3 Things You Should Think About Before Choosing a Nursing Career

3 Things You Should Think About Before Choosing a Nursing Career

Mar 18, 2015 | 10:00 am

You think a job in healthcare might be for you, but before choosing a nursing career consider some of the realities many don’t discover until much later. The pay, benefits and flexible work schedule of a nurse may sound great now, but consider these important aspects of the job that affect the lives of patients and your overall career happiness first.

Do you genuinely care about people and helping them heal?

One of the main reasons given for choosing a nursing career is the desire to help others. That could mean listening to their ailments, changing their clothes, bathing them, administering medication, providing treatment or advocating for them. Not only are these duties part of the job, but research from Michigan State University (MSU), published in the Patient Education and Counseling journal, found that when healthcare providers build relationships of trust and empathy with their patients, it can actually affect patients’ responses to stress and healing.

Before looking at what you’ll get out of nursing, focus on what you can give. Nursing is a “caregiver” career. Your true feelings for the job and patients will eventually come through in your daily work and affect those around you, for better or worse.

Do you have the attributes of a nurse?

If you have the desire to help others physically and emotionally, take a look at the most common attributes of successful nurses. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, critical-thinking skills, attention to detail, organized thinking, physical energy and communication skills rank at the top of the list for “must have skills.” Remaining emotionally stable under pressure is also a large part of the job.

Nurses see it all, from healing and recovery, to suffering and death. If you can’t stand the sight of blood, don’t know how to handle pain and run from certain diseases, you may want to reconsider choosing a nursing career.

Can you handle nontraditional hours?

Most people know that nurses work nontraditional hours, but is it something you can handle in your own life? Your schedule may include nights, weekends and even holidays, especially as the new nurse on the block. Choosing a nursing career also means “going with the flow” for a couple years while gaining experience.

Nursing students get their first taste of studying, class, exams and clinical before graduation, leaving them little time for a social life. Before going on, some students realize they can’t handle nursing hours and drop out of the program. Be sure that your life allows for the nontraditional work schedule of a nurse.

If you have the desire to help patients and share many of the attributes of successful nurses, you are fast on your way to knowing your career path. Understand the requirements of the job—hours, scheduling, continued education and more—and decide if they work for your current lifestyle. Once you’ve considered these important aspects of the job, you’re more prepared to choose a nursing career. Good luck!