Nursing is a wonderful career choice. Not only are you actively giving back to society and taking care of people, but you are challenged every day in your job, meet amazing people from all walks of life, and can have peace of mind that your job is secure. There is also the opportunity to progress in your career as a nurse, which is another very important thing to consider when choosing a career.
Yes, becoming a nurse can be a very smart, fulfilling career choice, and if you have been thinking about pursuing this path recently, below are a few tips on what you need to do to get started.
Speak to Other Professional Nurses
A good place to start if you want to get into nursing as a career is speaking to other professional nurses about what they do. A lot of people have certain ideas of what a job will be like in their minds, but the reality can be very different, often leaving people wondering if they have made the right choice. Although you will still learn a lot about the realities of nursing on the job, speaking to people who have already been doing it for years could help give you a better perspective on what to expect. If you know some nurses already, that’s great; if not, see if you can find a forum online where prospective nurses can communicate with established professionals where you can ask questions. You may also want to see if you can find any blogs that are written by nurses that talk about their work.
If you want to become a nurse, you will have to complete a nursing degree to become qualified. This means going to college, but if you’re worried about fitting in your studies around your other daily commitments or that you have to work, there are online college courses you can enroll in. These are much more flexible approaches to learning and usually more affordable, so you can still complete a quality nursing degree without having to upheave your current daily routine. Click here to see an example of this type of degree and see if it would be suitable for you.
Once you have finished your Bachelor of Science in Nursing, you can also study for your Master’s and Doctorate if you want to, which could help to progress your nursing degree even further.
Most nursing degree programs will arrange for students to go and work in a local hospital or healthcare center while they study. This hands-on experience is essential to give you a better idea of what you can expect in terms of workload and how your days as a nurse will be more general. You might even want to consider getting some work experience in a healthcare environment before you apply to nurse school, even if it’s something like administration or volunteering to entertain patients on the ward, etc. This will show how dedicated you are to your career.
Consider Your Career Goals
It’s always wise to consider what your options are in terms of your nursing career. There are many different environments you can work in as a nurse, and you’ll learn about these in more detail as you study to get your nursing degree. Although you might not need to make any immediate choices right now, you might want to start thinking about where you’d like your nursing career to go. Do you think you’d like to end up as Head Nurse in a department? Where do you organize shift patterns, staff, and general management of your nursing team? Is there a specialist field you’d like to go into, such as geriatric or pediatric care?
Perhaps you’d like to go into nutrition management or neonatal? There are a lot of options available to you in a nursing career, so thinking about where you think you’d like to go now will help you plan more thoroughly for it later.
To practice as a nurse legally, you must first get your license. You will need to have completed your nursing degree to do this, but you will need to take further examinations to obtain your nursing license. Different states have slightly different requirements when it comes to getting your nursing license, but you can find out here how you can get your license in all 50 states if you are planning to relocate at any time. Without your nursing license, you might still be able to work as a nursing assistant, but you will not legally be allowed to carry out certain tasks and move up from this position. Get your license as soon as possible after your degree so you can begin your nursing career properly soon after graduation.
Ask for a Mentor
When you’re doing your work placement, or even once you land your first official nursing job, ask if your workplace does mentorship schemes for nurses. These are fantastic opportunities to continue learning about your role as a nurse in a professional environment and can also help you feel like you have that extra bit of support while you’re still finding your feet. A mentor can give you advice based on their experience as a nurse and give you tips on improving your work. They might even be kind enough to provide you with a reference if you want to apply for a promotion, a role elsewhere, or even if you wanted to apply to do a higher degree to further your nursing degree.
Ask About Additional Training
Finally, even though you have already got your license, degree, and work experience, there are still opportunities to continue to progress in the workplace. If you want to make yourself stand out as a nurse in your team, ask your managers if there are any additional training opportunities that you can take advantage of to build your skillset and put yourself in a better position for a promotion or going into a specialist field of nursing.
If you have been thinking about pursuing a career in nursing, use the above tips to help you get started on your journey into the healthcare profession.