Nursing is a rewarding and worthwhile career that can give you fulfillment and joy every day. The road to becoming a nurse is not as challenging as you may think, and with dedication, persistence, and focus, you can become a nurse a lot sooner than you think. So, what steps should you start taking, and what should you be looking at doing first?
Establish Your Motives and Your Passion
Firstly, it is important to establish what is driving you and your interest in nursing. What is pushing you forward, and what is pushing your career aspirations? You need to know where your passion exists because it is this that will keep you going through your studies and on into the world of nursing. So, do you want to help people? Do you want to improve the levels of care offered? Do you want to make care more personal and impassioned? What is driving you to become a nurse, and what are you hoping to achieve within your career?
Lay Out Your Career Path and Plan
To ensure that you remain focused on the direction that you want your career to go in, it is important to lay out a career path that you can follow (as soon as possible). Start establishing what you need to build a career and future in nursing, and start establishing what you want to do and by when. A career plan can sound tedious and possibly unnecessary. However, you can struggle to find your way without one, and you can struggle to achieve the position that you want. When you are writing a career plan, it is important to focus on short-term and long-term aims.
Find a Role Model – Establish What a Great Nurse Looks Like
To achieve your goals within nursing, it often helps to have a role model. A role model can guide you, and they can set an example about what a great nurse looks like. A good role model will not sugarcoat what nursing is like and how difficult it can be. However, they will tell you the skills, qualities, and attributes you need to succeed in nursing. You may be able to find a role model by seeking voluntary work experience or possibly by networking and making new connections. The provider you study with may also be able to forge links between mentors/role models and students, so do not be afraid to ask.
Building the Right Skillset
Nurses hold a valuable skill set that is often varied and always improving/developing. Within this skill set, a nurse must be an excellent communicator, and they must also be great at teamwork. There will be times when you have to work independently in nursing. However, more often than not, on each shift, you will be working with other nurses and healthcare professionals – and this is where good, strong teamwork matters. Another skill you need to have (and always improve on) is your ability to think critically. Often, nurses have to work in very stressful and time-poor situations, and this can affect the ability to make a solid decision, and this is where critical thinking comes into play. Nurses must also be confident. You have to be confident in your decisions, in your abilities, and in the care that you provide. If you are not confident, then patients will pick up on this, and so will other colleagues, and ultimately this may affect key relationships.
Focusing on Getting the Right Degree
To qualify as a nurse, you will need a relevant degree. You cannot get into nursing with a relevant nursing degree. The good news is that if you already possess a degree in another area or field, together with relevant experience, you may be able to study an accelerated nursing program online, and this can be completed in just a few years. This, of course, means that you can start nursing in a healthcare setting sooner than you may have anticipated. The Texas RN to BSN program is a flexible online program that gives you the opportunity to complete while still working. When you are looking at degrees on offer, it is important to look at the provider too. You want a good university or college that supports you and guides you as a student. You do not want to feel alone in the process of becoming a nurse.
Choosing an Area of Work or Specialism
When you are studying, it is important to decide what area of specialism you want to focus on. Within the field of nursing, there are lots of areas that you can focus on. For example, you can focus on geriatric care or pediatric care – just to name two areas. What area of nursing would you like to do, and what do you feel you would be most passionate about. If you are not passionate about an area of care, then you may not enjoy your role within nursing as much as you should (or could).
Shortly before finishing your studies (or even just shortly after), you have to ensure that you get licensed. If you do not undertake the process to get licensed as a nurse, you will not be able to practice. Licensing varies between states, and it is important to find out what you need to qualify and get your license in your home state and also in the state where you want to work. Licensing is not difficult, but you must ensure you regularly keep up to date with new developments.
Building Your Experience – Work Experience
To build a strong career as a nurse, it is important that you focus on building your experience. Work experience and even voluntary experience can help you find your position and focus within the field of nursing. Experience can also guide you to a specialism that you may wish to follow (perhaps one you have not thought about before). Work experience in any capacity will build your knowledge, confidence, and awareness, and this is all necessary for a long-lasting, rewarding, and fulfilling career as a nurse.