Becoming a nurse isn’t easy. It’s a line of work that’s very demanding, often tiring, but also extremely rewarding. You will work with some of society’s most vulnerable people, be they old and infirmed or just sick in a hospital. If working with people and helping those in need is something that lights a fire in you, then nursing is something that you might want to consider.
However, there’s a lot more to nursing than just the rewarding parts. This post will help you to find out whether or not it’s an area of health care that’s right for you:
You can’t just wake up and decide to become a nurse. Because nurses play such a significant role in a health care setting and medicine is increasingly sophisticated, they have to have specific qualifications. A bachelor’s degree is the bare minimum that you will need to become a nurse. However, you can take an online ABSN (Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing) course rather than attending a medical school or a local college. Taking your course online will also give you the opportunity to find a temporary training placement or internship with a private doctor’s surgery. It’s always good to pursue some kind of work training whilst simultaneously getting your degree because you will get practical experience to add to your coursework. It will also make you look more attractive to employers, so when you begin applying for permanent jobs, having work experience will benefit you. Finally, it will give you a sense of what kind of nursing career is right for you as you talk to see the work firsthand. Remember nurses do everything from assist in surgery to monitor patients in the hospital to work with patients in traditional doctor’s offices and so there are many opportunities all of which are a bit different in terms of daily routines.
In addition to having a formal education, in order to become a nurse, you will have to be very knowledgeable about a large number of different health conditions and observant while working. You will also need to be able to spot and identify potentially life-threatening conditions in patients, since you may be triaging them. For example, one condition, sepsis, can be fatal in a matter of hours if it’s not caught early. It is often nurses who are the ones that spot complications early since doctors don’t see patients as frequently. You will learn about a lot of the conditions that you need to know about in your bachelor’s course, but it’s a good idea to do a little outside reading, also. You gain some of this knowledge in the classroom but much more practical experience from your on the job training.
Looking at the traits that make great nurses, caring and compassion are at the top of the list. As mentioned in this post’s introduction, many of the patients with whom you will be working are seeing you at time when they are frail and vulnerable. You are the front lines in making sure they are well looked after and helped. Nurses work busy schedules and often cover many patients and empathy is a critical trait to keep you focused and not let you get burnt out. Right now stress levels are higher because nurses are overworked and there is a shortage. While this makes it a growth industry from an employment perspective, it reminds you that nursing for many is a calling and not just a job they show up to in order to get a paycheck.
If you are a person who’s even-tempered, then nursing could be a good career fit for you. Nursing can be very frustrating. You will have to deal with time challenged doctors, difficult patients, and hard to solve problems. Because of the huge strain on the healthcare industry due to the after effects of Covid and the aging of society, there are no shortages of jobs, but you will find yourself very busy. All of this combined with a person who’s not well controlled can be disastrous. If you are cool, calm, and collected, then you are a great fit for nursing.
You won’t be an effective nurse if you can’t communicate with people clearly and concisely. Going back to an earlier point, an overworked nurse might have a hard time communicating with patients, which can leave them confused as to what’s going on with their health. Poor communication with other medical staff could put patients at risk as well. Before you consider applying for a nursing position or making inquiries about courses, make sure that you are confident that you are a good communicator. If you are not, then it might be worth taking some time out to brush up on your communicative skills, which you can do by taking an online course.
Lastly, you need to be someone who’s genuinely interested in learning about healthcare if you want to be a good nurse. Nurses should be curious, inquisitive, and good listeners. First, you will have to know a lot of information, as already mentioned, to be an effective nurse. As new procedures, drugs and technologies are constantly introduced into the field, it is very hard for you to learn all of the information that you need to know if you are not genuinely interested in healthcare. If you possess a desire to learn about medicine and various health conditions, then nursing could be for you. Second, sometimes patients come in with hard to diagnose ailments and being intellectually curious will help teach you to ask follow up questions and look for less common conditions.
Nursing can be a very demanding career, but it is also one of the most rewarding ones you can ever pursue. You should bear in mind that becoming a nurse isn’t easy—there are a lot of hoops that you will have to jump through first. But if you possess all of the qualities outlined in this post, then you might become a great nurse, find meaning for yourself and help make the world a better place one patient at a time.