Nursing is a job that’s very much in demand. And there’s no doubt that it can be rewarding – every day you’re helping people who are sick and injured, potentially even saving people’s lives in some cases.
Of course, becoming a nurse does have its challenges. These are important to consider before you set your sights on becoming a nurse. Below are just some of the most important considerations to make when getting into nursing.
Why do you want to become a nurse?
When becoming a nurse, it’s important to have the right motives. A good reason to become a nurse is because you enjoy helping people and have a genuine interest in healthcare. You shouldn’t become a nurse simply because your family is pressuring you to do it – working as a nurse can be tough and is definitely not for everyone.
Where will you get qualifications?
You cannot become a registered nurse in the US without obtaining a degree and passing an NCLEX exam. Most colleges in the US offer nursing degrees, but some are definitely more specialized towards nursing. You should consider exactly which college is right for you. A nursing degree is sadly not something that you can study fully online due to the practical learning aspects, however there are partially online nursing degrees that require you to go to a college infrequently – these may be better for working around commitments like kids or an existing job.
Where will you work?
Nurses typically work in hospitals, but can also work in local clinics, schools, army bases, cruise ships and oil rigs. It’s a job that you can do locally, or it’s a job that you can travel with – particularly if you become a travel nurse. Wondering what is a travel nurse? These nurses work temporary stints around the country in order to cover shortages in various workplaces. This could be a great job for allowing you to see different parts of the country, but may not be so suitable if you’re looking to settle down with a partner or kids.
Are you physically fit enough?
While there are no fitness requirements to become a nurse, it can be beneficial to be in good shape. Nursing is a very physical job – you’re on your feet most of the day and may have to help lift people from their bed. If you are relatively fit, you will find it less of a struggle.
Are you mentally up for the challenge?
Dealing with patients requires patience! There will be patients that behave aggressively or who constantly want attention, and you need to be able to deal with these patients while remaining calm and friendly. You also need to be able to deal with the responsibility of juggling multiple patients and be able to make quick decisions in emergencies. Then there’s the ability to deal with all manner of bodily fluids – you can’t be squeamish at all if you’re a nurse. Finally, you must be prepared to work long hours and irregular shift patterns. All of this can result in a lot of stress, but ultimately it’s very rewarding work.