It could be the positives, things like working 3 days a week or the opportunities for advancement. It can also be the negatives, such as stressful working conditions or having to work weekends and holidays. At some point, I think we have all wondered, “Is nursing right for me?” While many nurses wouldn’t give it up for all the world, we are also the first to recognize it isn’t for everyone. Here are a few things to consider when you find yourself asking, “Is nursing right for me?”
All other things aside, nursing is a caring profession. People that enter this profession must like caring for others. Certainly that caring can take many forms, but at the end of the day, nurses care for patients, families, and communities every day. It is a big responsibility and in order to enjoy the work, you must like caring for others. No other benefits that come along with the job will make it a fit for you if you don’t see helping others as a number one priority. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do I like helping people?
- Do I like caring for the needs of others?
Ask any nurse and you will find out that no two days in nursing are the same. Patients’ needs change and in order to provide the safest, most effective care as a nurse, you must be flexible to be successful. Nurses work a variety of days and times. Nights, weekends, and holidays are only the beginning. A nurse should be flexible to accommodate the needs of those being cared for. Nurses must also be flexible in adopting new care practices. Health care is dynamic and the role of the nurse will change along with the changing trends of health care. Ask yourself these questions:
- Am I ok working a variety of shifts (days, times, holidays)?
- Do I like dynamic environments that change from day to day (or hour to hour)?
- Am I willing to think outside the box and fill non-traditional nursing jobs?
Stress and Coping
Being someone’s caregiver can be stressful. Nurses are caring for the needs of multiple clients every day. One characteristic that is shared among the most successful nurses I know is they are all fantastic at handling stress and coping with the demands of the profession. Being able to set boundaries and staying cool under pressure are imperative to enjoying your role as a nurse. Ask yourself these questions:
- Am I calm under pressure?
- Do I know how to cope with stressful situations?
- Can I recognize my own limits?
While this list isn’t comprehensive of characteristics that help to make good nurses, it can give you a place to start when you are considering pursuing a career in nursing. One of the best things to think about when you wonder, “Is nursing right for me,” is that nurses are just as varied as the clients they serve. There are many roles for nurses in today’s health care world and if you have a desire to be a caregiver, becoming a nurse is a great place to start. You never know where it will take you!