A Career In Nursing: All You Need To Know

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Boy Talking To Nurse In Emergency Room - Image Depositphotos.com
Image Depositphotos.com

Thinking about a career as a nurse? Nursing has always been a popular profession for people of all ages as it is a noble profession, one that allows you to make a big difference and play a key role in the healthcare system. There are certainly many benefits to a career in nursing, some of which are outlined below, but there are also a few other aspects that you need to be aware of as it is a unique line of work and one that does have a few drawbacks which means that it is not for everyone. Read on to find out all that you need to know.

You Get To Make A Difference

As mentioned in the intro, one of the major perks of a career in nursing is that you get to make a difference, and this provides great job satisfaction. While there will be dark and difficult days (more on this to come), the fact that you get to save and improve lives each day makes this one of the most rewarding jobs that you can have. When you get to make a positive difference to the world with your work, it can make you much happier in your own life and you should find that you get a lot of respect – this is particularly true moving out of the pandemic with nurses being viewed as heroes during this challenging period.

You Can Earn Online DNP Programs

Those that want to rise to leadership roles in nursing will be able to do so with online DNP programs. Online DNP programs will build the skills and knowledge that is needed for a leadership role in today’s complex health environment and with online DNP programs you can promote positive change in healthcare, make a bigger impact and stand out from the crowd. Online DNP programs can also accelerate your path to leadership and provide a convenient way of learning.

There Is A Nursing Shortage

There is also a major nursing shortage right now, which means that it could be a great time to train to become one as they are high in demand. It was reported that the U.S needs 1.1 million new registered nurses to prevent the shortage according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and it is thought that a primary reason for the shortage is the ageing population and the greater demand for healthcare that this presents. Nurses are a vital cog in the healthcare system, so a shortage creates a real problem in healthcare. As there is a push to fill these vacancies, it is likely that there will be many other perks to draw people in.

There Are Many Paths

There are also many career paths that you can take in nursing and areas to specialize in. This means that people can pursue areas that they are particularly interested in and there is the opportunity to develop your career, develop new skills and earn more money. There are all kinds of different areas to specialize in, such as:

  • Pediatrics
  • Family nursing
  • Neonatal nursing
  • Nurse midwifery
  • Clinical nurse
  • School nurse

It Is Demanding

While there are many perks to nursing, it is also important to be aware of just how demanding it is. You will be working long hours, providing care and supporting multiple patients at the same time as working in a high-pressure environment, so it is certainly not a field for those who cannot handle stress. You will learn how to cope with the demands over time, but there are sure to be times where it feels overwhelming and this can take its toll. The key is to stay organized, to look after yourself and to learn how to manage your workload.

You Will Deal With Difficult & Emotional Cases

Obviously, in nursing you will be dealing with difficult, upsetting and troubling cases and this is one of the hardest things about the job. You learn how to manage these and not let it impact your performance, but there will be things that you see and experience that will stay with you and leave their mark. This is the dark side of nursing, but it is all part of the experience of a nurse and the positive cases where you really make a difference make it much easier to cope through the dark days. Additionally, having support available is key (more on this to come).

You Will Deal With Death Often

Leading on from this, death is something that you will be dealing with often and patients will die while under your care. It can be shocking and traumatic at first and it will never be easy, but it is another aspect of nursing that you learn to manage and all that you can do is to provide the best possible level of care both to patients and their loved ones.

You Need To Be Caring Without Getting Too Attached

While you certainly need to provide the best level of care and be willing to go the extra mile for your patients and their loved ones, it is also important that you do not get too attached. When you become too attached to your patients, it is then that the difficult nature of the work can negatively impact your performance and even interfere with your personal life. You need to be able to be caring and take the time to get to know your patients while being able to draw a line and stop work from interfering with your personal life.

You Need Thick Skin & A Strong Stomach

No nurse will be able to succeed if they do not have thick skin and a strong stomach. In this role, you will be shouted at often by doctors, fellow nurses, patients and their loved ones and this can be tough. You need to be able to take this in your stride, understand that it is part of the role and not let it affect your confidence or performance. You will also be seeing many things that will turn your stomach each day, so you need to be able to handle this and get on with your job. It will always be shocking at first, but once you have some experience under your belt it will become much easier.

It Can Be Well-Paid

You can also earn good money as a nurse and there is often the option to pick up extra shifts if needed. The mean average registered nurse salary is $80,010 and it is likely to increase in the coming years in order to attract nurses to fill the shortage. There is then the possibility to climb the ladder and earn more money, such as with online DNP programs – the median salary for a health administrator with a doctoral degree is 21% more, so online DNP programs are certainly worthwhile for those looking to earn more money.

You Need To Be A Team Player

Nursing is all about being a team player, so you need to be able to play different roles while providing care and be happy to help your fellow nurses. There can be no ego or trying to steal the spotlight as a nurse and you need to show respect to your colleagues as you would hope to be respected. Nursing can be competitive, but there is also a strong bond and sense of community in nursing and your fellow nurses can be a tremendous source of support for those challenging days. In order to benefit from this support, you need to be a team player, help out when you can, show respect and avoid stepping on anyone’s toes.

You Need A Support Network

Every nurse needs a strong support network. As mentioned previously, there will be dark and challenging days ahead and in these times you need to have people that you can go to for support whether this is your fellow nurses or loved ones at home. Having a support network can make it much easier to manage and get through challenging periods as well as having people to celebrate the triumphs. It is also important that you reach out for professional support if you are struggling and this is nothing to be ashamed of.

Shift Work Has Pros & Cons

Shift work is not for everyone, but for many it is a brilliant way of working. There are many pros to working shifts, including having multiple days off throughout the week, (and being off when many other people are working) flexibility, variety and a good work-life balance. Of course, there are also downsides to be aware of such as having to work very long hours, it can make it challenging to manage other responsibilities, it can be tiring and stressful. It is common for new nurses to struggle with shift work, especially when it is so demanding, but you do learn how to manage your time with experience and many learn to love shift work.

It Is Hard To Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle

Following on from this, it can also be challenging to lead a healthy lifestyle as a nurse because the work is so demanding and the hours can be long. It is important that you try your best to lead a healthy lifestyle, though, so that you can perform to a high standard, particularly when you consider that you will be on your feet all day. A few basic tips for leading a healthy lifestyle as a nurse include:

  • Scheduling when you will sleep
  • Batch cooking healthy meals for the week
  • Eating healthy snacks
  • Finding an enjoyable form of exercise for your free time
  • Practicing yoga
  • Meditation
  • Finding ways to de-stress after work

Healthcare Is Constantly Changing

Healthcare and nursing are both areas that are continuously going through change. Online DNP programs will teach what you need to climb the ladder, but you will also need to make a concerted effort to continue learning as change is constantly happening and you do not want to get left behind. There are many ways to stay up to date with new developments, including seminars, lectures, journals, blogs and podcasts. Staying up to date will not only help your performance and allow you to stay current, but it will also show that you are dedicated and passionate about your work so it can be helpful if you are looking to climb the ladder.

You Need To Be Able To Separate Home & Work

It is challenging, but it is important that you are able to separate your home and work life to stop them from negatively impacting the other. This is difficult when your work is so demanding and can have an emotional impact, but if you are able to keep them separate then it can be much easier to switch off after work, enjoy your free time and return to work feeling fresh, happy and energized. There are a few tips that will hopefully help you to achieve this, including:

  • Making plans for your free time
  • Taking a shower as soon as you have finished
  • Getting changed as soon as possible after work
  • Minimizing talk about work once you are finished
  • Not mixing home and work socially
  • Not bringing home problems to work

This article should give you an idea of what life is like as a nurse and both the pros and the cons. It is a unique line of work quite unlike any other and this means that for many it is more a way of life, but it does mean that nursing is not for everyone. There are few roles as rewarding and there are always ways to progress and earn more money, such as with online DNP programs, but nursing can also take its toll and you will be dealing with things that can be hard to process and there will be negative experiences that stick with you for life. This does mean that nurses are incredibly tough, resilient people, but it takes some time to develop this and it can be a shock to the system at first.