Nursing continues to be a popular career path in society thanks to its altruistic nature, opportunities for development, and good levels of job security. Yet at the same time, it can be emotionally difficult and physically tiring. So, how can you decide if it’s the right fit for you?
This article goes into more detail about the role, as well as the skills and characteristics you’ll need to excel in it. By the end, you should hopefully have a better idea of whether you want to take the plunge and enrol on a nursing degree!
What Does a Role in Nursing Entail?
The first factor to think about is exactly what the job of a nurse involves, so you can see if this kind of work suits you. Nursing is a very varied role, with the specific tasks and responsibilities you have depending on where you’re employed and what you specialize in. However, as a general guide you can expect to perform many of the following:
- Conducting physical examinations of patients
- Talking to patients about their symptoms
- Running some diagnostic tests and screenings
- Taking people’s medical histories
- Updating and maintaining medical records, along with other admin duties
- Taking blood
- Dressing minor wounds
- Educating people about how to live a healthy lifestyle
- Teaching patients how to manage chronic medical conditions
- Administering vaccinations and other types of medication
- Preparing patients, rooms, and equipment for medical procedures
- Assisting physicians with certain medical procedures
- Providing emotional support to both patients and their families
As you progress in the role, for example by training to be a nurse practitioner in Mississippi, you will have the opportunity to take on more responsibility. You can also choose to concentrate on an area of nursing that interests you the most, whether that’s a certain patient group (like children or the elderly) or a specific medical condition (such as cancer or diabetes).
What Skills Do I Need to Be a Good Nurse?
The most important abilities you’ll need to have as a nurse will be clinical skills and expert knowledge of your field. This is precisely what you’ll learn during your studies at college. However, in addition to that, some more general skills will help you to stand out from the crowd and become an excellent nurse. These include:
- Top interpersonal skills and teamwork to be able to work with other healthcare professionals
- Strong communication skills to help patients of all ages and backgrounds, for example by explaining complex medical information in terms that are easy to understand
- Attention to detail when dealing with precise dosages of medication and nuanced medical symptoms – even towards the end of a long shift
- Unrivalled organization and time management skills to juggle a busy caseload and see many different patients every day
- Physical and mental endurance to be able to handle long shifts on your feet
There’s no need to dismiss the idea of being a nurse if you don’t yet have all these skills. During your studies, you will complete clinical placements in a real healthcare setting, which will be a fantastic opportunity to develop these abilities further. You’ll be able to get honest feedback from professional nurses, as well as personal advice on how you can effectively hone your talents.
What Characteristics Make Someone a Great Nurse?
The skills mentioned above are crucial, yet they are not the only factors that impact how good of a nurse you become. A large part of it comes down to the type of person you are, and the personality traits you have. Some of the characteristics you ought to try and cultivate include:
- Compassion and empathy – these help you to understand what your patients are going through, and provide the emotional support they require
- Flexibility and adaptability – nursing involves having to deal with unexpected issues and emergencies, and you must be able to react quickly, calmly, and effectively
- Emotional strength – this will help to prevent the more upsetting cases you deal with from harming your own mental health.
- A positive and friendly attitude – this will enable you to reassure patients who are nervous or in distress.
- Patience – sometimes those in your care will be reluctant to open up to you, find it difficult to describe their symptoms, or not follow the advice you give. You will need to respond in a composed and professional manner.
- A commitment to lifelong learning – nursing is a field that’s constantly changing, and you will need to undertake continued professional development throughout your career to keep up and maintain your skills and knowledge.
- Integrity, honesty, and professionalism – to ensure that your patients know they can trust and rely on you.