Things to know before starting a nursing career

Nursing is a highly rewarding and fulfilling career that requires compassion, patience, and dedication. It is a noble profession that offers opportunities to make a positive impact on people’s lives and improve their health outcomes. However, nursing also comes with its own set of challenges, and it is important to know what to expect before making the decision to become a nurse.

When deciding to pursue a career as a nurse, it is important that the prospective nurse researches and understands the type of nurse they want to be and where they want to work. The demands vary greatly depending on the location and specialty you choose. This article discusses some of the differences that you should consider before deciding.

Physical work

Nursing is a physically-demanding career, and nurses are required to be on their feet for long periods of time, lift and move patients, and perform many tasks. Because the job requires so much energy, nurses thrive best when they are in good physical health. It’s helpful to get enough sleep, maintain a healthy and balanced diet, and strive for good levels of physical fitness and stamina. 

Emotional impact

Nursing is not just a physical job; it is also emotionally demanding. Nurses must be able to handle working in high-pressure environments and be able to maintain their composure in the face of difficult situations. They must be able to provide support and comfort to patients and their families, even in life-and-death situations.

The pandemic brought the mental health of nurses to the forefront of attention, but it is not a new concept. Many studies have shown the impact of nursing on nurse’s mental health as caring for patients, communicating with families, and coordinating medical care can be a challenge. Often nurses themselves downplay the difficulty of their work, but others choose to avail themselves of the systems of support within their organizations. 

Work schedules

Nursing is a 24/7 profession, and nurses are often required to work nights, weekends, and holidays. They may also be required to work long shifts, which can be physically and emotionally exhausting. Before entering this field, a wise person will consider how this schedule will affect their personal and family time. 

Career paths

Nursing offers a wide range of career paths, from bedside nursing to advanced practice nursing. Nurses can choose to specialize in many different areas such as pediatrics, oncology, emergency care, and more. They can also choose to pursue advanced degrees and certifications, such as becoming a nurse practitioner or a nurse anesthetist. It is important to consider which career path is best for you and your long-term goals.

Continuing education

Nursing is a constantly-evolving field, and it is important for nurses to stay current with new developments and advancements in medicine. This requires ongoing continuing education, which can be achieved through courses, conferences, and certifications.

Work environment

Nursing can be a challenging work environment as nurses are exposed to infectious diseases, toxic substances, and hazardous materials. They must be able to work in fast-paced environments while handling the varied demands of the job. However, nurses can be a great asset to each other as they meet these challenges together. 

Education requirements

To become a nurse, you must first obtain a nursing degree. This typically involves completing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program, which can take four years to complete. Alternatively, you can also become a nurse by completing an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), which can be completed in 2 years. Both programs prepare students for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), which is required for licensure in all 50 states.

As part of the education requirements, you also need to determine where to go to school and what style of learning works for you. If you need to work while attending school, you might need a school that can be more flexible for you. There are also accelerated programs that will allow you to obtain your degree even faster so you can get started sooner on your nursing career.

Many schools also provide placement opportunities for both clinical rotations and jobs. This can improve your path to becoming a nurse by ensuring there are no delays toward your chosen career choice. 

Looking for a clinical placement on your own is not impossible but can be a difficult journey. One school that provides many different opportunities is Baylor University Online. Baylor University allows you to attend your nursing courses for your degree online, and 90% of graduates have job offers at graduation. The post-baccalaureate accelerated BSN program at Baylor University’s Louise Herrington School of Nursing is an intensive, full-time program with a combination of teaching methodologies, including online courses, clinical and lab experiences, and hybrid interactive learning courses.

Understanding and being prepared for a career in nursing will ultimately help you be more successful. Informed decision-making is important as you make your career choice and also in your career itself. Applying that skill in advance of embarking on your new career path will give you good insight into nursing by taking the facts that you gather and making the best decision possible.

In conclusion, nursing is a challenging and rewarding career that requires a strong commitment to education and lifelong learning. It is important to consider the varied demands of the job and to consider the benefits of continuing education. If you have a passion for helping others, nursing can be a fulfilling and satisfying career.

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