You may think that nursing is all about bedside manner and compassionate care. And you would be right – to an extent. As nurses have been around for generations, it’s fair to assume that most people know what a nurse does. However, the role of a nurse is much more complex than simply caring for others. Put simply, misconceptions exist regarding the role of a nurse. In fact, nurses are the backbone of the healthcare industry, as we saw during the recent pandemic.
In reality, nurses must have a wide range of skills and attributes to perform their job successfully on a day-to-day basis. So, to debunk any myths about nurses and their daily work lives and to highlight why becoming a nurse is an excellent career choice, we wrote this article. In this article, you’ll learn what a nurse does and what a typical day is like for them. You’ll also discover why nursing is an excellent career path.
What does a nurse do?
Let’s say you’re in the process of seeking direct entry MSN programs online. That’s a great start! Programs such as the one at Elmhurst University are excellent if you want to change careers or accelerate learning. However, as you consider shifting into nursing, it’s best to start by defining exactly what a nurse does. A nurse is crucial in ensuring that patients receive the best care possible. So, what are some of the main tasks that nurses are responsible for doing?
- Administering medication: One of the most important things that a nurse does is administering medication to patients. It may include everything from intravenous drips to administering pills orally.
- Caring for patients: As you might expect, nurses care for patients – especially in a hospital or care setting. This may include changing bandages, providing emotional support to patients, consulting with doctors, and much more.
- Assessing health conditions: Nurses get trained to assess various health conditions. As a result, they are often the first to see a problem. They monitor heartbeats, blood pressure, and more. In doing so, they can spot issues quickly.
- Providing health education: Perhaps one of the most overlooked tasks that nurses are tasked with is providing health education to patients. Many patients are apprehensive when they first visit the hospital. Nurses help answer their questions and put their minds at ease.
- Monitoring patient conditions: Another critical task that nurses perform is monitoring patient conditions and reporting. As they administer medicine and monitor patient care, they have to provide reporting for doctors.
- Providing surgical care: Many people think of doctors in operating rooms. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth! Many nurses work in surgeries. Their job is to ensure that the surgery goes smoothly and that patients are comfortable, and much more!
What is a day like for a nurse?
Many people assume that the life of a nurse is hectic. It can be sometimes, but it’s much more controlled than you imagine. So, what is a nurse’s day like?
- Early shift duties: The average nurse will begin their day early or at night. Nurses start their shifts early and on time. Patient care is a serious business, and they know it.
- Rapidly changing scenarios: One of the main reasons why being a nurse is a challenging career path is because scenarios constantly change. In sum, dealing with medical emergencies and patients means that no day is ever the same.
- Working hours: Nurses are dedicated to their careers and often work long shifts. If you work in a busy hospital, you may be required to work 12-hour days. However, nurses get more days of rest to balance their wellbeing.
What key skills do nurses need for success?
As we’ve discussed in this blog post, the role of a nurse is quite complex. After all, their job is to ensure that patients receive the best care possible – at all times. So, it means that nurses must be skilled in a wide range of areas. What skills do nurses need to succeed in their role aside from medical knowledge? Let’s take a look:
- Communication skills: There’s no doubt that communication skills are crucial for nurses. After all, one of their main jobs is communicating with patients and their loved ones.
- Critical thinking: Another skill that nurses need to possess is critical thinking. That’s because nurses are expected to make quick, sound decisions. Sometimes, there’s no time to mull things over.
- Emotional intelligence: Nursing is a highly emotionally charged field. After all, you deal with people at their most vulnerable. Emotional intelligence enables you to manage your emotions in these challenging situations.
- Time management: Another skill that nurses need to possess is time management. That’s because they have a heavy workload and comparatively little time to complete it.
Why becoming a nurse is a great choice
If you’ve read this blog post so far, you’ll have noticed that nurses are highly skilled individuals who play a crucial role in society. However, it’s important to note that becoming a nurse is more than just a job – it’s a calling. If you genuinely want to make a difference in the lives of others, then nursing is the perfect career path for you. There are many reasons why becoming a nurse is a great choice. Let’s take a look at a few of them:
- Challenging career path: As we’ve discussed, nursing is a very challenging career path. It will test you in every way possible, and you’ll have to push yourself beyond your expectations to succeed.
- Healthcare is in high demand: One thing that’s certain about nursing is that there’s always a demand for them. In fact, many countries, including the US, face a shortage of nurses.
- Variety: Unlike some careers, there are many aspects to being a nurse that offer various challenges. For instance, in one day, you may care for newborns and senior patients and perform very different tasks.
- Social impact: While there are many rewarding aspects to nursing, perhaps the most rewarding part is the social impact you make. In short, you can make a difference in the lives of others daily – and this is something that many other professions cannot do.
Why patients love nurses
Now that we’ve looked at why becoming a nurse is a great choice, let’s examine why patients love nurses so much. There are many reasons why patients adore the nurses who care for them. Here are just a few:
- Patients see nurses first: When patients get admitted to the hospital, they often see nurses first. So, it means that nurses are often the first to make a positive impression on patients.
- Compassion: Being a nurse is more than just administering medications and completing hands-on tasks. It’s also about understanding and caring for others, which is where nurses excel.
- Patience: Often, nurses care for people at their most vulnerable. As a result, the patients may get stressed, emotional or upset. However, nurses help them deal with their emotions. In fact, nurses just have a way of putting patients at ease.
Tips for becoming a nurse
When you become a registered nurse (RN), it’s to make it your career for most of your working life. However, what if you want to transition to it quickly? Or what if you want to know tips to better your chances of getting into the profession sooner rather than later? You may have noticed or thought that becoming an RN takes quite a while. And there’s a good reason for that. Yes, becoming an RN requires extensive education and training in school and clinical settings.
However, accelerated programs exist for those looking to get started quickly. Nursing takes time, effort and dedication, and it’s vital because people’s lives are literally in your hands. So, you want to ensure that you have the best training possible. Still, you may want to start your education and see how to cut some time in the process. If becoming an RN is something that you want to achieve at some point in your life (or sooner), then these tips may help.
Apply to RN degree programs early
If you’re a high school student or a recent graduate who wants to become a nurse, then applying to an RN degree program as early as possible is a good idea. Typically, you need at least a two-year program to become a nurse. So, it may mean that you want to get started right after you decide to go for it.
A few things to be aware of for degree programs include the application deadlines. For instance, some schools have rolling admission, while others don’t. Also, some schools may have higher admission requirements than others. When applying for admission as early as possible, it’s best to have everything fully prepared. This means having your application materials, letters of recommendation, or any type of essay ready to go.
Develop soft skills
Becoming a nurse involves communicating effectively with patients, families and other healthcare providers. While you’ll learn and practice these skills in school, developing them is still crucial before starting the program. In short, you can still build some soft skills to make your training easier and maximize your success as a nurse.
- Join a club or take a class: Joining a club or taking a class helps you develop soft skills. However, it also enables you to make new friends, try new things, and expand your network.
- Take a communication course: Many community colleges offer courses in communication, public speaking, or other skills such as critical thinking. Taking one of these courses is a great way to learn and apply new skills.
- Join an online discussion forum: If you’re not ready to join a class or club just yet, you could join a discussion forum online. Being a part of online forums where people share their experiences is a great way to practice communication and other soft skills.
Network and research
While building those soft skills, you should also start researching nursing specialties, areas of practice, and employers. If you’re applying to an RN degree program, you probably already researched nursing specialties. However, do so again, and this time, pay close attention to which specialties interest you the most.
For example, you may have been initially drawn to pediatrics because you love kids. However, when you do your research, you discover that it’s more about managing medication than interacting with children. Instead of choosing this specialty, you could switch to oncology, for instance. This may allow you more direct patient care. Also, research the healthcare employers in your area and determine which ones you like.
Have fun as a nurse
Finally, while researching and building your soft skills, you should also consider having fun as a nurse. Nursing can be stressful, so you need to ensure your health and wellness. This means doing activities that you enjoy and that you’re good at. Also, having fun may help you create a network of people with whom you can share your love of nursing. You can have fun as a nurse in several ways:
- Get involved in community service: There are many ways to get involved in your local community. It could include anything from volunteering at a hospital to helping feed and clothe the homeless.
- Find hobbies that give you joy: One of the best things you can do for yourself is to do things you love. So, maybe you love playing the piano or playing tennis. In that case, hire an instructor or join a tennis club. The point is to give yourself the space to do things you enjoy!
Nurses are essential for society
Nurses are crucial in ensuring that patients receive the best care possible. However, their job is much more than just caring for others. It’s a challenging career path that requires skill and perseverance. If you want to make an impact in the lives of others and want to help improve their health and wellbeing, then nursing may be of interest to you. Overall, becoming a nurse is a great career choice. It’s a gratifying profession and can also be very challenging. Becoming a nurse takes time and effort, but it’s well worth it.