Many individuals see nursing as a vocation and a calling, a career choice that is based on an inner conviction that this is the job they are meant to be doing. However, having a strong conviction is not always enough to help you decide whether nursing is the right career option for you. If you are thinking about training to become a nurse, or even considering a career switch, it is vital that you ask yourself some key questions to determine whether a job in nursing would suit your personality and lifestyle.
Are you interested in learning?
Nurses need to be constantly willing to learn and adapt to new job roles and responsibilities, with numerous nursing theories and research being conducted all the time, much of which nurses will be expected to know about. Not only this, but to become a nurse, there is a large range of nursing training and courses that you will need to take throughout your career in order to advance and be able to be considered for different positions.
A registered nurse will usually take a:
- Bachelor’s degree in Nursing
- Training courses or extra qualifications in their specialism
- Master’s degrees in leadership responsibilities
- Licensure examinations, especially if you want to register in another state
However, the need to constantly learn new information does not have to be difficult or a large commitment, with many colleges providing online courses that will allow you to take BA and MA qualifications from anywhere in the country, or even alongside your current job role. For instance, nursing leadership courses at Baylor allow you to prepare yourself for more advanced responsibilities and managerial positions in nursing without any on-campus commitments, meaning that you are still able to work alongside this training.
Do you want to help others?
One of the biggest factors that you need to consider when thinking of becoming a nurse is whether you want to dedicate your life to helping others. Nursing responsibilities are usually centered around ensuring that sick patients are comfortable and able to get the treatment they require, and this can help nurses who are struggling with long hours and underappreciation to find constant meaning within their roles.
Nurses help others by:
- Giving them the resources that they need to look after themselves
- Treating disease and increasing positive outcomes
- Helping patients to cope emotionally with their illness
- Giving patients the information they need to prevent illness
Not only do nurses help others, but they can also work to benefit their community, such as working at care homes and assisting seniors, running sexual health clinics, and helping pregnant women and new mothers, ensuring that you can give back to the community as well as contribute in a hospital setting. There is a huge demand for these types of roles, with the need for home healthcare roles on the increase.
Are you prepared for the commitment and long hours?
However, it is important to mention that becoming a nurse has its cons as well as its pros, and to become a nurse, you should ensure that you have the resilience and determination needed to stay successful and positive in the face of challenging situations. For instance, the findings of a 2014 survey suggested that long hours and underappreciation are some of the issues that nurses face on a daily basis, with 12-hour shifts being the most common shift pattern. Not only this, but the level of commitment demanded of nurses can lead to emotional stress and exhaustion, as well as physical issues such as back pain due to the length of shifts and the pressure put on the body while caring for others. However, although you need to be prepared for these situations, if you are committed to your job, the positives easily outweigh the negatives, as you are able to see the positive affect your hard work is having on others.
What character traits should you have?
Not everyone is suited to a career in nursing, though, and there is a reason why nurses are stereotyped as being empathetic, patient and caring people. Nurses need to be:
As a nurse, you need to be empathetic with your patient’s concerns in order to offer them the best care possible, put them at ease, and understand their needs.
Most nurses are patient in order to deal with challenging situations that are brought upon them.
Nurses also need to be independent and be able to make quick decisions with the outcome of saving lives and do the best that they can for their patients.
- Good Listeners
They also need to listen to their patient’s concerns and problems in order to give them the right care and attention.
- Good Conscious
Nurses also need to have a good conscious in order to provide their patients with ethical treatment and to follow the moral codes inground into the nursing way of life.
- Emotionally Strong
Nursing can be extremely draining on your emotions, and you may find yourself in difficult situations or become overly attached to one of your patients. Therefore, you need to stay emotionally strong in order to remain professional and detach yourself from your personal feelings, ensuring that you can cope in difficult situations, while still providing the empathy and care needed in the role.
What soft skills do you need?
You cannot learn everything from a textbook, and there are some soft skills that nurses should have, which they can cultivate themselves. These skills will help them to become naturally effective nurses and include skills such as good organization, which you will need in order to arrange patient files and records and ensure that each patient receives the care they need when they need it. Nurses also need to have good communication skills in order to placate and connect with patients, including providing them with treatment plans and helping them to understand procedures, as well as to write reports. They also must be able to communicate with other colleagues effectively, especially if they decide to take on a management position, in which case they will also need to have good leadership skills in order to delegate tasks to others.