So Your Teen Wants To Major In Nursing: 5 Things To Know


By Michelle Ortlieb

Maybe you have a high school senior who’s considering a major -- or a career -- in nursing. Or perhaps it’s your college student who’s thinking about it … or even you. Here are five items to think about, from a Metro Detroit resident who’s working in the profession currently. In this installment of the Education Station feature, you’ll hear from Deirdre Maloney, of Troy, who works for Beaumont.

1. Before you commit, it’s worth it to volunteer at a hospital, or job shadow a nurse, so you can see what exactly the job entails. Talk to people who are already in the profession. The great part about nursing is, there are so many areas you can go into, or you could teach. It’s really diverse, and there are a lot of options.

2. Many nurses are reaching the age of retirement, so there’s a definite need for more people within the programs. If you’re looking for job stability and opportunities, this might be a great career path for you. The first couple years after you earn your degree, expect to be doing the jobs no one else wants to do, but that’s just how it works. You have to pay your dues, so to speak. But in the long run, you’ll always have a job. And plus, the early stuff makes for a valuable experience. Don’t get discouraged. Keep in mind that it’s all just temporary.

3. You shouldn’t consider becoming a nurse unless you have thick skin. Similarly, don’t get into this profession if you don’t get along well with other people. You have to be open minded, and embrace diversity. Your patients will come from a range of backgrounds, so you’ll benefit from learning about those different cultures. But it’s really rewarding -- you’ll gain so much from your patients. Flexibility is important, as well.

4. It’s all about teamwork. The worst nurse is the one who thinks (s)he has all the answers, and doesn’t ask for help. You’ll need to work with secretaries, doctors, patients, pharmacists, you name it. It’s all a big machine, and you’re just one piece of it. It’s important to keep that in mind.

5. Prepare to work all hours of the day. But it’s not always a negative thing. For example, a lot of moms work the night shift so they can be with their families during the day. Of course, that can be tiring, but everything is a trade-off. Or, you might need to work every third weekend. Holidays will be on the table. Like any other job, there’s a good side and a bad side to all of that. On a positive note, you’ll always be learning. You have to take so many credits a year to keep up with your licensing. But that’s how you maintain your skills.

Bonus tips: You can’t be squeamish. The job comes with a high risk of accountability. Your math and science skills will be huge. Even if you don’t think you’ll be successful because of the math and science, give it a chance. You might surprise yourself once you’re studying something that truly interests you.

You’ll never be bored, sitting behind a desk, waiting for the clock to hit 5 p.m. This is actually a great field for people with ADD, or ADHD, or even those who are dyslexic. It’s stimulating, you’ll stay on task, and so much of it these days is computerized. So, needless to say, you’ll have to be comfortable working with computers, as there are no more handwritten notes. You learn a language, so to speak, at your hospital. All the charting is in the computer. That can be an advantage for young people. Computer skills and communication skills are at a premium. If you don’t know how to talk to people, you probably won’t get a foot in the door. You need to speak with confidence and be able to put things into simple terms, for times when you’re talking to your patients.

It can be a very physical job. For that reason, there’s some burnout. You have to be in good physical shape. It’s a long 12 ½-hour shift -- well, mentally, it feels short, but physically, it can be long. It’s a good field for men to get into; it’s no longer considered a field primarily for women. Additionally, some people use nursing as a stepping stone, en route to more specialized areas. You can always keep going further.

Best of luck!


Articles in this issue:


  • Masthead

    Editor-in Chief:
    Kirsten Nicole

    Editorial Staff:
    Kirsten Nicole
    Stan Kenyon
    Robyn Bowman
    Kimberly McNabb
    Lisa Gordon
    Stephanie Robinson

    Kirsten Nicole
    Stan Kenyon
    Liz Di Bernardo
    Cris Lobato
    Elisa Howard
    Susan Cramer

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