It takes a special kind of person to be a nurse. Nurses are a central part of the healthcare team and play a key role shaping the future of healthcare.
Nursing is also one of the fastest-growing healthcare fields today, making it an attractive profession for those who want to begin or advance their healthcare careers.
Wondering if nursing is the right career for you? Here’s what you need to know if you’re thinking about joining this rewarding, growing field:
1. Nursing school will be challenging, but you can do it.
Whether you’re starting out in a diploma program or pursuing your BSN, prepare to be challenged. There’s a lot to learn, but don’t let that discourage you. Your instructors and advisors want you to succeed, and they’ll be there to support you the whole way.
Staying organized and managing your time wisely will help you be successful. Many students balance full or part-time jobs in addition to earning their nursing degrees. Flexible course schedules and online learning make it easier for students with busy lives to find time for school.
“Never doubt that you can do it, because you can!” says Rashetta Tadesse, who graduated from Herzing University’s associate nursing program in 2018. “I worked a 40+ hour job and completed my nursing program. It will not be easy, but as long as you keep moving forward and take it day by day, you will be fine!”
2. You’ll need strong time management and communication skills.
Time management skills are essential to your success in school and become even more important once you start working. Great nurses are organized, show attention to detail and can adapt quickly to new situations.
Strong communication skills are also a must – nurses need to know how to communicate effectively with doctors and nurses and show empathy and understanding when dealing with patients.
“Exceptional nurses are active listeners,” says Robin Ihde, BSN-RN, an Injury Prevention and Outreach Coordinator for Froedtert Hospital in Wisconsin. “Nurses understand that everyone has their own set of values and life experiences to draw upon, and they try to see the situation from the patient’s perspective so that they can best meet the patient’s needs,” she says.
3. You will gain experience in a variety of nursing specialties.
As a nurse, you’ll have the opportunity to work in a variety of environments and specialties. From the ER to long-term care, the possibilities are endless, and it might seem overwhelming at first. With time and experience, however, you’ll find the right specialty for you.
“Eight years ago, if you had asked me which nursing specialty I was interested in, I would have been clueless,” says Herzing nursing student Zahra Mohammed. “Choosing your specialty involves a lot of trial and error and some time and patience.”
4. There will be opportunities to advance your career.
Advancing your nursing degree will allow you to continue to grow in your nursing career, whether that’s becoming a registered nurse, earning your BSN, or preparing for leadership and management roles with an MSN.
It doesn’t stop there. If you already hold an MSN, you can pursue post-masters certificates to become academically eligible for certification in another specialty. Enrolling in a PMC program can help you expand your scope of practice and advance your career.
5. You will make a difference Nursing is an important and rewarding field.
As a nurse, you play an important role in defining the future of healthcare and you also have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the patients you serve.
Anna Armstrong, an oncology nurse and nursing instructor at Herzing’s Orlando campus, says that her patients have made an impact on her life, too.
“My patients embrace every single second they are gifted with. The irritations of everyday life do not bother them, and the truly important things in life take on increasing significance,” she says. “They have been able to share these life lessons with me and for that, I am grateful and humbled to be part of their care.”
* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2021. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.