Hi, I'm Caroline. And I'm a registered nurse from Miami, Florida. In this video, we're going to discuss whether nursing is a good profession for you.
Nurses do exciting and amazing things every day. I truly think that nurses are some the smartest people in the world. Great things about working as a nurse are -- touching other people's lives; three days on, four days off; stability; working out while you work; tons of walking and being active; an exciting atmosphere; and you're always learning.
When most people think about nursing,they think the traditional hospital nurse. Opportunities in the hospital are large, and it's where over 60% of the nurses work, according to the BLS, with jobs including, but not limited to, med surg, telemetry, emergency department, ICU, PCU, NICU, CCU, surgical departments, and more.
There are also numerous opportunities for RNs, including, but not limited to, outpatient surgical centers, public and private school systems, such as school nurse. Home health care is another option if you're comfortable in a home setting. Pharmaceutical and medical supply companies are constantly on the lookout for other consultants.
There are jobs for research nurses and nursing educators. Nurses work in the psychiatric field. Nurses can conduct physicals as underwriters with an insurance company. Or if you want to serve our country and get a great nursing and leadership experience, you could join the military and be a military nurse.
Professional advancement is another exciting possibility we'll discuss in another video. These opportunities include master's or doctoral advanced degree options to earn credentials to become a nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife.
What does it take to be a nurse?
Since 2008, I've been answering the questions of thousands of prospective nurses. I've found that there are many concerns that were not directly related to the educational requirements or the outlook of nursing. The most common questions I get are variations on one question -- can I do this? Here are a few of my frequently asked questions.
Are nurses disrespected?
My experience has been that, yes, there are certain instances where you can temporarily be treated unfairly. Maybe if a family member is upset about their loved one's situation, they can take it out on you. Or if a doctor is being unprofessional, it can seem like he or she is taking out their anger on you.
However, for the most part, it is actually the opposite. I do think that nurses are recognized for the hard work that they do. And when I tell people I'm a nurse,they're usually pretty impressed.
Can I handle the responsibility associated with being a nurse?
This is also a question that I get a lot from prospective nurses who are scared to have so much ability to make a critical mistake. There is no easy way to answer this question. Yes, we nurses have to live with the fact that it's possible to make a mistake that could dramatically have a bad effect on someone else's life. The way I look at it like this -- I keep that fear inside of me alive, because it helps me stay alert. But I focus on how I can positively impact other people's lives.
What types of personalities excel in nursing?
What's really cool about nursing is that there is no one specific personality that you have to have in order to be a great nurse. I think that a mix of personalities is a must amongst nursing staffs. There have been a lot of times when I've seen a unit that's been unequally yoked with too many introverts or too many extroverts.
And there are different problems that can be associated with each. If you are introverted, you will have no choice but to get out of your shell. Or if you're super extroverted, you will need to learn when it's appropriate to act a certain way. Since we are pretty much in the service field, we need to find ways to help our patients and family members feel safe, comfortable, and taken care of. This forces us to grow individually and accomplish the best outcome for our patients, whatever that may be. I truly think that nursing is a great way for our best selves to emerge.
How do nurses cope after losing a patient?
As a nurse, we will be with patients and family members at these crucial times in their lives. Losing a patient is a very real possibility and something that all nurses will most likely experience. There is some sweetness to be found, though. While helping your patients and their family members before and after such a loss, clear, responsible communication and empathy can make an enormous difference in the healing process.
I feared moments like these as a new graduate tremendously. However, once I became a nurse, I realized that I'm much stronger than I thought. Of course, losing a patient will never be something that I'll totally get used to. But I will say that helping patients and their family members through their toughest times has taught me invaluable lessons and given me a sense of purpose and pride in the everyday work that I do.
I'm not good at math; can I still become a nurse?
In the eighth grade, I was told that I had a learning disability and was held back an entire year. I also struggled in high school. In order to graduate on time, I attended three summer school sessions and ended up graduating with a C average. I never thought that I would go back to college, and I didn't for five years.
But when I decided I want to become a nurse, I was determined to find a way how. It started out rough, and I even had to take remedial classes to get prepared for college level coursework. But my heart was really into it, and I had a strange feeling deep down inside that I was destined to overcome these major obstacles and reach my dream.
My hard work paid off. Eventually, I applied to the BSN program with a 3.7 GPA and graduated nursing school with honors. What I learned from all this was that, where there's a will and you'll push yourself, you will find a way.
Prior to starting college, math was my weakest strength. And after, it was my greatest. I really hope that I can put things into perspective, because, at one point, I felt like I was the last person that would be able to succeed in nursing school. But if I can do it, so can you.
I hate blood; can I still become a nurse?
This is one question that I had a lot when I was considering whether or not I could become a nurse. Ultimately, after taking anatomy and physiology and learning how amazing our bodies are, it really just put things into perspective for me. Instead of viewing blood as gross and dirty, I started thinking about the amazing cellular properties that blood cells possess, including, but not limited to, oxygen carrying capacity and carrying out carbon dioxide. And every part of our body is healthy and vital for these amazing things.
One thing also that I realized was, when I was doing a procedure that involved a little bit of blood, I realized that my empathetic nature would start to feel what the patient was feeling. And so let's take, for example, if I was starting an IV. When I first started starting IVs,what I would do is I would get so scared because I would just feel all the things that the patient might be going through.
But after a while, I realized that that wasn't such a great thing for my patient,because my nerves were just getting the best of me. I would start sweating and have inability to focus. So what I realized was thinking in the form of steps helped me get out of my empathetic nature and complete the procedure properly.
I'm older; is it too late for me to become a nurse? What is the best age to become a nurse?
Can I become a nurse in my 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s? If there's one thing that I've learned about being a nurse for six years, it is this -- age is just a number. What is more important is your health, vitality, and willingness to take on new challenges.
I do think that nursing will make and keep you young. I don't subscribe to the popular belief that nursing can wear you out. As nurses, we are constantly on the move. It's crucial to stay sharp, fit, and focused to do your job well.
So if you want to become a nurse, stop wondering what your life would be like and just go for it.