8 Must-Know Facts Before Becoming a Nurse
Choosing a career in nursing can be extremely rewarding. Plus, nurses are in high demand – which means you’re almost guaranteed job security. However, long hours and changing schedules may mean less time for friends and family.
The pandemic has only made nursing more challenging. PPE, personal protection equipment, is necessary even for primary care. Twelve hours in a gown, gloves, mask, and face shield may be daunting to some. Simple changes, like switching from a traditional face shield to prescription safety glasses, can make long shifts more comfortable.
Becoming a nurse takes gumption, and it’s not an easy career path. There is a reason nurses are known as the most trusted profession. As a nurse, you’ll be there to celebrate new life being born into the world and sit by families mourning those who have died.
Do you still believe nursing is truly your calling? Check these eight facts to see if a career in nursing is the right fit for you.
1. There are Many Types of Nurses
Nurses come in many forms: school nurses, er nurses, surgical nurses, nurse practitioners… and so much more. If you choose to work as an emergency room or hospital nurse, you should be prepared to handle high-stress, life-or-death situations. You could also work in a primary care facility or school, where you’ll work more traditional hours.
2. Nursing School is Challenging
Becoming a nurse takes time and dedication. Depending on the degree you choose to pursue, it can take anywhere from one to six years to earn your degree in nursing. You’ll have to study while also completing clinical requirements.
Plus, as a nurse, your education will never end. You’ll be required to attend courses every few years to maintain your nursing license, depending on where you live. You should have a deep love of learning if you want to pursue a career in nursing.
3. Practice Makes Perfect
Once you become a nurse, you’ll want daily tasks like taking blood, inserting a catheter or iv, and drug calculations to feel like second nature. The more practice you can get with actual patients, the better.
You can become a CNA or certified nursing assistant by attending state-approved training at a community college, technical school, or local hospital before attending nursing school. Working as a CNA can give you hands-on practice that will help you once you graduate.
4. Comfortable Shoes and PPE Gear are Essential
Nursing is not the most fashionable profession. Comfort is paramount when working long hours in an ER, hospital, or nursing home. You’ll live in scrubs and spend most of your day on your feet. Choosing supportive shoes to get you through those long twelve-hour shifts is essential.
You’ll also be required to wear PPE while you see patients. Wearing an n95 mask, gloves, and a face shield can feel extremely claustrophobic – especially if you also wear glasses. Avoid cumbersome face shields by opting for prescription safety glasses instead. They’ll sit on your face just like the lenses you’re used to and offer additional protection by covering the sides of your eyes.
5. There’s More Paperwork than You Might Expect
As a nurse, you’ll be in charge of patient charts. You’ll have to log the medications you administer and take care of data entry. While it may seem mundane, high-quality documentation makes patient care possible. The charts you curate for your patients will be viewed by the nurses who take over for you, doctors, and more.
6. Memory Skills are Vital
Doctors will expect you to give them a report on patients. You’ll need to know vital signs, medications, and more. Since you’ll be juggling more than one patient most of the time, utilizing lists and charts can help you develop a system you can rely on even on days your memory isn’t working quite as well.
7. Time Management is Essential
When managing your patients, you’ll always have a list running in your head of where you need to go next and what you need to accomplish. However, you will also be constantly interrupted as more severe problems arise. Knowing how to manage your time is an essential skill all nurses need to possess.
8. You’re the Advocate for Your Patients
As a nurse, you do much more than administer drugs and manage patient charts. You are the liaison between the patient and their doctor, and many times you’ll be the one who reports directly to the patient’s family. You can help your patients feel safe even in traumatic moments through strong patient advocacy. You are the one who will squeeze their hand before going under for surgery and the first face they’ll see when they wake up.