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I am still unsure about what I want to study in college, but my family is strongly encouraging me to become a nurse, should I just listen to them?

My grandparents, parents, and siblings all think I would be a great nurse but I am unsure that that's for me. My problem is I have no idea what is for me, so how can I know if they are wrong or right about that? #nursing #career-choice #parenting

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Stuart’s Answer

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My advice would be "no," don't JUST listen to them. LIsten to them, by all means, but don't make a final decision based on that conversation alone. My office advises lots of students who are now pursuing nursing because someone in their life has told them that nurses are getting hired right now, that nurses earn a good salary, that nursing is rewarding work, etc. All of that is true, but it isn't the basis for an informed decision on your future. And the entrance requirements for a nursing program can be really demanding. If you don't enjoy the work for your own internally motivated reasons, then the process is going to be quite difficult and it won't have a real reward at the end. (The "reward" will be getting to do a job that you weren't particularly excited about to begin with.)

A lot of families offer advice like this because they want their children to be okay. They want a plan for their children, which makes absolute sense. If you're having doubts about nursing, though, you may need to have a conversation with them. Here's what I usually advise students: Families aren't usually worried that you won't be a nurse. They're worried that you haven't got a plan. So rather than saying to them, "I don't like that idea," you might want to do some career research of your own, so you can say "I'm not sure that's right for me, but HERE is what I'm thinking about careers..."

Now, it may be that you'd LOVE being a nurse. The key is to do your own research. That research can be guided by a career counselor or not, but it might be a good place to start. Ask if your school has someone who can help get you started with the process. That might mean doing some "career assessments" (e.g., the Strong Interest Inventory or SII). Then you'll do some research to learn more about the various careers you start to hear about. Then you'll be making informed choices for yourself. (Understand, though, that people often change careers. Making a choice now doesn't mean you'll be locked in forever. I've had two careers in my life, and others have had more than that.)

Don't disregard your family. Use their opinions as research tools. WHY do they think you'd be interested in nursing? Do you love helping people? Do you have a strong interest in the medical field? Etc. Don't ignore this advice just because it came from family, but don't pin your whole decision on that either. It should just be one tool in a bigger toolbox.

This is part of what college is for as well. In the class I teach, we have a big project on career exploration. You don't necessarily have to have all of this worked out before you get to college. In fact, I'd say that most people don't (even the people who think they do might well change their minds later).

Does that make sense?

Yes, that makes a lot of sense. Thank you so much for your advice! McKinley B.

You're very welcome. It's an excellent question. Stuart Bowen

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Prashanth’s Answer


Asking "what career is right for me?" is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. If you find the right career, you will have success, happiness and prosperity for many years to come.
There are many things to take into account when choosing a career, such as your personality, skills, values and ambitions. The most important question is whether you will enjoy it.

One of the ways I tried to identify what I wanted to do or what I was doing was right for me was through Myers Briggs Personality Types Test.

There is a lot to Myers Briggs theory, though at its heart are four simple preferences. Do you prefer to deal with:
People and things (Extraversion or "E"), or ideas and information (Introversion or "I").
Facts and reality (Sensing or "S"), or possibilities and potential (Intuition or "N").
Logic and truth (Thinking or "T"), or values and relationship (Feeling or "F").
A lifestyle that is well-structured (Judgment or "J"), or one that goes with the flow (Perception or "P").

The best way to discover your own preferences, or learn more about Myers Briggs theory, is to complete a questionnaire such as our own validated MMDI™ (Mental Muscle Diagram Indicator™).

You can complete it online for free at http://www.teamtechnology.co.uk/mmdi/questionnaire/ (or search google for "MMDI").

Please go through the following link to get further information. You can revert if you need any suggestions.

All the best.

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Haider’s Answer

I believe this a questions or a challenge of many young student when they reach this stage ! .. My advise is to know more about your self and what you love to do, cause this what will make you 'happy, creative & successful' No harm of listening to people, family & friends, but again its about what will make you thrive ... A suggestion go a head to a hospital and volunteer for a day or 2 and see if this is what you want to do for the rest of your life .. and try other area that might interest you ...

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Dominga’s Answer

When someone says "you would make a great ....." ask them WHY they say that. You might have talents you are unaware of or perhaps did not see in yourself. I have cousins that are fantastic nurses. I thought I could do that, I volunteered in hospitals, geriatric facilities, and anywhere else I could "try" it. I found that I don't have the right emotional temperament for nursing (or to become a veterinarian for that matter). So listen to what traits others see in you and volunteer to see if this is something you can see yourself doing with your life.

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Wayne’s Answer

I agree with Stuart and Prashanth, but would like to add that it is your career ultimately so only you can make the informed decision about what is good for you. Along with Myers Briggs, there are other tools available. For <$10 on Amazon, you can get "Strengths Finder 2.0" by Tom Rath. The book gives a short summary of the need for taking the evaluation, then a computer driven questionnaire. You get the results and use the rest of the book to help interpret them. I have taken this 3 times so far and it has been consistent in its results and helped keep me focused on those items I am strong in while keeping my weaknesses queued up as opportunities for improvement. Knowing your strengths is essential for helping you identify what you will enjoy doing and where your passions are. Careers are too often decided by those around us as well as circumstances, but knowing your strengths allows you to look for opportunities to use them in whatever career you choose. Good luck.

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Eileen’s Answer

I recommend you talk to a guidance counselor and take some career interest and aptitude tests. In fime you will find your niche