Nursing is a profession, unlike any other and one which can provide immense job satisfaction. Still, it also has a few unique challenges, and it certainly can be demanding, which means that it is not for everyone. It can be daunting when first embarking on a career as a nurse, especially when you consider what an important role you play in the healthcare system. Therefore, it helps aspiring nurses to be aware of a few tips from experienced nurses, which should help them to manage and enjoy all the benefits that this noble career can bring while coping with the key challenges.
Gain Any Kind of Hospital Experience
First, it is a good idea to get some form of hostile experience before starting to study. This is so that you can see if this is an environment that you will be able to work in, to get some experience for your resume and to make key contacts and develop skills that will give you a head start. This could include admin work at the hospital or working as a certified nursing assistant, which is a good option.
Do Not Be Afraid to Ask Questions
In the early stages of your career, you should always ask questions and not feel embarrassed about this – when it is a matter of life and death, there is never a stupid question, so always ask and check so that you do not make any mistakes.
Speak to Nurses & Find A Mentor
Nursing is a field quite unlike any other, and it is hard to get a sense of what this career is like until you start. It can also be helpful to speak to nurses and to find a mentor if possible so that you can get a better idea of life as a nurse, how to manage common issues and to build your professional network (more on this to come).
Map Out A Career Path
One of the significant aspects of nursing is that there is the chance for career development and so many areas that you could specialize in, such as:
- Family nursing;
- Critical care;
- Neonatal nursing;
- Nurse anesthetist.
This will then allow you to work out what steps you need to take to follow your career path, including the qualifications that you will need.
Continue to Study
Following this, if you want to succeed in nursing, then you will need to continue studying and earning qualifications after a Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN) degree. BSN to DNP programs are one good option that will help you to become a doctor of nursing practice, and these programs can help you to develop in all areas of nursing while also showing that you are committed to your career.
Leading on from this, to succeed as a nurse, you must be passionate about what you do. It can be incredibly demanding and hard work at times, but you need to give 100% each day and always be willing to go the extra mile to provide the best possible level of care for your patients and to support their loved ones. The best nurses are the ones that take the time to get to know patients and their families, so you need to be able to connect to people and find ways to make them feel supported and comfortable.
Nursing is also a field that is always changing, so you must stay current and familiar with trends, technologies, and practices that are changing. There are a few ways to do this, such as:
- Medical journals;
- Online communities;
Develop Your Soft Skills
In addition to the evident knowledge and skills required to be a nurse, you must also possess excellent soft skills, and this will make your daily work more comfortable and help you to stand out from the crowd. A few of the critical skills that you will need to work on to succeed in nursing include:
- Critical thinking;
- Presentation skills.
Network at Every Chance
As with most industries, networking is critical for success, as this is how you improve your professional reputation and get new opportunities. Nursing is an industry that is relatively easy to network as there are always healthcare events, nurse societies, online communities, and opportunities at work to build and maintain your professional network.
Support Your Fellow Nurses
Nursing can be competitive, but there is a real sense of belonging and community amongst nurses because it is such a demanding and challenging role. This should be embraced, and you should provide support to your colleagues by helping them with their workload and providing emotional support when it is needed (as you would hope to receive if you were in a difficult situation).
Do Not Neglect Your Health
When you are caring for others and working long shifts, it is very easy to neglect your own health, which can negatively impact your career but also your personal life. You need to find a way to look after your physical and mental health which you will learn to do with time but needs to include:
- Getting enough sleep;
- Eating a healthy diet;
- Relaxing after work;
- Socializing with friends and family;
- Regular exercise;
- Seeking support if needed;
Learn to Separate Work & Home
Similarly, you must be able to separate your work from your home life as otherwise, it can negatively impact each area and create mental health problems. Dealing with death, sickness, and grief each day is extremely stressful. Still, you need to find a way to leave this behind when you leave the hospital, whether this is immediately having something fun planned, getting changed straight after work, or not talking about work when you get home.
Hopefully, this post will give any aspiring nurse helpful information that will allow them to find success in their career and overcome the difficulties that this profession can bring. Nursing can be an incredibly rewarding and satisfying field, but it can also be stressful and demanding, so you must know how to succeed.