How to Become a Nurse: A Quick Guide
Making a difference in the lives of others, caring for those when they need it the most, and improving the health and wellness of patients are just a few of the roles that nurses will carry out within their careers. However, becoming a nurse is not a job or career opportunity for the faint-hearted. It takes a lot of hard work, time, and dedication to study to become a nurse, and then once your studies are over and you get your first nursing job, the hard work continues. So are you right for the world of nursing? Do you share the same values and visions as other nursing professionals, and what is your purpose or motivation for becoming a nurse?
Why Should You Become a Nurse?
Asking yourself this important, essential question early on will allow you to establish just what you can offer and what you bring to your role as a nurse. In addition, establishing why you want to become a nurse will help you to manage and process your thoughts and feelings, and it will also strengthen your character. So, do you want to become a nurse because of a past experience you or a loved one went through, or do you want to become a nurse to make a tangible and visible difference to the lives of other people? What is pushing you into this way of life and into this career?
Does Experience Matter?
When you first begin your career as a nurse, you will have little to no experience, and this is fine. Experience caring for others would begin to prepare you for what is involved within the life of a working nurse. However, there is so much that nurse's do behind the scenes, which would make it impossible to gain experience, and, most importantly, gain relevant experience. So, yes, experience in care is nice as it can help you begin to prepare for your new position; however, it is not essential, or even a prerequisite, simply because the role of a nurse is so diverse and ever-changing.
Characteristics and Traits of a Nurse?
There are traits and characteristics that most nurses share, and it is these traits that help nurture and grow a nursing career. However, it is also the traits and characteristics learned and shared that help mold people into nurses who are committed to providing high levels of care at all times. For example, many nurses care about the care they provide to patients; they have a caring nature and want to provide the best level of care that they can. Or, perhaps they are helpful, and they enjoy helping others to feel better where they can. When nurses share similar, if not the same, traits and characteristics, then you can be sure that consistency within care and support is consistent and thorough.
Purpose, Vision, and Direction
When you get into nursing, you must have a direction, a vision, or a purpose that covers why you are a nurse. Without these in place, you will struggle to handle and overcome those bad days within your career as a nurse, which you, unfortunately, will have. A purpose, or direction, gives you hope, and it gives you something to work towards. For example, if your purpose is to care for sick patients and make their stay in the hospital as relaxed and stress-free as possible, then ensure you remind yourself of this every day, especially when times get tough. It can be difficult to remember why you are in nursing when you are facing lots of hurdles and obstacles. However, by having a set vision in place, you always have something to refer to and something to direct you, which is useful for if you ever lose your direction within nursing.
Having a Career Plan
When you know the reasons behind your new career choice, it is then important to look at creating a career plan. Putting together a career plan is useful as it is a guide that you follow to ensure that you are staying on track and on course with your career goals and aspirations. Within your career plan, you will want to lay out the next few years. For example, you may want to note that within a year or two, you may well start looking for a better-paid role, and then within 3 years, you may well begin to look at becoming a family nurse practitioner, or FNP for short. When you have a career plan to follow, you can even start to plan out where you will study and why. For example, TWU's comprehensive online nursing program will allow you to further your career and open up new opportunities for working life as a family nurse practitioner.
Being a Good Nurse
A good nurse is someone who is prepared to change and flex to the needs and wants of the task at hand while still retaining a clear focus on what should be done and why. Good nurses do not crack under pressure, and they never lower or alter their standards. When you are a good nurse, both on paper and in practice, you ensure that you are doing yourself and the other professionals around you justice. Conversely, poor nursing, or bad nursing, can damage an industry's reputation, so always try and be the best that you can be within your role as a nurse.
Studying to Become a Nurse
Training and studying to be a nurse can be challenging, and it can be tiring, especially if you fit it in and around existing commitments. Studying to be a nurse can be done online and from the comfort of your own home, or it can be done on a physical campus. Of course, all learning methods, and sites, will require physical clinical and work placements too. However, deciding how you want to study and learn and when is crucial. Studying will take up a lot of your time, and it will require a bit of commitment from you and those around you, such as family and loved ones. So, ensure that you are ready to commit to your studies sooner rather than later.
Landing Your First Job
As your studies become near their end, it is time to start looking for your first position. You must begin looking and applying as soon as you can, simply because there will be a rush to apply when everyone finishes studying around the same time. To land your first job, you need to have the correct resume in place. Your rescue needs to be freshly updated, clear, and easy to read, and informative, all at the same time. Your resume needs to spark interest, and in a nutshell, it needs to emphasize and show employers why you are the right candidate for the job.
Your First Year in a New Nursing Role
Once you have secured a position, most importantly, your first position within the world of nursing, it is good to take a step back to reflect. The first 12 months in any nursing job will be challenging, but the challenges will often feature or focus on treating an ill person and perhaps even caring for them towards the end of their life. Within nursing, you will generally find no week is the same as the next. As weeks and even days can be varied, and sometimes even unpredictable, it is important to take each week as it comes, riding out the storms and difficult periods as they occur.
When you focus on building experience as a nurse, you then focus on improving your weaker areas and those that are perhaps a little bit strong. Building experience will help you progress within the future, and it will help you see and truly appreciate how you started within your career versus where you are now. When you focus on building experience, you improve your confidence, and you improve your self-esteem. Experience behind you will help you grow both personally and professionally, and it will help you determine and establish which direction you want your nursing career to go in the future.
Looking Positively Towards the Future
When you begin building experience, you can then start looking towards the future and your career development. Establishing what you want to do, when and why is important. When you are busy within your nursing role, you can find it difficult to think about and plan for your future. However, taking time out to plan will ensure that you can look forwards positively. So, where do you see yourself in the next 3 years, and where do you see yourself in the next 5 years. Has your experience shown you that you want to specialize within the nursing and care you offer, or has it shown you that ultimately what you need and would like is a leadership position. Remaining positive and retaining a positive attitude will ensure that you achieve your goals and ambitions.