You Want to Be a Nurse: What Should You Be Aware of?

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Whatever career you choose for yourself, it’s crucial that you research it properly and completely, and that you know everything there is to know about it before you start any kind of studying, before you pay any money out, and before – of course – you start the work itself. If you simply plunge into something because you think it sounds like fun, or because it’s what you’ve always imagined yourself doing, or even because it’s what your parents did and you want to follow in their footsteps, you might find that the career you’ve picked isn’t the right one for you, and that you are miserable every day when you go to work.

Life is just too short for this. We worked so much of the time that we have to be happy with what we’re doing, and with so much choice out there and so many routes to get to the outcome you’re looking for, there really is no reason why everyone shouldn’t have the job of their dreams, or at least something very close to it.

Many people like the idea of becoming a nurse, and this is a truly wondering career that brings a number of different benefits with it. However, it’s also much harder than a lot of people realize, and there are many elements that you need to consider before you take on the responsibility of nursing. Read on to find out what you should be thinking about so you can be sure that nursing is the right role for you.

Nurses Think for Themselves a Lot of the Time

Once nurses finish their studies, whether they attended a traditional school or they took part in online BSN to DNP programs, they will start work and be given a list of tasks to complete by more experienced nurses or doctors. They will then work through those tasks, learning more with each passing day, until they can take on more responsibility and get a promotion, and then start the process all over again.

Although this might be a neat and tidy idea, and it might be something that particularly appeals to some people, it’s not how nurses work. Once they graduate with a nursing degree, they will get to work right away, being expected to think for themselves and make tough decisions, and to keep themselves busy all day, every day. There will be times when they do need to follow orders, but a lot of the time, they will be working autonomously.

The fact that nurses have to think for themselves a great deal is often a surprise to those who are thinking of becoming a nurse, and it will split people hugely. Some will be happier than ever to go into nursing as it will give them a chance to work their way up and take on different challenges such as looking at online BSN to DNP programs or different career paths. Others won’t like the idea of so much responsibility, and they will look for a different career instead. Knowing that critical thinking is expected of nurses in advance is crucial, and it could make all the difference.

Night Shifts Aren’t Always Bad Things

Night shifts are part of a nurse’s life, and even when they are experienced and studying online BSN to DNP programs, night shifts may still be something they are expected to do. People get sick all the time, and they don’t just have to go to the hospital or attend a clinic during normal working hours. This means there always needs to be someone there to take care of them, which is why night shifts (and working weekends and holidays) have to happen.

Many people feel that the case for nurses who have just graduated is that they have to work night shifts all the time, almost like a rite of passage. The truth is that nurses, no matter what kind of experience they have, no matter if they have just started their nursing career or they are much further along and studying online BSN to DNP programs to progress their careers, will all have to work at night sometimes. Most of the work schedules will be created with this fairness in mind, giving everyone the same kind of working pattern so that they can all take care of patients in the right way.

If you’re worried that you won’t be able to cope when you start working night shifts, that might be because you’ve only heard bad things about them. Working nightshifts can mess with your circadian rhythm, and they do mean that you’ll have to sleep during the day and miss out on some family events or other interesting things. However, when you look at night shifts from a different perspective, you’ll see they’re not completely bad (and some nurses, even experienced ones who have taken online BSN to DNP programs), rather enjoy them. Night shifts are often quieter and less hectic since most patients are asleep (although this will depend on what department you work in), and when you have days to yourself, you can do everyday chores when other people are at work.

If you really do dislike night shifts and want to stop doing them, don’t worry; as a nurse, you’ll always have plenty of scope to change your career path and still help people. There are many different branches of nursing, and the more qualifications you have, including those available when you study online BSN to DNP programs, the more options you’ll have, so you can search for a nursing job that doesn’t require night shifts.

Hospital Jobs Are Competitive 

If you thought that taking your nursing degree would mean you could walk straight into any nursing job you wanted, you would be partly right but also partly wrong. As a registered nurse, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding work, but whether or not it’s the work you wanted in the place you wanted to do it is another matter. Hospital nursing jobs are much more competitive than you might have thought, and if you have your heart set on working somewhere, in particular, you might be disappointed when you start to apply for jobs because there is nothing available for you.

It’s true that there is something of a nursing shortage in the USA (and around the world); nurses are always in need. Will a nurse be needed in the hospital closest to your home, or the one that has the best reputation, or the one that you have a friend working at? You won’t know until you graduate and start applying for work. Even if there is a job available, you certainly won’t be the only one applying for it, and you’ll have to fight off plenty of competition to land the role you want.

If you want to be a nurse and you don’t want your nursing degree to go to waste, you can follow a few different routes. You can try to work at the hospital you particularly want to work at, but if there is nothing available, you can find a job elsewhere and either stick with it or wait until there is something to apply for at your chosen workplace. Alternatively, you can go back to school and study online BSN to DNP programs so that you stand out when applying for jobs and give yourself more chance of being hired. Finally, if you find that there are no hospitals that you want to work at or that there are no jobs around for you, you can look outside of the hospital setting; schools, prisons, various clinics, and many other places need nurses too.

With a nursing shortage, it might seem strange that there wouldn’t be constant hiring programs at all hospitals, but even though nurses might be needed, there is only a certain amount of money to go round. Once this runs out, no more nurses can be hired.

You Can’t Work in the ER Right Away

The ER has a reputation for being exciting, fast-paced, somewhere to learn plenty and see a lot, and where you can help people right there and then, saving lives on a daily basis. No wonder it’s a popular place for nurses to want to work when they want an exciting career (and TV shows that show this particular hospital department also add to the idea that it’s the best place to work in the entire building). However, newly qualified nurses won’t usually be able to work in the ER, at least not right from the start. If they do work there, it will be under close supervision, and the work itself will usually be done by much more qualified and experienced nurses.

The role of an ER nurse is a highly specialized one, and each nurse must not only work by themselves but also be part of a well-organized system that runs like a machine. Often you will find that barely any words are needed when a patient needs help because every nurse will know exactly what to do and when to do it. This is not something that can be learned at nursing school, and often the nurses in an ER will have studied for additional qualifications such as those that can be gained through online BSN to DNP programs, and they will have many years’ experience behind them as well.

If you want to work in the ER, that’s a great career goal to have, but you need to be aware that it’s not going to happen right away and that you’ll need to work hard to achieve your aim. It’s not impossible, though, and if it’s what you want, then it’s what you should do – once you get there, you’ll find it’s one of the most rewarding things you can do, and your life-saving skills will be used many times a day.

You Will See People Suffer

Being a nurse is wonderful. You can make a hugely positive difference to people’s lives, and the amount of job satisfaction you’ll have is immense. It’s the kind of career that many people go into and stay in for life because, despite the hard work, they find it so rewarding that they couldn’t see themselves doing anything else.

It’s important to understand this. This is why nurses work so hard; it’s why they take on additional studies through online BSN to DNP programs; it’s why they work those potentially uncomfortable night shifts and through weekends. Yet, that doesn’t mean that nursing is always going to be a pleasant career. There will be upsetting things that you see and hear and problems that you have to encounter because, after all, your patients are sick and injured, and they need your help. In other words, when you are a nurse, you are going to see people suffer, and it will be hard because, although you might be able to keep your emotions in check at work (and this is a skill every nurse needs to have), that doesn’t mean that what you see doesn’t affect you. You might think you’ll get used to other people’s suffering, but in reality, this is unlikely to be the case.

There is little that can be done about this aspect of nursing, but it is something to be aware of and something that you’ll need to address in your own way. It’s good to be prepared.

A Truly Rewarding Career

Of course, one of the most important things you should know is that nursing, whether you’re just starting out or you’ve decided to progress your career by studying online BSN to DNP programs, is a truly rewarding thing to do. It will change your life in so many ways and show you sides of yourself that you hadn’t even known where there.

When it comes to careers, there is nothing quite like nursing, and if it’s something you think you could do, there’s no reason not to start today.