How to figure out if being a nurse is the right career path for you

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How to figure out if being a nurse is the right career path for you

The recent global coronavirus pandemic has prompted many people to consider retraining for a job in healthcare so that they can help others. In particular, becoming a nurse is an increasingly popular option. There are plenty of good reasons to embark on this career path, including high levels of employability and the chance to make a real difference in the lives of your patients every single day. Plus, thanks to the increased availability of online nursing degrees, it’s a role that’s more accessible than ever before.

If you’ve been considering training as a nurse, this post will help you to decide whether it’s the right choice for you. We’ll look at the job and academic curriculum in more detail, then discuss some of the most important skills and characteristics you’ll need in order to excel in the role.

The role of a nurse

A nurse’s job is a very varied and interesting one, with many different areas that you can specialize in. As such, the duties and responsibilities you have will vary according to where you work and the type of patients you see. Generally speaking, a nurse will function as part of a larger healthcare team to provide primary care to those in need. For example. this could be in a hospital, school, private clinic, community center, specialist treatment center, and so on.

As your career progresses, you can choose to concentrate on a particular patient group, health condition, or medical setting that most interests you. For instance, this could mean working in pediatrics, trauma, oncology, or any number of other specialties.

Some of the most common tasks you can expect to perform as a nurse include:

  • Taking medical histories
  • Updating patient records and doing other administration jobs
  • Running diagnostic tests and screenings
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Dressing wounds
  • Taking blood
  • Administering vaccinations and other types of medication
  • Assisting with certain medical procedures
  • Educating patients and the general public on a range of relevant issues, such as healthy living and disease prevention or management
  • Providing emotional support to patients and their families

Studying to become a nurse

There are a few different pathways open to you if you decide to study for a nursing qualification. The one that’s best for you will depend on factors such as your educational background, personal preferences, and career ambitions.

Taking an associate degree in nursing (ADN) is the quickest route to qualification, however, it’s now becoming more common for employers to want a minimum of a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN).

These days there is also the option to take online accelerated BSN programs, which are special fast-track degrees aimed at people who already have a bachelor’s degree in a different field. Beyond that, you can also take a master’s degree in nursing (MSN) or even a doctoral degree such as the DNP.

Regardless of the route you choose, studying to become a nurse requires you to complete a mixture of academic modules and clinical placements. The specific topics you cover will depend on the exact program you enroll with, but you can expect to study topics such as:

  • Introduction to Professional Nursing Practice
  • Adult Health
  • Family Health
  • Health Assessment
  • Research and Evidence-Based Practice
  • Ethics
  • Mental Health Promotion and Illness Management
  • Community Health
  • Nursing Leadership

Clinical placements involve working in a real healthcare setting and enable you to put what you’ve learned into practice under the supervision of a professional registered nurse. They are fantastic opportunities to hone your skills, plus get valuable feedback and experience.

Skills required to be a good nurse

In addition to the academic knowledge you learn in your course, there are a number of skills that you’ll need in order to be a great nurse. For instance, the fact that you will be interacting with patients of all ages and from all different backgrounds means that strong communication skills are a must.

Nurses often need to explain complex medical conditions or procedures to people with no background knowledge of the subject. Likewise, you’ll also be working alongside many other healthcare professionals, which requires excellent teamwork and interpersonal skills.

It’s also critical to pay close attention to detail as a nurse. You will often be working with detailed medical notes and complicated medical histories, complex or vague symptoms, and very precise dosages of different medications. In addition to carefully following instructions from the doctors and surgeons you work with, you’ll have to ensure you check details such as serial numbers and expiration dates accurately.

Other key abilities you’ll need are organization and time management to cope with the fast pace of the job. Similarly, the long shifts spent on your feet require good levels of stamina and endurance – both physically and mentally. Don’t worry if you feel as though you don’t yet have all these skills though, as you’re sure to pick them up during your studies!

Characteristics of a great nurse

As well as the various clinical and transferable skills that you need in nursing, there are also a number of personal characteristics which may make you especially well-suited to working in this field. The most obvious of these is probably compassion.

Nurses must be able to empathize with the patients in their care, in order to treat them with kindness and understanding. This is what’s often referred to as having a good bedside manner and helps people to trust you. Similarly, always exhibiting integrity, respect, and professionalism in what you do is vital.

Other key traits you will need include positivity and patience. The people you’re caring for may feel stressed or scared, for example, if they are very young or facing a very serious diagnosis, and part of your job is to help with this.

Adaptability is also crucial, to enable you to deal with those unexpected problems or emergencies that will inevitably arise. In line with this, it’s also important for nurses to have the ability to clearly separate their home life from their work life. That way you can prevent the potentially upsetting situations you encounter from having a negative impact on your own mental health and wellbeing.

 

 

Stacey Chillemi

staceychillemi@staceychillemi.com

The Complete Guide to Natural Healing believes that food, vitamins, supplements, and alternative medicine can be your best medicine. Our staff will show you the truth about health and wellness, so you can help your family and closest friends get even healthier. You’ll learn exactly what you should do and how to eat to get healthy, exercise to get your leanest, healthiest body, and how to take control of your family’s health, using natural remedies as medicine.

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