Honest Nursing Advice for Those Considering the Profession

When considering nursing as a profession, the best nursing advice is to learn as much about the demands of the profession as possible. You then must be honest with yourself and examine how you feel about these demands. Some might be deal breakers, and it's best to confront them now. Others may be more feasible and might actually outweigh any of the negatives.

Nursing requires dedication and a solid strength of conviction, and it is one of the most rewarding career paths. Alternatively, nursing can also be one of the most demanding professions. It can be physically exhausting and emotionally draining, but you will have to learn to replenish your strength so that you can give it your all. For those who truly enjoy caring for others, it is one of the best career choices you can make.

Patient Care is 24/7

Patients get sick 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Nurses are the backbone of the health care system and vital to successful patient outcomes. This means nurses work long hours, weekends and holidays. You might have to work on any number of personal days such as anniversaries or birthdays. If you work in a field where responding to and assigning degrees of urgency to patients over the phone is required, you will be expected to participate in ongoing after hours and weekend coverage.

As you gain seniority, you may not miss as many important events, but you will still be expected to work some weekends and holidays. On the flip side, you might be the one person to share a special day with one or more of your patients as they spend a holiday apart from their loved ones.

Creating Your Own Rewards

Holding a patient's hand in the middle of the night and providing reassurance that he or she is making sound decisions about their heath status can be most rewarding. Educating a wife on how to care for her husband at home while he recovers is empowering. Seeing a grandmother walk again after a fall can't be matched by the rewards offered in other professions.

If you think you have what it takes to deal with the sacrifices, then the next best nursing advice involves learning how to become the best nurse you can be. You will need to have an air of professionalism, learn how to be organized and develop critical thinking skills.

Becoming a Nurse

It is impossible for nursing students to learn everything they need to know in school. You will want to become a sponge and soak up all the knowledge, tips and techniques that you observe and practice, and then apply them to new situations. It is important to respect the time of the nurses who are helping you learn. Returning favors and helping the staff that have taught you will earn you the respect necessary to become confident in the workplace.

The most important nursing advice for you to take to heart is that nursing is all about the patients and their outcomes.

Photo Source: Flickr

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Tags: demands of the nursing profession, Fortis, healthcare system, nursing, nursing advice

Kathy Quan RN BSN PHN

About Kathy Quan RN BSN PHN

I have been an RN for over 35 years. I was the last Guide to Nursing at About.com and have written 3 books for nurses and 1 about health care careers. My blog (TheNursingSiteBlog.com) has been honored with several awards from my peers and The Everything New Nurse Book was honored by my peers as well. I also own several websites which I design and write for that are geared to nurses and health care professionals. You can find a list of them at KathyQuan.com. View all posts by Kathy Quan RN BSN PHN →