Many people have aspirations of a career in nursing, and there are certainly many benefits to this career and few that are as rewarding. While it is an incredibly rewarding role with many perks, it is also a career path that can be extremely demanding and take its toll in more ways than one due to the nature of the work. It is for this reason why it is important to outline a few of the main things that you need to be aware of before embarking on a career as a nurse so that you can make the right decision and avoid any nasty surprises. Here are the main things to know about becoming a nurse.
It Is A Way of Life
Nursing is one of the most demanding professions with long hours, high-stakes work, and distressing situations. This means that nursing is not your typical 9-5, which you can forget about once you leave the office, and instead, nursing is more a way of life. While there are negatives to this, there are also benefits because nursing is so rewarding and with such a great community.
It Can Be Distressing
Following this, you also need to know that nursing will be distressing, and you will be dealing with upsetting, shocking, and sometimes disgusting situations every day. This is something that you do get used to overtime, but it can be shocking at first, and no amount of studying will prepare you for some of the things you will see and experience. This will include dealing with death regularly and there is no avoiding this in this line of work, unfortunately.
There Are Many Areas to Specialize In
One of the great things about nursing is that there are many different areas that you can specialize in, which gives you great flexibility along with the ability to progress your career and earn more money. Just a few of the different areas to consider include:
- Critical care
- Midwife nursing
- Family nurse practitioner
- Cardiac nurse
- Geriatric nursing
You Will Need to Earn Qualifications
Leading on from this, you will also need to earn qualifications to find work and climb the ladder. The BSN is a great option that can open more doors for you, and it is also one which you can earn faster than normal with accelerated BSN programs with online coursework and clinical experiences, which will teach you everything that you need to know to excel and stand out from the crowd.
It Is Competitive but Nurses Stick Together
Nursing can be a competitive field, with everyone trying to progress their career. Still, you also need to know that there is a strong sense of community amongst nurses, and they stick together due to the challenging nature of the work. This means that you should get to know your fellow nurses, provide support, and be a team player at all times.
You Need to Connect with Patients & Families
In addition to providing medical care to your patients, a key role of nurses is providing emotional support and connecting both with patients and their families. This means that you need to have excellent communication skills, be willing to go above and beyond, and empathize with people. While these are all key attributes of a good nurse, you also cannot get too attached and need to disconnect at the end of the day not to let work interfere with your personal life.
You Need to Plan Your Time Off
Leading on from this, time off is incredibly valuable in demanding professions like nursing, so you need to make a plan to make the most of it. Getting enough sleep and rest is hugely important when you are working long hours and on your feet all day. Still, you also need to schedule fun activities, hobbies and spending time with friends and family so it can be challenging to fit everything in, especially when you are tired.
You Need to Look After Your Physical & Mental Health
You also need to look after your own physical and mental health as it is easy to neglect these when you are so busy and caring for others. This means using your time off effectively as mentioned above but also finding ways to de-stress, maintaining a healthy diet, and having people that you can talk to if you are struggling at all.
You Need to Stay Current
One of the biggest challenges that nurses find is staying current when it comes to nursing and healthcare. Things change rapidly in terms of practices, trends, technologies, approaches, and challenges, and it is easy to get left behind if you do not make a concerted effort to stay current, and in some positions it is a requirement. This means that you need to be fully committed to your profession and do everything that you can to stay current, such as attending industry events and doing your own research.
It Is Not Like On TV
Finally, it is important to note that nursing is not like what you see on television. While some shows/films get it right, the general representation of nurses that you see is not accurate, where they are often portrayed to be secondary figures that are there only to take doctor’s orders. This is not the case as nurses play a much more critical role in healthcare than this and have much more autonomy and independence. Nurses must possess a range of critical skills, be decisive and high functioning, and provide emotional support as outlined above.
These are a few of the main things that people need to be aware of the nursing profession if this is a field that they are interested in. Nursing can be an incredible and highly rewarding job with great progression opportunities. Still, there are also many challenges and a not-so-glamorous side to nursing, which people need to be aware of before embarking on this career.