Nursing is a unique career that allows you to wear many hats while providing excellent job growth opportunities. It’s an important role in our healthcare system and full of countless opportunities to give back to your community.
It’s no surprise, then, that so many people think of nursing when it comes time to figure out their careers. While all these pros are what draw people in, it’s certainly not a job for just anyone. You must be a compassionate, resilient person who is willing to put in the time and energy required to find success.
If you’re considering becoming a nurse, start by asking yourself these 10 questions. Each involves self-reflection and can help you figure out if this is the right path to pursue.
1. Am I a people person?
As a nurse, you will be required to work up close and personal with an array of patients from varying backgrounds. Not only that, but you will also play an important role in the medical staff. This typically means you will work with a wide variety of people in the hospital, such as doctors, medical students, front desk staff and more. As such, you should be ready and willing to work with them.
2. Do I have an interest in medicine?
When people first consider becoming a nurse, they don’t always consider that it goes beyond surface-level care of patients. It’s great to be excited to help people, keep them comfortable and ensure they receive proper care but are you ready to learn about medicine?
You’ll need to learn how to take vitals, draw blood, administer medication and perform many other important medical procedures. If you aren’t interested in the broader aspects of medicine, nursing may not be the right fit for you.
3. Am I squeamish?
Do you faint at the sight of blood? Are you easily grossed out by bodily fluids?
The hard truth about nursing is that it can be a messy, time-intensive career. Whether you’re keeping a patient clean, drawing blood, or assisting in a surgery, you will have to work in an environment many would rather avoid. You must be willing to take the initiative and push through any squeamish tendencies you may have.
4. Do I work well with others?
Nursing always has been a team effort that requires proper communication. You’ll need to communicate with doctors, other nurses and hospital staff to get the job done.
Since the medical industry is so large, odds are you’ll meet and work with plenty of people who have opposing views or work styles. It’s key that you figure out how to put aside your differences so that your patients are properly cared for. If you can do that, you’ll be a better nurse for it.
5. Can I keep calm during emergencies?
No matter what type of nurse you are or where you work, emergencies can and will happen.
When a patient comes in from a car accident, will you be able to stay calm and take action? Can you focus solely on saving a patient’s life rather than worrying about the what-ifs? If so, you’ll do great in the industry!
6. How are my communication skills?
Whether you are leaving a note for the next shift or simply charting what medication you have provided to a patient, it’s extremely important to communicate efficiently. Your ability to communicate information properly can quite literally be the difference between life and death, so be sure that you’re good at it. Excellent written and oral communication skills are key!
7. Can I keep up with the physical demands?
There’s no way around it: nursing is a demanding job! Your shifts are typically 12 hours, you’ll need to move patients who may be heavier than you and most of the shift is spent on your feet.
While it’s great for your body to get exercise, it can also be quite a tiring job. You’ll need to find a balance between the physical work and the relaxation, as it can be easy to overdo it on your days off with a pint of ice cream.
If you’re not afraid of hard work and finding a balance with relaxation, you’ll do just fine.
8. Am I mentally fit for this type of job?
While nursing is an incredibly rewarding job, it can also be quite difficult on your psyche. Not every shift will be full of happy, recovering patients and new mothers delivering their children.
You will inevitably have patients you lose, and patients you must diagnose and treat for fatal illnesses. During these times, you must be strong for both yourself and your patients. Professionalism and strength are key and if you can keep them together, you will be a great nurse.
Even on your worst days, it’s important to remember that you are providing an incredible service to those that need you. If you can maintain that mindset, you’ve got this.
9. Why do I want to be a nurse?
Now that you’ve considered a lot of surface-level questions, it’s time for you to consider something deeper: why do you want to do this?
Ask yourself: do you want to become a nurse solely for the pay? Nursing should be about helping others and giving back to those that need it most, not just the monetary gain.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be paid well! Just make sure that you’re also there to be a great resource and source of aid for your patients. You need to make a living, but you should also balance that desire with great patient care.
Take some time to consider your motives. They should lean more toward selflessness and compassion rather than selfishness and greed. Only you can decide if this is the right path for you to take, so mull it over if you need.
10. What kind of nurse do I want to be?
Well, that depends on your career goals. Take some time to think about the degree level you’d like, where you’d like to work, the types of patients you’d like to work with and more.
Once you do this, be sure to get in touch. Our Admissions Advisors would be more than happy to help you get started on your #HUPossible future!
* 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.