With a solid job outlook and a myriad of specialization opportunities, it’s no surprise the nursing career is becoming one of the most in-demand careers. Whether you’ve always wanted to work as a nurse, or are just starting to flirt with the idea of this dynamic profession, before embarking in this challenging journey, there’s much to be considered.
From understanding the demands of being a nurse to grasping the concept of spending years of life in school, nursing isn’t all flowers and sunshine. However, for those who truly wish to take this challenge head-on, it’s one of the most rewarding careers possible. If you’re unsure whether or not a nursing career is for you, here are several essential questions you should answer before taking the plunge into nursing school.
What Are the Reasons You Want A Nursing Career?
One of the most important questions to ponder may seem easy, but as many things in life tend to be, sometimes the easiest questions are the hardest to answer. For far too many aspiring nurses, the answer boils down to its compensation or stability.
While these are two essential components of any career, they shouldn’t be the driving force for potential nurses. This is a challenging and complex career that’s extremely taxing emotionally, physically and mentally. Far too often, nurses feel overwhelmed by not only their tasks, but having to bear witness in some of the most challenging situations people go through.
The most successful and happiest nurses are those who had a desire to truly help people. They are compassionate, driven and have an unwavering quality that’s difficult to define. I you are unsure as to why you truly want to be a nurse, you should start off as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) or volunteer. This gives you a clear indication of what lays ahead of you, if you choose to continue.
Do You Truly Understand the Duties of Being a Nurse?
From TV shows to Hollywood blockbusters, the roles and responsibilities of nursing has been romanticized to the point of it being unrecognizable. Before you spend the time and money on nursing school, you should spend a significant amount of time investigating the real world duties of nurses.
One of the best ways to understand the requirements of this position is to volunteer in a medical facility where you interact and observe nurses. As mentioned earlier, if you wish have a more hands-on investigation, consider becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant. Of course, one of the easiest ways to gain insights is to interview a working nurse. Most seasoned Registered Nurses are more than happy to discuss their daily duties, tasks and responsibilities with aspiring nursing students. After all, they understand the difference a passionate nurse makes in the unit.
Do You Enjoy Being Around People?
Would you describe yourself as a people person? Are you unfazed by strong attitudes, unsavory personalities and dealing with people during a difficult time in their lives? If not, then you probably won’t enjoy a nursing career.
This profession places you with people from all walks of life dealing with both minor and major health issues. In some cases, you get to spend time with individuals who are actually a pleasure to be around. In many more, you’re playing a direct role in a situation that is traumatic, painful or deadly. You must be able to navigate this web of personalities, emotions and situations all while providing the absolute best care possible. This within itself is often the most difficult and challenging aspect of working as a nurse.
Do You Enjoy Going to School?
Does the idea of spending years of your life undertaking challenging coursework? How does the notion of engaging with coursework for the duration of your career sound? Unfortunately, not everyone is capable of dedicating the amount of time and money this career demands. From earning your BSN to satisfying your state’s Continuing Education requirements, schooling is part of life for nurses. Of course, this only intensifies if you choose to specialize beyond a generalized Registered Nurse.
If you have a desire to work in the healthcare industry, but aren’t able to realistically commit to the sheer volume of training nursing requires, perhaps you should consider another role in the healthcare industry? For some, this may mean diving into a more administrative role, while for others, this may mean foregoing your desire of being a Registered Nurse and branching off into a lower-level nursing profession, such as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).
Can You Work Well in a Team Environment?
This should come as no surprise, but if you don’t work well in a team, you won’t enjoy being a nurse. Unlike other professions, which provide a vast amount of autonomy, nurses play a direct role in a growing team of medical professionals.
From working with fellow nurses, to communicating with physicians and other healthcare staff members, you are rarely alone. You should thrive when working with fellow professionals toward a common goal. If you find yourself frustrated or avoiding communication because you wish to work alone, you will not find this profession for you. However, if you love working as a team and leveraging your unique talents with those of your fellow teammates, then this challenging career will be rewarding and inspiring.
Are You a Resilient Person?
When you think about the qualities of a nurse, you likely think about someone who’s compassionate, empathic and capable of moving quickly in an emergency. While these are all vital traits of a successful nurse, each one is built upon the foundation of resilience.
In many ways, being resilient forms the cornerstone of a nursing career. You will be required to engage with people who aren’t having a very good day. You will be yelled at, by either patients or fellow medical staff, and will be expected to sustain your concentration and focus. If you’re easily swayed by the energy and emotions of others, you’ll likely find this career to be far more challenging than rewarding.