How to Start a Fulfilling Career as a Nurse
If you’re a naturally caring person and have a passion for healthcare, then you may have considered working as a nurse. Nursing can be a very rewarding field, and you’ll have the chance to make a real difference in other people’s lives. But, before you embark on your path, you have to be ready for what being a nurse really is about. You also need to have a clear career path. This will allow you to work in an area that will fit your skills, personality, and aptitudes. Let’s take a look at how you can start a successful and fulfilling career as a nurse.
Choose the Right Program
The very first thing is making sure that you pick the right program. One of the options could be to go for an online course. Online nursing programs are just as rigorous as traditional classes and you’ll have a combination of theoretical courses and clinical experiences.
It’s an important thing to pick an accredited school. If you’re going to pick a program, you need to at least make sure that it’s accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. This will make sure that your qualification is well respected in the field.
We also suggest that you look at a few accelerated programs. Look for top-rated accelerated nursing programs online that will allow you to condense your studies. Also, make sure that the school you choose has a good career service and placement opportunities so you’ll be able to start working as soon as possible.
Now would also be the right time to start looking at a few specializations. Having your bachelors will open you up to all sorts of different opportunities. Some programs will allow you to fast-track your way to a doctorate.
You will first need to get some experience. You can then start looking at fields such as neonatal nursing, nursing anaesthetist, or clinical nurse specialist. Alternatively, maybe you want to work with a certain type of patient. Some people may want to deal with psychiatric patients, for instance, whereas others may want to work with rehab centres. Or, you could decide to work with children or families.
You also want to look at the diversity of options you have before you. There are so many nursing jobs available in all sorts of settings and the more experience you get, the more versatile you’ll be as a nurse. You could work on a private yacht or a cruise line. You could work in a camp or a school. All of these positions offer different perks and have very different atmospheres, so look at those that would fit your personality and what you’re looking for in a job.
Also know that certain states allow nurse practitioners to operate their practice. If that something that sounds interesting, you should start looking at what these states are and where you could see yourself relocating.
Look for a Mentor
Another thing we suggest you do is find someone who can mentor you in the field. Only an experienced nurse will be able to prepare you for the real challenges of the job. They could also help steer you in the right direction. They might be able to guide you towards opportunities you weren’t aware of, or warn you of some of the difficulties of certain fields.
Not only that, but they could connect you with potential employers as well. They could vouch for you where they work or use their connections to get you a position.
Make Sure that You Have the Right Disposition
Also, if you want to make sure that you’ll be fulfilled in your role, you have to know if you have the right temperament and qualities to be a nurse. For one, your ability to perform under pressure will probably be the number one trait that you will need. It’s good to be caring, but if you get easily overwhelmed in high-stress situations or when you need to multitask and make decisions on the fly, you will have trouble succeeding.
You also have to make sure that you have empathy but in the right measure. Empathy is important when caring for patients, educating them on their condition, and when discussing treatment options. However, you don’t want to be empathic to the point where a death affects your whole week. Nurses need to be very emotionally strong if they want to be able to deal with death consistently, and these situations can be extremely tragic. So, you can’t be fragile and expect to make it long in nursing unless you work in a position where you won’t have to deal with these types of situations as much.
Take Care of Yourself
Another thing you have to remember, especially when starting, is that everything you do outside of work will affect your work in some shape or form. This is why you must take time for yourself and pay attention to your health.
Sleep will be the most important. You have to make sure that you get your 8 hours of sleep every day and that everyone in the house is on the same page. Additionally, you have to resist the urge of taking on too much overtime work. You might feel like you have the strength at first, but this will eventually catch up with you.
Another thing you’ll have to pay attention to is exercise and nutrition. Nursing is a much more physically demanding job than many imagine. Not only do you have to walk a lot, but you may also have to move or carry patients. This is why you need to put the right fuel in your tank if you want to perform to the best of your abilities.
Make sure that you have a complete diet full of complex carbs and protein. Also, we suggest that you integrate some strength training into your routine. As a matter of fact, since you’ll be getting a lot of cardio on the job, you could work on your strength exclusively when you go to the gym. Some of the exercises you should perform include deadlifts, barbell squats, and bicep curls.
So, if you want to embark on an exciting and fulfilling career as a nurse, follow our advice. Make sure that you keep your options open and look at all the possibilities the field has to offer.
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Katie writes for F and B Recipes. She lives in New York with her dog Coco. When not writing, she can be found baking (and eating) chocolate chip cookies.