Branching out and trying something completely new can be scary – especially when it comes to a career change. If you have always had the ambition to become a nurse, you may be worried about whether you are cut out for the role; after all, it isn’t a career that suits everyone, and you’ll only understand the full extent of what to expect on your first day on the job. This guide will give you a brief insight into what to expect if you are serious about working in the nursing industry, so you’re able to make the best decision in regards to your future career.

Take a look at some of the pointers on what you need to know about becoming a nurse below:

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes

While you may believe that nurses don’t ever make mistakes because of their authoritative position, the reality is that they do happen, and you have to be prepared for it. In the early days of starting in the field, you’re likely to make numerous mistakes, which are all part of the learning process, and luckily, someone in a higher position will be on-hand to advise you on how to put them right. Each mistake you make will register in your mind and should hopefully not happen a second time around. Medication errors are the most serious to pay attention to, as one simple slip up could make the difference between life and death.

Critical thinking is a must

Many people believe that nurses simply take instructions from doctors when it comes to dealing with patients, but this is far from true. Nurses have a huge responsibility on their shoulders to make quick decisions based on the situation that is unfolding in front of them. Therefore, aspiring nurses should have critical thinking skills to take care of and assess patients. The Bureau of Labor Statistics considers critical thinking as the most vital skill that is needed to become a registered nurse.

You need a degree

What you may not realize is that aspiring nurses need to have a higher-level degree course under their belt to take their first stepping stone into the field. Most registered nurses have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree level degree, which is sufficient to get into the sector; however, online DNP programs are suitable for registered nurses who already have a BSN or MSN and wish to reach the highest level of nursing. The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to attend university to study nursing courses. Courses can be studied 100% online on a flexible basis to fit around your personal and professional commitments.

Male nurses are on the rise

Nursing is believed by many as a female-only profession; however, male nurses do exist.
Although males only make up 10% of the nursing workforce at the current time, in the years to come, it is likely that this figure will rise due to the benefits of the job, including job security and flexible hours. Providing the individual has the necessary qualifications, experience, and skills needed to become a nurse, the profession is open to all genders.

It is mentally and physically draining

Nursing is both physically and mentally challenging, and so you’ll need to be prepared for these instances to survive in the profession. No registered nurse has ever said that nursing is easy. Although you may have a brief idea of what it is like to be a registered nurse, you will never understand the reality of the job until your first day on shift. You’ll be spending at least 12 hours on your feet during each shift, need to have good bladder control (you may not have any breaks at all some days), and have the physical strength to move patients.

There are progression opportunities

While you may feel poorly paid for the amount of responsibility you’re faced with, you’ll be pleased to know that nursing is a profession that offers a significant amount of opportunities for progression. Although you may be keen on getting into one particular sector after graduating, it’s extremely easy to move into different sectors once you have a relevant degree. This means that there is plenty of scopes to try new things without having to venture onto an entirely new career path later on in life.

You’ll have a demanding schedule

As nursing is a vocational role, you’ll have to expect work to come above your personal life. While you may not be required to work every single day of the week, shifts can be draining, and you’ll most likely need to spend your days off the job recuperating ready to get back onto the ward.

There’s a very high possibility you’ll also have to do night shifts either regularly or on an occasional basis, which can significantly impact your sleeping pattern. Informing your family and friends of your circumstances will ensure they are aware of your day-to-day lifestyle can help out where necessary, so that you don’t become overwhelmed. Becoming aware that the vocational nature of the job means you don’t have much say concerning as and when you wish to work is crucial. During the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, nurses were required to work consistently to deal with the high number of patients each day.

Careful consideration as to whether it is the right profession for you

Nursing is an extremely trying yet rewarding profession that is only suitable for certain individuals. Although you will be surrounded by colleagues during each shift to give you the support you need, you will be expected to work independently the majority of the time. There are days when you’ll leave work in tears after dealing with an extremely hard-hitting situation, but there are also days when you will feel extremely uplifted by your actions of taking care of a poorly individual or even saving someone’s life. When you’re struggling to keep your head above water, remember your reasons for becoming a nurse and know that there will always be better days ahead.

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