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is being a desk nurse an actual job?

I truly do want have a job in the medical field, i'm just not sure of the stress. nursing hospital-and-health-care doctor medical

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Camille’s Answer

Hi Ja! Nursing can be a stressful job! The great thing is if you do not enjoy a specific speciality you can change specialties! There are nurses everywhere! If you do not want to be a bedside nurse, you can work in pharmaceuticals, insurance, in an out-patient setting, etc. Personally, I think stress is contributed to the unknown. As a nursing student you will be trained/educated on how to deal with challenging scenarios. Even with a nursing job post-graduation, you will receive orientation for months from senior nurses. Also, nursing is very team-oriented; asking for help is always encouraged!

Thank you so much, I definitely feel a bit better after the reassurance! ja B.

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Suzanne’s Answer

Hello ja B.,

Careers in healthcare are going to be inherently stressful. But I must add that any career will carry some degree of stress.

This is Sue and I am an RN with over 30 years of experience in the care of cancer patients both at the bedside and as a "desk nurse".

Hopefully, nursing/healthcare training will include some aspects of how to deal with the stress. More and more you see nurses talk about either PTSD, compassion fatigue, or burnout. I actually published a paper regarding this issue. It is very important to provide self care when working in a high stress field.

There are some "desk" jobs that don't deal with patients directly, but those types of jobs usually require some level of experience working first-hand with patients. The same goes for physicians. The exception would be for physicians to go directly into research or academia after completion of their training. Nurses can also go into academia, but this usually requires earning a PhD.

So my advice to you, if you are really interested in the healthcare field, is to first learn how to deal with stress. Here are some helpful things to read:

Lastly, try not to dwell on things you see in social media. I see many Tik-tok posts from nurses claiming that they are quitting because of the pandemic. There are many other nurses that continue to work and many retired nurses (like myself) volunteering. There are very excellent ways to promote emotional health.

I hope this answer is helpful!
Sue, RN