Out of all the professions out there, now is a great time to become a nurse. Unfortunately, actually becoming a nurse is a little more involved than just waking up one morning and going to your local hospital and applying for a nursing position.
What Does A Registered Nurse Do?
While this all sounds like a lot of work, but as a registered nurse, you’re going to be responsible for many things when it comes to patient care. These prerequisites will help you to best serve your patients, no matter what type of nurse you decide to be.
Some of these tasks include:
- medkitObserving and recording the patient
- medkitPerforming diagnostic tests and physical exams
- medkitCollecting the patient’s health history
- medkitCounselling patients and family
- medkitEducating patient about their treatment
- medkitAdministering medication, treating wounds, and other treatment necessities
- medkitWhere appropriate, interpreting patient information and making decisions for necessary actions
- medkitConsulting with doctors and nursing supervisors to find out the best treatment plan for patients
- medkitDirecting and supervising LPNs, CNAs, and nurse aides
- medkitConducting research to improve patient care and healthcare processes
To become a nurse, you will need a formal education, but there are a few different pathways that you can take to be eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam.
In order to be able to get into a nursing program where you can get a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing), you will have to fulfill the prerequisite requirements. Colleges will vary in what those requirements are, but to get an idea, you will need to take classes like these:
- editFirst Year Composition Sequence
- editOne year General Chemistry
- editOne year Human Anatomy & Physiology
- editOne semester Introductory Biology
- editOne semester Microbiology
- editOne semester Statistics
- editOne semester Lifespan Development
- editOne semester Nutrition
You can get an ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing) from a two-year college, or a hospital-based school of nursing.
The BSN is a four-year degree that is offered at an accredited college or university. These programs typically:
- checkPrepares graduates to be ready to engage in the full spectrum of professional nursing duties throughout all healthcare settings
- checkFirst two years of the program will usually concentrate in biology, human growth and development, organic chemistry, nutrition, anatomy, psychology, microbiology, and physiology
- checkThe second two years will focus on adult and chronic disease, maternal and child health, pediatrics, mental health and psychiatric nursing, and community health nursing
- checkOther courses that will need to be take include: Nursing theory, Physical and behavioral sciences, Humanities, Healthcare economics, Healthcare informatics, Health policies
These courses are intended to give the student a better understanding of the cultural, economic, political and social situations that contribute to patients health and how they receive treatment.
You can advance your career and by obtaining additional degrees:
- graduation-capMaster’s Degree Programs that offer a variety of paths that will prepare you for advanced practice nursing, nurse administrators, and nursing educators
- graduation-capDoctor of Philosophy programs are more research-focused and are best suited for students who teach or involved in research
- graduation-capDoctor of Nursing Practice programs will focus more in clinical practice or leadership positions
Skills A Nurse Should Have
It is also worth noting that while you may have a nursing degree, you will be working with the public.
The following skills will prove necessary to be able to do the job well:
- checkCompassion: As a nurse, you should be sympathetic to your patients because they are going to need you to help them through various stages of pain, trauma, and/or illness. Not only will compassion be important for dealing with the patient, but you may have to provide comfort and information to worried or distraught family, as well
- checkPatience: There will be times when you will have a patient who will be difficult to deal with. You’re going to need patience to be able to provide the best care that you can without losing your cool
- checkCommunication Skills: As a nurse, you will be talking to doctors and other healthcare professionals, but you will also be communicating with patients and family members who are going to be upset, distressed, and won’t necessarily understand medical jargon. You will have to be both well informed, but also know how to be effective in your communication, while still being sympathetic and compassionate
- checkCritical Thinking: You will be assessing your patient’s health and symptoms while they are under your care. As a competent nurse, you will have to recognize the slightest change so that you can best treat the patient and seek medical intervention if it is required
- checkAttention to Detail: Since you will be administering medication that needs to be properly dosed, you have to have a keen eye and pay close attention to detail. Without this, you could put your patients and your career in grave danger
- checkOrganization: You will be caring for several patients at any given time. It is important that you are organized so that you have everything you need when you see a particular patient. You don’t want to give someone the wrong medication or take them for a surgery they do not need (worst case scenario)
- checkPhysical Endurance: Nursing is a physically demanding job. You’re going to be on your feet for the majority of your shift, which can sometimes last more than 16 hours if you are doing a double shift or if you are in an emergency situation. Not only that, but you will have to help patients move around, push beds and wheel chairs, as well as push equipment
- checkAbility to Deal With Stress and Work Under Pressure: Being a nurse, especially in a hospital setting, is going to be stressful and you will work under pressure. You do not want to go in this profession if you have anxiety problems or if you cannot perform well under pressure
Deciding to become a nurse can be a very rewarding profession. It will take a lot of work, but in the end, you may find it to be one of the best decisions you’ve made—both financially and on a personal level. Just be aware that there are some prerequisites that you will need to complete before actually getting out there are caring for patients.