Healthcare is one of the most fulfilling career fields you can embark on, and if you’re thinking of switching from your current career to nursing, you might be making the best decision in your life. Nurses get to make a real change in the field and their communities and are more needed than ever at the moment.
You should know, however, that being a nurse is not easy and it takes a particular type of person to make it. On the other hand, you should also know that transitioning is not that difficult if you already have credentials in another field. Let’s take a look at some of the things you will need to know before making your transition into nursing.
The Traits Needed to be a Nurse
You first have to know if you have the skill and personality needed to be a nurse. Don’t assume that your sensitivity and desire to help will be able to get you through. Yes, being empathetic and sensitive is very important for a nurse, but being too sensitive can also be a problem.You need to have a certain level of sensitivity, but also be able to have a sense of distance. You cannot let tragedy affect you as it will become part of your everyday life. You’ll need to have the mental fortitude needed to deal with tragic events consistently and still be able to carry on with your duties.
A nurse also needs to be a good team player and have a sense of accountability. You have to operate well in a hierarchy as well as you will constantly get orders from higher-ups and need to follow through even if you disagree with them.
Nurses need to be great communicators and have a good sense of observation too. A lot of your work will involve asking questions and trying to get answers that can lead to a diagnosis or an assessment of a patient’s condition. There will be times where people will be reluctant to give details, try to lie, or be tough to understand. You will need to be able to use your observation skills and attention to detail to tell what’s really going on.
Lastly, you will need to have a great sense of organization and memory. Depending on where you work, you might have to deal with an overwhelming number of patients on the floor, all with different conditions. There will be systems in place to help you remember the treatments people need, but there are some times where you will be left to your own devices. If you’re very disorganized or tend to lose your grip when under pressure, this isn’t the field for you.
Online Programs Could Make Your Transition Easier
If you already have a degree, even if it’s in a completely unrelated field, know that online programs can make the transition much easier for you. By following a non-nursing degree to BSN online, you won’t have to leave your position and will be able to use our credits to accelerate your progress.
Baylor University has an accelerated non nursing degree to BSN online that will allow you to get your credentials in as little as a year. Their program consists mainly of online classes followed by two weeks on campus and a series of clinical assignments. This is probably the best option for busy professionals who want to make a transition while still being able to earn.
Prepare for the Schedules
One of the toughest things for people used to a traditional 9 to 5 when they get into nursing is the schedules. You will have to be ready to perform 12-hour shifts, which is not something everybody can handle. You might also have to accept to work on calls at the beginning or work on a rotating schedule. But, if you’re able to handle this, know that opportunities for a steadier schedule will present themselves.
There are lots of positions in nursing that offer fixed schedules. Those who work in family practice, schools, or corporate settings get to enjoy 9 to 5 workdays. There are also opportunities in resorts, camps, and theme parks, for instance. All of these positions usually require significant experience, however, so you will have to be ready to go through a rough period at first until these opportunities open up to you.
Get in Contact with Other Nurses
We suggest that you start getting involved in the community as soon as possible. Try to join as many groups as possible and find people who will be able to prepare you for the realities of being a nurse. If you’re lucky, you might find someone who will be nice enough to become your mentor. They will be able to guide you through the process of becoming a nurse and might be able to open doors for you once you complete your studies.
Being a Nurse is Physically Demanding
Another thing you should know about being a nurse is that it’s a very physically demanding job. You will be asked to lift and move sometimes very heavy patients. There are also cases where you might need to constrain reticent or aggressive patients. This is why you need to be ready for the physical part of being a nurse.
Nurses also have to walk a lot during their shifts. It’s estimated that the average nurse can walk up to four miles in a single 12-hour shift. If your cardio and overall strength aren’t up there yet, you will need to start getting in shape now if you want to be able to sustain long hours on a busy floor.
These are some of the things you will need to know if you want to transition into nursing and have a successful career. Before you decide to make the jump, make sure that you’re ready for the challenge and determine whether being a nurse is truly what you want to do.