The 3 Biggest Challenges To Starting A Nursing Career (And How To Get Past Them)

The 3 Biggest Challenges To Starting A Nursing Career (And How To Get Past Them)

Nursing is an exciting and fulfilling profession – and recent events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic have shown the world just how valuable nurses are.

If you have been considering the idea of starting a career in nursing, you may have fears standing in your way.  Embarking on a new career can be overwhelming, but don’t let that stop you from pursuing your dream career as a nurse.

Here are 3 of the biggest challenges many prospective nursing students face when considering a career in nursing, and how you can get past them.

Nursing career challenge 1:  “I have a busy schedule.”

Nurses lead busy lives, and their careers can often become a central part of them. When you’re researching how to become a nurse, you need to think about ways to balance it with the rest of your life.

Here’s a solution:  Talk to your partner or family about ways you can work around each other’s schedules, and consider possible alternative schedules. 

One great aspect of having a nursing career is that nurses work many different kinds of shifts, at all times of the day and night.  Some possible schedules include eight or 12-hour shifts, day shift (7 am-7 pm), mid-shift (12 am-12 pm), and night shift (7 pm-7 am).  Also, many nurses only work on the weekends.  There are not many professions that offer that kind of work flexibility!

Also, many accredited nursing programs are almost entirely online, and you can fit your studies at any time that works for you.

Nursing career challenge 2: “School is expensive.”

Money is always going to be a factor when you’re trying to figure out precisely what kind of career you want to pursue, and nursing is no exception. Whether you will have to take a pay cut or you’re worried about the costs of getting your qualifications, there are always things that you can do to get a grip on your money concerns.

Here’s a solution:  There are plenty of grants and loans available for those studying, and there are plenty of adjustments you can make in your life to balance out a drop in your pay.  Also, you don’t need to worry about paying your student loans back until after you graduate from nursing school, and there are many low rates available.  

Here are four types of loans to help you pay for your nursing degree.

Nursing career challenge 3: “I’m afraid to make a big life change.”

The idea of changing your career can be scary, and getting a nursing education can seem intimidating. However, if you let fear dictate your career decisions, you are only holding yourself back. It might sound cliche, but keep in mind: fortune favors the bold. Don’t let fear hold you back from something so important to you.

Here’s a solution:  Think about everything you have to gain from achieving a nursing degree and entering the profession of your dreams.  Making a shift into a nursing career is much the same as any career change in a lot of ways. It’s a big step and one that you definitely shouldn’t take lightly.

Think it over carefully, but if fear is the only aspect that is holding you back, then maybe it is something that you really should consider.   After all, moving forward despite feeling afraid is when we have the opportunity to grow the most – both personally and professionally.

What is holding you back from your dream career?  How can you move through it?  Good luck!

Additional recommended reading:

To Succeed in Nursing School, Use A Zebra Pen and Paper

To Succeed in Nursing School, Use A Zebra Pen and Paper

This post has been sponsored by Zebra Pen. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

There is an astronomical amount of information to remember as a first-time nursing student or as a career nurse who returns to college or university for an advanced degree education. With all the meaty textbooks, scientific lectures, and in-patient clinical training, it can make even the most diligent learners feel overwhelmed.

Which leaves many nurses asking, what is the most effective way to retain all of this information?

As it turns out, research shows that putting your pen to paper (instead of typing notes on a computer) can help you take your education to the next level.

That is one reason why, as a nurse and healthcare freelance writer, using a Zebra STEEL G-402® Gel Retractable Pen has been my voice for notetaking. It is a pen made for savvy and confident professionals and it allows me to whittle down my most important thoughts on paper instantly.

In fact, all of my daily, weekly, and monthly goal-setting is freehand written with my STEEL G-402 and paper. My goals are what keep me focused and successful, both at work and in my personal life. Check out more information here to see how you can Choose Different.

Here Are 3 Ways Using a Zebra Pen and Paper Will Help You Succeed in Nursing School:

1. Notetaking with a pen boosts memory and helps you retain more information

Taking notes with a laptop has become the norm for our tech-savvy generation of students who want to refer back to every detail that a professor says in class. However, this may not be the best way to learn when it comes to notetaking. In fact, from a learning and memorization standpoint, typing may cause you to remember less compared to taking handwritten notes in class.

A recent study has shown that students using laptops were able to take an overflowing amount of word-for-word notes, but they performed worse when tested on the ideas compared to students who handwrote notes. Writing handwritten notes helps with cognition, especially for students learning complex medical information.

To Succeed In Nursing School, Use A Zebra Pen And Paper

2.  Freehand writing with a pen and paper sharpens critical thinking

My professors in college reminded us that the nurses who succeed are the ones who learn how to “think critically” in school. In other words, take the facts and form a judgment. It makes sense to me now—every ATI test in nursing school, as well as the nursing boards, are almost ALL critical thinking/multiple-choice questions.

In the real world, nurses must take the medical facts and form a judgment on how to treat the patient in the correct order. Lives often depend on it. Handwriting allows you to “critically think” about data more effectively than typing. You can form more transparent connections between thoughts, instead of just typing out lecture information verbatim. Another way using pens can help you learn more critically is by using colored pens to organize your thoughts on paper.

 

 

3.Freehand writing can help you manage the stress that comes with nursing school

The benefits of putting pen to paper do more than improve brain health and enhance learning in the classroom.  Your mental health can benefit from journaling sessions. Expressive writing can help decrease stress, lower blood pressure, improve organ function, and improve your mood. All good things for stressed-out nursing students!

Freehand journaling is a tool that you can use throughout your nursing program and into your nursing career to help keep your mind in a positive state. In fact, writing with a pen increases neural activity in certain areas of the brain in a similar way to meditation.

To thrive in the nursing profession, you must take care of yourself first. Being a nurse in charge of someone’s life can be extremely stressful, especially when dealing with very sick patients. Consider starting a daily journal to help you manage the anxiety that can arise from the responsibility of caring for patient’s lives.

Why I use a Zebra Pen STEEL G-402 gel pen as a nurse and freelance healthcare writer:

I keep a  STEEL G-402 and a notebook in my bag, at my desk, and on the side table next to my bed. That way, I can write a quick note to myself at any time. If my mind throws out an idea that I want to remember, I jot it down quickly with my STEEL G-402 so I can remember it later when I sit down to write.

In addition to supplementing my writing and research, the STEEL G-402 is a(n):

  • Affordable writing accessory for nurses
  • Heavier weighted pen, which makes it more comfortable to write with for more extended periods
  • Durable pen with a steel metal barrel so that it doesn’t fall apart like other cheap pens in the hospital

In the nursing profession, where I wear the same scrub uniform as everyone else, there are very few ways that I can distinguish myself as an individual.  So, I show it with my zany compression socks, my nifty coffee mug, and my stylish Zebra Pens! Check out more information here to see how you can Choose Different.

The Zebra Pen: A lifelong learning tool for nurses

Working nurses will tell you that nursing school will be the hardest thing you ever do. But by preparing yourself with the right tools to succeed and studying as efficiently as possible, you will tackle your knowledge base with the esteem of a seasoned nurse.

Just remember to keep your laptop close, but your pen closer.

Different Types of Nurses & Nursing Specialties

Different Types of Nurses & Nursing Specialties

There are so many different types of nurses in various specialties that work within the hospital setting.  So how do you figure out which one is right for you?

When I was initially toying with the idea of going back to college to become a nurse, I had no idea how many types of nursing specialties there were.  I thought there was just a single “type” of nurse who did pretty much everything.

I was so wrong.  That just shows how little I knew about the nursing world back then!  I think many potential nurses who are contemplating getting a BSN may think the same thing as I once did.

The good news about starting in nursing school is that you don’t have to decide on what type of nursing specialty you want to go into right away.  At least not until you get closer to the end of nursing school and start interviewing for jobs.    Also, you can even change your nursing specialty during your career if you want (I did it and reignited my passion for nursing).  So, if you find you don’t enjoy one specialty after a while, you can look into others that might better suit you.

This particular post explores nursing career specialties within the hospital.  If you don’t want to work in the hospital, that’s OK.  There are a ton of opportunities to explore as a new grad nurse outside of the hospital setting too!  However, if the hospital setting is for you (as it was for me), then this is a quick and dirty explanation of the different types of nurses and nursing specialties that may be available to you!

Additional recommended reading:   How To Prepare For Nursing School:  9 Steps

Nursing opportunities in the hospital setting

There are dozens of different nursing specialties and levels of care in the hospital to choose from.  When deciding on a specialty, it may help to start with the level of care that works best with your personality and then work from there.  While some nursing students think the intensity of working in an emergency room might be exhilarating, others may prefer to start by learning on a medical-surgical unit instead.

The next step may be to consider which patient age groups you would most enjoy working with.  For example, a nursing school friend of mine knew from the moment she applied to nursing school that she had to be a pediatric nurse.  Yet another student friend was passionate about working in the geriatric community.  Some nurses find that they love working with newborn babies or children, while others find that they enjoy the intensity of managing patients at the ICU level of care.

Lastly, as you start studying more about the different body systems and doing clinical hours, you can decide which specialties that you are most interested in.  Being a student nurse is a great time to learn all about the different types of nurses in the hospital you might want to work in!

If you are interested in learning more about the types of nurses that in the higest demand, check out this video: 

Types of nurses, based on credentials:

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

LPNs perform a number of duties under the supervision of an RN.  They have a more limited scope of practice than an RN, however, they can check vital signs, give oral medication and give injections. LPNs are trained through a state-approved educational program, which takes 12 to 24 months to achieve.

 

Registered Nurse (RN)

Registered nurses (RNs) are nurses with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.   It takes two years to complete an associate’s degree in nursing and at least 4 years to complete a BSN.

 

Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)

A clinical nurse specialist (CNS) is an experienced nurse who has also completed a master’s degree in nursing.  CNS’s are trained in diagnosing and treating illnesses within a specific realm of expertise.

 

Nurse Practitioner (NP)

NPs work under the supervision of a medical doctor, however, they have the autonomy to diagnose diseases, prescribe medications, and initiate patient treatment plans. Educational requirements include a master’s or doctoral degree.

 

Levels of care in the hospital setting

 

Medical/Surgical Care

Medical-Surgical Care, otherwise known as Med/Surg, is the largest nursing specialty in the United States.  Med/Surg nurses care for adult patients who are acutely ill with a wide variety of medical issues or are recovering from surgery.  Nurses on these units often care for 4-5 patients (or more) depending on acuity.

Telemetry Care

Telemetry Unit patients are often more acutely ill and need constant monitoring.   Patients here are monitored with telemetry monitors that allow nurses to review a patient’s vital signs constantly so they can give more detailed care.  Often, Med/Surg and Telemetry patients are referred to interchangeably as many Telemetry Units have both types of patients.

Intensive Care Units

An Intensive Care Unit, otherwise known as an ICU or Critical Care Unit is a unit that provides a higher level of intensive patient care.  Patients in the ICU often have severe and life-threatening injuries that require constant, close monitoring.  Nurses in the ICU usually only care for 1 or 2 patients at a time due to the high acuity of patient care.

Emergency Room

ER nurses treat patients in emergent situations who are involved in a trauma or other life-threatening injuries.   These nurses deal with patients from all age groups involving many different levels of patient care.  You may have patients with illnesses and wounds, ranging from dog bites or minor burns to more serious conditions such as strokes or other trauma victims.

Patient age groups 

Hospital units are also broken into different age groups to offer more specialized care.  This is also something to consider when deciding on a specialty you want to work in.  Some of the age groups include:

  • Newborns
  • Pediatrics
  • Adult
  • Geriatric

Hospital specialties

Here is a general list of hospital specialty units that many nurses work in:

  • Cardiovascular
  • Thoracic
  • Neuro/Trauma
  • Medical
  • Orthopedic
  • Radiology
  • Hematology/Oncology
  • Liver Transplant
  • PACU
  • Emergency Room
  • Neonatal
  • Urology
  • Surgical
  • Gynecology
  • Operating Room

 

What nursing jobs are you most interested in?

As you can see from the above information, there are so many different types of nurses and nursing specialties.   You may want to pick a few that are most interesting to you and narrow your search in from there.  Once you get your legs wet in the profession for a few years, you may even want to look into other alternative and unique careers in nursing.

Now that you have a better understanding of the different career options out there for nurses, you may want to brush up on your interviewing skills.  Let us help you achieve that with this article “How To Land Your First Nursing Job In Six Steps.”

Are you thinking about becoming a nurse and wondering what nursing specialties might be best for you?  Or do you have any other questions about the different types of nurses in the hospital setting?  Please leave a comment or question below!

 

 

Additional recommended reading: