, his first name is spelled with a small “d,” so don’t be hatin’) served as a professor at the University of Manitoba, the Faculty of Nursing Dean at the U of M, and a Health Sciences professor at the University of Lethbridge before he came to work at the University of Regina as the Founding Dean for the Faculty of Nursing.

Gregory states, “Serving as Dean is not without its challenges; however, it remains a privilege and a source of great satisfaction.”

Isn’t that special? I think so. It’s always good to find satisfaction in your work. So, let’s get right to it. What can students do with a nursing degree?

According to Gregory, after students graduate from the Saskatchewan Collaborative Bachelor of Science in Nursing (SCBScN) program, which is offered through a partnership between the U of R and Sask. Polytechnic, “their names are presented to the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association, so they can practice as graduate nurses. After they write and pass the NCLEX-RN exam (the licensing exam for the nursing profession in Canada),” they can practice as registered nurses.

After all this jazz, nursing students can basically do whatever the heck they want in almost any realm of nursing or health care including travelling to cool places. Huzzah! Career options! Students with nursing degrees may also choose to further their education in order to work in more specialized areas, such as the Intensive Care Unit. Master’s Degrees and PhD’s in nursing are always an option for these students as well.

“We don’t offer a PhD in the Faculty of Nursing at present,” says Gregory. “But, such programming remains a goal for us [as] part of our future vision for the Faculty of Nursing.”

Ah yes, gotta love goals. Now, let’s get into some specific job options for nursing students.

As Gregory states, “Graduates can enjoy a career that spans multiple areas of practice: neighbourhood health clinic, outpost or northern nursing (in First Nations,

Metis, and Inuit communities), school nurse, occupational health and safety, nursing homes, hospitals, research and policy centres, correctional services, community agencies, administration, and other practice domains.”

Boom! If you want to get a degree with endless opportunities, seriously, you should become a nurse. But, nursing is not an easy profession. Yes, it is a very rewarding profession, but it is also a very challenging profession.

“To be a registered nurse requires one to bring to bear her or his intelligence, emotional maturity, critical, creative, and reflective thinking, a well-developed sense of ethics, and clinical discernment,” says Gregory.

Add the complex nature of patient care, the increasing changes in nursing knowledge and technology, time constraints, shift-work, and ethical dilemmas, and you’ve got one heck of a challenge. But, despite all this business, some students are up for the challenge.

Hayley Gibson, a second-year nursing student, faces pressures nearly daily, even though she has not yet entered the nursing work force.

“Everyone comes to you from skin rashes to lumps and bumps saying ‘HELP ME!’ Like, I’m only in my second year. Calm down. You have (insert pathophysiology), you’re at risk for (insert nursing diagnosis), go do this (inserted intervention and rational), and tell me how it goes (evaluation).”

The struggles of second-year clinical. In fact, Gibson describes nursing school as, “HARD. Like at least four ‘mental, sobbing, I want to drop out of school’ breakdowns a semester hard.”

Sounds fun, doesn’t it? I know for a fact I could never be a nurse. I am an English student, and I already have the same kind of breakdowns without the challenges of nursing! And goodness gracious, nurses have the lives of other humans in their hands.

“If you don’t look at certain lab values and administer a prescribed drug by the doctor, you can put your patient in renal failure, and they can die. This is on you. This is your license,” states Gibson.

Yeahhh nope. No thanks. Not me. I’ll stick to having the lives of many pens and pencils and books in my hands. But let’s not get too bleak here. Nursing is crazy rewarding as well.

“Whatever field you choose to work in, you’re making a difference in a person’s life,” Gibson says. “Just as a student, when a patient you’ve worked with for only eight hours leaves the hospital and they give you a thank you and tell you you’ll be a great nurse one day, it’s an incredible feeling to know you’ve made an impact.”

This legit makes me tear up. You can’t get much better than a career with purpose. And, according to Gibson, her dream job is “something that puts a smile on [her] face and gives [her] purpose.”

Well, now that I’m crying because this statement is so heartfelt and utterly precious, let’s continue.

Carmen Hughes, another second-year nursing student, has wanted to become a nurse since she was eight years old. Ultimately, according to Hughes, she wants a career that challenges her, but also a career that she falls in love with every day.

“Eventually, I want to end up in NICU [Neonatal Intensive Care Unit],” states Hughes. “But I am also interested in OR [Operating Room] and STARS [Air Ambulance]. Most importantly I want to be the best nurse I can be no matter what area of nursing I am in.”

Well said, Hughes. Well said. In terms of a dream job, though, Hughes doesn’t have one.

“Nothing would make me happier than finding a permanent cure for all disease! Nursing wise? I don’t have a dream job. All I want to do is to help people,” says Hughes.

Now, that, my friends, is something special. Nurses clearly have some killer heart, and they have that work ethic necessary to complete the gruelling schoolwork required in the nursing program.

Hughes states, “Nursing school is and will be the most gruelling four years of your life… you cannot afford to do extra things. It’s like that triangle that says between having a social life, sleep, or good marks and you can choose two, except you can choose one and instead of good marks its just simply pass. Nursing school will rule your life for four years, and if it doesn’t, you’re doing it wrong.”

Again, I say, boom! There it is, people: the harsh realities of the road to nursing. But, again, let me allow Hughes to reinforce how rewarding this profession is so I can shed some more tears.

“Nursing is rewarding because there are so many good things,” says Hughes. “That little boy with cancer finally gets to go home. That elderly man can finally see his grandchildren again. [That addict] overcomes addiction. Even the sad stories about children with deadly diseases who pass away are finally not suffering anymore; although sad, it can be comforting. I find it rewarding because it’s my job to make the patients feel as comfortable as possible no matter the situation.”

I’ve officially run out of Kleenexes. Whatever. I guess all in all, nurses obviously have a giant load of career opportunities. They also have unreal-amazing caring hearts. Clearly, nursing students and nurses alike are champs. Enough said.

About Destiny Kaus

Former carillon production manager/arts editor/arts writer.