What Should You Ask Yourself Before You Decide To Start Studying Nursing?

There are many different reasons why you might want to be a nurse. The main one is that you can help people every day. You can make a profound difference in people’s lives that they will never forget – you might even save their life. Not only that but there is a huge demand for highly trained and qualified nurses, so finding work will not be as problematic as it can be in other professions. Plus, there is a high degree of job satisfaction with the nursing career.

Yet, although this is all true, and there are many good things to say about being a nurse, it’s not a profession that will suit everyone, and it’s not something you should enter into without doing a lot of thinking and asking yourself some important questions. You’ll want to be sure that you can enjoy the work and succeed at it, and you’ll want to make sure all your hard work in nursing school and training is worth it. With that in mind, here are some questions you should ask yourself before you start studying nursing.

Can You Handle The Emotional Toll?

Being a nurse is hard for various reasons, but one that you’ll need to consider before many others is the emotional toll being a nurse can take on you. Although you will certainly be helping people, and there will be a lot of positive, joyful moments, there will be many unpleasant, sad, distressing moments too. Will you be able to handle them and help those who are going through them?

If you are someone who gets emotionally distressed or is sensitive to another person’s suffering, it might be that nursing is not an ideal career for you as it could be damaging to your mental health. If you are compassionate and empathetic but able to deal with emotional and stressful situations calmly, you might make an excellent nurse. It’s important to be completely honest with yourself about this.

Are You A People Person?

When you are a nurse, you’ll need to work with people. This is true no matter what kind of nurse you choose to become (and there are many different kinds, including RN, travel nurse, and nurse leadership roles, among many more). Therefore, you need to be what is usually termed a ‘people person’. You have to be able to get on with people – or at least communicate with them – whatever their age, status, background, or condition. It’s crucial that you can help everyone who needs your assistance.

Plus, you won’t only be working with patients; there will also be medical staff who will need you to help them. Nursing is very much about teamwork; if you cannot work well in a team, many other careers allow you to help people and make a difference on your own terms. However, if you are a good team player and know you are good with people, your talents can be used by applying for nursing school and working hard to become an excellent nurse.

Do You Know What Is Required Of A Nurse?

Do you know what is required of a nurse? In other words, do you know what a nurse does daily? The answer to this will depend on your own experiences of nursing up until this point. If your only understanding of what a nurse does is from TV or movies, you may not have the full picture (although to be fair, some fictional depictions of nurses are highly accurate, and it will depend on the show you are watching). If, however, you have a nurse as a friend or family member, or you have spent time in a hospital and dealt with nurses on a one-to-one basis, or even if you have done plenty of in-depth and accurate research, you might have a better idea of a nurse’s daily duties.

If you don’t currently know, but you are thinking of a career in nursing, it’s vital that you start to do some research as you must understand the kind of work you would be doing every day. Some of the tasks will be very interesting, even exciting, and others will be much more mundane, so you will have to be happy to do both types. Some of the things that nurses do include:

  • Create care plans for your patients – or contribute ideas to them
  • Explain to patients about their care and ensure they understand how to help themselves
  • Offer health and well-being advice
  • Perform physical exams
  • Be part of a diagnostics team
  • Ordering tests and interpreting the results
  • Prescribing medication
  • Dealing with patient admissions, discharges, and transfers
  • Making referrals where necessary
  • Bathing patients
  • Cleaning and dressing wounds

As you can see, a lot needs to be done, and many things to think about. Some of the tasks you will do will be seemingly minor, but each one is essential, and they make a lot of difference to the patient in question, so no matter what you are doing, you must do it with patient care and comfort in mind at all times.

Do You Have A Strong Stomach?

Being a nurse is a wonderful thing, and it is one of the most fulfilling careers anyone could possibly ask for, but it is not a glamorous job. In some cases, the tasks you will need to do will revolve heavily around bodily fluids. This will include cleaning and dressing wounds, cleaning patients themselves, taking samples for testing, and dealing with people’s various sickness symptoms. You’ll be getting close to vomit, saliva, urine, feces, and, of course, blood.

Could you deal with that? Some people have strong stomachs, and they can get past the unpleasantness of the situation quickly and do their jobs. Others are quite the opposite, and these things will upset them and cause them to feel unwell. Be honest about how this kind of thing makes you feel because it plays a big part in the life of a nurse.

Of course, being a little squeamish isn’t something that should put you off nursing entirely because, over time, you will certainly get used to working with these elements. So it might be that you find it all a little nasty at the start of your career, but by the time a few years (or even months) have gone by, it doesn’t phase you at all. However, if you know that it would not work like this for you and that you couldn’t do the work required of you, perhaps a different career path would be better for you – you do need to put yourself first when making these kinds of choices.

Are You Interested In Medicine?

If you are interested in becoming a nurse, you might not have thought much beyond the care of the patient. After all, this is what nursing is all about, and it is more than likely why you are looking into this career path in the first place. However, in the 21st century, nurses do much more than ‘just’ care for patients. As you would have seen from the list above, there are a number of medical jobs they also have to do. This is why it’s important to have at least an interest in – and ideally a fascination with – medicine. If you are keen to know about this subject, you will be able to help your patients more because you’ll have a deeper understanding of what different medications can do and how to use them. You’ll also know more about how to help in cases of injury, not just sickness.

For some people, the idea of having to do so much learning about medicine and medication, understanding how to read vitals, knowing how to draw blood and do medical procedures is not as interesting as actually helping patients on a one-to-one basis, and yet it is definitely part of a nurse’s remit. Think carefully about whether or not you want to work in this field if you are not going to be able to keep your interest when it comes to the medical aspect of the work. It wouldn’t make for an enjoyable career if that were the case, and you would quickly burn out or lose interest.

Do You Have Ambitions?

Are you an ambitious person? Do you want to get ahead in your career, whatever it may be, and do your best? Do you want to keep working hard and keep moving forward? If so, you might not have considered nursing, thinking that you can’t get very far and that all your ideas, plans, and ambitions would come to nothing. This is not actually the case, and it could be that nursing is exactly what you need to do if you have plenty of ambitions regarding your career and future.

The truth is that although you will start as an RN (registered nurse), there are many opportunities to progress your career in whatever direction you want it to go in. As you might expect, a lot of hard work is involved, but it will all be worth seeing your ambitions play out. You might choose to remain an RN but work in a specialist department, such as oncology or the ICU. You might become a generalist nurse but at a higher rank. Or perhaps you want to be a nurse leader, so an online MSN leadership program could be ideal for you.

As long as you put in the hard work and study where necessary (some roles, as mentioned above, will need specific qualifications), you can do whatever you want regarding nursing. You can travel the world and still have a job wherever you go. You can work full-time or part-time as your needs dictate. You can be as ambitious as you want to be and see your ambitions come to fruition. Nursing is such a varied and fascinating career that it offers something for everyone.

Can You Stay Calm In Emergencies?

One of the most important things that a nurse will have to do is something that certainly doesn’t come naturally to everyone; they have to stay calm in emergencies. Most people will panic in an emergency situation. They may not know what to do, or the situation may make them forget what to do. They will look to others to help them and guide them. They might make mistakes, and they certainly won’t be thinking clearly.

As a nurse, this cannot be how you react. In fact, you will be the one people are turning to for help and guidance. No matter what is happening around you, you must stay calm and collected at all times, even if you are scared or concerned about your situation. This is the key; nurses must never show they are worried but must always be professional and calm for the patients, their families, and the nurse’s colleagues.

Nurses have to work under a great deal of pressure every day, and they are often in life-or-death situations. They must stay in control of their thoughts, emotions, and actions to perform their duties and help the people who need help the most. Could you do that? Are you the kind of person who thrives under pressure, or would it be difficult for you to do it? Again, this is something that will get easier over time, and you must remember that a nurse is never alone – they will always have experienced and dedicated colleagues around them. However, when it comes to your own mental health and peace of mind, it’s important to know how to deal with stressful situations, and if that is not right for you, you can help people in other ways.

If you have read this and think that you can handle working as a nurse, then you’re exactly the right type of person that is needed to fill a role all across the country. While it might seem like hard work, it is incredibly rewarding because you get to make a difference in other people’s lives.

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