They say that if you are unhappy with your life, you should make some changes. Although that can be easier said than done, when it comes to your career at least, there is always something that you can do to make those necessary changes.
Whether you’re graduating from high school and don’t know what to do next or you’re already well into a career and simply don’t like it, you need to think about what kind of job would suit you. Then you can make the changes to your life that will make you happier. Perhaps you don’t think that your career is all that important, but the fact is that if you have a job you enjoy, perhaps even love, everything else in life becomes easier. If you hate your job, you’ll be miserable while you’re there, and then, when you have time off, you’ll be miserable because you have to go back. It impacts every aspect of your life.
Therefore, it’s clear that if you are unhappy with your career, you’ll be unhappy generally, and you need to do something about it. Have you considered nursing? Either as a first career or something you train for later in life, it can be a wonderful choice. If you’re looking for something rewarding that will really make a difference, nursing could be the answer.
However, in order to enjoy nursing and be good at it, you do need to have certain qualities and you need to have a certain mindset. The last thing you’ll want to do is study to become a nurse and then find you dislike the job. With all that in mind, read on to discover whether you would make a good nurse; ask yourself some in-depth questions and you’ll soon know one way or another.
Can You Handle Blood?
Nurses will have to deal with a large amount of blood, and even if you choose not to work in the ER or OR where you might expect the most blood to be, there is the potential to have to handle blood every day of your working life. If you don’t like blood, nursing may not be the ideal choice of profession. In fact, if you don’t like bodily fluids of all kinds, it would be better to choose a different career, as part of a nurse’s job is not just to be around blood, vomit, and so on, but to help patients and clean them up. You’ll need to take blood for lab testing, and you’ll have to insert IV lines for fluids and medications. You’ll need to care for wounds and change dressings. There really is no way of avoiding this aspect of the nursing profession.
The good news is that if blood and other bodily fluids bother you, there are ways to help people and not have to come into contact with them. You could train to become a therapist, for example, or perhaps work in hospital administration instead of with patients. However, if you know you would be able to handle blood (this doesn’t mean you have to enjoy this aspect of the job, of course, but simply that you can do it without complaint or too much trauma), then it could be time to look into accelerated BSN courses to help you become a nurse even more quickly.
Are You A Good Listener?
Another very important aspect of being a good nurse is that you need to be a good listener. This is one of the main aspects of nursing, other than practical care, such as wound dressing and giving medication. The reason listening is so important is that it could be the smallest thing that is said that offers a clue about how the patient is feeling. Many patients don’t like to tell their healthcare professionals if they are in pain or that there is an issue because they don’t want to make a fuss, or they think it’s not important. When you are a good listener, you’ll still be able to pick up on things they say, or even how those things are said, which will help you understand more.
If you’re not listening well to every patient all the time, you could miss something very important, whether it’s a symptom, a complication, or even a diagnosis.
Although some of this work will be down to the doctor in charge of the patient’s care, the fact is that it is the nurses who spend the most time with their patients, and therefore they are the ones who are most likely to spot something, as long as they are listening hard enough.
Another benefit of listening to the patient is that the nurse can then advocate for them in the right way. They’ll know what the patient wants and needs and try to ensure that they get it. Nurses have to be able to listen well to understand this, as it may not be immediately obvious. The more you listen, the more you are able to take care of your patients.
Can You Work Long Hours?
It’s crucial that you understand just how physically demanding the nursing professional truly is. You need to be physically fit to do it well and not cause yourself any long-term (or even short-term) problems. You will need to know how to list a patient the right way (this will be part of your training), and how to turn them in their beds. You’ll need to move patients between rooms and different departments. Plus, you’ll be walking about – often in a hurry – all day.
It’s clear that being physically fit and having plenty of stamina is a big part of what a nurse needs to be capable of, and it’s important that you are honest with yourself about whether or not you would be able to manage.
Many nurses say that they are so busy during the day they barely notice how hard they are working physically, and this is certainly a positive thing. However, the fact is that you will be putting your body through an immense physical workout every day, and you need to be sure it’s something you can deal with before you start the work.
It’s not just the physical work of a nurse that is tiring; you’ll also be working in shifts. These are often 12-hour shifts (although they can be more or less, depending on where you work and what work you do). The shifts will cover 24 hours, 365 days a year, and will therefore be day shifts and night shifts and will be worked on weekends and holidays, including Christmas and Thanksgiving. After all, people get sick all the time.
If you prefer the kind of routine where you start and finish work at the same time every day and you don’t have to work weekends, then nursing won’t suit you. If you like a little variety in your working life and you can handle shift work – that means ensuring you sleep enough and eat well, among other things – then nursing can certainly be a hugely rewarding and exciting career to start.
Are You Empathetic?
When you are a nurse, you have to have a number of skills, as discussed, but one that is absolutely crucial and hard to learn if it’s not something that comes naturally to you (although it can come with experience) is empathy. As a nurse, you need to be able to understand the patients’ feelings and emotions and help them in the best way. The last thing a patient would want is a nurse who is not at all understanding and who either pretends to care or doesn’t even pretend. This will not make recovery easier and will result in problems for everyone involved.
As well as being empathetic with your patients, you need to understand your colleagues too. You’ll be working with many different people, and although you don’t have to like everyone, that doesn’t mean you can’t empathize with them. The more understanding you can be of how other people are feeling, the better you can work together and help your patients, which is what a good nurse will want more than anything.
Can You Analyze Information?
Nurses will be bombarded with information all day long. It will come from patients, patients’ families, colleagues, and other sources. The is always a lot to think about and a lot to understand. What’s really important when it comes to this information is that a good nurse must be able to analyze it. By doing this, they will be able to diagnose, treat, and prioritize patient care, ensuring that the patients get the best care possible and that the nurse does not become overwhelmed with all the different things they need to do and know.
It’s also important to know when you don’t have enough information to work in the above way. Nurse must know this, as they will need to ask questions to get to the bottom of potentially difficult situations and to ensure their patients get the help they truly need.
Are You Able To Follow The Rules?
One great thing about nursing is that there is a lot of autonomy involved. Nurses can – and are actually expected to – make their own decisions and work independently, ensuring that patient care is never neglected, in whatever way that needs to be done. This is one of the many reasons that makes nursing the ideal career for so many people – there is a true sense of ownership over the job and the tasks that are to be done every day.
However, although there is a certain amount of freedom, there is a lot of teamwork involved in nursing as well, and there are a lot of rules. These are in place to keep patients safe and to ensure that the working environment for the entire team is a positive one. As a nurse, you need to be able to switch from one way of working to the other without hesitation, and you need to follow the rules when you do.
If you prefer to be something of a ‘lone wolf’, then there are branches of nursing that will allow for this, and there are other caring professions that allow it too. However, even if you do work alone, there will still be rules to follow. Are you able to follow the rules? If so, you might make an excellent nurse.
Are You A Good Communicator?
There is no getting around the fact that nurses have to be good communicators. They can’t be vague or shy in speaking up; this could cause issues for the patient and the level of care they receive. As a nurse, you’ll have to communicate with a lot of different people, not just your colleagues. Imagine being a patient in a hospital and no one was communicating clearly with you about what was happening or why you were there or what procedures you needed; it would be terrifying. Therefore, since a nurse’s job is to care for their patients and keep them calm and comfortable, communication is key.
Patients are one side of the coin, but communication has to happen between colleagues too. You need to be able to relay precise information to the people you’re working with, and you need to understand the information being given to you (and know what questions to ask if you don’t understand). Without good communication, errors can occur and the quality of care for a patient can be lower than it should be.
Are You Observant?
A good nurse has to be very observant. They need to be able to notice as soon as a patient starts to deteriorate, just as they have to notice when symptoms improve. You’ll need to pay attention to vital signs on monitors and by taking note of them yourself. You’ll also have to see if there are any side effects from medication, and so on.
A quick glance is not going to be enough, even if you’re in a hurry (as nurses often will be). Although the look might be quick, the information gathered will be extensive, and this is the difference between a good nurse and anyone else. Within seconds they will know if there is a problem – or if things have improved – and immediately spring into action.