You have decided to become a nurse. You can picture yourself looking crisp, efficient and professional, nursing some poor sick person back to health. Or, perhaps, you see yourself in the operating room. It is like a scene from ER or Scrubs. You can imagine yourself helping-out the chief of surgery or the head of staff or....Perhaps, you should stop and think first.
Do you know what being a nurse really means? Nursing is part of the so-called "caring professions." Once stultified by the restrictions of a male-dominated society, it now offers a wide range of settings and fields, although it still focuses on helping others.
At its very basics, nursing involves taking blood pressure readings, doing physical examinations, providing injections, dealing with medical equipment, and changing wound dressings. Nurses record a patient's medical history and symptoms, help to perform diagnostic tests and analyze the results. They operate medical machinery, administer treatment and medications and help with patient follow-up and rehab.
Today, you can find nurses practicing in places ranging from hospitals to research labs. Nurses find work in the fields of occupational health, rehabilitation and home, school, office and hospice care. There are now nurse practitioners, midwives and anesthetists. Nurses can now specialize entering into emergency, operating room, ambulatory care, burn care, ICU, maternal care, pediatrics, oncology, renal, rehabilitation and even geriatrics. Nursing is no longer as simple or straight forward as it was in the past.
Once you know what a nurse does, think further. You should consider at least the following three things. First, examine what you have to offer nursing. In other words, do you have the personal skills required to excel in the job? Take into consideration the type of nursing you wish to do. Moderate to high inter personal skills are essential for practical, psychiatric and registered nurses. You have to possess good people skills. Moreover, you must be able to communicate well. This means being able to explain clearly and listen.
Other personal skills needed to become a good nurse include, a more than competent understanding of math and science, and certain mechanical skills. A working knowledge of computer basics is increasingly necessary. If you want to become part of management, computers and other related managerial skills are essential. If you would rather teach, be prepared to be above average in managerial, communication, interpersonal and educational requirements.
You should next consider the demands of the job. Think about how long you will have to attend school. Schooling will require you to focus on studies for an extended period. The higher you wish to rise, the more education you will have to pursue. If you wish to train as a nurse's aide, you can receive your training in many high schools as part of a vocational or practical nursing program. It will take four years of hard work, however, if you want a Bachelor Science of Nursing (BSN). A Nursing diploma can be obtained after three years and an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) can take two or three years. Can you afford to be away at junior college, college or university for several years?
Cost and time are two things to consider in tandem. Another matter to address is the physical and emotional demands of the job. Being a nurse is no easy matter. The job is demanding. It can be physically punishing. Nurses work long hours. They spend much of their time walking and standing. Hospitals take precautions, but nurses are vulnerable to exposure from diseases and other hazards as well as physical injury, particularly back pain and strain.
As perilous as the physical is the emotional strain. Nurses work with the ill and the terminally ill. They must deal calmly and collectedly with the fears of patients and their family alike. Nurses working in schools are exposed to the traumas suffered by adolescents on a daily basis or as part of a crisis when a classmate tragically and/or suddenly dies. Nurses, working as part of a trauma team, in emergency or as part of an operating team suffer various types of emotional stress. Can you handle it?
There is nothing easy or simple about nursing. Before you decide to enter the profession, consider what you have to offer, what it costs in time and money and, finally, whether you can handle it both physically and emotionally. If you consider these three main points, you will save yourself time, money and heartache.
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Grant Eckert is a writer for Tafford Uniforms. Tafford is a leading provider of Nursing Uniforms | Nurse Uniforms.Visit at: www.tafford.com
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