There are so many different career paths you can choose to follow, and sometimes it can be overwhelming to know which is the right one for you.
Everyone wants a job that can offer them security, a good wage, progression opportunities, and challenges to help them develop professionally and personally. It’s also important to find a role that inspires you and that you feel passionate about. Nursing might not be a career that is the right fit for everyone, but if you are someone who is looking for a job that allows you to make a difference in people’s lives and offer all of the above, it could be the right choice for you.
Below is a little bit more information on what a nursing career can offer you and what you can do to get the most out of it.
The Benefits of Working as a Nurse
One of the main draws to nursing is that is a well-respected role within the community, and if you are a compassionate person who lives for helping others, you will thrive in this type of role. Not only will a nursing career enable you to give back to your local community, but nurses are always in demand, so finding employment once you have achieved your qualifications should not be hard to do.
This also means that you will have job security and the opportunity to make a great salary, particularly if you choose to move into a specialist nursing role.
What Does it Take to Become a Nurse?
You might be a compassionate person, and that is certainly a trait that nurses need to have. However, nursing can also be a very challenging career, so you do need to be resilient and can work under pressure if you want to succeed as a nurse. You’ll also need to have excellent communication skills as you will not only be working closely with other healthcare professionals but also with patients and their loved ones who might be scared and need reassurance.
Being able to manage your time effectively is also key, and you’ll need to have a good memory to make sure that the right care is being provided at all stages. Good organization is another essential component of being a great nurse, as you will have a lot of paperwork and other important tasks to get through each day.
What Qualifications Do You Need?
To become a registered nurse (RN), you will need to complete a college course in nursing. You will gain either an associate degree (ASN) or a bachelor’s of science degree (BSN), so you must be willing to learn and commit to your studies if you want to pursue a nursing career.
When it comes to career progression, you can expect to need a master’s degree (MSN) or perhaps even obtain a doctorate for certain roles. For example, if you wanted to become a nurse practitioner you would need to get a degree in this field. You can see an example of this type of course at this college that offers a degree program for a family nurse practitioner in Texas.
It’s also important to remember that different states will have varying requirements if you want to become an RN, so always check with your state’s requirements to make sure that you’re on the right track.
What Are the Career Paths for a Nurse?
There are various paths an RN can take if they want to progress in their nursing career, and as mentioned above, some roles will require additional qualifications. As well as becoming a nurse practitioner, you could also explore roles within mental health and become a psychiatric nurse, work with children and young adults in pediatrics, senior citizens as a geriatric nurse.
You could choose to go into a research-based role to help improve the healthcare system, become a teacher and work at a university or nursing school, become a nutrition nurse specialist, a nurse advocate or case manager, work in intensive care, become a phlebotomy nurse, the list goes on. There are so many exciting paths that you can pursue within a nursing career, and this is another excellent reason to go into this line of work.
How Can You Get the Most Out of a Nursing Career?
Like any job, you get out what you put in. There are many different roles to explore within nursing, and if you are hardworking and dedicated to your career, you can get a lot out of it. If you want to give yourself the best possible chance of succeeding in your nursing career and moving up the ladder, you might want to consider asking for a mentor. You can do this at the beginning of your nursing career and even at later stages when you are moving into more specialist fields.
Having a mentor can allow you to gain more insight into your strengths and weaknesses and even offer a better understanding of the role that you are working in. If you are interested in pursuing a specialist role but you aren’t sure if it is right for you, you can always ask if someone already working in that field is comfortable with you shadowing them for a day or two. Seeing them at work can give you a better idea of what to expect if you were to pursue that role and help you make a decision.
You should also take the opportunity to network, whether that be with the team you work with every day or making connections with other healthcare professionals. You can search for nursing networking events in your area online or connect with people via professional platforms such as LinkedIn and ask if they are willing to talk with you over a coffee to get some professional advice. Networking is a wonderful way to learn more about your colleagues, but it can also put you on the right people’s radars for when you are interested in moving up the career ladder.
Another important part of getting the most out of your nursing career is making sure that you’re staying up to date with the latest news and developments in the healthcare industry. You can choose to pursue higher education, but even using other learning resources and following nursing blogs and journals is a vital part of maintaining a great nursing career. You might also want to attend conferences that will be good networking opportunities as well as a chance to learn more about your industry.
What Are the Downsides of Nursing?
While a nursing career can offer a lot, nothing is perfect. Like any career path, nursing does have some downsides that can be deal breakers for some. If you are interested in pursuing a nursing career, you need to be ready to work in high-pressure environments, such as hospital emergency rooms, for example. Working with patients who are going through scary healthcare issues can result in some difficult conversations, or you might find yourself in very real life or death scenarios. This kind of pressure can take its toll, and this is why you must practice good self-care as a nurse.
You might also find that you are working long hours (sometimes 16-hour shifts). While this is more common in hospital settings, you can expect to do this at some point during your nursing career as a lot of training takes place in this kind of environment. It is also a lot of information to take in while you are studying to be a nurse, which can add to the pressure you might already be feeling when working on the wards.
Finally, at some point in your nursing career, you are likely to have patients that will die, and this can be hard to face. You will bond with these people as you provide them with care, but sometimes there is nothing you can do to save them. It is never easy, no matter how long you have worked as a nurse, to say goodbye to patients and have to console their families.
Although some of the downsides to nursing can be very tough, ultimately, this career path can be incredibly enriching for the right individual and one that can bring you a lot of pride. It will take a lot of determination, and there might be times when you feel like giving up, but if you want to make a difference in the world and look after others, this is one of the best career options out there for you. Not only are you providing a vital service to your community, but you could be helping to change the way the healthcare system works, allowing it to evolve into something even stronger and more ground-breaking than ever before. You will be an inspiration to others and learn a lot about yourself along the way.
So, if you are someone who is wondering what career path is right for them, think about all of the above and whether or not a nursing career is a perfect fit for you.