How Do I know Nursing is for Me?
Thinking of becoming a nurse? Don't leap into anything right away. Nursing is essential to society and a noble calling, but the nature of it calls for a bit more personal reflection on the worker's part than most careers. Here are four qualities that good nurses possess, and that you should have or be prepared to develop in order to succeed in this profession.
Good Physical Fitness
Nursing is one of the most physically demanding jobs out there. Not only are you performing the same sort of actions over and over again (a huge risk factor for health problems down the line), but you're also regularly lifting so much weight when handling patients that even specialized ergonomic techniques won't really reduce your chance of injury.
Many nurses transition into supervisory or paperwork-oriented roles as they get further into their careers, but when you're just starting out, you're not likely to have that option. You can't afford to be lax about your physical abilities, and ideally you should follow a training regime to further your endurance and build up your strength even more.
A Cool Head Under Pressure
There's no point mincing words here: when nurses freeze up, people die. If you're going to join the ranks of this profession, you need nerves of steel. You can't be afraid of blood, vomit, or feces. You can't be shocked by even the most gruesome of injuries. Most importantly, you can't spend even a second doubting yourself. You have to know exactly what to do and, more importantly, keep yourself focused and force yourself to do it, or a bad situation will only get worse.
This doesn't just mean tackling emergency situations, either. Many nurses work long, hard hours in constantly shifting conditions that may leave them feeling stressed and drained by the end of the day. Under such circumstances, it's only natural to want to slow down a little, or maybe pay a little less attention to your work and surroundings. A nurse can't yield to that impulse, though - you have to have the will to power through the chaos without letting your performance suffer. Your patients deserve that level of commitment from you.
A People-Oriented Personality
Even more so than the type of medicine practiced by doctors, nursing isn't just about administering treatment; it's about having positive, meaningful interactions with your patients. The modern time standard for doctors is a mere 8 minutes per patient, leaving a lot of patient-facing care to be done by nurses.
On top of their strictly medical duties, nurses also inform the patients and family members of the patient's condition and provide comfort and guidance to those in their care. Because they spend so much time around the patient, they are also likely to be the first to hear about any new symptoms that crop up. For these reasons, it's essential that nurses be able to build trusting relationships with their patients that will make them feel comfortable engaging in a dialog about their health. You're the friendly face on the front lines of the medical community!
Strong Mental Resilience
Even if you're completely dedicated to your patients, though, there are some things you need to keep in mind regarding what might happen to them. You will see some patients suffer, slowly decline in health, and die - and they're not always the ones you expect and can mentally prepare yourself for. The frail 90-year-olds who have been there for months sometimes live longer than the toddlers who are admitted for seemingly minor health issues. It can be hard to make sense of that, but justice or morality doesn't bind the reality of mortal existence. Nurses don't have the luxury of ignoring that brutal truth.
Not everyone can handle the immense responsibility of having a person's life in their hands without also having absolute power to save them, but some can take pride in knowing they are doing all that they can in spite of their lack of complete control. As a nurse, you must be able to keep your role in perspective, understand your own limitations and accept the fact that your best efforts will often not be enough. It’s natural to want to save the world, but you have to understand, you might only get to save a small chunk of it. Relish the victories you experience and use that as fuel for your future encounters.
Do you think you have what it takes to be a nurse? Are you interested in earning your Associate of Applied Science in Nursing? ECPI University offers this degree program in an accelerated format. For more information about this program, connect with a friendly admissions counselor today.
It could be the Best Decision You Ever Make!
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Gainful Employment Information – Nursing (RN) - Associate’s