If you’re on this site, you’re either a nurse or have a strong interest in nursing. And I’m sure that if the former group had the chance to sit down with the latter, they would have a lot to say. We all remember those exciting, terrifying early days of nursing school and wanting to make the world a better place; there’s plenty we’d want to say to our younger selves. We can’t go back in time and talk to ourselves, but we can share with you what you should know before going into nursing.
What You Should Know Before Going Into Nursing
There is a lot of career diversity
When you first set your mind to becoming a nurse, what did you imagine? Scrubs, a stethoscope, and patients in a hospital or general practice? What many new nursing students don’t realize is there are a variety of careers under the umbrella of “nurse.” A few you can choose without any additional degrees are:
- Surgical nurse
- Geriatric nurse
- Cardiac nurse
- Nursing Midwife
- Nursing Administrator
Knowing this before going into nursing will give you more time to consider what areas of medicine you’re most interested in so you can make the career choice best suited for you.
Additional recommended reading: Is Nursing A Good Career For Moms?
You will make a positive difference in the lives of thousands
Unfortunately, there’s a long-standing stereotype of nurses being something of a sidekick who takes orders from a doctor. In reality, nurses are often the ones with their feet on the ground, taking care of their patients’ immediate needs. If you’re in settings such as the ICU or the ER, you could be the one to make the vital choices that’ll keep a patient in stable condition or save their life. You’ll need knowledge and confidence to make those calls.
This idea may sit like a weight on you at times, and that may even become overwhelming. We can take the classes, we can learn how to change IV tubing or take vitals, but learning how to walk around with the weight of patients’ lives on our shoulders without buckling is another thing entirely. But even if some days are harder than others, let me tell you a secret: you can do it!
It will be your responsibility to find balance
As important as understanding the weight of your position is, it’s also important to know when to lay that weight down. Putting too much pressure on yourself can lead to burnout and compassion fatigue. Try to set up healthy emotional boundaries even as you seek to be empathetic to patients.
It’s also important to find ways to leave the pressures of work at work and find people and activities that build you back up after long, exhausting shifts. Keep in mind, as much as it’s valuable for you to build confidence in decision making, you’ll always have a team on your side when you need help.
Additional recommended reading:
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