When considering your career options, nursing may present itself as a good choice. The nursing profession is growing and nurses make pretty good money. However, physical and mental stresses are often byproducts of their working experiences, making it a sometimes difficult and always challenging profession.
Before you take the leap to join a nursing program, it’s important to consider very carefully whether or not nursing would be the perfect fit for you.
You Have a Lot of Energy
All different types of people can be great nurses, but they often have at least one thing in common if they have been a nurse for a while—naturally high energy levels.
Nursing isn’t a nine-to-five job. It’s common for nurses to work strange hours, long shifts, and in many cases, even double shifts. Many nurses don’t have normal weekends and many work in the evening.
People with a lot of energy tend to make better nurses, and they stick with their career choice for longer, because they are better equipped to deal with strange schedules. Working long hours and double shifts isn’t a problem for them because they would likely be awake and busy anyway, even if they weren’t at work.
If you don’t have a lot of energy at the moment, there are ways to ensure that you can cope with these long hours. For example, you should focus on the following areas of your life:
- Stress – Stress plays a big part in how much energy you have — the less stress you have looming over you, the less energy required to handle it. Stress consumes a lot of energy, and without it, you can put that energy to good use like in your career.
- Exercise – Although you might feel too tired to exercise, it can be a great way to increase your energy levels. Aim to exercise several times a week, and you will see the difference it makes to your energy levels.
- Eat well – If you rely on quick energy food options, you will find that you have bursts of energy but only for short periods. Make sure you are eating a healthy diet and the right food that will provide you with slow-release energy to make a difference to you all day.
- Drink water and avoid caffeine – Caffeine is a quick energy solution, but it shouldn’t be something you rely on. It is not a long-term solution that will provide you with the energy you need for nursing. Instead, you should be drinking water throughout the day. As your brain is highly influenced by how hydrated you are, you want to keep it fully hydrated. Even mild dehydration can affect many brain functions as well as energy levels. When your energy levels drop, you could experience fatigue and brain fog. This is not going to help you succeed in a nursing career. So to ensure that you improve your energy levels, start drinking more water and avoid caffeine as the quick fix all day, every day. Do note, though, there is no reason why you can’t start your day with a morning coffee to give you that push you need, but don’t rely on it throughout the day as a way to keep yourself alert.
You Like Being Busy
If you don’t like the idea of sitting at a desk all day, nursing might be for you, but you also have to consider just how busy a nurse is throughout the day.
It isn’t uncommon for nurses to multi-task or task-switch. One study found nurses multitask almost 40 percent of the time. That makes sense when you consider the fact that many nurses take vitals and document information in patient files while speaking with the patient simultaneously.
Nurses also have more to do than meet with patients. Many nurses work on administrative tasks, as well as other types of tasks, like cleaning and tidying. There is no shortage of things to do when you’re a nurse, so it helps if you prefer to stay busy and active throughout the day with very few periods of rest.
You Love to Learn
If you have a passion for lifelong learning and always seek to improve your knowledge, nursing is the perfect career for you, as you will always have a reason to learn more. From standard training courses that everyone needs to take every year to further education courses to even learning about people, cultures, and experiences, there is always something that you can learn working in nursing. You will come across opportunities to learn when you least expect it throughout your career. Not only this, but you will learn many things about yourself during this time, like how proud you are, the importance of taking care of yourself, how to get on with people, and the importance of knowing the theory side of nursing.
If you don’t like to learn as much, nursing may not be an ideal career choice. The reason is simple. There will be mandatory training courses you are expected to attend without fail every three years. Plus, the only way to move the career ladder for most nursing roles is by going back to school to earn certifications, knowledge, and skills. On-the-job training is not always possible.
The good news for those considering moving up the ladder, there are further education courses run solely online that work around a nurse’s working schedule. This industry has made it more possible than ever before to ensure that nurses and other healthcare professionals have the opportunities to build their careers and enhance their knowledge. There are options out there for people if they know where to look. For example, if you love the idea of providing healthcare away from the traditional hospital setting, such as in schools and outpatient centers, then putting plans in place to become an FNP is ideal. With the Marymount University DNP-FNP program, you can get the appropriate skills and certificates to fulfill your dreams. However, as you will need to go back to school to gain these, having a passion for learning can be extremely useful. It can be a great motivator to keep you going and achieve your degree.
You Feel Best When You Have Cared for Another Person
At its core, nursing is a caring profession. It will be your job to help people learn, understand, and take control of their health in a variety of settings. You will feel more fulfilled if you naturally feel your best when you have cared for another person.
Just a few examples of caring activities you may do on a regular basis include:
- You’re always looking for ways to show others you care.
- You like to check in on an elderly or disabled family members.
- You enjoy having your child’s friends over and caring for them often.
Thinking back to your childhood can help too. Did you like taking care of baby dolls or playing doctor? If so, nursing may be a naturally good choice for you. During your time as a nurse, you will find that you will come across hundreds of thousands of people; not all of them will be polite, nice, or want your care. However, you will still need to provide them with the same care as anyone else you treat. This is where having a more caring nature can benefit you. Despite the challenges, your instinct to care for another will ensure that you give every patient the same experience.
You Like to Dig Into the Details
There are other professions where paying attention to the details is important, but the details can mean the difference between life and death as a nurse. Only if you like digging into the details and triple checking before you go through with a task should you consider being a nurse.
It’s normal for nurses to do things like administer medication, take vitals, and interview patients to get their medical history. It’s important to pay attention to proper dosages, document accurate vitals, and ask the right questions when interviewing patients. One little mistake or omission can result in an emergency later. Being detail oriented means you’ll naturally be able to avoid these kinds of mistakes.
Nothing Makes You Squeamish
If you don’t like the sight of blood or feel like you’re going to gag when you pick up the dog’s latest mess, nursing probably isn’t for you. There are a lot of horrifying and gross things nurses see on a regular basis, and if you’re at all squeamish, you’ll find that you dread going to work every day.
It’s good if you aren’t squeamish, but it’s even better if you’re at least a little fascinated by things that would gross out other people. If you have more curiosity about a bone sticking out of someone’s leg or what’s in blood that makes it red, you may enjoy being a nurse.
There is no shortage of choices when you’re considering what career you want to embark on for the rest of your life. You can boost your chances of experiencing a lifetime of success if you consider if you’re a naturally good fit for the position—especially in the case of nursing.