For the majority of people, there will come a time when they finally need to decide what it is they want to do. This may sound daunting, but remember, you can always change your mind – you don’t have to stick with something you don’t like. However, changing to a new career, although entirely possible (and important if you don’t like what you’re doing), is time-consuming, and it can be costly. It can also be difficult, especially if you have responsibilities within the home or financially. Therefore, it’s far better to make the right choice at the start, and this involves asking yourself a lot of deep questions about whether or not the career you are thinking of going into is really the right one for you.
Many people are keen to be nurses. This makes a lot of sense; nursing is an excellent career with a lot of progression opportunities flexible working hours (although potentially not at first), and it is also highly rewarding. However, to become a nurse, you will need to do a lot of hard work, and the intricacies of the job itself won’t be something everyone enjoys. So before you start studying to become a nurse, here are some of the best questions to ask yourself to determine whether this is the right direction for you to go in.
Why Do You Want To Be A Nurse?
The first question to ask yourself when it comes to your career as a nurse is why you want to become a nurse at all. In fact, this is a great question to ask yourself, no matter what career you are thinking of studying for, just what is it that makes this particular sector interesting to you. Why do you think you will enjoy the work?
There are many answers to this question, and some are better than others. For some people, nursing is a calling – in other words, it’s just the only thing they can see themselves doing, and they instinctively know they will be great at it. For others, it’s a question of where they can put their personal character traits to best use. Others still want to have a career in which they can help people or where every day is different. Some, however, only want to become nurses because that’s what their family expects of them (perhaps it’s a career that many family members have undertaken in the past) or because they can’t think of anything else to do. These are not such good reasons, and in the end, going ahead because of this could mean you become miserable, and you might have to change careers.
What Do Nurses Do?
This probably seems like a very strange question. After all, everyone knows what nurses do, don’t they? The truth is that although people might all have an idea of what it is a nurse does on a day to day basis unless they do research and look into exactly what this career entails, they’ll never know. The public only ever see what the media shows them, or what they see when they go into a hospital or clinic.
Before you can decide whether nursing is the right choice for you in terms of your career, you are going to have to know exactly what it is a nurse does. This means conducting more thorough research. You might read blogs written by nurses. You might read industry reports and journals. Perhaps you could interview a nurse or perform some job shadowing. Just make sure you know exactly what you’re getting into before you start to help you make the right choice.
Are You A People Person?
Not everyone is the same, and that’s what makes the world such a special place. It means there is a career path for everyone, no matter who you are or what you are good at. If you want to be a nurse, you’ll need to like being around people; it’s a big part of the job. You’ll be helping patients, talking to their families, dealing with colleagues, and generally being with other people a lot of the time. There won’t be much time to be alone. If this is something you would enjoy, then nursing will tick the boxes. If it’s something you don’t think would suit you because you are much more introverted and prefer to work alone, then it’s time to think of something else to do.
Don’t worry, though; just being a shy or introverted person doesn’t mean you can’t still be a great nurse. It simply means you’ll need to do some extra work to ensure you learn how to be with people in a more productive way. This might entail learning how to communicate better or how to listen more. Only you will know if this is something you are able to do. If you know that you’ll be much more effective working alone, you can still help people – there are many careers that offer this option – but you might not make the best nurse.
Are You Committed To Learning?
There is a lot of learning involved in becoming a nurse, and that’s something that is going to please some people greatly; they love to learn, and they want to know as much as possible. It’s crucial that you know this in advance; you wouldn’t want the amount of knowledge a nurse needs to have to become a surprise at the last moment. However, there is more to understanding how to study to become a nurse than the initial stages; if you want to be a good nurse, you’ll need to continue learning throughout your career. Will you want to do this? Will you be able to?
The medical sector has changed a lot, and it’s constant change. Just because you have graduated and are now an RN, that doesn’t mean you know everything, and it certainly doesn’t mean you’ll always be on top of all the information you need to be because more and more will be discovered and more and more changes will be made. This is why you need to be completely committed to learning; you must ensure you know what all the latest information is regarding nursing and medicine.
There are many ways to do this, but a lot of nurses like to go back to school. In this way, not only are they learning, but they will receive a qualification such as a post masters FNP which will help them progress their careers as well. The more you are willing to learn, the more you will enjoy your job and the more you can help people.
Are You Resilient?
Nursing is the ideal career path to choose if you are looking for something that is challenging and in which you can make a difference in people’s lives. Yet it is this challenging aspect that you might need to ask yourself about before you actually go ahead and apply to study for a nursing qualification. What exactly does that mean? There are actually many things that make nursing challenging, and no matter which ones you are dealing with at any particular time, you need to be resilient in order to cope with them.
Remember that in nursing, as in life, what you are aiming for might not be what you achieve. Obstacles will come up, and you will have to be resilient to keep pushing past them. You might have to change your plans or come up with an entirely new treatment option for someone. You might have to concede that there is no treatment and simply make someone as comfortable as possible. The only thing you can’t do when you’re a nurse is to walk away from a difficult situation. You will need to see it through, no matter what; can you do that?
Can You Keep Calm During Emergencies?
Although you can have a lot of fun as a nurse, the fact is that nurses deal with negative things. They are there to help when someone is sick or injured. They are there to help when it comes to life or death. This is why it’s vital you are able to keep calm when there is an emergency situation happening in front of you. You can’t just freeze, and you must stay cool and collected – not only will this help the patient, but it will help everyone else around you as well.
It’s not easy to do this. Human nature is to allow panic to set in when there is an emergency happening; it’s a natural instinct and relates to the fight or flight mode that the body goes into when certain hormones are produced. When you are a nurse, you need to override these feelings and remain completely in control.
Of course, it could be that you have no idea whether you can do this or not. If you have never been in a difficult, urgent situation, you might just not know. Yet you can have an idea of how you would react; are you naturally a calm person, or do you tend to panic about things? The truth is that you can learn to be calm over time, and therefore, although it’s crucial for nurses to be calm, you don’t have to know exactly what to do right away. The more experienced and knowledge you have, the easier it will be to stay calm and do your job.
Nursing is a great career for those who have burnt out and are looking for a change. Perhaps you are done with working solely so someone else can get richer and instead want to do something that makes a difference. Perhaps you had an inspiring interaction with a nurse who truly made a bad period in your life so much better.
There are so many reasons why people get started with nursing, and so many why people would want to change careers into this field. Understanding what nursing entails, who is best suited to nursing, and what you need to do to change your career are all essential first steps, and you can get started by following this guide:
What to Expect as a Nurse
Nursing is very rewarding, but it isn’t for everyone. You will be seeing people and families at their worst. Not every story will have a happy ending. In many cases, it isn’t about saving lives so much as it is alleviating pain and pushing back that final end as much as you can. Nurses are heroes not because their job is easy, but because it is hard, and they do it anyway.
The pandemic has really pushed nurses to the brink as well and has caused serious cases of compassion and chronic fatigue. More nurses are the solution, however, and by the time you are fully qualified, the strain of the pandemic will either be over or will be managed down to an art.
Not every nursing role is stressful and chaotic, however. You can work as a nurse almost anywhere. If high-impact and high-stress situations are not a good fit for you, you can work in a clinic or find a post in a rural area (or even in telehealth) that will allow you to focus primarily on preventative and holistic health rather than emergency healthcare.
In short, nursing can be stressful. It can be difficult. There are also more than enough roles and opportunities out there that you should be able to find the right fit for you while still contributing to your nursing career.
What Qualities Make a Great Nurse?
A nurse is someone who is compassionate but still capable of getting the job done – even the messy, terrible, and scary jobs. Having a cool head, being able to work under pressure, and having an attention to detail are all excellent qualities to have as a nurse, and though some can be learned and practiced, others are rather innate.
You need to have true grit to help others when they are at their lowest, health-wise. You need to be able to handle crisis situations with poise and precision. Not every job as a nurse requires you to work in the trauma ward or to save lives where seconds count, but being able to work in such an environment, even on a short-term basis, can help you thrive in this career.
If you have taken care of others, if you are a primary carer for a loved one, and if you always seem to be the one who tackles the “messy” jobs that others are squeamish about, then you likely are a good fit to be a nurse. Throughout your new career, however, remember it isn’t about what you can take but what suits you. Even though you can handle a crisis, that does not mean your best fit in nursing isn’t somewhere else entirely, like a primary care clinic.
How to Get Started in Nursing
Getting started as a nurse when you currently don’t work as one can feel daunting, but the good news is that there are many options into the career. The most straightforward option is with a BSN. You can continue to work in your current setup, either full-time or part-time and then slowly get through a BSN degree (there will, of course, be clinical components to your studies).
Alternatively, you can fast-track through your BSN, either by committing to it full-time or alternatively by using any applicable science credits from an existing degree that you already have.
You can earn a certificate and get into nursing first as a certified nursing assistant or a licensed nurse practitioner, but this is a much longer route and not always the best way forward. If you can currently support yourself and your family in your current setup, going straight for a BSN is the fastest and most cost-effective way into nursing.
Once you graduate from that BSN, you will then need to take your state’s nursing exam. This exam is essential to earning your license.
Where you can use this license depends on the state you are certified. If your state is within the Nurse Licensure Compact, then you will be issued a multi-state license that will allow you to work within the NLC with minimal intrusion. If you aren’t, however, you will need to apply for a new license and work with the existing framework if you want to move out of state.
How to Advance Your Nursing Career
Advancing your nursing career will require additional education, though this time with one key difference: you’ll be working as a nurse while you continue to study. You can work to become a nurse practitioner in Texas, which is considered one of the best jobs in the USA, and in healthcare, but while you are studying, you will likely either be working full-time or at least part-time.
There are many benefits to working while studying. Your work will always be essential, so working while you study means you can help more people without taking a break. It also means you can keep your skills sharp and learn many great skills
You will need to strike a delicate balance and be prepared to possibly switch from full-time to part-time work if you can. The last thing you need when furthering your nursing career is to burn out because this won’t help you or your patients.
Being patient with yourself and prioritizing your health and routine will help you pursue a degree while working as a nurse, and done right can help you be both a better student and a better nurse to all.
A career in nursing does not get the kind of respectful consideration that it should. They are by far the most numerous professionals in the medical field, but many fail to understand just how far a nurse’s career can go. If you are interested in becoming a nurse, read here to learn about accelerated nursing programs, but if you’ve already started your education or work experience as a nurse, then you are already benefiting from a job that does real good, that always has need of you, and offers benefits like a well-above average wage and flexible work arrangements. But if you want to climb that ladder, it can offer even more.
Many think that a hospital is the only place for a nurse to work in, but there are a much broader variety of opportunities and work environments available than that. A comprehensive look at the data from Arizona College shows that only 63% work in hospitals. The rest are spread between a diversity of different roles in different institutions. Care facilities, outpatient centers, schools, residences, with HR teams, you could end up playing an essential role in all kinds of industries. Each work environment has something different to offer so you don’t have to feel like you can only work in one kind of environment if it doesn’t suit you as a person.
A lot more progression than you might think
There are also many who make the mistake of believing that there’s little room for progression as a nurse. That is demonstrably untrue. There’s room to keep educating yourself and keep moving up to positions that are both more challenging and more lucrative. Many work happily with an RN diploma all their life, but there are positions for those moving into bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and even doctorates like the Doctor of Nursing Practice qualifications available at Maryville Online. With a DNP, many more career opportunities, such as working as an anesthetist in the operating room and as a psychiatric nurse, become real options for you. Nursing gets a lot more specialized the further you decide to take your career.
Get to the core of nursing
It’s more than just a job or a role in an institution. Nursing is a craft and a vocation all of its own. To that end, it should be no surprise there are networks of nurses looking into research and practices that can help the industry as a whole progress. There’s a lot to learn and also a lot to gain by networking as a nurse. Besides informing you as to possibilities, it can open new opportunities for your career. Networking gives you the opportunity to be part of something much bigger than just yourself alone but it also gives you the chance to give your career a real boost.
Nurses are a vital part of our healthcare system and those with the hunger to make it should know that there are plenty of new environments to work in, new positions to be attained and new contacts who can make you a true expert in your field.
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