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So, you want to be a Registered Nurse?

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Registered nurse assisting a senior resident.

Registered nurse assisting a senior resident.

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Registered nurse assisting a senior resident.

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Nurses care for patients in hospitals, schools, and other health care settings. Some teach other nurses or do medical research. A nurse is a caregiver. A caregiver is someone who takes care of another person whether they are ill or injured. It doesn’t matter who it is, but their job is to provide for them and help them in any way that they can.  

WHO can do this?  For this role you need to be compassionate, patient, kind, wholehearted, nice, polite, caring, have dignity, and most importantly be strong. Being a caregiver isn’t as easy as it seems. There are struggles that will happen once in a while but to pass that you need to be a strong person. Being a caregiver is when you put someone else over yourself. Most cases people can’t do things for themselves, so you must guide them. This field isn’t for everyone. You must be able to understand people. But most importantly you need to have the desire to help people. If you don’t have those 
What does it take?  The minimum that you need is going to college for 2 years and get your associates degree or you can go to college for 4 years and get your bachelor’s degree. After that you can work towards your masters’ degree or doctorates.  
Where can you get it?  An affordable option for Morton East students is Morton College. Morton College provides a 2-year program to get your associates degree to become a registered nurse. Some other great schools include UIC, Chicago State University, Loyola University, Saint Xavier, Concordia-Chicago, Lewis University, etc. 
When can you do it?  To start practicing you must have either an Associate’s degree or your Bachelor’s degree. Which is a minimum of 2-4 years of going to college. 
Why should you do it?  Being able to help people is the best feeling in the world. It’s rewarding in a way. Besides you get health insurance, paid vacation and paid sick days. 
How much will you make?  Your salary depends on education level, skills, and where you work. For example, in Chicago, IL the entry salary is $54,850/year. The median is $67,140/year. 

The least expensive tuition is at Chicago State University. Chicago State University is a public-state school. Chicago State University is a pubic-state school. They offer to get your Bachelors degree, post-bachelor degree and your Masters’ degree. The enrollment  for an instate student is $7,056 for tuition, $2790 in fees, $1800 for books and if you plan on living on campus it costs $8724 for room and board. The total comes out to $20370 per year.   Which is not bad if you’re trying to major in Nursing. Another alternative school you can go to is University of Illinois at Chicago. They offer the same programs as CSU. Tuition is $10584, $3080 for feed and $1440 in books. If you decide to live on campus, room and board is $10882. Totaling to $25,946 per year.

 

Q&A

Interview with Irene Mulvey. Mrs.Mulvey is an RN, BSN, BNAT Coordinator and CNA instructor. She works in the psychiatric unit at  a hospital and is a CNA instructor at Morton College.

  • How long have you been a nurse? 

I graduated in December of 2007, and took my NCLEX exam in Feb 2008, so I have been an RN for 10 years.

  • How long did it take you to be where you are at right now? 

I would say at least 10 years.  I have been an RN in the same hospital for 10 years.  I started doing a lot of the teaching for the staff a few years ago and realized how much I love teaching.  As a nurse, you are always teaching your patients different things about medication, surgery, therapies, and follow-up care.  Once I decided that I wanted to teach, I took a 40-hour certification course to become a CNA instructor. 

  • How long did you go to school for? 

I started as a Journalism major when I was 19.  My plan was to do a year at a community college then transfer to a school in Boston.  After having some medical issues, I decided in 2002 that I wanted to change my major from Journalism to Nursing, so I had to take different classes in order to get my associates degree in Science.  I received my associates degree in 2004 from Moraine Valley Community College and transferred to saint Xavier University to study Nursing.  In all, it took my 7 years from starting college to getting my BSN. 

  • What were some struggles that you faced during college? 

I became a single mother when I was 20 years old, so I had a lot of stress being in college and trying to arrange childcare for my son.  Being a mother also meant I could not take a lot of credits at once, so it took me longer to get my associates degree.  When I got into the nursing program, it was full-time, so it demanded almost all of my time. If I was not in class, I was studying at home!  I had to sacrifice a lot of things like not seeing my friends often, missing family parties if I had a test the next day, and not going on vacation during the semester. 

  • What’s the highest level of education that you have currently? 

I have a Bachelor’s degree in the science of Nursing, which they call a BSN.  I am hoping to start school in the fall to start working towards my Master’s degree. 

  • How would you describe your first day as a registered nurse? 

My first day as a nurse was actually pretty boring at first, but then it was exciting near the end of the day.  I had to watch a lot of videos on different hospital policies and take quizzes on them, so it was a lot of paperwork initially, like any job you go through an orientation.  Later in the day, I was able to be with patients and learn more “hands on” which was very exciting.  I had to call a Dr and get an order over the phone, then write out the order, which made me super nervous.  The nurse training me was great, and really supportive, and she stood next to me while I was on the phone and told me how to write the order and to read it back to the Dr., so when I hung up the phone, I said “Look, I took a TORB and signed it, I’m officially a real nurse!”, and the staff was congratulating me and laughing.  A TORB is a telephone order read back, which we discussed a lot in school so I was excited to do it in real life. 

  • What would you say was the worst thing you have experienced at work? 

I was working night shift in the ER at a hospital one time on New Year’s Eve, when we got a call over the radio that the ambulance was bring in a 19-year-old girl who was unresponsive.  The Dr. and I looked at each other right away with worry.  She had overdosed on heroin in the bathroom of her parent’s home.  The paramedic gave her Narcan, a drug that typically reveres the effects of heroin, but it was not working.  She was not waking up and she was not breathing.  They were doing CPR on her when they brought her in and the Dr and I took over upon their arrival.  We tried everything to bring her back, but she never did.  I remember doing CPR on her with tears in my eyes and hearing the NYE countdown on the TV in the distance.  The Dr and I both cried and hugged each other before we had to talk to her parents in the waiting room. 

  • What gets you through a hard day at work? 

I think about the times that my own family members and myself were patients who needed care.  You really need to put yourself in the place of a patient who is not feeling well and realize it is not that patient’s fault that the unit is maybe short staffed, or that a Dr. is not returning your call, or even that you are just having a bad day due things going on in your own personal life.  When I am having a bad day, I remember why I am here doing this job – to give good care and make another person’s day better.  I never let my patients know that I am having a bad day, I will always just apologize to them if they had to wait a long time for something or I will give them a time frame of when I’ll be back so they know when to expect me. 

  • What are some positive aspects of your job?

My job as an RN has so many positive aspects, one that I think is appealing is the fact that you can go into any area whether it be pediatrics, oncology, psychiatry, surgery, or being a school nurse.  The best part is that you are helping another person in their time of need, and to me, that is the greatest gift you can give to another person.  Other things are: you make a decent salary to support your family, there are plenty of jobs available, you can move out of state and transfer your nursing license, you can pick what shift works best for you and your family, and there are always options to change your role from a staff nurse to a charge nurse, a nurse educator, an insurance nurse, a risk manager, and plenty more titles. 

  • How much patience is needed for this job? 

A lot of patience is needed to be a nurse.  You will care for people who come from different levels of education, some may not take their medication and keep returning the ER or clinic with the same problems, while some will refuse follow-up care and you will see their health deteriorate with each visit. You may also see women who are in abusive relationships come in after a domestic battery incident over and over again with the same man, and you have to treat them with respect and compassion and not be angry with them for the choices they are making. 

  • What makes your job worth it? 

For each sad ending, there is a dozen or more happier ones.  I get to meet a person when he/she is in crisis, give support, hope, education, and get to know his/her family.  I love the fact that I can tell a patient something that he/she did not know before, and something I said might stick with that person and improve his/her life in some way. 

  • Do you regret your choice? 

Absolutely not.  I love being a nurse and being a teacher, I feel very lucky because I am able to do 2 things that I love. 

  •  If there is one thing you would change, what would it be? 

I wish I became an RN sooner.  It is hard to decide at 18 what you want to do for the rest of your life, and I had not considered becoming a nurse at that time.  There are not any nurses in my family and in high school I was very focused on the arts, theater, and writing, so it was never a thought to become a nurse.  I was diagnosed with cancer when I was 21 years old, and that whole experience is what made me change my major to nursing. 

  • What would you be doing if you weren’t in the nursing field? 

I would definitely be writing books or short stories.  I have written small things over the years, such as health articles, proposals, and policies, but nothing too exciting.  People often ask me to help them write a eulogy or a speech, but I love to write poems and short stories. 

  •    What is a piece of advice you would give to upcoming nursing students or students who are considering the nursing field? 

I would say DO IT!  It is an amazing filed with so many options for you.  Do not let anybody tell you that you “aren’t good at science” or that “you are not smart enough” because these are thing that were said to me when I changed my major and I became an RN.  It is just a matter of putting your mind to it and staying focused on your goal. 

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13 Comments

13 Responses to “So, you want to be a Registered Nurse?”

  1. Ruth Garcia on May 7th, 2018 8:20 am

    I was really able to connect with Mrs.Mulvey because right now that I’m in high school I’m really into art but I am planning on going into the medical field once I go into college. For right now I’m considering becoming a pediatrician but when I was younger I wanted to become a nurse just like my mom but as I’ve gotten older I been looking more into becoming a pediatrician so this article was a lot of help on giving me an insight into the medical field! 🙂

  2. Valeria Nevarez on May 7th, 2018 8:27 am

    This was really helpful since I am exploring careers and one of them was a registered nurse (my cousin is one as well!) I learned a lot on what to expect, and I must admit I would love to care for patients. I enjoy helping people, but that also means experiencing tragic events just like Irene did when a patient passed away.

  3. Andrea Bautista on May 7th, 2018 8:35 am

    This is a great article not only does it give information on how to get into nursing but also they interview someone that is a nurse and they have great information on how to become a nurse what your qualifications have to be and also what you might expect as people get into nursing

  4. Fernanda Rosel on May 7th, 2018 9:39 am

    i personally think that being a nurse is an amazing job because you get the chance to help others and do something great for the community. I also think it has its downside like the nurse explained what happened to her in New Years Eve. Tragic things do come with having this job and seeing everything that could possibly happen to someone but its also great because you get to help people. Its acctually not that expensive in my opinion for a career compared to others this is about a 2 year career and you probably spend about 40,000 dollars.

  5. Elisa R Chavez on May 7th, 2018 9:48 am

    Being a nurse at first sounds like something you can achieve easliy, but it’s proabably just as much work and as exhuasting as being a doctor. Both probably have similar aspects when on the job. But personanly I think being a nurse takes more of an emotional stress on a person. Being a nurse you meet and take care of multiple people at a time and are even required to help out the doctors when needed. At a hospital it can be peacful one minute a chaos the next, you end up being some one more aware of death then most people.

  6. Yulicsa Govea on May 7th, 2018 10:44 am

    I would highly consider nursing as a career option. I believe its great to give back to the people, and helping them get into better health would be privilege. Nursing takes many years of school, as it would be for any career in the medical field, but honestly, I think its worth it. I found this article very helpful, it really did give answers to some questions I already had about becoming an RN.

  7. monika on May 7th, 2018 11:12 am

    I’m really considering on becoming a nurse so this motivated me to look more into it. I enjoy helping people and trying to make their day better. I think that this career is cool because it can gave you so many opportunities and you can pick any specialty. I love being with kids so I think that I would enjoy being a pediatric nurse. I’ve always wanted to work in the medical field but not having to go to school for so many years so this career is perfect.

  8. Emily Rios on May 7th, 2018 11:13 am

    My dream job is to become a registered nurse. Before, I had little information about this career and was very doubtful. But after reading this article, i’m assertive that this is what i want to do for the rest of my life. It seems like an outstanding job for many and i personally love to help others and not to mention i’m very interested in medecine.

  9. Brenda Zuloaga on May 7th, 2018 2:12 pm

    This was an amazing piece to read. I truly enjoyed the fact that you gave a lot of details when it came to the description of being a nurse. As someone who has been looking for information on how it is to be a registered nurse, I would like to say the amount put in here is refreshing. It was also great to see an interview with an actual nurse.

  10. Ulises castillo on May 7th, 2018 2:13 pm

    I think that nurses are just as effective as doctors. While they might not have the same set of skills as a doctor, they do care for patients and provide some medical services. It seems just as exciting to work as a registered nurse as it would a doctor.

  11. Gabriela Huerta on May 7th, 2018 2:19 pm

    Going into the medical field has been something I’ve been longing to do my whole life. I definitely have in interest in nursing, though I don’t have a specific type of nurse in mind yet. I have a sibling that is a nurse at MacNeal Hospital and from what I’ve heard, it’s not boring at all! I initially was worried for expenses and what specific college I wanted to attend after graduating from Morton, but after reading this article, many of my questions have been answered! Hopefully I’ll stay true to my goals and become the nurse that many past patients didn’t have.

  12. Claudia Gonzalez on May 8th, 2018 8:25 am

    I personally found this article really attractive because many young people are focusing in a nurse career. My older sister is participating in a nursing program her self . I found it really helpful for all the information that is provided. The article gives u a idea of the total budget how much money u need. It provides different options and alternatives. I personally liked the interview because it gives you a point of view of someone who preformed the job.

  13. Erika Rizo on May 9th, 2018 2:02 pm

    This is a very informational article which can obviously help out anyone who wants to be a nurse in the future. I love how it has an interview and really goes deeply into the research and information. This is something someone can use for referrence to help out for them.

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So, you want to be a Registered Nurse?