Nursing can be a profoundly fulfilling career path, making it an ideal choice for those who possess a genuine desire to make a positive impact on the world around them.
For many, the chance to help others in their time of need is the foundation of what makes their work so incredibly meaningful.
Nurses are highly respected, recognized, and globally appreciated, and for a good reason, the job is not only immensely important to society in general, but it can be an extremely testing profession.
If you were interested in entering the nursing world, it is worth taking note of a few pointers before you fully commit your time and energy into pursuing the qualifications and training.
You might want to start by checking out the many opportunities the world of remote learning has to offer in the way of nursing courses; for example Elmhurst University Online has many fantastic options worth checking out, such as the accelerated nursing degree program.
Dealing with Stressful Situations
Working in a diverse and fast-paced environment on a regular basis can be stress-inducing at the best of times, but it can be important to understand that some of the situations you will likely find yourself in as a nurse might be profoundly and deeply affecting.
For example, caring for patients who are nearing the end of their life or are severely injured can be traumatic, and dealing with death is never easy, despite it being one of life’s inevitabilities.
Everyone has their own way of coping, but it may take time to understand what works out best for you. It might be worth reading up on some literature, and if you can, talk to practicing nurses about how they approach the topic.
This is just one of many situations in which being the owner of an empathic, compassionate mindset can help, which you likely already have if you are considering entering the world of healthcare.
There will be plenty of beautiful moments to cherish, unique individuals to meet, and friendships to form, but acknowledging potentially unsettling realities is a must if you want to prepare yourself to the best of your ability.
Long Working Hours
Working long hours will most likely become part of your standard week, as will having to take calls at practically any time of the night or day.
Whether this is to deal with an emergency, cover your fellow staff members, or to help out if your colleagues are understaffed, which could very well be often.
Making the most out of your free time is vital in this regard, so looking after your own physical and mental health whenever you get a chance should be high on the agenda. Getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and perhaps even taking up meditation can all be good ways to ensure that you have the stamina to face the next shift.
Without regular self-care, shifts may quickly become overwhelming. Talking about your situation with friends and family can be a good way of understanding and dealing with difficult emotions, especially if you build a support network that you can rely on for advice.
Once you are qualified and have a feel for your new professional environment, you may want to start thinking about the vast array of possible roles within nursing.
The field is exceptionally diverse, and throughout your medical career, you will no doubt find many exciting avenues to explore and eventually specialize in. Some of these roles might include:
- Family Nurse Practitioner
- Mental Health Nurse
- Physiotherapy Nurse
- Nurse Trainer
- Forensic Nursing
- Cardiac Nursing
- Nurse Oncologist
- Nurse Researcher
- Many, Many More
Even if you already have an idea of which area you would most like to dedicate your time to, it is worth keeping your options open, as you might not know the realities of a position until you have experienced the workplace first-hand.
The Value of a Sense of Humor
Sometimes, laughing in the face of adversity can work wonders in lifting spirits, provided it is done with care and sensitivity.
Communication prowess is an essential part of nursing, as you will, at times, spend a great deal of your working day talking to patients and their family members, colleagues, and consultants.
Learning how to have a laugh tactfully and thoughtfully can help you nurture this aspect of the job, as can adopting a positive outlook, actively listening, and embracing your empathic nature.
Communication is fluid in nature, and your tone will probably need to change from patient to patient if you wish to interact with everyone in a manner that suits them best.
This is one area in which people with emotional intelligence and great interpersonal skills will most likely be able to thrive in.
It is worth noting; however, some patients may be extremely hard to communicate with, but in many cases, this will be down to the condition of their health or their fear and discomfort regarding the medical setting. Practicing patience and compassion can be a good way of dealing with these potentially distressing moments.
Making Difficult Decisions
Even if you happen to be supported by a wonderful team of dedicated and experienced nurses, doctors and consultants, in most cases (if not all), you will still need to make vitally important split-second decisions on your own.
Some of these decisions could be lifesaving in the moment, so recognizing the weight of any given situation and the potential consequences is a must.
‘Everyone makes mistakes’ can be a wildly beneficial mantra to bear in mind, especially when working in an area like healthcare. Mistakes can take their toll on your mental health if you leave them to fester and dwell on them regularly. In an effort to combat this, it might be best to accept them, learn from them, and remember them, as this will help you never make the same one again.
The rewards you can find throughout your nursing career may be unlike any other found in careers the world over.
The chance to return another person’s hope to them, to nurture them back to health, and to be truly appreciated by society can be a wonderful reason to pursue a fulfilling career as a nurse.