Nursing Career Zone

Nursing Career Zone

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Nurses work in many areas, not just in hospitals. Nurses can be found in almost every type of business, making a nursing career very versatile and making it possible to keep nurses in the profession and avoid nursing burn out.

  • Nurses have always cared for sick people, so it is no surprise that they continue to be the main employees at hospitals and clinics.
  • Nurses work 24 hours a day on inpatient hospital floors often providing care to the very sickest people in the community.
  • Care at the hospital is also provided to new mothers and babies, people recovering from surgery, patients in critical and intensive care, and patients in the emergency room.
  • Nurses also participate in outpatient care, working at surgery centers, ambulatory clinics, and doctor's offices.
  • All of these nurses function as patient advocates, providing care as outlined by physicians and also making sure that the care ordered is appropriate.

Many nurses choose administration as their nursing career. These nurses might work in hospitals as well, dealing with the business side of nursing. They might also be in charge of scheduling the nurses who work on the floor, ordering supplies, maintaining budgets, and dealing with personnel issues. Other administrative nurses work for insurance companies or lawyers, reviewing files and cases. These 'desk jobs' provide stable hours and usually do not require night or weekend work. Most nurses in administration have at least a bachelor's degree in nursing.

  • All nurses function as educators to one degree or another. Patient teaching is an important aspect of nursing in any field, especially in the hospital where nurses are required to do discharge teaching for their patients, enabling the patient to care for him/herself once home. Other nurses decide to teach new nurses in the classroom. These nurses often have masters or doctoral degrees in nursing.
  • Still others become nurse educators in the clinical setting, teaching experienced nurses new techniques based on new research. Some nurses work only in research. For example, many nurses carry out clinical research designed by pharmaceutical companies or universities. These nurses might review patient charts for information or conduct patient assessments to obtain research data.

Nurses are found nearly everywhere in the workplace, giving them opportunities to work in many environments. While nurses will always be present at the hospital, there are numerous other opportunities for nurses to work outside the hospital as well. Positions in administration, research, and education are but a few of the other possibilities to be found in the nursing career of today.

Qualities of a Good Nurse

Many people choose a nursing career each year, finding that it is flexible and varied and that there are many different types of nursing jobs to choose from. Though there are many areas of nursing in which to work, the qualities of a nursing professional are similar no matter what nursing career might be chosen.

Patience, as the old saying goes, is definitely a virtue in a nursing professional. Nurses work with other people on a daily basis. Nurses have to deal with other nurses, other health care providers, administrators, and patients. Dealing with people and their own sense of time can be frustrating, especially when there is a deadline for paperwork, medication administration, or treatments. Learning to be patient with oneself and with others is an important aspect of the nursing career. Sometimes taking a step back and a deep breath is the best way to find the patience within oneself to deal with a stressful situation when it arises.

  • Because nurses do have to deal with others on a daily basis, it is important to be friendly. A smile can go a long way in dealing with others. Keeping a positive attitude will not only help the nurse, but will also help the patient to recover health. Likewise, empathy is an important consideration in the nursing career.
  • Understanding what the patient is experiencing and being able to help the patient verbalize his/her emotions is important in developing a connection. Most patients do not want their nurse feeling sympathy for them. Patients would almost always prefer to be viewed with empathy. The nurse should be able to understand that illness is difficult for the patient while not feeling sorry for the patient.

The ability to multi-task is one of the most important qualities of the nursing professional. Starting in nursing school, the new nurse will find that this is mandatory. Nurses have many demands placed on them and their time. In the hospital setting, a nurse is frequently expected to give medications and treatments on a particular schedule often with multiple patients needing care at the same time. The nurse will also have paperwork and charting to complete, reports to make to the patient's doctors and other members of the health care team, phone calls and questions from family members to answer, and any number of other tasks. It is important to be able to balance a number of tasks in a limited amount of time. The ability to multi-task might be the most important quality of any nurse.

Nurses must also be self-motivated. While almost always pressed for time, the nurse must find a way to balance the needs of the patients with her own needs. There are times when it seems simple to cut corners to save time. Nurses must understand that to maintain the integrity of the nurse-patient relationship and to ensure that the patients are receiving the best possible care, corners cannot be cut. The nurse must also stay motivated to continue his/her education and keep up with the latest advances and research in patient care. Self-motivation is another important aspect of the nursing career.

While nursing might seem like a well-paid job for a somewhat short education, it can be difficult. The qualities that make a good nursing professional are an important consideration. A friendly and positive attitude, empathy, and patience are the minimum requirements for a nursing career. Multi-tasking is almost a prerequisite. The ability to multi-task is a quality that the nurse will find necessary from the moment nursing school is begun. Self motivation is also essential in maintaining the integrity of the nursing professional.

Advantages of Nursing

 There are many advantages to choosing a nursing career. Most nurses enter the profession hoping to be able to help people. As nurses work with the public on a daily basis, many are able to find fulfillment by assisting people in need. As patient advocates and educators in health promotion, nurses can find satisfaction in their jobs by assisting their patients back to health.

Many nurses are able to find work that allows a flexible schedule and fits in with their family life or other obligations. This is another advantage in choosing a nursing career. In many facilities, nurses work around the clock, allowing the nurse to choose the shift that works best for her schedule. These positions are also staffed every day of the week, giving the nurse time off on weekdays and allowing the nurse to fulfill other obligations during the week, such as going to doctor's appointments and the bank. This flexibility can allow for better childcare arrangements as well.

  • The vast number of positions available for nurses is also an advantage in the nursing career. A nurse can find employment in any number of areas and find a job that suits his/her needs.
  • Nurses are able to find employment in positions dealing directly with patients in either in inpatient or outpatient care.
  • They are also able to work in administration, education, the insurance industry, and many other areas as well. Nurses can always find a job that will suit their needs.
  • As the population ages, many more nurses will be needed in the healthcare field, adding to the number of positions already available. There is no doubt that there will always be a great need for nurses.

Nurses also enjoy high retention rates in the health care industry mostly due to job satisfaction. Many nurses find jobs that they love early in their career and will stay there until retirement. The ability to specialize in a particular area of nursing and continue in obtaining further education in nursing also adds to high job satisfaction rates in the nursing industry.

Nurses enjoy many advantages in their chosen career path. Nurses are able to help people on a daily basis, which is the main reason most nurses choose a nursing career. They are also able to find flexible scheduling, allowing a better work-life balance. The number of available positions in the nursing field ensures that a nurse will always be able to find a position that he/she will enjoy. The high retention rates and job satisfaction enjoyed by nurses is another great advantage of a nursing career.

Disadvantages of Nursing

 While the advantages of a nursing career are many, there are disadvantages as well. Nurses are often required to work long hours, especially in the hospital setting. Nursing can also be physically and emotionally demanding, placing a great deal of stress on the nurse. While most nurses want to help people, people are not always kind in return and can be very difficult to deal with at times. There is also competition for good nursing jobs, which sometimes makes it difficult to find the position that the nurse feels would be most desirable.

  • A big disadvantage of a nursing career is the long working hours that are required of the nurse. This is especially true of nurses working in the hospital setting. These nurses are sometimes forced to work overtime if the hospital is understaffed.
  • Some hospitals require mandatory overtime when they are not able to find adequate coverage for their nursing needs. Because of their licensure, nurses are not able to turn down mandatory overtime as it could be seen as abandoning their patient, which would allow the state to take away their license.
  • Long hours can put additional stress on the nurse, making it difficult for the nurse to take care of the patients in the way he/she would like.

Nursing can also be physically and emotionally demanding. In many areas of healthcare, nurses are required to be able to lift up to a certain weight, which is often 50 pounds or more. Transferring patients, moving equipment, and lifting boxes can take their toll on the nurse. Demands are also often placed on the nurse's emotions. Nurses often take care of very ill patients and their families and have to be prepared to deal with death. Things also often do not go as expected in the course of treatment, and the nurse is often the healthcare provider who must explain to patients and families what has gone wrong. This, too, can place a great deal of stress on the nurse.

While nurses usually go into the profession to help people not all people want help and not all people show kindness in return. Patients can often be very demanding and rude, showing a great deal of disrespect to the nurse. Having a 'thick skin' is almost a requirement of nursing as the nurse will deal with difficult patients and family members on a daily basis throughout the course of a nursing career. A nurse must be able to continue to be polite and kind when dealing with a difficult person, which can be very difficult for the nurse.

Nurses can also find it difficult to find the job they want, especially right out of nursing school. Many nurses compete for the same position, especially day shift jobs and jobs that do not require weekend or holiday work. Nurses often have to 'put in their time' at a less desirable job to be able to better compete for the position that they really want.

When choosing a nursing career, it is important to keep in mind that there are also disadvantages to the profession. It can be very physically and emotionally demanding. Nursing can also require long hours, which adds to the physical demands. It can also be difficult to deal with people, especially when they are ill.

Nurses also often have to work in less than desirable conditions to get their foot in the door for a position that they really want. These disadvantages should be kept in mind when making the decision to pursue nursing as a profession.

Last Updated: 08/20/2013

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