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#NurChat - Nursing is good for the soul

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Did you miss the latest #NurChat twitter debate about whether nursing is a vocation or a career? Let us sum it up for you…

I am probably the last person to ask if nurses should come into nursing through a sense of vocation or a calling as this was certainly not the case with me. Both my grandmother and my mother were nurses and nursing was the last thing that I wanted to do when I was growing up and I remember when people asked me what I wanted to be when I was older I would say “not a nurse!” However whilst at college I took a part time job in a care home and met some truly wonderful nurses and residents and it was this that inspired me to become a nurse. I had no great calling from an early age but I know that some nurses do so I was very interested to hear other nurses experiences via the NurChat discussion on whether nursing is a vocation or a career? You can read the full transcript of theirexperiences via the NurChat blog.

The chat started by asking what NurChatters initial thoughts were, was nursing a calling or a career?

@OiD tweeted “I came into MH nursing after a 20 year career in design engineering. So I’d say for me is a calling”

@alabcien stated “I think long ago backing Florrys days it was a calling but now its university-erised it’s a career”

@anniecoops stated “Controversially-both” and went on to say “I love my job. I wanted to be a nurse but I have had a great career so far”

@Ramck001 agreed “I’d say you can make a career out of a calling, you can affect change and make a real difference”

@cherylwilson2 tweeted “I have felt that it is my calling. I have wanted to nurse since the age of 3 I am 4th generation nurse, it is in my soul”

@Christellesongs then asked “Do we feel that a nurse is something that we are as well as something we do? A noun as well as a verb?”

@anniecoops replied “Good question! I’m a nurse noun as well as nursing verb”

@Ramck001 tweeted “I certainly feel that way. When I think about who I am - Nurse always comes to mind”

@Caltwit added “Interesting its also to do with identity”

@JulieVuolo tweeted “yes very much so, discussing this today with colleagues … nurse first lecturers second”

It was mentioned that if nursing was a calling is that the reason for low pay

@NotFromBolton tweeted “Can also be seen the other way round and a great reason for low pay, would you do it for free?”

@anniecoops answered “I have done - yes. Wanted to do it. Volunteered. Free. Loved it”

@jodieannhart stated “Controversial I know but I agree with our low wages to attract people who want to nurse for right reasons! It is a vocation”

@NotFromBolton went on to argue “…It makes you weaker as a profession when negotiating pay scales” and added “because your default negotiation position is one of I am doing this job because I was called to it”

@missjjo tweeted “I get your point and agree, feel some will take advantage if we let them”

NurChat asked if anyone was from a long line of nurses and if nursing was ‘in their soul’, as it were.

@Ramck001 tweeted “I came into nursing to continue the family line of nurses but now I have to say that I can’t imagine being anything else”

@alabcien stated “I’m not a long line but I have 2 aunts that are A/Ns and a cousin who is a S/N”

@JulieVuolo said “I became a nurse because dairy, bank and post office wouldn’t have me, 30 yrs ago, never looked back”

It’s very clear to me that we all come into nursing for very different reasons be they a calling or a career or some other reason entirely. NurChat asked at the end of the chat why participants stayed in nursing.

@cherlywilson2 answered “It’s in my heart and soul I love it with a passion and it’s a love I cannot put into words”

@Ramck001 stated “We stay because the hours, stress and poor pay are gonna kill us, but we’ll die happy and enriched”

@SharpTracey added “We stay because we get positive feedback on the work we do and believe we are making a difference to peoples lives”

This made me think about why I stay in nursing. I didn’t have a ‘calling’ or a great passion but I do love nursing. I was very much inspired by a tweet by @missjjo during the chat which ended by saying that “…caring is infectious” and I believe that she is right. From the first moment that I stared nursing it ‘infected’ me. I was inspired by other nurses and wanted to care like them. Since then, nursing has become part of who I am.

So, in conclusion, it really doesn’t matter why you came into the nursing vocation or career; what matters are the reasons you choose to stay. The reason I continue to be a nurse is the smiles that I get from patients which enrich my soul and drive my passion to continue to care.

Teresa Chinn heads up NurChat for Newcross Healthcare Solutions - Nurchat is a fortnightly twitter chat for nurses exploring different topicsthat vary enormously.Anyone can suggest a NurChat discussion subject simply by tweeting @NurChat or by visiting the NurChat blog.

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