If there is one thing that can be said about nursing that is true across the board, no matter what kind of nurse you might be or how long you’ve been nursing, it’s that this career is one of the most rewarding you can find – perhaps it’s even the most rewarding career option out there. As a nurse, you are literally saving lives every day, and you are truly making a difference every time you show up for a shift; there aren’t many other careers in which that can be seen as true.
On top of this, nursing is a relatively well-paid job that offers a lot of stability and career progression. With this in mind, it’s little wonder that nursing is becoming more and more popular. From those just leaving high school and considering what career they might want to those who have been working in another sector for decades and who want to change their lives, nursing can be exactly the right option. Yet it won’t be right for everyone; it is hard work, and it comes with a great deal of responsibility – not everyone is able to enjoy that. So, although there are many positives to being a nurse, there are downsides too, and it’s crucial that you understand these before committing to learning and becoming a nurse.
It’s also crucial to understand what it takes to be a nurse and to determine whether it’s right for you in all ways. Simply jumping in because you feel nursing offers a lot of good things to those who take on the challenge might work for some people, but it’s not a sensible way to take on a new career, and in most cases, without the research needed beforehand, it can lead to a costly and time-consuming mistake. Either that, or you will continue on your nursing journey even if you don’t enjoy the work, and that is just as bad, not just for you but for your patients too.
Knowing whether nursing is the right career for you or not is therefore hugely important. Read on for some tips to determine whether you would make a good nurse and whether you should take the next step in this direction.
The Must-Have Qualities Of A Nurse
To begin with, nurses have a certain set of qualities that help them help others. These qualities and the skills that come with them mean that nurses can offer their patients much more, and their career progression will be smoother. They can put their skills to good use and be rewarded for doing so. If you want to be a nurse, you don’t have to have all the following qualities, but you should have a large number of them and be willing to learn how to gain the rest. If not, you may well find that nursing is much harder for you than for others and that the skills you do have would be better put to use in a different career. So just what qualities do nurses need? Here are some of the skills you should consider.
When you think of nursing, what comes to mind first? Is it the hectic, fast-paced working environment they will be in? Or is it a kind and caring bedside manner? The truth is that both of these things have to exist in harmony, and therefore patience is definitely a virtue when it comes to being an excellent nurse.
No matter what kind of nurse you are and what kind of environment you work in, there will be a lot going on around you. You will need to keep calm and collected and do your job even in the midst of chaos, and your patients must always feel that they have your complete attention. Patience is going to help you here; becoming frustrated and irritated by the demands and needs of a patient because you are distracted by what is happening elsewhere is never going to be helpful, and not only will it cause the patient distress (which is the last thing a nurse wants to do), but it will make your shift unpleasant as well. Having patience in the face of anything that is happening and helping your patient as much as you can is vital.
Another very important quality for a nurse is the ability to be flexible; changing and adapting to new situations is vital. Not only can this change occur over time, with new ideas and methods for treating patients being brought out, methods that have to be learned, perhaps after many years of doing things a different way, but changes can even happen during a single shift. A patient’s health can change for the better or worse in an instant, and nurses have to know how to deal with this.
Not being flexible means that stress is much more likely to affect you. If you can use your skills to ‘go with the flow and continue to help all those who need you, you’ll find things are much easier and you won’t run the risk of burnout.
There are some jobs that are just that; jobs. You go to work, you do what needs to be done, and you go home again, not thinking about the work you did that day or the work that you’ll do the next. For some people, this is ideal – they want a job that pays the bills, and that’s it.
Nursing is very far from this. Nursing is more than just a job; it’s what you are. Nurses will be committed to their careers, and they will go above and beyond to help others and do what it takes to become better.
Nursing not only requires commitment in terms of the hours worked and the work undertaken but it’s also the kind of career that needs continuous learning. If you’re not able to commit to being a nurse fully, then it’s not going to be a career that can offer you much – there are no half measures when you’re a nurse.
Everything you do as a nurse has to be done in a competent way. You need to start each shift in the most professional manner and continue to be professional and competent throughout, even when you are tired, frustrated, or feeling emotional because of something that happened.
Small details really matter when you are a nurse. From arriving to your shift looking smart and being on time to ensuring your patients are as comfortable as possible at all times, nurses will take it all on and do it well.
Nurses have to have high standards and uphold those standards because patients, their colleagues, and the public at large will be doing so.
Nurses have to be extremely compassionate; it’s how they can make their patients feel at ease and help them to recover. When you are compassionate, you take other people’s feelings into consideration, and you practice empathy and understanding at all times. This can be hard to do as it is emotionally draining, but it’s something that nurses have to do at all times – there is no endpoint. If you are able to do this and be compassionate throughout your shift, you could make an amazing nurse.
When a patient is unwell, they expect good-quality care from their nurse. They expect to be treated well and in the right way. Whether they are at home and have to go into the hospital or they are abroad and need help from a travel nurse, the care they get should be the same no matter what.
Something they will certainly want from any nurse who treats them is a feeling of confidence. Imagine how unnerving it would be for a patient who is already scared and potentially in pain to find their nurse is unsure about how to treat them or how to handle a situation they find themselves in. At the very least, this would make the entire situation a much scarier one, and in the worst cases, it might even cause the patient to have a longer, slower recovery time – positivity is something that has been shown to help with recovery, and being treated by a nurse with no confidence in their abilities will not be a positive experience.
There are dozens of different skills that a nurse should have, all of them important, but when it comes to communication, this might be one of the top few skills that a nurse has to have. It would be all but impossible to enjoy a successful nursing career if the nurse in question was unable to communicate effectively with their patients, patients’ families, colleagues, and anyone else they might come into contact with.
Not only do nurses need to be able to communicate effectively with everyone, but they must also tailor their communication efforts to each different type of person. For example, talking to a doctor about patient care would entail an entirely different kind of communication to speaking to a patient about the same care. This is where a nurse’s communication skills will be important; they will have to be able to talk to a variety of different people and ensure that each person they speak to understands precisely what is being said. Although this might sound like a simple thing to be able to do, it could be hard for those who are less confident, for example.
It’s clear that there is a lot more to nursing than you might expect at first glance. However, it is a rewarding and exciting career, and if you have the qualities required, it could be exactly right for you.