Nursing is one of the fastest-growing professions and for good reason. Not only is it a career that allows you to help people, but the pay is also good and hours can be flexible depending on the department or location that you work in. You may be wondering how to know if this is the right career path for you? Well if you enjoy helping people, can think quickly on your feet, and enjoy learning new things nursing is a great fit for your future career.
Many nurses will tell you how rewarding the job can be even though it can also be physically and emotionally draining at times. It is important to go into this meaningful but sometimes demanding career with as much understanding of the job as possible.
So what are some of the things you should know and consider before signing up for classes to start your nursing degree? Well, between the skills needed and the day-to-day hustle of the job, there are a variety of important factors to consider. Thinking and reflecting on these tips will help you determine whether nursing is the career for you.
Tip #1- Being Observant is Key
Depending on the specific area you want to work in for nursing, your daily duties may be different. However, some things are the same across the board and one of the most important things that many doctors and nurses will tell you is that being observant is a must in this field.
Many nurses often administer medicine as well as make diagnostic assessments about the patient to report to the attending physician. Nurses are often responsible for chart notes as well. All of this requires a keen eye and being aware of both with a patient is telling you and what you are seeing. Noting details throughout the day is a skill that will be used often in this job.
Tip #2- Opportunities for Professional Growth
Many individuals that go into nursing know that they want to continue up the career ladder. Oftentimes a nursing degree may start as a bachelor’s in science. But as you finish nursing school, you will narrow down the department in which you will have your first job. Whether you become an ER nurse or work in pediatrics, once you are a registered nurse after a few years of working you may want to move up.
Just like in many fields, adding a new degree allows room for growth. You can pursue your nurse practitioner degree which gives you more responsibility and a higher salary.
Another opportunity that is available for nurses is traveling nurses. If you’re somebody that likes adventure or likes to explore this is the perfect opportunity for you. Not only can you make more money as a traveling nurse at times, but it also allows you to live in different places and get to know different hospitals and doctors’ offices which will increase your experience.
Tip #3- Be Ready for Busy Days
As any nurse will tell you that has been in the field for a while, there isn’t such a thing as a slow day in nursing. Nursing can definitely be a physically demanding job but it also means that you stay busy and often.
Even if you happen to have a day where you don’t have as many patients as you normally would on any given day, then you would likely spend that day catching up on paperwork and phone calls to other patients. If you are someone that likes to stay busy nursing is perfect for you.
But if you are someone that needs slow days at work then it may not be the best fit for you. Many nurses will tell you they enjoy the energy that the busyness brings as it makes the day go by quickly but it can get tiring at times.
Tip #4- Prioritizing Your Own Mental Health is Essential
Nursing is one of the most rewarding jobs out there, but it can also be one of the most emotionally draining. As a nurse, you will likely get attached to many patients over time and sometimes those patients don’t always make it. Or you may have to watch some of your favorite patients suffer and that can cause a lot of emotional duress no matter how professional you try to be. You are human after all.
As you begin the profession make sure that you have support in place to help support your own mental health. It is easy in a career that is meant to be giving to others that sometimes you can forget about taking care of yourself. Whether it’s seeing a therapist frequently or making sure to take time off consistently or simply getting exercise, find what works for you to have that support in place for when you need it.
Tip #5- It’s a Balance Between Time Management and Flexibility
Nurses have to stay organized and detail-oriented and stick to a strict schedule with patients. However, they also have to be ready to adjust at a moment’s notice if there is an emergency with a patient.
One of the most important skills a nurse can have is to be a critical thinker. Nurses are faced with a variety of cases throughout a workday and no two are the same. While one patient with an illness may need a certain type of treatment, a patient with a similar issue but other factors may need a totally different type of treatment. Being able to think quickly and look ahead for problems and solutions is a much-needed skill in the field of nursing.
A Rewarding Nursing Career Can Be a Great Fit
Getting an overall sense of a career, especially one as complex and diverse as nursing can be a challenge. But it is important to do as much research ahead of applying to nursing school so that you know you are making the right career choice. If you are someone that thrives when busy, has strengths in interpersonal and communication skills as well as a background or interest in science and medicine, then nursing is a great fit for you. The world can always use more nurses and you may be just what that next patient needs.