If you are beginning to think about what your career options will be as you prepare to set out in the world of work or are a long-serving employee who is looking for a worthwhile career change, you may have considered the field of nursing. This can be an exceptionally rewarding occupation for people who have an innate caring nature and want to provide first-class health services to a range of patients from all walks of society. Today, the role of nursing is varied and interesting with multiple routes for progression and career development. If you are considering moving into a career in nursing, there are some key points to consider that will ensure a long and satisfying vocation. In this article, some of the top tips for becoming a successful nurse are discussed.
Get Initially Qualified to Practice
The first step every person who wants to be a registered nurse needs to take is to get suitable qualifications. If you want a fast-track route into nursing, you can undertake an associate’s degree in nursing which can be completed in around 18 months and will give you the skills to get started in nursing. However, it is worth noting that if you want to practice nursing in some hospital settings or undertake a specialized nursing role, you will need a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. A lot of nurses who have gone down the associate route of qualification find that they need to go back to university to get their bachelor’s degree to extend their scope of practice, so it is sensible to be clear about your options early on in your education.
Practical Considerations for Starting Work
Once you have suitable qualifications for your chosen nursing role and have managed to secure your first nursing job, it is time to think of some practical considerations. These simple tips will ensure that you start your career efficiently and effectively. Firstly, it makes perfect sense to check what footwear is allowed in your medical establishment and to ensure that you have the most comfortable shoes you can get. Nursing work is physically demanding, and you will be on your feet for most of your working day. In a typical twelve-hour shift, nurses can expect to walk four miles on average.
This is significantly more than many other professions, so it is imperative to invest in a pair of shoes that keep you comfortable for extended periods on your feet. Secondly, you must be punctual on arriving for your shift. Staff who have finished their work will be waiting to hand over to you and it is deeply unprofessional to arrive late for work as it puts additional strain on other people. Finally, it makes sense to carry a small notebook around with you. In your first few months of work, you will be expected to absorb a lot of information and keeping notes of key facts will help you to become effective and self-reliant quickly.
Hone Your People Skills
Nursing involves dealing with the complete spectrum of society and you will soon find that no two patients are the same. People have unique needs and tolerance levels, and, inevitably, you will eventually deal with patients with bad attitudes and those who constantly request attention. Tact and diplomacy are key traits in any successful nurse and it is important to listen effectively and present a calm and professional demeanour in occasionally stressful circumstances. Some patients may be very vocal, but others may be introverted and reluctant to divulge information. This can make assessments difficult so it is important to also become effective in reading body language.
Take Care of Yourself
Whilst nursing staff are expected to put the patients’ needs first, they also need to ensure that their health and wellbeing remain important considerations. Nurses can only work to their best when they are well rested, and all nurses should ensure that they get a minimum of 7-9 hours of decent quality sleep when they are not working. In addition, eating a healthy diet and drinking enough water will help to ensure that they remain fit and healthy and deliver the best possible healthcare. It can be a good strategy to take a home-prepared fresh packed lunch for shifts that cover all the nutritional requirements of a busy working life. Here are some excellent meal suggestions for busy nurses that are healthy and give constant energy for busy shifts.
Consider Advanced Learning
After you become competent in your field of nursing and have gained the real-world knowledge and skills to make you a highly effective nurse, you may begin to consider advanced learning opportunities. These can open the door for career progression, a wider scope of duties and responsibilities and a more successful career. You may opt for a master’s degree that will enable you to practice in more specialized fields of nursing that are of great interest to you.
After this stage, there are still opportunities for advancement and career development. Senior nurses can undertake a University of Indianapolis DNP degree. This is a post-master’s qualification that allows you to become a doctor of nursing practice. The skills gained here will allow you to reach the pinnacle of your career and become a leader in the field of nursing. High-level tasks such as evaluating healthcare systems are some of the skills and job opportunities that may be available for nurses with this level of expertise.
To Sum Up
The world of nursing can be an incredibly rewarding one that can make for a long and satisfying career. Being on the front line of primary care allows nurses to treat patients from all levels of society and make direct improvements to their health and wellbeing. Nurses should subscribe to the idea of lifelong learning regardless of how far they want to advance in their careers. This ensures that they stay up to date with current medical knowledge and remain highly effective in providing care. There are a wealth of progression routes for nurses including the opportunities to lead, educate, and specialize. Nurses must be adept at interpersonal skills and must also remember to keep their health and well-being at the forefront of their minds to ensure that they continue to deliver the best possible care.