Do you have ambitions of becoming a nurse? Nursing is one of the noblest professions there is as you get to play a vital role in the healthcare system and help people in need every single day. Nursing is a way of life more than simply a career which means that there is a strong sense of community in the nursing industry. Still, you must also know that it is incredibly demanding and can be highly competitive for specific roles. There is the chance for progression and development in nursing, though, so it can be a lucrative path to follow. Here are a few handy tips for any aspiring nurses.
Develop Soft Skills
Nursing is a role which will require excellent soft skills. You need to determine what areas are strengths and which are weaknesses and then take steps to improve any weaknesses which will help you to excel in all areas of the role. A few of the main soft skills to focus on include:
- Communication skills
- Presentational skills
- Working as part of a team
- Work ethic
Gain as Much Experience as Possible
Studying is, of course, hugely important in the field of nursing, but it does not prepare you for life on the ward. This is why you need to gain as much experience as possible in a hospital, even as a volunteer because you will get used to working in this stressful and busy environment.
Learn to Prioritize
Nursing can feel a lot like spinning plates, but with such serious consequences, you will need to learn how to prioritize your workload and manage your time. This is something that you can learn by observing other nurses and through experience – you will also need to rely on your fellow nurses at times to help manage the workload (more on this to come).
Find A Mentor & Ask Questions
The world of nursing can be incredibly daunting at first, which is why it is helpful to have a mentor to look up to. A mentor will be able to guide you in the early days of your career and provide invaluable support, plus they may be able to help you to progress your career. Do not shy away from asking questions to your mentor or anyone else – the only stupid question is the one that you do not ask, and knowledge is vital in this industry.
Much like any industry, it is helpful to have a large network to open doors and to build your professional reputation. You should network as much as possible – a few good places to do this include:
- In the hospital
- At industry events
- On social media
- Online communities
Support Fellow Nurses
There is a strong sense of community among nurses, even though it is competitive. You will want to form strong connections with your fellow nurses and support them as you hope that they support you. Due to the nature of the work, it can be stressful and upsetting, which is why you need the support of people that are in the same boat as you.
Go the Extra Mile
As such a competitive field, you need to take steps to stand out from the crowd if you are to fund success as a nurse. There are different ways that you can do this, such as:
- Staying with patients
- Fulfilling requests from patients
- Attending industry events
- Continuing to learn
- Volunteering for projects
- Helping after you’ve finished
Nursing can be terrifying at times which is why you need to be brave and willing to step outside your comfort zone – this is where you develop essential experience and learn. Finding small ways to leave your comfort zone makes this much easier and will help you to advance your career. Any decisions which do not play out as intended should not knock you back and instead should be viewed as a learning experience.
Gain Recognized Qualifications
Qualifications are essential in the nursing field, and you can always bolster your resume with further study. There are many different qualifications to consider, such as online accelerated BSN programs for non-nurses which will prepare you for a nursing career in just one year. You can then continue to study as you look to climb the ladder and progress.
Continue to Learn
In addition to qualifications, it is also helpful to continue to learn all that you can about nursing and healthcare in general as it is continually changing. This might involve:
- Reading respected publications
- Going to seminars
- Joining online communities
- Writing your own papers
- Reading blogs from experienced nurses
Separate Work & Personal Life
One of the greatest challenges that new nurses face is keeping their work and personal life separate. It can be hard to relax at home when you have spent a whole day surrounded by pain, sickness and death, but you need to be able to leave this behind when you finish your shift otherwise it will negatively impact both your career and personal life. This is something that gets easier over time but creating mental barriers such as not talking about work at home, getting changed as quickly as possible and having plans for your time off can be helpful.
Similarly, you need to prioritize self-care, which may seem strange at first but will be vital for a long and happy career. Nursing is demanding and with extended hours, so the time that you do have off, you need to use well. This will involve:
- Getting enough sleep
- Eating a healthy diet
- Regular exercise
- Enjoying hobbies
- Socializing with friends and family
- Finding ways to relax
- Pampering yourself
Nursing is a profession quite unlike any other and can be incredibly rewarding, but it is also challenging, demanding and, at times, upsetting so you must know how to survive in this line of work. The above tips should help any aspiring nurses to hit the ground running and pave the way for future success in this industry.