If you’re considering a career change, you may be thinking about nursing for a living. While nursing is not for everyone, it can be a vocation for others. This article will discuss some of the qualities needed to succeed in a career in nursing and how you can get started.
What Makes a Good Nurse?
Nursing in general can be very demanding; it involves hard work, long hours, erratic shift patterns, a highly stressful environment, and has an emotional impact. So, it is really something you have to be passionate about pursuing. However, the ability to help people and the job satisfaction that comes with knowing you have made a difference in someone’s life is amazing.
If you have experience in caring for a relative, you perhaps have an idea of what a nursing role entails; however, in hospital care, you won’t have the same amount of time to spend with each individual patient, so it can feel more impersonal than working in care or caring for a loved one.
There are a few traits you should possess to be a good nurse.
Some of these include:
- Good Communicator – being able to communicate with empathy to patients and effectively with peers is crucial in being a good nurse.
- Compassion – This is very important as you will be dealing with people perhaps facing life and death situations. Having compassion for their circumstances will bring them comfort and they will learn to trust in you.
- Detail Orientated – It’s important to be organized and detail orientated to ensure you don’t miss something important that could cause harm to a patient.
- Flexible – No two days are the same in nursing, so being able to be flexible and adjust to circumstances is crucial.
- Hardworking – Nursing isn’t easy; you will spend long hours on your feet, but the benefits of it far outweigh the positives. So, if you are hardworking, it could be a good job role for you.
What Kind of Nurse Should I Be?
There are many different types of nursing roles, and you can choose to be a general nurse, or specialize in an area such as pediatrics, midwifery, health visiting, or other department specific titles. Many nurses now start off as a general nurse and progress to full practice authority.
This linked article on the benefits of full practice authority for nurse practitioners is useful for anyone considering enhancing their career via this qualification.
The benefits of undertaking this are multiple and include:
- Having more authority
- Being able to prescribe
- Being able to diagnose
- Ability to make referrals saving time and money for the practice
- Ability to reduce people’s health care costs
Essentially, a nurse with full practice authority has some of the same responsibilities of a general practitioner but takes a route via nursing rather than via a med school degree.
Not all states allow full practice authority for nurses; at present, only 22 states do. These states are as follows:
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
This means that if you want to progress your nursing career via this method, you should expect to live or travel to one of these states.
Many nurse practitioners who have gone on to gain full practice authority report better job satisfaction as well as feeling they have a better rapport with patients as they are able to help them more effectively.
A nursing degree usually takes around 3-4 years, this is a significant commitment of time and also has financial implications with the average nursing qualification costing around $40,000.
Some institutions will allow you to study nursing on a part time basis; however, it will take longer to complete the qualification, but it does mean you could potentially work while you train.
This is another reason that nursing has to be a passion, as it is going to leave you with significant student debt when you first leave college.
In addition to that, if you choose to go on to specialize or study for your full practice authority qualification, then this is going to add more time and money onto your final tally, so ensure you are entirely certain this is the path you want to take before enrolling.
Nursing studies will almost always have a placement attached to them. This is a very positive thing, as it allows you to not only learn the theory in the classroom but also get some real hands on practical experience.
It’s also really useful for hospitals that are often short staffed, so expect a realistic experience of working in the field.
If you have a caring nature and a desire to help people, then nursing could be the perfect career option for you. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that being a nurse is demanding and you have to be willing to spend a significant number of years studying.
You will also have some student debt after completing your study; in the region of $40,000 is not uncommon.
If you don’t want to spend the time or money at college, then you may opt for a career in caring instead, which will allow you to feed your desire to help people but without the commitment to study; however, caring roles tend to be lower paid than a nurse’s wage.
Ideally, before enrolling, you should volunteer in a hospital and speak to some people who have worked in the profession. This will allow you to get a non-biased opinion of the job role and whether it will be a good fit for you.
Your first steps into nursing are to find a college you are happy with. Go to multiple open events and get a feel for the college and the staff and find out all of their entry criteria and how many places they have open. Sometimes spots on courses can be limited.
If you have the correct qualifications to apply already, you can submit an application; however, in some cases, you may have to complete a lower level course before enrolling on your nursing course.