On the surface, a nursing career can seem like a highly suitable and rewarding career option (and it is, for many people). Being a highly vital professional position within healthcare means that striving to become a nurse can seem an essential career move and allow you to work with a variety of people.
Nevertheless, it’s important to delve deeper into any nursing prospects and understand the realities of working as a nurse. These realities aren’t necessarily negative; they’re simply important points to explore to understand whether your character is the best fit for the role of a nurse.
Choosing to pursue a career as a nurse will see you having a significant amount of responsibility during times of difficulty in the lives of patients and working with people when they’re at their most vulnerable. This can be both extremely rewarding and highly pressurized. Even with nursing studies and online nursing programs, you may not fully understand the impact of this responsibility until you’re actively working as a nurse and face to face with patients every day.
Nurses must rely on their mental, emotional and physical strength to enjoy a successful career in this area; therefore, exploring a guide like this one is a crucial step in knowing whether the role of a nurse is right for you.
What Does a Nursing Career Entail?
Succinctly put, nursing involves training on a medical level to administer physical and mental treatment for a patient in need. A nursing role and career overall goes much deeper than that, however. What a nursing career entails depends entirely on the study you wish to undergo, the role you wish to pursue, and the location in which you need to work. The truth is that a nursing career can be whatever you want to make of it and what you want your personal journey to be. With so many nursing roles out there, every journey will be different.
Overall, a nursing career will see you working with a variety of vulnerable people who require treatment or aid in some capacity. The role of a nurse is very important for advocacy and compassionate understanding, which means it also extends more than simply just administering medication or assisting with medical procedures.
Furthermore, a nursing career requires years of study, training, and experience. You will need to first earn a relevant nursing qualification, gain experience, or even conduct further study through online nursing programs to gain a higher nursing status and open up more job role opportunities.
Study, Progression, and Career Options
The duration of study and progression through a nursing career depends very much on your own schedule and the hours you put in. You can study part-time or full-time for nursing qualifications or gain a more flexible schedule with study breaks through online nursing programs. At full-time study, you can expect to gain a degree within around 3 to 4 years and will then need to go on for training and experience in the field.
Your career options will vary depending on your qualifications, the role you’re looking to pursue, and job availability at the time.
Considering the Following Statements
Exploring the following statements and whether they apply to you can best help you to understand what you’re looking for out of a career, whether a nursing career tailors for that, and whether your wants and needs fit with the role of a nurse.
You’re Passionate About Healthcare
In becoming a nurse, you should naturally be passionate about working with people and helping people within the healthcare industry, but you should also have a passion for that industry in itself. Enjoying healthcare and medical study will be fundamental for a successful nursing career. While it’s still possible to study, train and qualify in a healthcare field, if you lack the passion for it or lack interest despite your qualifications, then it’s likely that you won’t enjoy your job down the line.
Having a foundation of being passionate about the medical and healthcare industry will always be a plus in wanting to become a successful nurse.
You Want Long-Term Career Progression Opportunities
When considering a new career, it’s important to think about the long-term potential. Is it a secure job? Is there room to grow and progress? Can I work up to a higher salary, or at the very least have a secure base salary? These are all key questions to ask, and they also apply to a nursing career.
The healthcare field, and with nursing, in particular, allows for many opportunities and progression. As a nurse, you can choose to study further with online nursing programs, specialize in more specific fields, gain further experience and earn a higher salary, depending on what your goals are.
There is no pressure to progress in the nursing field if you are happy with your initial role, but it’s always helpful to know that the progression opportunities are there should you need them in the future.
You Want to Help Others on a Physical and Emotional Level
It doesn’t matter whether you’re working on a daily basis directly with patients or in a lab or clinic behind the scenes; whatever you’re working to achieve as a nurse is always with the intent of helping others. If you’re seeking a career that is at the forefront of caring for others, then a nursing role is certainly that.
A nursing role is much more than helping others medically and physically. While physical health and recovery are a vital part of what you do, emotional support and help are also vital. Nurses are often key figures in explaining medical treatment and illnesses to patients and helping them understand how to deal with their medical situations. Not only that, but nurses can deal with patients suffering from mental health or emotional distress, too.
Therefore, wanting to help others and showing compassion is a key characteristic for becoming a nurse. If this is one of the strongest beliefs you have, you may also want to consider further study with online nursing programs to open up more job opportunities which can help people in a greater way.
You’re a Mentally Strong Individual
There’s no doubt that nursing is going to require a strong head, heart, and stomach. Healthcare roles can be extremely demanding on the body in terms of long shift work, busy periods, and excessive movement, but it’s also the mental toll that should never go unconsidered. As a nurse, you will meet a wide variety of patients with whom you can help, treat, and develop positive relationships. However, you will also meet patients who are struggling, in pain, emotionally in need, or who are even diagnosed with fatal conditions.
Therefore, you need to be a very strong-willed person to be able to succeed in this career and be able to remain strong during times of difficulty with patients you care about. This is one area which you can’t practice, learn and study for through a qualification or online nursing programs, as it’s a natural ability that can’t be feigned. While you can develop your emotional and mental strength through practice and greater understanding, it’s still very difficult for a naturally extremely emotional person to be able to cope with demanding circumstances every day.
The Idea of Studying Doesn’t Put You Off
Before you successfully qualify as a nurse and work actively in this position, there are many years of study you will need to pursue. This is important to remember because this may be a struggle for those who aren’t academically inclined, who don’t want to attend college, or who have never wanted to pursue a degree.
There are alternatives to traditional college study to make it more flexible for many students, such as pursuing online nursing programs and studying from home, but this also means you have to be more responsible for your own schedule and dedicated to your own learning.
If nursing is truly your passion and dream career, then years of study and hard work won’t put you off and will always be worth it in the end. Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that study is a key component of the nursing career path, so consider your own views on studying and whether you’re able to commit as a student.
Exploring the Different Career Options
When considering whether nursing is right for you, it’s easy to think of the general nursing role in which you’re dealing with patients every day and administering treatment and medication. While this is indeed one such role that a nurse might have, it’s also important to be aware that there are many different nursing roles you can gain in various settings.
If you feel as though working on the frontlines with highly vulnerable patients is something you would struggle with, it doesn’t mean that nursing isn’t right for you. In gaining a nursing qualification or taking further study with online nursing programs, there are many avenues that can open up for you, with roles that can best fit your needs.
Some nursing roles, such as research or data roles, can see you working away from patients altogether and dealing with statistics instead.
If you feel as though you’re not comfortable with the physical treatment side of nursing and aren’t comfortable in a dedicated hospital or clinic environment, perhaps mental health study and support would interest you instead?
In answering the question of whether nursing is right for you, it’s good to know all the role options available to you to find one which best suits your personality. Some nursing roles may not be suitable for you at all, but that doesn’t mean that every nursing role will be unsuitable.
A quick summary of the various nursing professions which could be available include:
- Family nurse practitioner
- Mental health nurse
- Nursing assistant to a physician
- Nurse educator
- Pharmaceutical work
Studying for a master’s degree with online nursing programs can also open up a wealth of new job role opportunities at a more advanced level.
Key Personality Traits for the Nursing Profession
As well as your academic and professional preferences, there are many key personality traits that a nurse should have for a successful and rewarding career. These traits include:
Compassion. Compassion is an absolute must in order to put the needs of your patients ahead of anything else. Compassion means being able to empathize with those in need and do all that you can to help them, understand them better and provide tailored support (emotionally and physically).
Communication. This is essential in helping patients understand what they can expect from any illness or injury and what their treatment will entail. Communication is also essential between nurses and other professional team members they work with to provide exemplary service at all times.
Good physical health. The role of the nurse can see you on your feet for very long hours. During busy times or emergency situations, it may also see you rushing from one end of a hospital to the other or moving very quickly through pressurized situations. Being in good physical shape can significantly help with this, as you will need to be able to manage long hours and excessive physical movement.
Patience. Despite being exposed to a highly fast-paced environment, nurses should always try to keep a level head and remain patient. This also applies to dealing with potentially difficult patients and their families.
Now that you’ve explored what a nursing career is all about, do you feel as though it’s the right fit for you? Have you explored all your possible job role options in relation to what interests you? Perhaps you’d like to progress your career as much as possible and aim for a master’s degree or online nursing programs?
Knowing whether a nursing career is right for you means understanding your own career goals and your own personality and knowing how they best fit with various nursing roles you can look to explore.