Where are you in your life right now? Are you about to leave high school? Are you stuck in a career you dislike, but don’t know where to turn? Are you craving something new and different to do? If the answer to any of these questions happens to be yes – or the answers to many others not yet asked, come to that – you’ll need to make a decision; you’ll need to decide what to do next with your life. Will you keep doing the things you’ve always done, getting the same outcome (which is comfortable, even if you’re not happy with it), or will you step forward and try something different?
If it is the latter that interests you the most, then perhaps nursing would appeal. It’s different and rewarding, and although there is a lot of work and study involved, it’s the kind of career that will take you well out of your comfort zone and give you a lot in return. If nursing does sound interesting, there are some important questions it would be wise to ask yourself before you go too far down that road; read on to find out what they are. When you answer these questions honestly, you’ll know for sure whether nursing is the right choice for you.
Why Do You Want To Be A Nurse?
The question of why you want to be a nurse is the first thing you should ask yourself once you realize that nursing could be an option for you. It might seem like a simple question, but there are so many different answers – many of them leading to a positive response about being a nurse – that you really need to pay attention to how you feel and what you’re thinking. You’ll need to understand your motivations and know whether they are good or bad ones. This is where honesty counts for so much.
So, you might answer that you want to be a nurse because the pay is good. It’s certainly better than a lot of other jobs, and if that’s your reason, it’s good to be honest about it. It’s not the ideal reason to become a nurse because there is so much more to think about, however, so it could be that searching for another job is a much better idea. You might also answer that you want to help people and make a difference in their lives and the world overall. Again, this is an honest answer, but it’s a much better one because this is what nursing is really all about; it’s the core of what you’ll be doing, so if you want to be a nurse for this reason, you’re heading in the right direction.
The reason this particular question is such an important one is that nursing asks so much of those who decide to pursue it as a career. It is exhausting, physically, mentally, and emotionally, and if you go into it for the wrong reasons, or even just because you can’t think of anything else to do, you will find it much harder than it should be – and you’ll even become overwhelmed. It will still be hard if you go into nursing for the right reasons, but your motivation will be stronger, so you’ll be more willing to push on and reach your goal of becoming a nurse.
Do You Know What Nurses Do?
Again, this is another seemingly basic, simple question, but one that has a lot of layers: do you know what a nurse does? The immediate answer from anyone would probably be yes – they know that nurses take care of patients, they might dress wounds, give medication, clean patients, assist doctors, and generally make those under their supervision comfortable. They’ll take them from department to department and ensure they get the healthcare and treatment they need as seamlessly as possible, with patient safety, health, and wellbeing at the top of their priority list.
This is true; nurses do all of these things. However, if you’re going to be a nurse, you must look more deeply into what nurses do on a daily basis. As well as everything mentioned, they will take care of grieving families, mediate between colleagues, come up with treatment plans, and so much more. They will also often work all their shift and may not get much of a break. Plus, those shifts are long – usually around 12 hours in a fast-paced, stressful setting and thus not for the faint of heart.
Nurses can also move forward in their careers. They might take on additional qualifications so they can work in a different department and specialize in helping other groups of people, such as caring specifically for children, adults with certain disabilities, or even the elderly. They might also want to become administrators and managers in the healthcare sector, so they will need to take an Executive Master of Health Administration program to get them where they want to go.
Does any of this surprise you? It would surprise most people, but nothing about the nursing profession should alarm you if you truly do want to be a nurse. That’s why it’s a good idea to visit a hospital or clinic and see what a nurse really does. Ask permission to do this, and you might even be able to shadow a nurse for their shift. This will give you much more information than anything else ever could, and you’ll know whether the job is something you could cope with or not.
Are You A People Person?
As a nurse, you are going to need to work with a lot of other people. This doesn’t just mean your patients, but it includes their friends and families, your fellow nurses, other healthcare professionals such as doctors and administration staff, and anyone else who comes into the hospital or medical facility in which you work. In most cases, a nurse will be the first person someone seeks out when they need assistance, so it’s crucial that you have the people skills to do your job well.
Not everyone likes other people, of course. Some prefer to work alone, and enjoy their own company. If that sounds like you, you need to ask yourself if you could be a people person. You need to ask yourself if you could spend long hours working in a tightknit team with many other people and still keep your calm demeanor, positive exterior, and professionalism. Although this might seem like an easy thing to do, it is a skill, and it’s a skill that not everyone has. Do you?
Learning has been mentioned briefly above, but it’s a genuinely important part of being a nurse, and asking yourself if you are committed to learning or whether you prefer not to go back to school, potentially for years, is vital. If you don’t want to learn anymore and you just want to work, then as much as you might want to be a nurse, that’s going to be difficult because the fact is that nurses never stop learning.
Are You Committed To Learning?
Even a nurse who wants to remain an RN for their entire career needs to keep learning because new ways of working and techniques and laws will come into the picture. If you’re not willing to learn and be committed to learning for your entire career, you’ll find you have difficulties in being the kind of nurse people can trust and depend on.
This doesn’t even take into account the fact that nurses have to study for years before they can even start helping people. If you want to be a nurse, you need to go back to school, either online or in the traditional way, and if you’re not going to be able to do that, it’s time to look for an alternative career choice.
Are You Resilient?
Something that all nurses need to be is resilient. They must be able to get past many problems and challenges, and they must always keep going – even on the hardest days. This isn’t easy; nursing is a hugely challenging career choice, even if it’s one that has more good days than bad and offers a lot to anyone serious about making it work for them.
For those who want things to be easy – and there is no shame in this as everyone is different – even if you desperately want to help people, nursing isn’t going to be a good fit for you. Nurses can’t just walk away from their jobs and try again the next day after they’ve had a good night’s sleep; their patients need them right now, and no matter how tired or stressed they might be or how much they want to leave, they have to keep doing their job, and they must remain resilient.
There are other careers that will allow you to help people without demanding so much work and resilience, which are the ones you need to investigate if it seems as though you wouldn’t enjoy being a nurse or make a good one – particularly if you question the demands of a nurse and if you’d be able to cope and keep up with them every single day.
Can You Keep Calm During Emergencies?
This is yet another very important question: can you keep calm during emergencies? This is a trait that every nurse needs to have. Can you imagine if a nurse were to panic every time an urgent case came in, for example? Nothing would get done, and patients would suffer because of it.
When you are a nurse, people look to you in difficult situations. You must be calm and remain calm no matter what is happening. Is this something you can do? Are you sure? You must be able to do it as it will make all the difference.