I have been a nurse for 7 years. I first started off as a LPN when I was 20 and I worked in a nursing home while I did the RN-bridge program. I absolutely hated that nursing home, but I needed to pay bills. So, I worked part time to accomodate my full time nursing program. I completed the program and turned in my 2 weeks notice to the nursing home as soon as I passed my boards. By then, I was 21, and I was so thrilled! I remember thinking to myself that I was finally done with school and I'd never have to go back, if I didn't want to. That was such a huge accomplishment and relief to me at the same time... one of the best moments that I've had as an adult.
I applied to several places after I passed my boards, and I took the first job that offered me a job that didn't require me to write a paper to enter some student-to-nurse program. My reasoning was, hey, I've already been a nurse for almost 2 years, and writing a paper sounds like homework. I was choosing the path of least resistance.
The job I landed was in an outpatient hemodialysis clinic. It was awesome, 3 days a week, and every Sunday off. That was the perfect job. I loved that it was fast-paced and interesting. I was never bored. So, I did dialysis for 2 years. During that same time that I was doing dialysis, I received a phone call from one of the places that I had applied to right after nursing school. It was a local minimum security prison that needed a PRN nurse. Even though it was scary, the pay made the job worth it, so I took on the prison job on a prn basis. After a while, I realized that I would need some hospital experience if I ever wanted to be able to expand my career beyond dialysis. So, after 2 years, off I went to a hospital. I wound up on a renal/telemetry floor doing critical care nursing. The experiences that I gained on that floor were invaluable. I learned so much and was challenged daily.
Once I completed my 2 year contract at the hospital, I decided to try out traveling nursing! I went to California for 3 months, followed by another 3 months in Dallas. Again, the experience and knowledge that I've gained have been priceless. At the moment, I'm back home, working part-time at the prison. And I recently began working prn at a LTAC, just to keep my critical thinking skills going.
I've only been a nurse for 7 years, but I have done so much in that short amount of time. I think that's one of the things that I love about being a nurse. It's not so linear that you get bored, there are several types of nursing to choose from, and they will all keep you mentally stimulated. I don't think that I could have chosen a better profession.