Nursing is not a field that should be taken lightly, and the decision to become a nurse means making a commitment for your lifetime.
Nursing careers are very varied, with the ability to specialize in the role becoming more popular, increasing job opportunities and salaries along the way. If you want to become a nursing professional, you will want to look at all your options and consider what you want out of a career.
Education is Critical
It’s probably obvious to anyone, but nurses need to be highly educated to be successful in the role. What you may not know, however, is that the education options for nurses and healthcare, in general, are actually quite varied, and online courses are becoming increasingly popular because they allow people to study flexibly around other commitments.
Nursing programs are changing rapidly to meet the needs of the workforce, and that includes hiring more licensed practical nurses and midwives at every level. To be competitive, aspiring nurses need to be aware of their choices when it comes to education.
If you’d like to find out more about your choices when it comes to online study, click here to read about Carson-Newman University’s online FNP program.
Look at Your Future Options
You’ll find that nursing careers will vary greatly depending on what field you want to work in after gaining your initial training.
For example, nurse midwives will have to complete a master’s degree program in addition to their bachelor’s degree. Nurse anesthetists will need a doctorate in nursing and often additional certifications. These are only a few examples of the wide range of choices available to you as a nurse.
Expect High Competencies Needed for the Job
Nurses are required to multitask and be well-versed inpatient care, which requires excellent time management skills and being able to communicate effectively with patients.
The work will often involve hard physical labor, which can be difficult when you’re working with very sick people who can’t speak for themselves. That said, nurses are more likely to have pleasant personalities and good interpersonal skills, which makes it easier for them to communicate with patients and care for them appropriately.
Specializing is Key
Specializing is the best way to boost your income and job security, whether you choose to go into pediatrics (children’s medicine), obstetrics (women’s medicine), or other specialist fields such as working with elderly patients’ family care, cancer care, etc.
Often in the first years of nursing, but sometimes in later years as well, you will have the opportunity to do an elective shift. These are shifts where you get to rotate to a different department and take on a different role for a day.
It is a chance to try out a specialty or change your perspective on nursing. Some people find that it isn’t right for them and they prefer their own department. Other people end up sticking with the other type of nursing for the rest of their careers.
Stress can kill a career
If you aren’t comfortable with the idea of taking care of people, please don’t become a nurse. Don’t spoil it for yourself; nurses have lots to do and need to make sure their colleagues are reliable and good under pressure.
If you think it sounds like too much for you, think about another vocation.
Stress is a major issue for nurses and for the healthcare profession in general, but there are lots of things you can do to manage it.
Talking about your feelings with a senior nurse or psychologist is always a good idea if you feel stressed; often, the job is stressful because you have too much to do, and by talking about it, you can find ways to alleviate that stress.
Nurses are not superheroes
No matter how much patients pretend to believe in nurses, the truth is that nurses are just like everyone else — they have their own weaknesses and try to cover them up as best they can.
Nurses need therapy, too, and they are just as likely as anyone to have suicidal thoughts after a 24-hour shift. The difference is that nurses don’t give up because it’s all they know how to do; they make it through the bad days and move on.
Injury and health problems are a part of the job
Whether you’re working in surgery or caring for stroke patients, you’re likely to experience workplace injuries or health problems. This is not something that the hospital is obliged to tell you before you sign on, but it’s important that you are prepared for it.
If you already have an ongoing injury, this can become a problem if your physical stamina isn’t what it was before your injury.
Most nurses are not interested in the money.
Nurses have been hearing this since nursing school, but it still doesn’t seem to sink in among many patients!
Nurses don’t do the job for the money; they do it because there are people out there who need our help and because everyone deserves a chance at life.
It’s true that some paths in nursing are very well paid, but this is not the case for most. Nurse salaries have been declining for a while in both public and private sectors, and nurses will only gain higher salaries if they specialize in much-needed fields or are willing to work in higher-paid locations.
There are compromises everywhere.
Nurses care more than you think
You will often hear that nurses don’t care and are just in it for the money, but rarely do you hear about the times when they have stayed late at work to comfort a patient or when they stay longer because we know a family is coming and want to make sure the patient is comfortable.
Most nurses care very deeply about their patients and their jobs; they would not do what they do day in and day out if they didn’t!
Everyone has days when they just don’t feel like being a nurse anymore, but the job is still very rewarding for most, and working in healthcare is a very fulfilling career.