There can be few careers that compare to the sheer diversity and excitement that you experience in nursing. Many aspects of the job are deeply rewarding – whether that’s working alongside some of the best medical professionals in the business, applying your scientific and medical knowledge to improve the health of your patients, or simply that warm fuzzy feeling that accompanies a career that values caring and thoughtful individuals.
Whatever your motivations for becoming a nurse, this article aims to fully instruct you on how you’ll be able to make it in the world of nursing, providing tips and advice to help you get qualified, get a job, and make the most out of this endlessly interesting career.
It Starts at School
If you’re young enough to still be studying at school, you’ll find that the better grades you get, the more likely you are to be accepted onto a nursing program that’ll develop your knowledge in the medical arena. If you’ve been out of school for some time, this in no means excludes you from applying for a job in nursing – you may simply have to complete some additional studies to be eligible to go to university or college to study nursing.
Of course, nursing requires a specific skill set that you will want to develop sooner rather than later in your educational life. These include:
- Biological knowledge – especially that which is to do with the human body.
- Chemistry schooling – to help you understand drugs and hormones in the body.
- Literacy – to ensure that you’re able to keep, understand and act on written notes.
- Numeracy – important in helping you select correct dosages.
All of these should be your focus in school. For those out of school, find free online courses, or buy textbooks, to get you up to speed on those areas of knowledge that’ll be vital to your progression into a higher education course.
University or College
The next stage after getting the requisite grades is to apply to a university or college that provides nurses training courses. These are multiple, located all across the US. Ensure that you fill in your application correctly and that you hand it in ahead of time.
There are two main paths to becoming a nurse, and both require you have a higher education certificate before you enter into work. You can either take an undergraduate degree program or take a master’s conversion course that’ll give you all the skills you need to start applying for jobs in hospitals and care centers across the country.
A third option, something to have developed in recent years, is to take your master’s degree for nursing online. This will take longer than a degree studied in an institution, but gives you the added value of being able to work flexibly around jobs and familial obligations you may have. It’s also a relaxed yet challenging way to educate oneself – with all the support you’ll need a mere click away. Check out BSN to FNP programs online to learn more about these initiatives and to weigh up whether this will be the best option for you moving forward with your desire to qualify as a nurse in the future.
Beyond Your Course
Your course will be stimulating, fascinating and occasionally very difficult – either psychologically or emotionally. Bear with it, becauseit’s all part of the unique attractiveness of this job. The variety of ailments, treatments, and patients you’ll encounter along your path to certification will be a useful taster in just how diverse and beautiful a job you’ll soon be entering.
Nonetheless, there are some aspects to nursing that you will find are very difficult to teach. Some you learn from experience – like how to be patient and compassionate to a person living with Alzheimer’s – and others you have to develop on careful reflection of your performance in the job. These unqualifiable qualities you should dwell on and develop include:
- Compassion – the main tool in a nurse’s kit – to make patients feel cared for.
- Social skills – in communicating with doctors, nurses and a patient and their family.
- Understanding – sometimes patients can be difficult and aggressive. Nurses sometimes need to dip into deep reservoirs of patience to deal with this.
- Conscientiousness – look out for your fellow nurses. The job can sometimes get on top of you, but there will always be colleagues there to lift you back up.
- Humor – an undervalued trait across multiple disciplines, a little bit of humor to lighten up a grave situation can ease tension and release stress.
So, while your course schools you in all of the technical sides of your job, you should also be concentrating on your emotional intelligence and response management to be the best-possible nurse for all the patients you’ll serve in the future.
As soon as you qualify as a nurse, you should not find it difficult to find work. There’s a constant demand for good nurses across US hospitals, and you’ll only need to search on their website job vacancies and apply to find yourself in work within a month or two. This is one of the most beneficial parts of a nursing career – you will never be short of options for work.
Nursing being such a uniquely desired vocation, you’ll find that you can travel with your job – either across states and other hospitals, staying in nurses’ dormitories or finding yourself temporary rented accommodation – or internationally. Most countries, for instance, grant long-term visas for those individuals wishing to apply their nursing skills in their nation’s hospitals.
Even if you don’t feel ready to take the plunge and take a full-time job, you’ll also be able to find a healthy array of part-time, voluntary or temporary work, through agencies, to supplement your income and keep you on your toes for when you do enter full-time work. Institutions such as care homes for the elderly or disabled are good examples of places that are always requiring additional staff – though they are likely to pay less than hospitals.
A Job For Life
Nursing is truly a job for life. It’ll keep you endlessly entertained, constantly learning, adapting and changing, and it’s certain to make you feel alive. You’ll make like-minded, caring friends, and you’ll see every side of the precious human condition in your years of service. So, why not start your journey towards being a nurse today, researching courses, taking exams and readying yourself for one of the world’s most admired and valued careers?