Nurses are one of the only careers that you can get a degree for and pretty much guaranteed to land a new job in your first week after graduation. The key to this transition from nurse education to employment is being able to communicate with people well and having the ability to help guide them through tough times that they may face.
The Nurse’s Role
In terms of employment, nursing roles are among society’s most important and rewarding jobs because of how varied their duties can be. Nursing roles aren’t limited by just one job or one set; they can change based on their location, their shifts, or even what position a nurse is applying for.
However, all positions have one thing in common: their job is to help others. Whether it’s by helping a terminally ill person come to terms with the end of their life or helping a new mother figure out how to hold her newborn, the job is about helping others and not about making money.
This isn’t to say that working as a nurse doesn’t pay well; many people choose nursing as their profession because of its decent pay compared to other similar jobs, especially in top-of-the-career roles like nurse practitioners.
This higher pay comes from the long hours, physical demands, and level of education necessary and often required to become a nurse practitioner. For example, you’ll need to get a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree to enter this career field, which is no simple feat by any score.
The Challenges Of Being A Nurse
Being a nurse can be wonderful because you get to do what you love while being paid well for it. However, there is a major challenge that’s often overlooked – and it’s physical fatigue.
Nurses must work long shifts throughout the day and do so for several days or even weeks at a time. Their patients need them at all hours of the day and night, meaning nurses tend to work nights, weekends, and holidays.
They must also be on call throughout their career, meaning they may need to rush to the hospital without advanced notice because of an emergency with a patient or another issue in the hospital. These long hours can often make it difficult for nurses to balance their career with anything else, like hobbies, friends, and family members, as they rarely get days off and are constantly on call.
This demanding schedule can also cause problems for nurses who are trying to balance their careers with other factors, like school. After all, how do you find time to go to school when you’re working long shifts and then trying to keep up with the rest of your life?
If you need more than one job in order to make ends meet, then you might want to try getting an extra one. If your job hours are affecting your school career, then it may be time to renegotiate or reconsider your role. In any case, if you are struggling, communication is the key to getting support and advice, so speak with your school or your employer and see what accommodations can be made for you.
What Is Your Nursing Career Path?
Nursing is a career that has a lot of opportunities for specializing in different fields. You can get jobs as a registered nurse, which is the most common role for those who are just entering the nursing domain.
This job typically involves bedside care with patients in a hospital setting – usually in an ICU or another high-priority area of a hospital. Whatever the setting, this job is varied and highly stressful, making it a good starting place for those who want to see what nursing is all about before specializing in some other area.
The next step up from this position is to become a charge nurse, work as a lead nurse, or pursue becoming a head nurse at your particular hospital – depending on your level of education and experience.
How To Fit Into Hospital Life
Fitting into the hospital that you’re working at is a daunting task for any new nurse. However, to help, here are a few tips for settling in quicker and feeling more confident every day as a healthcare worker
Get Familiar With The Layout Of The Hospital
Learning the layout of your hospital is the first step in getting comfortable. If you spend some time looking at the design of the hospital and familiarize yourself with the rooms and wards, you’ll find that it’s a lot easier to get around, which will enable you to have a lot more confidence in your job from day one.
Take A Tour Of The Hospital
Planning a hospital tour is a good way to get up close and personal with your new workplace. Even if there isn’t someone taking you on an actual tour, this should be something you do before starting as a new nurse.
Look at what areas are present and which ones are off-limits; this will save you time and get you comfortable right away.
Find Out More About Your New Hospital
Go to the website and find out about current happenings at your facility. You’ll be able to see who’s on leave and when there will be large influxes of patients and a lot of other information that can help you get comfortable faster.
Knowing what is going in is a powerful thing, and it will also allow you to be more confident when patients ask questions
Take Part In The Hospital Social Scene
Most hospitals have at least one social activity that they host (like a softball game or a movie night) every week or so. Attending these events will set you up for success right away, as it means spending time with people who work at the hospital and your immediate coworkers.
Being sociable as a nurse is also important because it makes you more comfortable as a new employee. You’ll build good relationships with other employees throughout the hospital, which can make your transition into the work environment much smoother.
Learn About Your New Colleagues By Asking Questions
It’s a good idea to learn more about your colleagues as soon as you begin working at the hospital; this builds good relationships and is a great way to get comfortable in your new position.
Asking questions is one of the best ways to do this; you can learn more about your colleagues who work in other departments and get answers concerning the different procedures you perform daily.
Join Any Work-Based Groups
Many workplaces have special interest groups, from gardening to creative writing, with which their employees can get involved.
Joining one of these groups will allow you to make friends and learn about your workplace. A lot of the time, hospital-based interest groups will also work together to organize fundraisers or charity events that you can get involved with at work. This is a great way to really get to know your coworkers and to feel comfortable in your new position. You’ll be able to meet new people and have fun while helping out a good cause.
Make A Friend In The Hospital
Getting involved in the hospital is easier if you start with making a friend. It’s a lot easier to get comfortable if you already have someone you can talk to about your work; this way, you’ll be able to know what your coworkers are like and get more acquainted faster.
You can do this by arranging for a coffee with another nurse or just by sitting down for a cup of coffee with your team. This will help establish confidence in your position and make it feel much more natural than if you were alone.
Ask For Help If You Need It
There is no shame in asking for help if you need it in your new job. For example, even the most experienced nurses have been in a position where they’re working a late shift, are painfully tired, and just cannot stay awake.
In this case, ask for help from those around you so that you can take a short nap during your break or simply rest your eyes for a few minutes until you feel better. This will show that you’re comfortable asking for help and that fatigue is not something to be embarrassed about – it’s human, after all, and every nurse experiences it.
Take A Break If You Need One
Even though you’re working in the hospital and have somewhat of a stressful job, you should still take some time off from your shift every now and then. Taking a lunch break is always an option and one that should be taken every day.
If you work in a big hospital with tons of patients, this can be hard to do, but it’s important to remember that there’s no rule saying that you must work for twelve hours straight. If taking a break doesn’t make sense for your particular situation, then it’s always an option to take an extra bathroom break when necessary.
Once you’ve gone through your training and gained experience in your new job, you’ll be better prepared for anything that comes your way. From working with new patients to getting along with coworkers, being a good nurse is all about having the necessary skills and confidence to handle any situation.
Once you’re in this position, you’ll find that being a nurse is rewarding on many different levels and that there are so many things for you to enjoy about your new career, especially when it comes to working within the busy and fast-paced environment of a modern-day hospital.